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Calling Deputy Governor Markham to Run the Dividing Line Between Pennsylvania and Maryland
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“… there are ffour Comissionrs who by the order & command of ye said Lord [Baltimore], have beene & are waiting … ever since ye tenth day instant, for ye Running ye Division Lyne…”

JAMES SANDELANDS and ROBERT WADE. Manuscript Document Signed. To William Markham. “Upland” [Chester, Pa.]. June 12, 1682. 1 page. Offered with #21752, described below.

Inventory #21621       Price: $38,000

Sandelands and Wade, two members of Pennsylvania’s first Provincial Council, alert Deputy Governor Markham of the arrival of Lord Baltimore’s commissioners to Augustine Hermann’s estate, near the disputed border between Maryland and Pennsylvania. Baltimore’s commissioners sought to locate the 40th degree of latitude, the dividing line established by King Charles I’s original charter for Maryland. Markham did not come, choosing to wait for Penn’s arrival, most likely because he knew that an accurate measurement of the 40˚ line would deprive Pennsylvania of an outlet on the Chesapeake, and perhaps cause them to lose Philadelphia.

Complete Transcript          

 Upland [now Chester]June 12th, 1682


May it please ye Governor

Here being a Messenger this day come to Upland with Letters from ye Lord Baltamore for you, which messenger also acquainting us that there are ffour Comissionrs who by the order & comand of ye said Lord, have beene & are waiting at Augustine Hermons in Bohemia River ever since ye tenth day instant, for ye Running ye Division Lyne; which being unexpectedly done in yor absence; by reason (as it seems) yt ye messenger by you sent to ye Lord came with yor message to him three days after ye Comissions was come forth from ye Lord; it is therefore expected by ye Comiss[loss]  that you will hasten to them; In order whereunto wee have given ye trouble of these Lynes, yt when you understand ye case, you may doo as ye concerne requires; wee have alsoe in yor absence taken ye boldness to write a few Lynes p ye messenger to ye Comissionrs to desire their patience a while until yor company may reasonably bee expected; which with or due service to you is all needful at prsent; who remayne    

            Yor Reall friends to Comand

            James Sandelands

            Robert Wade


[penciled over later:] Direction / “This for Govr William Markham / Present / Haste:

[in different script at bottom:] By the indorsement it appears that this letter together with Lord Baltes was sent to Govr. Markham then on a visit to New York.       S.H.

[docket:]This / ffor Goveor William Markham / present / Hast

[docket in Markham’s hand:] James Sa[nde]lands / & Robt Wades Lettr / Sent by George Wyman / to New York wth My Lord / Baltemors Letter -


Historical Background 

The Stuart Restoration, beginning in 1660 with the accession of Charles II, was characterized by stricter management of colonial affairs in North America. Britain began to enforce the Navigation Acts, aimed to stop commerce between its colonists and foreign nations, and in 1664, conquered the Dutch colony of New Netherland. King Charles II gave control over Dutch North America, including the present states of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, to his brother, the Duke of York (future King James II). New York, the Duke’s province, established as a royal colony, was in many ways a model for Britain’s new imperialism.

To further his political interests and pay off family debts, the Duke of York granted East and West Jersey as proprietary colonies to two well-placed English nobles, Lord John Berkeley and Sir George Carteret. Then, in 1681, Charles granted 45,000 square miles west of the Delaware River to William Penn to form the visionary colony of Pennsylvania (“Penn’s Woods”).

The cause of imperial regularity was weakened for many decades by a longstanding dispute between William Penn and Lord Baltimore over the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland. Maryland’s original charter of 1632 named the 40th parallel as its northern boundary. Pennsylvania’s charter of 1681 declared that it would be bounded “on the South by a Circle drawne at twelve miles distance from New Castle Northward and Westward unto the beginning of the fortieth degree of Northern Latitude and then by a streight Line Westward.”

