Taneytown - The Beginning

Anne Cissel - Emmitsburg.net

taneytownThe earliest leases for lots in Taneytown in 1761 called for the construction of a house containing at least 480 feet ,with a brick or stone chimney, at which time the ownership would be conveyed. The owner of the 46 original lots was absentee landlord, Raphael Taney of St. Mary's County who never lived in Taneytown.


Taneytown is laid out on small part of the land patent "Resurvey on Brothers Agreement", surveyed for Taney and his brother-in-law Edward Digges in 1754 comprising 7,900 acres. The village adjoined the main road from Frederick to York, Pa., at the Piney Creek. Most of the land grant was sold in farm-size acreage.

Some acreage deeds were signed by both Taney and Digges; some just by Taney with acknowledgment/agreement by his wife Eleanor (Digges )Taney. Actually it was Eleanor's inheritance from her father and brothers that provided Taney with the original interest in the land, but married women could only hold title through their husbands, so it became Taneytown instead of Diggestown.


Court documents for 1763 record a request by inhabitants of "Tawney's Town" for appointment of a magistrate, since they are so distant from court. (no action taken) By that year, Piney Creek was being visited by the Presbyterians minister who also served Tom's Creek. In 1768 Raphael Taney sold one acre of land "where the Lutheran Church now stands…for the use of the church". With both the Scotch-Irish and German pioneer settlers investing in the lands, the future of Taneytown and the neighborhood around it was secured.

A petition to open a road from Taneytown to Westmister via Krieder's Church was submitted to the Frederick County Court in 1788. The remarks indicate that the current road was inconvenient as there was no bridge over Big Pipe Creek. As early as mid-1760's other road petitions to link Taneytown to existing roads were filed.

The 1798 Tax Assessments for the TaneyTown and Piney Creek Hundreds lists several dozen owners of farms on "Brothers Agreement", but no roster of village lot owners. There is no mention of any Digges; Roger Brooke a relative of the Digges is assessed for most of the unsold land.