Order Restricting Negroes on Sunday in Maryland

At a Court held by her Majesties Worshipfull Justices of the Peace for Somerset County at Dividing Creek the second Tuesday of August A D 1707.

Commissioners present;

Capt. John West

Capt. Charles Ballard

Mr. Thomas Newbold

Mr. Joseph Venables

Capt. John Franklyn

Memorand the standing Order of Council vizt. Court (vizt.)

Maryland by his Excellency the Governor and Council in Assembly April 22nd 1707

Great complaint being made to his Ex'ncy the Governor and Council Board that diverse Negroes slaves presume to ride horses on Sunday from their masters plantation to those of others the said Negroes sometimes belonging to them selves but generally to their masters and others and that the said Negro slaves carry in their hands unlawfull clubs bludgeons or tone of hawks and often of drunk on the Lords day beating their Negro drums by which they call considerable numbers of Negroes weather in some certain places which if not timely prevented may tend to the breach of the peace and be of evil consequence therefore it is hereby ordered that no Negro or Negroes what ever within this province presume here after without a lawfull command therefore to ride on horse back from one plantation to another or to any meeting of Negroes in the woods or rent or use any forms whatever or otherwise bare or walk with any such unlawfull clubs bludgeons or tone of hawks on pain of being whipt forty lashes for every such offence and it is hereby further ordered that the several Sheriffs and Constables within this province publish this order of council in the several county courts and in the several hundreds of the respective counties and take care to see the same complied and observed.

Signed per order Blanden


In 1707 there was an order from the Govenor and the Council making it an offence for both free Negroes and Negro Slaves to meet on Sundays. or carry clubs, bludgeons of "Tommy hawks," making it a pumishable by the pain of being whipped. - Gail M. Walczyk


Walczyk, Frank V.  Somerset County Maryland, Judicial Records 1707-1709. Coram NY: Petersrow, p 1.

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