These charters do not necessarily conflict. However, Penn, Baltimore, and their heirs, for eighty years, disputed three points: the exact location of the 40th parallel, ownership of Delaware, and the southern boundary of Delaware. Fearing that the northern boundary of Maryland, once measured, would deprive Pennsylvania of an outlet on the Chesapeake Bay, Penn negotiated with the Duke of York to acquire (by perpetual lease) the “lower counties” of Delaware, bordering Delaware Bay. By Maryland’s charter this land should have belonged to Lord Baltimore, but the territories had been settled by emigrants from Sweden and the Netherlands and conquered by the Duke’s forces in 1664. Eventually, in 1685, the Duke, now King James II, and his Board of Trade, ruled conclusively that the lower counties belonged to Penn. This was not yet known in June of 1682, and Lord Baltimore would dispute this concession until 1708, reducing the impetus for agreement over the location of the 40th parallel.

According to historian Jean Soderlund, “when William Penn sent William Markham to America in April 1681 as his deputy governor, he directed him to settle the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland with Lord Baltimore” and gave him supporting instructions from King Charles II. Soderlund writes, “Baltimore … arranged to meet Markham on 10 June 1682 …. Neither man actually attended, but Baltimore did send commissioners in his place. Markham sent no representatives, and so Baltimore’s agents proceeded to New Castle where they made an observation…”

Apparently Markham realized that Baltimore’s agents’ initial surveys were accurate, portending the loss of any claim for Penn of the head of Chesapeake Bay. Indeed, the modern measure of the 40th parallel would also put the city of Philadelphia (on Delaware Bay) in the state of Maryland. With some appreciation of this threat, Markham remained in New York to avoid committing to any resolution with Baltimore, preferring to wait until Penn’s arrival.

Charles Calvert, 3rd Lord Baltimore (1637-1715) was the second proprietary governor of the colony of Maryland, who inherited this position upon the death of his father, the 2nd Lord Baltimore, in 1675. Baltimore accumulated useful experience as his father’s deputy governor from 1666 through 1675, and then became an energetic, but polarizing, proprietor. An ardent Catholic, he attempted to suppress the rights of Protestant freemen, and he also entered a chronic dispute with William Penn over the boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania. While visiting England, the Glorious Revolution of 1688 took place – its counterpart in Maryland, Coode’s Rebellion, led to a period of violence, prompting King William to remake Maryland into a royal colony under a new charter. Baltimore remained active in English politics, both in trying to have his proprietary restored and in petitioning to have the three “lower counties” (i.e., Delaware) restored to Maryland, but achieved neither in his lifetime.

Robert Wade(d. 1698) and his wife Lydia came to the New World from England with John Fenwick’s company in the Griffith in 1675. They relocated from Salem, New Jersey to Upland County (soon to become Chester County), Pennsylvania. Their home, “Essex House,” was located on the west side of Chester Creek, and Wade owned much of the surrounding land. The first meeting in Pennsylvania of the Society of Friends is said to have been held there in 1675. After William Penn’s arrival on the Welcome in October of 1682, he temporarily lodged at Wade’s home. A prominent citizen both before and after Penn’s arrival, Wade served as a judge and a provincial assemblyman.

James Sandelands (1636-1692), a merchant of Scottish descent, was a landowner in Upland and Chester. In 1675, while serving as a captain in the Upland Militia, he was charged with killing an Indian, but was ‘cleared by proclamation.’ A few days later, either on a review of this verdict or for some other misdemeanour, he was fined three hundred guilders, ‘the one halfe to bee towards the building of the new church at Weckakoe and the other to the Sheriffe,’ and he was ‘put off from being Captain.’

Nevertheless he took the position of a prominent and respected citizen. In 1681 he was one of the nine members of Council appointed by the Deputy Governor, and was also made a Justice of the new Upland Court. From 1688 to 1690 he represented Chester County in the General Assembly of the Province of Pennsylvania. William Penn on his arrival in Delaware visited him, and it was ‘talkt among the people that it was intent to have built a city at Upland, but that he and Sanderlin could not agree.’

