John Perrin in the Frontier
Indian hostilities and land purchases

This section concerns the activities of John Perrin and his sons in frontier Maryland. While I am not an expert on colonial or native American history, liberal doses of both must be woven into this narrative to help the Perrin story make sense.

Before the Indian War, 1744 - 1754

west MD overview

Geography of Western Maryland. Roads shown as of 1760. Solid line: Mason Dixon Line
Red line: suggested location of Warrior's Path

Indian relations until 1754

In the last two sections I alluded to the good relations between native Americans (hereafter referred to as Indians, as this is historically the name used in the sources cited) and British settlers in Maryland and Pennsylvania. On Conestoga Creek in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Indians and Europeans lived side by side, dare I say in peace. When in 1722 fur traders John and Edmund Cartledge were accused of murdering an Indian man, they were tried, found guilty and imprisoned for several years until pardoned upon the request of the Five Nations . There were remarkably few incidents of such violence before 1740.

In the next decade relations became strained. In Lancaster, 1744 the (now) Six Nations negotiated a treaty with Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. With the representatives of Maryland they agreed to

...renounce all Right to Lord Baltimore of all those Lands lying two Miles above the uppermost Fork of Potwomack or Cohongoruton River, near which Thomas Cressap has a Hunting or Trading Cabbin, by a North Line to the Bounds of Pennsylvania... And further, if any People already have or shall settle beyond the Lands described and Bounded, they shall enjoy the same free from any Disturbance of us in any manner whatsoever, and we do and shall accept those People for our Brethren, and as such always Treat them.

This treaty made it explicit that as conquerors the Iroquois, not the Indians living in Maryland or Pennsylvania (the Delaware and remnants of the Susquehannaks), had the authority to determine treaties. The resentment of the Delaware and Shawnee to this arrangement would contribute to the Indian wars a decade later.

Present day Allegany county in 1751

More of A map of the most inhabited part of Virginia containing the whole province of Maryland...,
Joshua Fry & Peter Jefferson, 1755, showing the upper Potomac to present day Cumberland.

The map above shows the geography of Western Maryland in general, and the location of Cresap's cabin in particular. In 1745 Cresap lived near the site of an abandoned Shawnee town known as Oldtown . Following the boundary dispute with Pennsylvania, Cresap had first settled on the Potomac near Conocoheague Creek but quickly moved upstream. Passing by his cabin and shown as a dotted line on the 1751 map was the so-called Warriors Path, which the Iroquois then used on their annual trek to fight the Catawba. This combination of geography resulted in conflict. In 1749/50 Cresap made the following complaint to the governor of Maryland :

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[The Governor communicates to Mr. Speaker the following Message; viz.]

Gentlemen of the Lower House of Assembly,
The inclosed Letter to me from Col. Cresap, relating to the Behaviour of the Indians, I have thought proper to lay before your House, for your Consideration.
Sam. Ogle.

To his Excellency Samuel Ogle, Esq; Maryland.

May it please your Excellency,

The Indian account of this incident was received by the Governor in 1751 :

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Frederick County Maryland Septr 14th 1751.

May it Please your Excellency

It would appear that the Indians interpreted the Lancaster treaty differently from the European settlers. With the opportunity to hunt and trap disappearing, the Indians believed themselves guaranteed victuals when passing through settled areas.

The Ohio Company

Other Europeans, particularly from Virginia, viewed the Lancaster treaty as permitting further western settlement. In 1748 the Ohio Company was formed in order to further exploit the upper Ohio valley . The company consisted mostly of Virginia investors but also included Thomas Cresap and the trader Hugh Parker. Initially the Company traded supplies for furs in the upper Allegheny valley. At a meeting of Pennsylvania traders in 1750 it was noted :

In a conference held at George Croghan's house in Pennsboro Township by Richard Peters and the Seneca chiefs from Kuskuskies and Logstown, June 7, 1750, the Indians stated, that in the fall of 1749, one "Barny Currant, a hired man of Mr. Parker," brought them a message from Colonel Thomas Cresap, the agent of the Ohio Company of Virginia, to the effect that he and Mr. Parker, the Trader at Kuskuskies, would sell them goods at rates very much less than those charged by the Pennsylvania Traders -- a match-coat for a buckskin; a strowd for a buck and a doe; a pair of stockings for two raccoons; twelve bars of lead for a buck; and other articles at proportionately low prices.

