Although prior to 1652, there were many Indian settlements, as still indicated by their banks of oyster shells, on points along the shores of the Choptank, Chester and Tred Avon rivers, it was in this year, being eight years prior to the founding of Talbot county, that a treaty was made with them, which is the first of which any record has been preserved and by which all of their lands on the Eastern Shore, north of the Choptank river, were ceded to the English.
This treaty was made at the river Severn, where the city of Annapolis was later located, and, tradition says, it was held under the old tulip-popular tree, still standing on the campus of St. John’s College. This treaty may be found, at length, in the appendix to Bozman’s History of Maryland, in which it is stated a blank occurs in the first article. A critical examination of the old council book will, however, convince any person familiar with the peculiar chirography of that time, that there is no blank in it, and that the word that Bozman says, in another place, is illegible, is in reality the word trees. The first article is as follows:
Article of peace and friendship treated and agreed upon the 5th day of July, 1652, between the English nation in the province of Maryland, on the one part, and the Indian nation of Susquesahanough on the other part, as followeth:
First, that the English nation shall have, hold and enjoy to them, their heirs and assigns, forever, all the land lying from the Patuxent river unto Palmer’s Island, on the Western side of the Bay of Chesepiake, and from Choptank river to the north east branch which lyes to the northward of Elks river, on the Eastern side of the said baye, with all the islands, rivers, creeks, tres, fish, fowle, deer, elke, and whatsoever else to the same belonging, excepting the Isle of Kent and Palmer’s Island, which belong to Capt. Clayborne. But, never the less it shall be lawful for the aforesaid English or Indians to build a house or forte for trade or any such like use or occasion at any tyme upon Palmers’ Island.