Hopewell's Location

In 1698, now more than 24 years old, Michael Rutledge, Planter, bought Hopewell, 60 acres located along Sterling Creek in Baltimore County, Maryland, less than 5 miles northeast of the Boring lands for 2,000 pounds of tobacco from Robert Benger, IS IK:235. In 1699 he lived in the Middle River Hundred.[1]

Attempt to find the original Hopewell warrant or survey

I found no record of Hopewell before or after Michael's purchase. A comparison of Benger's land purchases before 1699 does not appear to include Hopewell. His early transactions were: [2]

  • In 1673 Benger and John Johnson bought Oliver's Reserve (150 ac) from Mary Harner, RA:185. This description is in the correct general place, but no definite match.

  • In 1688, Benger bought 100 ac Fuller's Outlet from John Fuller RM HS:276. (Transcribed from Liber F 2 page [unreadable]) - The description is near Rutledge's Delight.

  • In 1698 Benger bought 80 ac Chadwell's Range from John Chadwell RA:300

  • 1699 - certificate - Bulford 76 Ac - RA:344

According to the Maryland State Archives, many documents prior to 1704 were destroyed by a fire in Annapolis, so if there were records, they may no longer exist.[3]


I was not able to find the exact location of Hopewell, but after several months of searching, and a little serendipity, I believe the general location is near the west side of the present Martin State Airport.

First, Michael lived in Middle River Hundred in 1699. This establishes the general area.

The description on the deed was not as helpful:

"... parcel of land called Hopewell lying on the North Side of a creek called Sterling's Creek.

Beginning at a bounded Red Oak standing by the waterside and running thence north one hundred perches, then northwest and be north 92 perches to a white oak, then southwest and be south 71 perches to a bounded white oak, in the fork of a branch. Then south and by east to a marked Gum at the head of Sterling's Creek, then with a direct line to the first bounded tree containing 60 acres of land more or less."

The hunt began to find the only landmark mentioned in the deed - Sterling's Creek. I found maps both old and new and meticulously examined them. I consulted online genealogy groups and local experts. People who lived in the area searched. I searched for other deeds with this landmark. The State Archives, Historical and Genealogical Societies were questioned. Charts of the waterways were found and poured over. The database of building permit applications was searched. The County property appraiser searched his records. Even the State Geologist and Archaeologist were consulted. No one could find Sterling's Creek.

As more research was completed on the people of the area, namely John Boring and John Ferry, and their lands identified, other avenues of inquiry came into play, but this nagging need to find Hopewell persisted.

When glancing through my small library of printed books, I happened to pull "Maryland Rent Rolls: Baltimore and Anne Arundel Counties" compiled by Robert Barnes, to check for an entry for a person not even related to this Rutledge research. Serendipity struck! These rent rolls had property descriptions! I spent the afternoon going page by page through the book looking for any mention of Sterling's Creek (and other unknown landmarks on other unrelated parcels).

Peter Sterling had Old Borrough (Alborough) and The Triangle surveyed in 1670. The Triangle laid between the eastern and middle branch of the Middle River. There is only one piece of land that meets these criteria. The description for Alborough seems to indicate only one other possible location northwest of The Triangle.

Alborough begins at a point at the head of a creek and north side of Sterling's Branch in the Middle River, follows the turning of the Branch to a point at the head of Cove [Cow?] Creek follows the creek to where it joins Sterling Creek and goes west up Sterling Creek.

Once Sterling's properties were platted, the approximate location of Hopewell was easily decided. The map below shows the proposed location, along with locations of the Sterling and Boring lands.

  • Notes:

    • This is the general area, not the definite location, but I feel this is correct within a mile, and probably less. Alborough and Hopewell may have been located more to the Northwest, because it appears on the early topo maps that the creeks headwaters were farther inland at one time. But this is still the general area.

    • Hopewell, 1703 - from John Rawlings to John Armstrong, 2:285 - does not appear to be the same property. It lies along the Gunpowder.

    • 1745 - Charles Bolton to William Andrews pt. Hopewell TB D:288 (Bolton got land from James Isham. 50 ac - Between branches of Gunpowder and Bush Rivers. - this is part of a larger tract called Hopewell- Isham split it up in 1741 and sold 50 ac to Bolton and 154 acres to Stephen Onion. This tract is on the land between the Gunpowder and Bush Rivers - not the Hopewell we are looking for.

    • 1783 – William Andrews heirs paid the taxes on more then 3500 acres, Alborough is listed as 324 acres of this valuation.[4]

[1] 1699 Census, Baltimore County, Maryland Historical Society Magazine, MSA SC 581-1-45, page 5.

[2] Baltimore County Court (Land Records, Grantee Index) 1655-1769, Be, p.0024, MSA CE32-1.