He died at Chester on April 12, 1692, at the age of fifty-six, and was buried there in the old Swedish burying-ground. His widow married an English merchant named Peter Bayn­ton; on her death in October 1704 she was buried beside her first husband.

Augustine Hermann(1605-1686), born in what is now the Czech Republic, was an early prominent emigrant to the lands that evolved into the state of Delaware. He developed an estate, Bohemia Manor, on Bohemia River, and drew one of the earliest maps of Maryland.



Soderlund, Jean, ed. William Penn and the Founding of Pennsylvania: A Documentary     History. Philadelphia, 1983.

Charter of Pennsylvania, 1681,,        accessed Jan. 7, 2008.


Offered with:

Forming Pennsylvania Militia to Defend Against Maryland Invasion


William Markham. Autograph Document Signed, with initials, as acting Governor of Pennsylvania, Proclamation. [Philadelphia], October 1, 1682. 1 p. #21752

Anxiously awaiting Proprietor William Penn’s arrival in America, and with Lord Baltimore of Maryland threatening to occupy Pennsylvania’s contested southern frontier, the first chief executive of Pennsylvania proclaims that all men between the ages of 16 to 60 must serve as a militia.


Complete Transcript 


Whereas the Governour Assistants and Councell hath taken into Consideration the Danger this Province is now in of Invasion - Did Think Requisite to order that all possible Care & Speed be Taken for ye prevention Thereof - in order There unto I thought fitt to Issue out This my Proclamation: willing & requiring all Male persons with in this province as Expressed by his Majts: lett[er]s pattents to Wm Penn EsqrThat is from Twelve Miles distance upwards of New Castle Towne to ye Three & fortieth Degree of Northern Lattd &c: That all persons as aforesaid from Sixteen yeares of age and upwards and under ye age of Sixty: be ready at an Hours warning with armes and ammunition fitt for a Defence and to repare to Such place or places of rendezvous as shall be directed by me or my order Given under my Hand as Explaind October: 1: 1682     WM

[docket in unknown hand:] Coll Markham’s Proclamation / for Arming the People 1682


Historical Background                      

Pennsylvania was officially chartered on March 4, 1681. While still in London, Penn received the deeds to the three lower counties (Delaware) from the Duke of York, assuring him (so he thought) of a saltwater port for Pennsylvania. Penn also trusted information gleaned from a contemporary map that the fortieth parallel – the dividing line between Pennsylvania and Maryland by charter – lay thirty miles south of New Castle (present Delaware). Shortly thereafter, on August 24, 1682, Penn set sail for America. He reached Delaware Bay on October 25, and arrived in Philadelphia on October 29, twenty-eight days after this proclamation.

Markham was Deputy (and Acting) Governor of Pennsylvania when he issued this proclamation on behalf of Penn’s fledgling province. Penn had empowered Markham to negotiate directly with Lord Baltimore. Evidence suggests that Markham was unaware of all aspects of the developing legal controversy between Maryland and Pennsylvania – including the complications arising from the presence of the Twelve Mile Circle around New Castle, denied to Penn in the 1681 charter; the status of prior Dutch and Swedish settlers; and how to determine the general boundary between the two colonies. Markham obtained a sextile during his visit to New York City in June, 1682, but when Baltimore requested that the two take joint observations, Markham refused. Apparently Markham realized that an accurate marking of the fortieth parallel would not only deny Pennsylvania access to both Chesapeake and Delaware Bays; it would also cause the loss of Philadelphia itself. Infuriated, Baltimore and his assistants marched to Upland (now Chester), the temporary seat of government during the construction of Philadelphia on September 24, 1682. Markham had been visiting another part of the province when he returned to Upland that day, according to one account, “and was not a little amazed to understand that the Lord Baltemore was there. About tenn of the clock that morning, Captain Markham came to see the Lord Baltemore, but with such a disordered countenance, and odd behaviour, as was easily perceived by all … Ld Baltemore … desired of Captain Markham that he might see … the instrument Colonel Lewis Morris [of N.Y.] had lent … it being a very cleer day observacion was taken therewith … and they all agreed that the latitude of Upland was by that sextile … 39 degrees forty seven minutes and five seconds …” Markham, disabled by Penn’s absence and his lack of knowledge of the documents Penn was bringing to Pennsylvania, was checkmated.