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On October 20, 1748, William Trent wrote from George Croghan's house in the Cumberland Valley, to Secretary Richard Peters, giving him an account of an affair which had taken place at Kuskuskies [present day New Castle, PA].

The Ohio Company built a storehouse on the Potomac across from Wills Creek near what would later beome Cumberland. With the help of Delaware Indian Nemacolin they blazed a road from there to the forks of the Ohio River. They built another storehouse at present day Brownsville, Pennsylvania. After obtaining a grant from Virginia, they employed Christopher Gist to find settlers to buy land in that region. But by 1753, when the French had started building forts in western Pennsylvania, the Indians stated they did not wish to sell this or any land to the English.

A brief aside: while deeds in Pennsylvnia indicated the location of the Warrior's Path in Southampton Township, I have not found similar information for Maryland. However Christopher Gist in a dairy from October, 1750 wrote :

Wed Oct 31 - Set out from Col. Thomas Cresap's at the old Town on Potomack River in Maryland and went along an old Indian Path N 39 E about 11 Miles.

Thursday Nov 1 - Then N 1 Mile N 30 E 3 M here I was taken sick and stayed all Night.

Friday 2 - N 30 E 6 M, here I was so bad that I was not able to proceed any farther that Night, but grew better in the Morning.

Saturday 3 - N 8 M to Juniatta, a large Branch of Susquehannah, where I stayed all Night.

While the total distance Gist described from Old Town to the Juniata is short about 15 miles, I would like to accept his first compass bearing. With a 2 degree west magnetic declination there in 1750, the path's initial bearing would be 37 degrees east. This direction agrees well with the bearing of the road drawn on the overview map above. That path skirts Warrior Mountain to the west, descending towards present day Flintstone through Murley Branch. The alternative path, which would have been along the east side of Warrior Mountain, has a much more northerly direction.

In 1754 the French took the forks of the Ohio and built Fort Duquesne. Colonists led by a young George Washington were unable to regain this land. Although not appreciated at the time, these events were the first organized battles in a general war between the British and French in America. This history is well described elsewhere .

John Perrin in the Little Tonoloway

It is in this environment that John Perrin became active on the frontier. He first received a warrant to patent 300 acres of land in April, 1752 . In 1754 it was used to patent Flint's Chance and Long Looked For, a total of 200 acres.

The former tract is quite interesting. Flint's Chance was patented by Joseph Flint; John Perins signed over 50 acres of his warrant to Flint on October 22, 1753 "for a Valuable Consideration" .

Know all Men by these Presents that I John Perryn of Frederick County in the Province of Maryland for a Valuable Consideration, I do Hereby Assign, Confirm, and Make over unto Joseph Flint of the aforesaid County and Province Fifty Acres of Land being Part of a warr't Granted to me out his Lordships Land office for Three Hundred Acres Barring Date Twenty Seventh Day of April Anno Domini 1752 ___ As Witness my Hand and seal this 22 Day of October 1753

1753 signature

John Perrin signature from 1753

A brief aside concerning Joseph Flint. He was cited for "riotous behaviour" along with Thomas Cresap in Pennsylvania in 1735 . He witnessed the sale of Conquest to Cresap in 1745 . By 1752 he had patented three tracts of land in Town Creek north of Oldtown, using warrants obtained by Thomas Cresap . I think it was likely Flint had a commercial relationship with Cresap . Some have suggested that Flint Stone Creek was named after him; this seems uncertain. Flint ultimately settled at Flints Chance and accumulated over 800 acres of land west of present day Hancock by 1783 .

Long Looked For, surveyed in November 1754 , was located two miles from Little Tonoloway Creek on Long Run. Its shape fits nicely into the upper valley for this stream, as shown on the map below. The land would not be great for farming, but as it stood right on the footpath to Oldtown it could be well situated for a commercial enterprise.

The placement of both of these land tracts, plus the fact that Flint and Perrin appraised the Charles Polk estate in 1754 , suggests to me that John Perrin, or his son Edward, intended to participate with Flint in trading or some other sort of venture in the frontier.