[3] http://guide.msa.maryland.gov/pages/series.aspx?id=S1190

[4] MSA 1161-2-9, 1783 valuation

Map showing probable locations of Hopewell and other Rutledge related lands.

Title Search

Hopewell may have been located on what is now the west side of the Martin State Airport. I decided to do a title search from the present day to see if I can find a mention of Hopewell in the historical deeds.

The Chesapeake Park Subdivision was the start of the Martin State Airport. The subdivision plat was found and examined. Deeds which included the western side of the airport property were (indented deeds were mentioned in the preceding deed):

1946 - 1518:541 (3.23 acres taken from Frank Helldorfer by the USA as surplus property by the War Assets Administrator District court case - Civil #1820).

1928, WHM 658:560 , Jenkins to Title Guarantee and trust.

1915 - William H. Ahles to Jenkins WPC 448:472 , 36 acres (part along a marsh),

1915 - Kimmel to Ahles WPC 443:17

1915 - Ahles to Jenkins WPC 455:43, to the waters of Cow Creek, 2 acres

1915 - Catherine Lerp? to Ahles WPC 443:17 - Catherine was a widow, Anna Gent, Amelia Gent, and Rosina Johnson, of Baltimore and Charles Kimmel, unmarried, Ann Seling [?] and Christopher Seling her husband of Baltimore County are all grantors. Transferring ownership to match survey of 18 Dec 1914 by Disney. Ahles Farm. Stake in the center of the Marsh of Cow Creek... edge of the waters of Cow Creek and Dark head creek.

o 1870 - JB 84:389 Slater to Ahles - Margaret Slater, widow of William Slater and others to John Daniel Ahles. Land called Luke's Adventure. Horse Path Branch, to the head of cow creek, 214 acres - Except NOT the land conveyed to the railroad or by William Slater to Daniel Ahern on 19 Mar 1862, 45:191 (24 acres)

o 1855 HMF 11:114 Robert Howard to William Slater. Nicholas Brian died seized, part of tract Luke's Adventure, bounded chestnut tree near a branch called Cow Branch, horse path branch, to the head of a creek called cow creek,

o 1853 Joseph Brian to Robert Howard HM 4:294 - of which Nicholas Brian died, seized.... part of tract called Luke's Adventure. Head of Cow Creek.

o 1839 - Nizar to Brian - TK 286:54 (estate starts at 51) - tracts named Stumbling Block (adjoins Nathan Todd) and Luxes.[1]

o 1842 - James Brian to Joseph Brian - TK 334:307, Luke's Adventure.

1913 WPC 413:249 - William Norris, trustee conveyed to grantors the tract of land along with William Ahles. Charles Pielert (also in the trustee deed conveyed his portion to William Ahles in 1913, WPC 413:253.

1927 - WPC 640:486

1929 - Title Guarantee to Glenn L Martin 827:24.

Luke's Adventure

I decided to follow Luke's Adventure first. The deeds of the Brian family to each other, dividing up the father Nicholas' lands encompassed parts of Luke's Adventure. This seemed a likely place that Hopewell may have been merged into.

Consulting the Tract Index, I was quickly able to find the progression of ownership from 1823 to 1799:

1823: Gorsuch to Brian 200 acres WG 168:303

1800: Gorsuch to Gorsuch 200 acres WG 62:635

1799 Lux to Gorsuch 200 acres WG 58:406

I examined each deed:

WG 168:303 - 7 Feb 1823, Robert Gorsuch to Nicholas Brian, half part of the tract Luke's Adventure... beginning at a bounded Chestnut tree standing near a branch called Cow Branch and on the north side of Bundy's Road, ENE...then SE courses binding Horse Path branch, to the mouth of Horse Path Branch, running hence and binding on the river, courses to the head of Cow Creek, to the beginning... Same tract of land conveyed by Loveless Gorsuch to Robert Gorsuch and Nicholas Brian as tenants in common, by Deed 2 July 1800 WG 62:635. Wife Sarah Gorsuch concurs.

WG 62:635 - 2 Jul 1800, Loveless Gorsuch to Robert Gorsuch and Nicholas Brian, paid $600 pounds, ALL the parcel of land called Luke's Adventure. Landmarks: Cow Branch, Bungy's road, Horse Path Branch, Cow Creek, The River... as tenants in common.

WG 58:406 - 31 Jan 1799, Rachel Lux and others to Loveless Gorsuch, Grantors: Rachel Lux, William Lux, Thomas Deye Cockey and Ann, his wife; James McCormick, Jr and Rachel Ridgely, his wife; and Darby Lux all of Baltimore County. 600 pounds, land called Luke's Adventure heretofore conveyed by Luke Merryman to Darby Lux 31 Mar 1779 WG D:66 contains the 200 acres of land more or less.

