I have painted this part of the Port Tobacco River before (Capel, Return). This painting was inspired the view toward the Southwest from the home of John and Carol Sprague. The days of British sailing ships anchoring nearby are long gone, but the boundary of a division of the land in those early years remains. The story begins in 1649 when the Lord Proprietor of the Province of Maryland, Cecil Calvert, granted Lieutenant William Lewis 2000 acres on the East side of Port Tobacco Creek. Lewis had been an officer on the Ark bringing the first settlers to Maryland in 1634. He married, acquired land, and later died of wounds received in the Battle of the Severn in 1656. Maryland Land Records list a William Lewis as the developer of a patent in 1649 for 2000 acres called “Chandler.” At some point Jobe Chandler and his brother-in-law, Simon Oversea, acquired these 2000 acres from Lewis. They divided it equally with Chandler receiving the northern 1000 acres and Oversee the southern 1000 acres. The line that divided these two men’s properties begins at water’s edge just beyond the tree in the left foreground and runs straight East. Jobe Chandler died in 1659; so did Oversee. Jobe Chandler’s son, William, inherited the property which he patented as Chandler’s Hope in 1674. Oversee died intestate and without issue. Oversee’s widow Elizabeth married Isaack Allerton. Oversee’s lands passed from the Allertons through the hands of Edmond Lindsey to Benjamin Rozer (1668). Rozer’s son, Notley, sold to Henry Darnell in 1703. Next came Contee, Hanson, Pye, Ware, Swell, and Alexander Hamilton who sold the property to Robert Fergusson in 1814. The Fergusson family owned the property for virtually all the 19th Century. Robert Cutler Fergusson, whose mother, Amelia, is featured in another painting bearing her name, was the last of the Fergussons to own it. When Chandler’s unmarried grandson, William, died in 1730, Chandler’s property went to his nephew, William Neale. It remained in hands of the Neale heirs until well into the 1800s. There are far too many transactions and divisions along the way and afterward on both properties to begin to enumerate, but the property line that extends eastward from the Port Tobacco River shore today has been there since Chandler and Oversee first divided Lewis’ land between them.
Oil on canvas 24x48 inches