The Indian War, 1755 - 1757

Indian Raids, 1755 - 1756

In spring, 1755 the English sent men under General Braddock to regain Fort Duquesne. On their way in July, 1755 they were ambushed and routed by the Indians and the French. The only English officer of note to survive this battle was George Washington. Subsequently the Indians started terrorizing English settlements on the frontier in earnest. The Maryland Gazette, the Annapolis newspaper, reported on October 9, 1755 on a series of events in Maryland and contiguous Virginia :

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We learn from Fort-Cumberland, that as Col. Stevens was going thence, with a small Party of Men, to Winchester, he was fired on at two different Places by some Indians that lay-concealed by the Road's Side; Two of the Virginians were killed, but the Enemy did not choose to stay for their Scalps.

I believe that the Stoddert's Fort mentioned in the above account, also known as Fort Tonoloway, was located a mile west of present-day Hancock on Joseph Flint's land. An active attempt to find the remains of the fort is underway; a pteliminary report published in 2020 agrees that the fort was probably on the eastern portion of the Resurvey of Flint's Chance.

By the spring of 1756 the situation had worsened. Isaac Baker wrote this graphic account in late February, as published in March 11, 1756 by the Maryland Gazette :

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Extract of a letter from Conococheague, dated February 29, 1756

Later that year Indian attacks occurred further east. The Pennsylvania Gazette reported on September 2, 1756 :

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An Account of Murders committed by the Indians near the Mouth of Conegocheague, as given by one John Huston, August 23. 1756.

A Perrin story

It is with this context that I can present a portion of an article published in the Bedford (Pennsylvania) Gazette in 1907 . It was written by J. H. P. Adams who described his memories and stories of the early settlers in Southampton Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania.

Robert Ray, the founder of Ray's Trading Post on the Raystown branch of the Juniata river where Bedford now stands in 1750, was a first cousin to the Powell's. While attending to his trading post in September, 1756, he was taken sick. Powell, Perrin, and Huff and Vogan brought him from his trading post to Joseph Powell's where in the course of time he got much better. He went to Perrins, some six miles distant, where in a few days he died and was buried on Perrins farm, now owned by the widow of William Dicken. Your correspondent showed his grave to Doctor Enfield while he was sheriff of Bedford county.

John Perrins first wife was a sister of Robert Ray. She was captured at the same time that Mrs. Vogan, Mrs. Clark, Mrs. Davis and Mrs. Tombleson. This Indian raid was made by the Shawnee Chief Wills. After traveling some three miles Mrs. Perrin was unable to keep up with the fleeing Indians. On the point of Tussey's mountain, near two white rocks, called Perrins Rocks, she was killed and scalped with her infant baby. The alarm being given, the Indians and their captives were pursued by Perrin, Davis, Vogan, Clark, George and Joseph Powell and Michael Huff. These men came up with the Indians on the top of Wills' mountain. They found that the captors of the women had been joined by about one hundred other savages. The pursuers hoped that during the night they would be able to release the captives. When morning came the Indians held a council, when about seventy-five of them with the captives started west, the others going north, except Chief Wills, who remained at the camping place till late in the evening when he also left camp and was carefully followed. At dark they discovered a small light on the very pinnacle of Wills' knob . Cautiously approaching, George Powell discovered the Indian Chief alone and in a sitting position, but he soon lay down on the ground. When morning came and the sun began to show over the western horizon the old chief raised himself to a sitting position. Powell was upon the alert and at the distance of seventy steps; when his firelock rang over the still mountain range the old chief's spirit took its flight to the Happy Hunting Ground. His "topnot" was removed, his grave dug and his body laid therein. The body was removed about the year 1825 by unknown parties. The grave is still there and will be till time is no more. Any person that is skeptical as to this fact can visit the spot and see for himself as your correspondent has done.

The surviving women were found at Montreal, Canada, and brought home some six years afterward.

This is a wonderful story and I would like some of it to be true. But much of it is later interpolation. Allow me to deconstruct it according to the principles described by Pynchon, removing the irresponsible embellishments to leave the pure truth annealed in mercilessness.

Powell. J. H. P. Adams' mother was a Powell; her family is outlined in a different section. There is no evidence for George and Joseph Powell in Bedford County before 1790. Indeed, elsewhere in this newspaper article J. H. P. Adams couldn't get his Powell genealogy right for the years before 1820.