WG D:66 - 31 Mar 1779, Luke Merryman to Darby Lux, 4,000 pounds, Luke's Adventure, Cow Branch North side of Bongyr Road, Horse Path Branch, to the mouth of Horse Path Branch, running along the river, Cow Creek, 200 acres. No prior owner information was given.

A search of the Grantee Indexes from 1779 back yielded this information:

1765 - Luke Raven to Nicholas Merryman - Pt. Luke's Adventure, 200 acres, B O:576

B O:576 - 14 Oct 1765 - Luke Raven (wife Ann) to Nicholas Merryman, son of Samuel, farmer, 275 pounds, in a Neck called Middle River Neck, part of Luke's Adventure, Cow Branch, Bengey's Road, Maple standing in a swamp, horse path branch, binding on the river, to the head of Cow Creek, neck of land that lies between Horse Path Branch and Cow Creek Branch, 200 acres.

NOTE: 117 Acres of Luke's Adventure is unaccounted for.

IS H:271 - 11 June 1726 - Luke Raven, Sr to Luke Raven, Jr - Triangle (100 acres), Luke's Adventure (317a), Outlet - the dwelling plantation I now reside upon called the Triangle (100 acres). beginning at a bounded white oak standing at the pointed end of the said plantation, also a plantation joining upon my said dwelling plantation called Luke's Adventure. Beginning at the second bounded tree of the Triangle, the tree being down, and a locust post set up in the bound, containing 317 acres, also one other tract including a plantation adjacent to that called the OutLott containing for quantity of acres as by the patent there recorded. To take effect upon his decease and not before.

IS H:388 - 25 Dec 1726, Raven Sr to Jr - Raven's Outlet, North side of the head of Middle River, 125 acres. Senior says, by survey - no earlier land information is given.

End of Title Search - no earlier records of Triangle, Luke's Adventure or Outlet were found.

Alborough and other properties

Since no record of Hopewell's sale was found, maybe following the disposition of Alborough will lead to more information. Alborough and Triangle were both patented by Peter Sterling in 1670. Triangle was patent record 10, p. 623, Accession Number MSA S 1582-10462. However, The Maryland State Archives helpdesk found them at images 87-89 (pages 170-172) here: https://msa.maryland.gov/megafile/msa/stagsere/se1/se23/000000/000018/pdf/mdsa_se23_18.pdf

In 1671, Peter sold both Triangle (100 ac) and Alborough (350 ac) to Luke Raven through his attorney, Thomas Long.[2] Peter, a surgeon, was living in Gloster [Gloucester] county, Virginia at the time. Luke Raven, a blacksmith, also lived in Gloster County. Raven paid five thousand, five hundred pounds of good, sweet tobacco for the "two tracts of land lying on the west side of the Cheasapeak in the Middle Branch of a River called Gunpowder River." Unfortunately, there is no further description of the property, except to note they are the same as the patents.

Luke, now a gentleman living in Baltimore County, transferred Alborough to Isaac Raven on 11 June 1726.[3] Alborough was a plantation with an orchard and was on the head of the Middle River. After the deed, there is a note to the court that it is not to take effect until after Luke Raven, Sr.'s death. Unfortunately, the only description of Alborough is that it contains 350 acres, has an orchard, "lying and being upon the head of the Middle River, beginning at a bounded Chestnut tree and upon a branch called Sterling's Branch."

The next recorded deed is Luke Senior transferring ownership of Triangle (100 acres), his present dwelling, to Luke, Jr, his eldest son. A second plantation, joining Triangle and called Luke's Adventure having 317 acres, and another plantation adjacent to the last, called the OutLott containing the acres as per the patent recorded (no specific number was given). This deed also took effect upon the death of Luke, Senior.

In 1735, there were several gifts of slaves and livestock made from Luke Raven, Senior to his children, Luke, Junior, Isaac, Abraham, Mary and Elizabeth, all deeds of gifts to take effect upon his death.[4] Raven's Granddaughter, Avarilla Scott was also named.

On 22 September 1754 Isaac sold part of Alborough (21ac) to Thomas Harrison.[5] Landmarks called out in the deed are: West side of a creek of the Middle River called Cow Creek. Isaac's wife, Letitia consented.

