Baltimore Area Boy Scouts Issued Land Patent

Land Office of Maryland sealOn June 20, 2012, the Board of Public Works approved the grant of a land patent to the Baltimore Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America for 19.014 acres of land in the Fifth Election District of Harford County. The grant was made in accordance with Title 13 of the Real Property Article, Annotated Code of Maryland. (2010 Rep. Vol. and 2011 Supp.). Following the Board's approval, Governor Martin O'Malley signed the Patent, officially giving the Scouts title to the land. The Patent was also signed by Dr. Edward C. Papenfuse, State Archivist and Commissioner of Land Patents. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Baltimore Area Boy Scouts. Audio of the June 20, 2012 meeting can be found here.

Following tradition dating back to the earliest days of the colony, the new patent was placed on sheepskin parchment, complete with a hanging pendant of the Great Seal of Maryland.. This constitutes the official copy for the patentee which will be stored at the Baltimore Area Council's executive offices in Baltimore. Copies will be legally recorded in the land records of Harford County and the Patent Record volumes at the Maryland State Archives.

The 19.014 acres lie within the bounds of the Boy Scouts' Broad Creek Memorial Camp and have been used for camping and other outdoor activities for over fifty years. The greater Broad Creek and Dublin areas of Harford County  have a rich history. An adjoining parcel of land was once owned by Eliza Chase Coale, daughter of Samuel Chase, one of Maryland's four Signers of the Declaration of Independence. A brief history of slaves and slave holders in the area has been prepared by David Armenti of the Legacy of Slavery staff at the Maryland State Archives.

The patent process began in the Spring of 2011 when the Boy Scouts applied for a Warrant to Survey. The Commissioner of Land Patents issued Warrant 100 on April 28, 2011. Frank Sheppard Richardson, the professional land surveyor hired by the Boy Scouts, filed a certificate of survey plat, and metes and bounds description of the alleged vacancy on November 21, 2011.

Google Earth KMZ file showing the placement of this survey.

Vacant land is simply defined as "land for which a patent never has been issued." (Real Property Article sec. 13-101 Annotated Code of Maryland (2010 Rep. Vol. and 2011 Supp.). The land patent process is the mechanism for granting vacant land in Maryland. Land patents were issued by the proprietors during the colonial period and later by the state. Virtually all land in Maryland has been patented. Through survey errors or due to the inaccessibility of a tract, however, some land may never have been included in a patent. This land, when discovered, may be patented, with title passing to the patentee upon payment of the fair market value of the land to the state. The land patent process also provides a simple, convenient, and prompt method of reserving vacant land for the public use of state, county, or local government bodies through the issuance of certificates of reservation (Chapter 290, Acts of 1993).

The Commissioner of Land Patents presided over a public hearing regarding Warrant 100 at the State Archives building in Annapolis on March 28, 2012. The Boy Scouts' land surveryor and title researcher both presented evidence showing the existence of a vacancy. On May 9, 2012, the Commissioner issued an opinion declaring that the land was indeed vacant and that a patent should be issued. The Supervisor of Assessments of Harford County determined the fair market value of the vacant land.

Google Earth KMZ file showing the location of the Boy Scout camp in relation to nearby historic properties.

Land patent signing from the Board of Public Works

WBAL: Scouts Get Deed To Unclaimed Land

This information resource of the Maryland State Archives is presented here for fair use in the public domain. When this material is used, in whole or in part, proper citation and credit must be attributed to the Maryland State Archives. PLEASE NOTE: Rights assessment for associated source material is the responsibility of the user.

Tell Us What You Think About the Maryland State Archives Website!

[ Archives' Home Page  ||  All About Maryland  ||  Maryland Manual On-Line  ||  Reference & Research
||  Search the Archives   ||  Education & Outreach  ||  Archives of Maryland Online ]

Governor     General Assembly    Judiciary     Maryland.Gov

© Copyright June 22, 2012 Maryland State Archives