Ray. The man named Ray in this story is a mystery. Hanna believed Robert Ray did not found a trading post where Bedford now stands .

We first come across John Wray's name in the Minutes of the Pennsylvania Provincial Council under date of September 2, 1732; when he was called upon to assist Conrad Weiser as interpreter, at a conference held by the Governor with a number of the chiefs of the Senacas, Cayugas, and Oneidas. Wray had therefore traded with the Mingoes, possibly the Conestogas, and was familiar with the Iroquois speech. After this conference, he may started immediately towards Allegheny; for he is reported in the records under date of September 30, 1732, as having come down from there with two Shawnee chiefs, who formerly had lived at Potomac, and who arrived in Philadelphia on September 28th. John Wray acted as interpreter for these Indians, with Edmund Cartlidge and Peter Chartier, at a conference held with them by the Governor and Council,September 30th. Wray was paid five pounds for his services. Ray's Town was on the direct Path from Old Shawnee Town on the Potomac to the Allegheny; and it is well within the bounds of probability to say that John Wray may have traded with the Shawnees at Opessa's Town on the Potomac while he was living at Ray's Town, and before they had emigrated to the Ohio.

1755 war chart

1755 Map detail showing Reas' Town, Ft. Cumberland and the Warrior's Path

1756 pennsylvania map showing Rays town

A 1756 map showing the location of Ray's Town

These two maps from the 1750s clearly marked that town as "Rays town", and a branch of the Juniata River was named after him. This probably reflected Ray's presence in the region earlier . In any case others had settled at Bedford by 1752, and Ray was not among those settlers.

Geography. The geography in the story makes sense only at first glance. In the nineteenth century the Powell land in Bedford County was located along Town Creek, five miles north of John Perrin, Jr.'s settlement. It was not settled until 1791, however. Similarly there is no evidence that John Perrin, Jr. lived in this area until 1767.

Tussey's Mountain is just west of Perrin's homestead. But it is another two mountain ridges from there to Wills' Mountain. This mountain ridge extends from Cumberland, Maryland northeast into Pennsylvania. Ellerslie is west of Wills' Mountain along the Maryland Pennsylvania border; To pursue the Indians from Black Valley Gap, the Perrin homestead, to Wills' Mountain near Ellerslie, a distance over fifteen miles, is far fetched at a time when that area was wilderness.

Abducted women. Finally, many stories from that era include the capture by Indians of women and children who were subsequently taken to Montreal. Its addition here is worth a look, because even simple armchair genealogy discredits portions of this part of the story.

Adams said later in his report the following information about the four surviving women :

Mrs. Davis and husband and child were all buried on the Perrin farm, known as the Shawnee graveyard. Mrs. Vogan was the great grandmother of the Elders and Boors of Cumberland Valley. She and her husband are buried at the Shawnee graveyard. Mrs. Clark was the grandmother of John H. Clark, once owner of the steam flouring mills at Man's Choice, who died near Ellerslie a few years ago in his 93rd year. Mrs. Tombleson was the great grandmother of the present Mayor of Cumberland, Md.

Three of the four surviving women lived in or near Ellerslie. One clearly was abducted by Indians, but in a different time and place. I can speculate more about Tomlinson below.

What remains in the story are the date and the names of the persons involved. The story implies that the incident with the Indians must have taken place in September, 1756 or shortly thereafter. The history quoted above makes it clear that by then Indian raids were taking place as far east as South Mountain, east of Antietam Creek. If this date is correct, then the incident described may have actually taken place at the Perrin land along Marsh Run.

Placing this incident in Marsh Run makes sense to me. The Tombleson and Vogan mentioned by Adams could be Tomlinson and Volgamot; both were neighbors to Perrin. The Powell family at that time lived on Antietam Creek less than three miles away from the Perrin homestead. This could easily morph later into five miles in Bedford County when the story is retold in Pennsylvania.

I believe that some sort of Indian raid involved the Perrins in Frederick County, Maryland in 1756. Whether women were abducted I cannot say. The death of the wife of John Perrin seems likely, although it is unclear if she were the wife of John Perrin, Sr. or his son John. As deeds from 1761 on imply that John Perrin, Sr. did not have a wife, the former possibility is tenable.