On 9 October 1835, Alborough and Alborough Resurveyed were transferred from the estate of William Gibson (21 July 1828) to David R. Wilson.[6]

To make searching for the later deeds easier, I chose the address of 329 Dark Head Rd, Essex, Maryland, a lot that I believe was within the boundaries of the original Alborough and conducted a title search. The results are below:

  • 1953 - Anna Helldorfer to Hawthorne, Inc [7]

  • 1905 - Helldorfer family movement - "subdivision deed - calls out lots - 4th lot runs along Sterling Creek and calls out deeds on a line - John Gibson to David R. Wilson 1835; William Wood to Bradford Sickles 1864 - Liber HMF 7:362, along the line and adjacent to the land conveyed to HeisKell. 5th lot - line of the land conveyed by Solomon King to Lay 1886, JWS 156:90" [8]

  • The land was broken into 35 lots and sold by Darkthorn Homes, of which 329 Dark Head Road is one of the lots.[9]

  • 1893 - Lay to Sebastian Helldorfer[10]

  • 1886 - Solomon King, trustee to August F. Lay - Henry Heis-Kell mortgage default from Newington Land and Loan Company, mortgage granted 9 Jul 1875 Liber JB, 63:41 assigned to Solomon King 21 Jun 1881, WMP 94:451. lies near the Middle River Station on the PW&B railroad, beginning at a stone on the corner of the property of David R. Wilson 9 Oct 1835, Bradford, sickles… HMF 7:362, running and bounding on the waters of Sterling Creek., the 22 following courses - most of which are south and east. to the waters of Cow Creek, (courses west and north), Southern side of railroad lands.[11]

  • 1872 - Sickles to Heiskell - Beginning - stone in line conveyed by John Gibson to David R. Wilson 9 Oct 1835; in the southern lines of the PW&B railroad, Wood to Sickles, 18 Feb 1854, HMF 7:362; Calls out Sterling Creek bottom p110, and Cow Creek, page 111[12]

  • 1854 - Bradford Sickles to William Wood - Part of Alborough, Alborough Resurveyed and part of Friend's Care. "Sickels came from Monmouth County, NJ. - outbounds thereof: stone planted on the S30E 207 perches line of the whole land surveyed by John Gibson and others to David R. Wilson, 1835, at the end of line, being on southern line of PW&B railroad…. Branches coming down and the waters of Sterling Branch... to the mouth of cow creek, bounding on cow creek, .... at the end of the S297E120 line of land of Robert Gorsuch and Brian Gibson, JC 7:442, 244 acres, "[13]

  • 1853 - William Wood conveyed to Thomas Wilson

  • 1844 - the tracts conveyed by David R. Wilson's son, Samuel, to his brother Thomas Wilson. tracts or parts of tracts, Alborough, Alborough Resurveyed, Addition to Alborough, lot number 67, part of Carroll's Scrutiny and Friend's Care. [14]

  • 1835 - Gibson Heirs to David R. Wilson - tracts or parts of tracts, Alborough, Alborough resurveyed, Addition to Alborough, lot number 67, part of Carroll's Scrutiny and Friend's Care. [15]

I feel the preceding deeds consistently call out Alborough, and so did not follow the transactions back farther.

Conclusion relating to the location of Hopewell, Alborough and Luke's Adventure

Based on the above deeds of both Alborough and Luke's Adventure, and landmarks called out within those deeds, I believe Alborough may have become part of Luke's Adventure. The exact location has not been decided, but the title search of 329 Dark Head road proves that that lot laid within the boundaries of Alborough. The properties consistently refer to Sterling Creek, Cow Creek and Cowpens Creek, which place them in the same general location of Hopewell.

[1] Baltimore County Circuit Court (Certificates, patented, BA 1766/11/20) Stumbling Block was 334 acres, originally patented to Christopher Carman etal, certificate #4754, MSA S1190-4901. It was along the Back River and combined other tracts.

[2] Baltimore County Court (Land Records), 1672-1718, TR RA 176-177. Maryland State Archives - MSA CE 66-5.

[3] Baltimore County Court (Land Records) 1724-1726, IS H:270-271, Maryland State Archives, MSA CE 66-12.

[4] Baltimore County Court (Land Records) 1730-1736, HWS M:249-258, Maryland State Archives, MSA CE 66-17.

[5] Baltimore County Court (Land Records) 1753-1757, BB I 457-458, Maryland State Archives, MSA CE 66-26

[6] Baltimore County Court (Land Records) 1835-1835, TK 253:221-225, MSA CE 66-303.

[7] Baltimore County Court (Land Records) GLB 2401:434

[8] Baltimore County Court (Land Records) WPC 293:183.

[9] Baltimore County Court (Land Records) GLB 29335:178; 3209:266; 18026:604; 21338:00249.

[10] Baltimore County Court (Land Records) LMB 196:66. Specified in LMB 201:543

[11] Baltimore County Court (Land Records) JWS 156:90

[12] Baltimore County Court (Land Records) EHA 75:110

[13] Baltimore County Court (Land Records) HMF 7:363

[14] Baltimore County Court (Land Records) 1844-1844, TK 339:137-140.

[15] Baltimore County Court (Land Records) TK 253:221