LeComptes of Castle Haven

Castle Haven Land Records

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© 2004-23
Cite as: LeCompte, Kirkwood.
"LeComptes of Castle Haven."
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The Two Castle Havens in Maryland

Land Records for Castle Haven, Dorchester County, Maryland

James "Jimmy" Blackwell of Seaford, MD emailed some details from pages 18-20 of Calvin Mowbray's book "First Dorchester Families" published in 1984. I've pasted the contents of his email below:

in Calvin Mowbray's First Dorchester Families there is a page (18-20) on Dennie Choren and the history of 'Castle Haven'.... on Aug 29, 1659 100 acre tract of land called 'Castle Haven' ... i think i always thought that it went into LeCompte hands before land transactions had to be recorded by the state... but... page 19

"... dor land record 3 OLD 207 dated Sept. 21, 1663 shows that Andrew Skinner of Talbot county sold 'Castle Haven' to Thomas Martine who in turn sold it to Peter Underwood of dor co on nov 7, 1671....

"Peter Underwood sold one half of the tract to John Whitley and he, Underwood, operated a tavern on the other portion of the tract as early as 1674 (Arch of Md. vol. 2, page 434) When peter underwood died his daughters sold his part to John Harwood. Harwood also acquired the other one half of the tract from David Jenkins who had obtained it when John Whitley had died.

"John Harwood was the son of Robert Harwood and Elizabeth (Gary) Harwood, daughter of John and Judith Gary and step-daughter of Peter Sharp...

"The records show that John Harwood operated a ferry from the site across the Choptank to Cloras Point (Dor Court Record file 8499) He was also an innkeeper as shown by DLR 5 OLD 3 dated August 15, 1692

"On May 29, 1717, John Harwood leased the house and land at 'Castle Haven' to Margaret Noell, wife of James Noell, Sr. for the remainder of her natural life (DLR 7 OLD 46)

"On Sep 19, 1726 Rebecca Harwood, widow of John Harwood sold to Bazell Noell, planter, 'Castle Haven' containing acres more or less, also Underwoods Chance', 'Five Pines' and other properties.

"The above records show that 'Castle Haven' was not part of 'Saint Anthony' the tract that was patented by Anthony LeCompte as some historians have claimed.

"... The records do not indicate whether or not Dennie Choren ever lived at 'Castle Haven' but the name he gave to his tract has endured until today for the land is still known as 'Castle Haven Point' and it is located in what is still called 'Castle Haven Neck."

From Maryland's inventory of historic properties, read the architectural survey file for Castle Haven on LeCompte Bay.

Land Records for Castle Haven, Somerset County, Maryland

Jim Handy of MD emailed some history of the "other" Castle Haven property along the south side of the Wicomico River. Researched and discussed by John Lyon, an expert on early land record of Someret County, the email details transactions from early Debt Books. I've pasted the relevant portion of John's notes below:

John Reddish appears in the 1734 Debt Book, p 81, charged for 150 acres of the 200 ac DO BETTER and 40 ac of the adjoining 200 ac CASTLE HAVEN. Land records show that in 1734 Alexander Fullerton owned all 200 ac of CASTLE HAVEN, acquired on 31 Aug 1733 from Jonas Passwater (So Deeds AZ:107). There may have been an unrecorded deed from Fullerton to Reddish conveying the 40 acres for which Reddish was charged (given that he was taxed, after all), and there is a 1763 deed for 40 ac of CASTLE HAVEN from Fullerton to John Reddish (So Deeds C:201, 21 Jan 1764), which may have been a belated recordation of a sale or promise of sale made 30 years previously.

There is also a mysterious deed 19 months earlier for the same 40 ac: So Deeds C:126, on 31 May 1762, from Hiram Reddish (of Worcester) to John Reddish, "where Elizabeth Reddish now lives". Though the deeds don't say so, this appears to me to be a situation in which Hiram Reddish thought he had rights to the land, probably by primogeniture from his (intestate) father John Reddish. But it was then learned that no actual original conveyance from Fullerton had been recorded, so Fullerton then proceeded just to make the sale whole by conveying any and all rights to the younger John Reddish in 1764. Given that Elizabeth Reddish was living on the land in 1762, we must believe this is precisely where the elder John Reddish lived, too, until his death, his widow remaining there into the 1760s.

This is consistent with another record that doubles as a Debt Book, for 1744: "The Somerset County Rent Rolls of 1744", compiled by Becky Miller, which says for CASTLE HAVEN: 80 ac held by Mr. Domk [Dominick] Jackson 80 ac by Alexr Fullerton 40 ac by John Reddish's heirs.

As far as DO BETTER goes, in 1734 this 150 ac was supposedly in Crouch family hands. Robert Crouch had purchased 150 ac of the tract from John Gilliss in 1710, and John Crouch sold the same to Joshua Turpin in 1747. I have to believe that John Reddish leased this land, adjoining CASTLE HAVEN, from the Crouches, and was taxed on its use in 1734. He may have continued to do so up to his death (but we don't know). In the 1744 "Rent Rolls", DO BETTER is listed as 150 ac under John Crouch's name, with no mention of the Reddishes.

So I think all the Reddishes had in the 1740s (John Sr's, land) was the 40 acre CASTLE HAVEN plot. Sons Hiram, John and Nicholas did whatever they did later (with the adjoining PLAIN DEALING and its mill land, REDDISHES LOT, POOR QUARTER and RICH QUARTER, all clumped nearby). And Hiram bought COXES ADVICE about five miles away (now in the heart of Salisbury) in 1763. But CASTLE HAVEN was their mother's home for 20 years after John died. At least, that's my guess.

You can read John Lyon's original message on rootsweb, as well as another relevant message by Pamela Geisler Smith.

Maryland Archives - Somerset County Land records
Cornelius Anderson to Thomas Passwater
Liber L #14 (1690-1702), pg.189

The following deed sent to Rufus Passwater by Fullerton family researchers. Rufus shared it with me and I typed it. It's written in the language of the day and traces the land called Castle Haven from it’s original Patentee, Henry Hayman Sr. who acquired it in 1672. Henry’s son, Henry Hayman jr. and wife Martha sold it to Cornelius Anderson who now in 12 June 1694, is selling the land to Thomas Passwater. He paid with 4,300 lbs of tobacco.The Rokawalkin River mentioned in the deed is the Wicomico now.
Pamela G. Smith
Gresham, OR