This document represents an early call for a citizens’ militia. As such, it is a surprising document given Pennsylvania’s reputation as having been dominated by pacifist Quakers, and given its future laxness in contributing to British imperial defense.According to historian Harry Wildes, Markham drew this document after his meeting with Penn: “when Baltimore triumphantly pointed out that thus far everything he had said about the location of the fortieth [parallel] had been verified, Markham called off further meetings … Instead, fearing that Baltimore would attempt to take both Upland and New Castle, the non-Quaker Markham … waited until Baltimore had returned to Maryland and then summoned all males between the ages of sixteen to sixty to be prepared to mobilize at an hour’s notice.”

Penn’s first action upon reaching Pennsylvania on October 29, 1682 was to enter New Castle and establish his claim – by presenting the Duke of York’s new deeds – to Delaware. Penn would meet Baltimore two times in subsequent months, but the two great men were unable to reach a compromise. Baltimore refused to recognize the Delaware concession, and Penn insisted on marking the northern border of Maryland by measuring from the southern tip of the Delmarva peninsula (37˚5’) northward, assuming sixty miles per degree. Penn made a conciliatory offer to purchase some of the disputed lands directly from Baltimore, but no agreement was reached.

On April 17, 1683, according to historian Jean Soderlund, “the Lords of Trade forbade the duke of York to transfer the title [to the three “lower counties,” or Delaware] to [William Penn] until his dispute with Baltimore was settled.” At the same time, however, Lord Baltimore issued a proclamation announcing that he would begin to sell land in the three lower counties at cheaper rates than Penn had advertised.

In the spring of 1684, Lord Baltimore’s nephew, Colonel George Talbot led a band of eighteen armed woodsmen to confiscate the land of Elizabeth Ogle five miles south of New Castle. A local official – William Welsh – warned Talbot off the land with threats of arrest. However, neither Maryland nor Pennsylvania were in condition to raise and outfit a large military force to oppose the other. Penn biographer Harry Wildes concludes that both Baltimore and Penn felt that, at this time, a border war would harm their respective legal claims in London. Each took steps to deescalate the conflict, instead focusing on lobbying in London. Penn, in fact, sailed back to England on August 18, 1864.

The legal dispute between Penn and Baltimore over ownership of the three lower counties was not decided until 1709, when Queen Anne and her Privy Council ruled in favor of Penn. Even that edict did not settle the dispute over the boundaries of Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.

William Markham(1635-1704) was William Penn’s cousin, and, as a veteran of the Royal navy, a protégé of Penn’s father, the Admiral. Though a non-Quaker, Penn chose Markham to act as the first deputy governor of the new province of Pennsylvania in 1681, while Penn himself remained in London to shore up his legal claims to Pennsylvania and Delaware. He showed his credentials to Anthony Brockholls, acting governor of New York, and obtained his consent to Penn’s claims to govern the territory that had been part of New York, and his recognition of Penn’s lease of lands in the three “lower counties” (Delaware). Markham helped in the planning of Philadelphia and convened the first governing council. Most significantly, Markham initiated, but did not complete, negotiations with Lord Baltimore over the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania. When Penn arrived in October, 1682, Markham remained a councilor.



“Reports of Conferences between Lord Baltimore and William Penn, and their Agents, 1682,       1683, 1684,” in Narratives of Early Maryland, 1633-1684, ed., Clayton C. Hall (New York, 1910), 414-431.

Wildes, Harry Emerson. William Penn (New York, 1974), 140-148, 183-191.

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