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Hill papers

Identifier: MS 0446


The collection is made up of two principal series: the papers of Clement Hill, 1683 to 1819, and the business accounts of Clement Hill, 1701 to 1823. Also contained within the collection are land survey books dating from 1670 to 1715, mostly relating to Clement Hill, Sr. The bulk dates for both the papers and the accounts are between about 1760 to 1785. Gaps exist both before and after these dates.


  • 1683-1823


Conditions Governing Access

Open to the public without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.

Biographical Note

The principal people in the collection are four different, although related, Clement Hills. Clement Hill, Sr. was Surveyor-General of Calvert and Prince George's counties from about 1685 to 1708. He was also a landowner and sold tobacco. His death occurred in 1708. At this point, he was replaced by his nephew Clement Hill as Surveyor-General. The nephew held this post for a number of years while expanding upon his uncle's tobacco trade until his death in approximately 1740. His son, Clement Hill, Jr. further extended this trade and acquired land holdings. By the 1760's, Hill's trade was flourishing. At this juncture, Hill's son Clement Hill became involved with the tobacco trade with England, and together with his father developed a profitable enterprise that followed the typical American colonial tobacco trade format. The tobacco was consigned to an agent in London who sold the product on the open market. With the profits realized, he bought selected manufactured items to be shipped back to the colonies. The Hills in turn sold these items to local merchants.


5.83 Linear Feet (5 flat boxes; 2 full Hollinger boxes)

Language of Materials



The total number of items in this series number about 175 documents. Their arrangement is chronological, from 1683 to 1819.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mr. William B. Hill, April 19, 1882.


The collection appears to have been acquired by the Maryland Historical Society at various times. It can be surmised that the initial donation came on April 10, 1882 from Mr. William B. Hill of Upper Marlboro, Prince George's County, Maryland. This original donation is presently in the form of three bound volumes of general correspondence and three land survey volumes. Most likely acquired at a later date were the balance of the Clement Hill papers and most if not all the Clement Hill accounts along with the Clement Hill ledger book. Judging from the different materials used to laminate the documents, it can be seen that the collection has also been restored at different times as well.

Scope and Contents

The papers themselves are mostly of a legal nature, concerned with such things as land warrants, certificates of survey, and financial agreements. Also included are several indenture articles, a will, and court proceedings with related memoranda. There are some incoming and a few outgoing letters dealing with various business enterprises, mostly land sales, local merchandizing, and the tobacco trade with England.

Of particular interest is a group of documents relating to what seems to have been a bitter land dispute between Clement Hill, Sr. and a Major Nicolas Sewall. Sewall claimed that Hill surveyed his land in 1698 falsely to gain property for himself, which Hill subsequently denied. A court battle ensued, and the decision apparently went against Hill, who continued at length to exclaim his innocence. His nephew took up his defense after Hill's death in 1708 and managed to bring John Carroll and a D. Dulany into the dispute, but nothing came of it. The nephew called the affair, the [UNK] pound mistake, citing shady dealings between Sewall and Carroll, keeper of the rolls.

A letter dated August 12, 1764 discusses the issue of Colonial taxation and a shipment of tobacco to John [UNK] an English M.P., who vigorously took to defending the colonies against the governments of Grenville and Townshend.

The Clement Hill Accounts

There are about 200 items in this series, dating from 1701 to 1823. Like the Clement Hill papers, the accounts are arranged chronologically.

Types of documents included in the series are bills of lading, statements of accounts, bills from London merchants, correspondence from assorted London tobacco agents discussing market prices and soliciting trade, along with various local accounts with doctors, merchants, and other individuals.

The papers reflect the change that occurred between the late seventeenth century up to the end of the eighteenth century in the nature of the tobacco trade. The first Clement Hill was a small-time merchant and producer of tobacco, and his accounts reveal only a limited trade. Through to the last Clement Hill can be seen the growth of the trade -- gradual at first, then expanding very rapidly. Thus the last Hill's accounts reveal a large involvement in the trade and his accumulation of moderate wealth from it.

Of particular interest are the numerous items of correspondence from the London tobacco agents who detail market conditions and often political conditions in England as well. The major agents corresponding were Thomas Philpot, Stewart and Cambell, Charles Digger, Perkins, Buccanan and Brown, and Forrest and Stodderd.

The Clement Hill Survey Books

The survey books consist of three volumes. Volume One is the land office warrant book for Calvert and Prince George's county, dated 1670 to 1715. Volume Two is the Calvert County survey book, dated 1682 to 1684. Volume Three is the Calvert and Prince George's county survey book, dated 1698-1714. Contained within these volumes are the specifics regarding surveys (many with detailed drawings) done in Calvert and Prince George's counties. Land ownership and boundaries are listed in varying detail.

Guide to the Hill papers
In Progress
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2019-08-02: Manually entered into ArchivesSpace by Mallory Herberger.

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States