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Summary of Land owned by Lanhams of Maryland and the District of Columbia

Compiled by Dr. Howard G. Lanham

The following is a partial list of land tracts owned by Lanhams. In addition to the colorful tract names and a measure of basic wealth the land can be followed down generations from the point it was acquired by Lanhams to the point it was sold out of the family. I abstracted the material by reading the original records and errors are possible. I am certain that I missed some material.

Land could be conveyed by deed or will. These documents were usually but not always recorded. Originally, all land in Maryland was the property of the Calvert family under a royal grant from the King of England. Individuals might patent land to acquired ownership, subject to various conditions and limits. Annual and transfer fees provided income for the colonial government and after the Revolution property taxes were based on acreage recorded per ownership of the various tracts. These names thus persisted in use for centuries. It was possible to resurvey, rename and repatent tracts of land. The modern location of many of the tract can be determined and often individual ancient property lines persist within modern subdivisions. Unlike the western United States where property lines run straight, these lines follow natural features and make all kinds of turns that make more sense on the ground than looking at a map.

Many persons did not own land. People often leased land to farm or worked a trade not requiring land. Only a few leases were recorded in land records. Lanhams living in Montgomery County in particular must have lived on rented land since most of the households that appeared in census records or tax records did not have corresponding mentions in land records.

Older deeds will often list "love and affection" as the consideration in an outright gift of land to a relative, but more recent ones commonly give a minimal amount. In those cases, I list the land as sold rather than given. In some cases the relationship is clearly stated, but in others it is not. The oldest transfers were often made using tobacco as the medium of exchange. More recent ones used pounds, shillings and pence and after about 1800 dollars were used. To simplify this listing I have not transcribed the consideration, but it can be informative in some cases.




















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