Chaplin's militia, 1757

In August, 1756 the Governor of Maryland called up the militia under Col. Thomas Prather, commander for Frederick County . They and a company from Baltimore County were to man Fort Frederick. At that point the fort was in name only, to be built along the Potomac between Conocoheague and Tonoloway.

In April 1757, more militia groups were formed in Frederick County, with one company under the authority of Capt. Joseph Chaplin. To him Governor Sharpe wrote :

Whereas I have been informed, that a considerable Number of Indians have lately killed several Persons in Frederick County, at no great Distance from your Habitations, and that they are still Lurking in that Part of the Province with an Intention, as might be reasonably supposed, to do more Mischief; I have thought fit, and do hereby impower and direct you to muster the Company of Militia under your Command, and with the said Company or any other Men capable of bearing Arms (that shall be willing to join you) to Range on the Frontiers for the Protection of the Inhabitants, till a greater Body of Troops can be Raised for their Defence. You are to act agreeable to the Militia Laws of this Province, while you are on this Service, and to keep a Journal of your Proceedings in Consequence of these Orders, to be returned to me at the End of one Month, before which Time you may expect to be relieved.

Militia units were typically mustered for one month. To the Governor's consternation Chapilin's first muster lasted nearly two months. Chaplin would call up the militia four more times by October. On May 10 Chaplin wrote Sharpe :

I and my Brother are now at Conococheague with about Sixty Men, and ever since I reached that Place, notwithstanding several small Parties of Indians were seen, yet the People were encouraged to provide, to sow and plant Corn, till the unhappy News came of the Indians defeating our Forces at Fort Cumberland,... What most affects us to see the People so much Dispirited at the late Alarm; but as our Company consists mostly of good Woodsmen, shall use our utmost Endeavours to defend the Place against any Number that don't much exceed ours.

In the letters of the next two months Chaplin recorded some skirmishes, but attacks around Fort Frederick continued. On July 18 he seemed desperate; In his letter to Sharpe, who had favored disbanding the militia and relying on the regular troops at Fort Frederick, he pleaded :

At the Request of, and in Behalf of, our Settlement, I beg Leave to acquaint your Excellency, that from the several Murders committed amongst us, and other Mischief by the Indians, within these Ten Days past, is like to break us up, and certainly will, except some Assistance can be had speedily. Frequent Applications has been made to the Officers of Fort Frederick for Help, but none can be had; for their Answer is, that they have scarce Men enough to escort their Provisions and other Necessaries to and from the Forts, which causes the People not to know what to do. There is above Two Thirds of the Inhabitants, between Conococheague and South-Mountain, have slew into Heaps; many of which are removing quite away, and the rest will I expect soon, if there is no Notice taken of them by your Excellency. It is with Concern that I repeat it again, but I am very sure that if we have no Relief at the Return of this Messenger, the greater Part of the People will leave the Settlement, which if they do, what few of us that would willingly stay, will not be able.

In 1767 the Maryland legislature authorized payment for the service rendered by the militias. In Joseph Chaplin's first muster of sixty days, John Perren was ensign, which is to say he was third in command after Joseph and Moses Chaplin. John Perren, Jr. also served in this muster. In Joseph Chaplin's second and third musters Edward Perren was the ensign. John Perren, Jr. also served in musters two, three and five .

This episode confirms that John Perrin and son Edward were respected regarding their knowledge of the frontier. It clearly establishes that sons Edward and John, Jr. were born before 1741, as one needed to be sixteen years of age to serve in the militia. It is further possible to assume that his third son, Joseph, was born after that year.

Later War Activities

The last correspondence between Chaplin and Sharpe demonstrated how differently Annapolis and the back country people viewed the Indian War. The Governor put his faith in the Provincial Army at Fort Frederick, while the people there found it ineffective and a burden. The matter boiled over into the Maryland Assembly. A letter from it to the Governor on October 14 :

We are greatly concerned to find, by your Message of the [7]th Instant, that while there have been a Number of Troops kept up under your Command, in the Pay of this Province, on the Frontiers thereof, more than sufficient for the immediate Defence and Security of the back Inhabitants, there should be Applications made to you by Capt. Joseph Chapline, and a Number of those People, for Protection against their Savage Enemies; and we cannot but be of Opinion, that if even a Part of those Troops had been put upon, and punctually performed, the Duty clearly enjoined them by the Law, by which they were raised and supported, there would not have been any Room for those Applications, or the least Pretence for ordering out any Part of the Militia in Consequence thereof; and this Opinion we are confirmed in by the Sentiments of Capt. Joseph Chapline, now a Member of our House, and several other back Inhabitants : And therefore, as the ordering out the Militia is a Measure we cannot approve of as to what has past, so we think it would be wrong for the present.

