A Guide to the General Assembly Virginia-Maryland Boundary Dispute Records, 1688-1894 (bulk 1874-1876) General Assembly Virginia-Maryland Boundary Dispute Records 45188

A Guide to the General Assembly Virginia-Maryland Boundary Dispute Records, 1688-1894 (bulk 1874-1876)

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Accession Number 45188


Library of Virginia

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© 2010 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: Craig S. Moore

The Library of Virginia
Accession Number
General Assembly Virginia-Maryland Boundary Records, 1688-1894 (bulk 1874-1876)
1 cubic foot [2 boxes]
Virginia. General Assembly.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

General Assembly Virginia-Maryland boundary dispute records, 1688-1894 (bulk 1874-1876). Accession 45188, State government records collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.

Acquisition Information

These records were found in two miscellaneous boxes and were accessioned separately. These accessions were later combined into one accession under Acc. 45188. Included are the following accessions: 44206.

Historical Information

On 26 March 1858 the General Assembly passed an act authorizing the governor to appoint a commissioner who, in conjunction with a Maryland commissioner, was to verify the boundary between Virginia and Maryland. On completion of his task the commissioner made a report to the General Assembly. In 1860 the General Assembly passed a resolution which authorized the retracing and marking of the Virginia-Maryland boundary line on the Eastern Shore.

Later, the General Assembly passed a joint resolution on 27 June 1870 for the appointment of commissioners to ascertain and define the boundary line between Virginia & Maryland, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Governor Gilbert C. Walker appointed Henry A. Wise, D.C. DeJarnette, & William Watts as commissioners who submitted their final report to the governor in January 1874. The commissioners failed to reach a compromise regarding the boundary and agreed to submit to a Board of Arbitration consisting of Jeremiah D. Black, William A. Graham, and Charles A. Jenkins. On 28 March 1874, the General Assembly passed an act to designate the arbitrators to ascertain and fix the boundary between the states of Maryland and Virginia. On 16 January 1877, the Board of Arbitration determined the true line of the Virginia-Maryland boundary which gave Maryland the south bank of the Potomac River and Virginia Smith's Island and a large part of the Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds.

A joint resolution adopted 26 February 1892 authorized a joint committee of the General Assembly of Virginia to confer with a like committee of the General Assembly of Maryland to consider the taking of oysters, fish, and crabs in the waters of the Potomac River and Pocomoke Sound and concurrent legislation on the said subject. Although there was much nonagreement, several recommendations were endorsed by both joint committees. For the report, see Journal of the Virginia House of Delegates, 1893/94, pp. 381-382.

Scope and Content

These records consist of an artificial collection of records related to the Virginia-Maryland boundary dispute, especially as it pertained to the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. Accession 45188 includes a manuscript copy of the Final Report of the Commissioners of Virginia upon the boundaries between Maryland and Virginia which was submitted by Gov. James L. Kemper to the Senate and House of Delegates on 26 January 1874. The report by Commissioners Henry A. Wise, D.C. DeJarnette, and William Watts includes copies of correspondence to/from the commissioners, James McDonald, Secretary of the Commonwealth; Governor Gilbert C. Walker; Governor Oden G. Bowie, Maryland; Isaac D. Jones, L.L. Waters, and William Aydelotte, Commissioners on the part of Maryland; Richard D. Cutts, Asst. U.S.C. Sr.; and others. In addition, the report provides depositions taken by the commissioners and a journal of the joint commission of Maryland and Virginia at Annapolis, Crisfield, and Baltimore between 8 May 1872 and 20 Nov. 1873. Lastly, the report includes copies of colonial documents such as Maryland Council proceedings from 22 August 1666 and patents issued during the Royal Government of Virginia for Accomack and Northampton counties.

Other noteworthy documents in the accession include general correspondence and both original and transcriptions of early documents related to the boundary dispute between 1686 and 1876. Included is an original petition by the Burgesses of Virginia to the King regarding Northern Neck grants (1730 June 30); proceedings of the Council regarding the nomination of commissioners in conjunction with Lord Fairfax to survey and settle the boundaries of that tract of land formerly granted to Lord Culpeper (1735 Nov. 1); resolution of the House of Delegates including correspondence of Governor James Monroe to the governor of Maryland, etc. (1802 Jan. 26); transcription and translation of Lord Baltimore's charter from 1632 (1871 June 5); copy of the act to fix the boundary between Maryland and Virginia (1874 Mar. 28); copy of an order of the Lords of the Committee of Council for Plantation Affairs from 11 April 1745 determining the bounds of Lord Fairfax's land (1875 Oct. 1); letters to/from William J. Robertson and R.T. Daniel, Counsel on the part of Virginia in the arbitration of the boundary dispute. deeds and will for lands on Smith's Island (1876 June 13); and a letter of W. Noel Sainsbury to Raleigh T. Daniel regarding the minutes of the Committee of Trade and Plantations (incl. transcripts of 30 Sept. & 3 Nov. 1684 (1876 July 15).

Accession 44206 contains House Document Number VI, Communication from the Governor of Virginia transmitting Report of the Commissioners to Arbitrate the Boundary Line between Virginia and Maryland, 1877 and House Document Number VIII, Communication from the Governor of Virginia in Relation to Compensation to the Commission, Counsel, etc., in the Maryland and Virginia Boundary Line Case, 1877. This collection also contains miscellaneous communications regarding the boundary dispute and illegal oyster harvesting, a compact between the two states, and two copies of Coast Chart #33, Chesapeake Bay, Potomac Entrance Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds, and several photostats of the General Account of Revenue by William Byrd, Receiver General, from 1688 to 1704.


This collection is arranged into the following series:

Series I. General Assembly Virginia-Maryland Boundary Dispute Records, 1688-1894 (bulk 1874-1876).

Separated Material

Oversized materials have been separated to Box 2 and Map Case.

Contents List

Series I. General Assembly Boundary Dispute Records, 1688-1894 (bulk 1874-1876).
Boxes: 1-2.
Extent: 2 boxes.

Arranged alphabetically.

  • Box 1
    Folder 1
  • Box 1
    Folder 2
    1875-1876 June
  • Box 1
    Folder 3
    1876 July-Aug.
  • Box 1
    Folder 4
    Coast Chart #33 (See Oversized Map Case) 1872
  • Box 1
    Folder 5
    Commission & Compact 1894
  • Box 1
    Folder 6
    Final Report of the Committee (Folder 1), 1874
  • Box 1
    Folder 7
    Final Report of the Committee (Folder 2), 1874
  • Box 1
    Folder 8
    House Documents & Reports, 1877
  • Box 1
    Folder 7
    Photostats (See Oversized), 1688-1704
  • Box 2
    Oversized, 1730-1874