A Historical Overview of the Origin of Anne Arundel County
& its Early Subdivisions

Anne Arundel County was first settled 350 Years ago during the winter of 1649/1650 at Providence, which was across the Severn River from Annapolis by Puritans & Independents from Virginia who resisted Gov. Berkleys demands for them to attend services at the Church of England. One account of the early settlement of Anne Arundel Co is the historical novel Providence Ye Lost Towne At Severn In Mary Land by James E. Moss. this book while written as a novel, is about actual people, and events surrounding the founding of Anne Arundel County as researched by the author and includes a number of factual indexes. Unfortunately this book is now out-of-print. Another good source of history and biographical information on Anne Arundel County is J. D. Warfield's The Founders of Anne Arundel and Howard Counties Maryland, published in 1905

Anne Arundel County was formed in the summer of 1650, the third county formed in Maryland and was named in honor of Lady Anne Arundel, wife of Cecilus (Calvert), Lord Baltimore. There were two types of subdivisions found in the County and its records in its early history. The first were hundreds. The concept of a hundred is old and dates to the Roman occupation of England. A Hundred was said to be an area that could raise a force of 100 soldiers However, Hundreds in Maryland seemed to primarily been used for tax collection and land rent purposes. The second subdivivion occurred in 1692 when Parishes for the Church of England were established in Maryland.

There were Five hundreds in Anne Arundel Co in 1707.
Herring Creek Hundred was the southern-most part of the County
West River Hundred lay to the the north Herring Creek Hundred, around the West River,
South River Hundred, was the area between West River Hundred and the South RIver.
Middle Neck Hundred took in the area between the South River and Severn River
Broad Neck and Town Hundred. was area east of the Severn River and included the original settlement of Providence.

As the population grew, new hundreds were formed. The Hundreds of Anne Arundel County from the 1783 Tax Lists are the:
Annapolis Hundred
Broad Neck Hundred
Elkridge Hundred
Elkridge Landing Hundred
Herring Creek Hundred
Huntingdon Hundred
Lyons Creek Hundred
Magothy Hundred
Middle Neck Hundred
Patapsco Hundred
Patuxent Hundred
Road River Hundred
Severn Hundred
South River Hundred
Town Neck Hundred
Upper Fork and Bear Ground Hundred - (this is in Howard County today)
and West River Hundred

In 1692 the Maryland Assembly passed an act establishing the Church of England as basically the state church and setup the establishment of Parish boundaries and establish vestries to support the church. Fortunantely of use today, the parish was to keep a register of all the births, deaths, and marriages. These parish registers provide us today with a great deal of genealogical data available on late 17th and 18th century Anne Arundel County. It should also be noted that the Quakers also kept minutes of their meetings in which births, marriages and deaths were recorded. The Parishs for Anne Arundel County through the 18th Century were:
St James Parish (also called Herring Creek Parish) took in all of Herring Creek Hundred and part of the West River Hundred. It basically took in the southern part of Anne Arundel County below West River and Muddy Creek. St James Church today is located on Rt 2
All Hallows Parish (also called South River Parish) took in the area of South River Hundred and part of West River Hundred. It is basically the area south and west of South River, bounded to the south by St James Parish. All Hallows Church is located today near Davidsonville. The orginial church was apparently erected near Birdsville.
St Annes Parish. (also known as Middle Neck Parish) included the land between the South River and Severn River. The church is located today in the center of Church Circle in Annapolis.
St Margaret's, Westminister Parish (also called Broad Neck Parish) This parish took in Broad Neck and Town Hundreds and was the area east and north of Severn River extending up to the Baltimore County Line (St Paul's Parish).
Christ Church, Queen Caroline Parish, was formed in 1728 from the western portions of All Hallows, St Anne's and St Margaret's, Westminster Parishs. This parish included the area which is now Howard County and the western edge of Anne Arundel County. The chapel was built near Guilford.

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