This letter proceeded more controversy regarding the frontier. In that month the Assembly received reports that many people in Frederick County were hiding their wagons and horses so that the government would not conscript them . When this information was passed on to the Governor, his reply noted depositions from twenty eight people, including John Perrin .

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Gentlemen of the Lower House of Assembly,

In your Third Address of the 5th Instant, you are pleased to tell me, That your Concern for the Distresses of the Frontier People, induced you to lay before me a Report from a Committee appointed to enquire into the Conduct and Behaviour of the Troops, which have been raised and supported for their Protection, with Copies of Depositions thereto annexed; but on looking over the Bundle of Papers that was delivered to me with that Address, I do not find any Report from a Committee, but only Copies of sundry Depositions, to wit, The Deposition of Thomas Mayns, one Sheet; of Jonathan Plummer, ditto; of Casper Thiphart, ditto; of John Perrin, ditto;

In December, 1757 the Assembly voted to withhold funding for further military activity on the frontier. Fortuitously this action occurred at the same time British forces captured Fort Duquesne. The Indian raids in Maryland ceased thereafter. During Pontiac's rebellion in 1763 more Indian action occurred in Pennsylvania, but no conflict affected Maryland.

After the war, 1760 -1769

Land Sale Summary

In the last eight years of his life John Perrin patented over one thousand acres of land in the Maryland frontier. Here I can locate them and try to guess the reasons for their purchase. In a later section I will summarize their sale.

Tract Name Acres Date of Survey Location Reference
Flint's Chance
November 2, 1754
south of Little Tonoloway Creek
Long Lookd For
November 2, 1754
near Little Tonoloway Creek
Perryn's Fancy
April 18, 1761
along Little Tonoloway Creek
Perryn's Venture
April 18, 1761
near Potomac River upstream from Hancock
Rosburgh's Delight
April 20, 1761
along Little Tonoloway Creek
Sink Hole Bottom
September 1, 1761
Murley's Branch
Kellam's Advantage
April 23, 1763
along Little Tonoloway Creek
Woster (Worcester)
April 23, 1763
Murley's Branch
Mountain Tract
April 28, 1763
Murley's Branch
Boiling Spring
April 28, 1763
Murley's Branch
Two Springs Addition
April 29, 1763
Murley's Branch
Three Springs Head
June 9, 1763
Murley's Branch
Two Springs
April 29, 1764
Murley's Branch
Mountain Tract Addition
October 30, 1765
Murley's Branch
Carr's Vineyard
November 7, 1766
North of Flintstone, on Black Valley Road
Second Addition to Two Springs
November 8, 1766
Murley's Branch
Robnett's Lot
November 11, 1766
Murley's Branch
Hyetts Hunting Ground
November 11, 1766
West of Flintstone, near Evitt's Creek

John Perrin Land Purchases in Western Maryland, 1752 - 1766

Little Tonoloway tracts

Land tracts on the Little Tonoloway west of present Hancock, Maryland. Resurveys are colored, original surveys are black. The path to Oldtown is shown in light grey

Little Tonoloway, 1761

With the end of Indian hostilities interest in the settlement of the Maryland frontier resumed. The difficulties in provisioning Fort Cumberland led the Maryland Assembly in 1758 to authorize Cresap to build a wagon road from Fort Frederick to Cumberland .

Meanwhile in 1760 Edward Perrin was appointed constable of Linton Hundred . As that portion of Frederick County lay west of Tonoloway Creek, Edward was clearly living on the frontier at that point.

John Perrin took out a new warrant for 200 acres in 1760 . He used it in April, 1761 to survey three tracts, Perryn's Fancy , Rosburgh's Delight  and Perryn's Venture . The first two tracts lie in the Little Tonoloway Creek valley and are on the map above; the third is ten miles further up the Potomac. The name of this third tract implies a business venture. But as the location of the land is far from road or river, I do not imagine it was a trading post.

Sink Hole Bottom, 1761

Perrin then obtained land north of Oldtown. Using the last of his original warrant from 1752  he surveyed Sink Hole Bottom in November, 1761 . The survey considered the land to be part of the Murley's Branch watershed, shown in the map below. In fact the land lies just outside it in a relatively flat upland valley which must overlie limestone. I am struck by the remoteness of this place, surveyed when settlers were only living in the Town Creek valley or along the Potomac, both locations being 5 miles or more distant. The only nearby tract already surveyed was Devils Hole, patented to Thomas Cresap in 1752 .

But Sink Hole Bottom was located just west of what I believe to be the Warrior's Path, and along a road which now descends to Cumberland. Like Long Looked For the placement of this tract may have allowed for a trading operation for people travelling or settling north along the road.

Sink Hole Bottom was "Partially Cultivated", according to the patent application for Mountain Tract in 1763 . When Sink Hole Bottom sold in 1768 the deed stated the grantor was John Perrin, Jr.; however John Perrins signed the actual deed . I believe it possible that John Perrin, Jr. lived at Sink Hole Bottom between 1762 and 1767, and was mistaken as its owner by the writer of the original deed.

Kellam's Advantage, 1763

In April, 1763 Perrin surveyed one more Little Tonoloway property, Kellam's Advantage , using a new warrant for 500 acres . This tract occupied the western portion of the Little Tonoloway valley as it enters Pennsylvania. The northern line for this tract is amazingly close to the Mason-Dixon line, which had not yet been established at this location. This tract is discussed further in a section concerning John Powell.

Murley Branch tracts

Murley Branch region with Perrin land tracts. Town Creek occupies the valley to the right.
The location of all tracts are best estimates

Murley's Branch, 1763 - 1766

In 1763 Perrin used the rest of his 500 acre warrant to survey Woster , Mountain Tract , Boiling Spring , Two Springs Addition  and Three Springs Head . The surveys for all but one of these tracts show they lie near Murley's Branch, shown on the map above. The survey for Woster doesn't actually mention Murley Branch, beginnng

at a bounded white oak standing at the head of a little spring on the east side of said creek about thirty perches from the creek

but its shape fits well to the east of Murleys Branch .

Obtained under its own warrant in 1764  was a 300 acre tract named Two Springs . Perrin obtained a final warrant for 350 acres in 1765 ; Second Addition to Two Springs , Robinett's Lot  and Mountain Tract Addition  were surveyed with that warrant in 1766.

Unlike Sink Hole Bottom and Long Looked For, these Murley's Branch tracts seemed designed for marketing to other settlers. But there may have been Perrin settlement on the tract named Woster, for its survey stated there were already improvments to the land, namely

About 3 acres of Cleared Land, 300 old Rails, 20 Peach Trees

Other Late Purchases, 1766 - 1768

Two other tracts were surveyed on the basis of the 1765 warrant. These included Carr's Vineyard , located north of Flintstone and Hyett's Hunting Ground , located west of Martin Mountain on Evitt's Creek. These two tracts are located in a later overview map. Hyett's Hunting Ground can be seen more closely on a detailed map here, and Carr's Vineyard here.

A final tract, Lim's Request, was surveyed but never patented. It was situated on lower Town Creek, adjacent to Grassey Bottom (seen also on a later map) .


Like many frontier families of that time in western Maryland, the Perrin family had a base settlement in the Antietam Creek area as well as activities in the wilderness. The original surveys around Little Tonoloway and the militia leadership contributed by John and Edward support several possibilities. John may have ben active in some sort of frontier trade, perhaps with Joseph Flint. John may have set young Edward up in the frontier as well.

In the 1760s the property Perrin patented apparently was for investment. However Sink Hole Bottom may have been first settled by John, Jr. and used as a trade outpost along the Warrior's Path.

However interesting J. H. P. Adams' stories may be, I think it unlikely that John Perrin, Jr. had settled in Bedford County, Pennsylvania in 1756. And if the Perrin family did engage in trade, it was probably more like the horse trading operation run by Samuel Finley described in the last section.