The Founding of Georgetown

Georgetown, Frederick County, Maryland (now in the District of Columbia) was founded by an act of 15 May 1751 by the Maryland Assembly. This excerpt from that act comes from the Maryland Archives at:

Volume 46, Page 630
No. 25

An Act for laying out and erecting a Town on Potowmack River,
above the Mouth of Rock Creek in Frederick County.
[Preamble.] Whereas several Inhabitants of Frederick County, by their hum-
ble Petition to this General Assembly, have set forth, that there is a
convenient Place for a Town on Potowmack River, above the Mouth
of Rock Creek, adjacent to the Inspection-House in the County
aforesaid; and prayed that sixty Acres of Land may be there laid
out, and erected into a Town.
to purchase
Land for
the said
Be it therefore Enacted by the Right Honourable the Lord Pro-
prietary, by and with the Advice and Consent of his Lordship's
Governor, and the Upper and Lower Houses of Assembly, and the
Authority of the same, That Capt. Henry Wright Crabb, Master
John Needham, Master John Clagett, Master James Perry, Master
Samuel Magruder the third, Master Josias Bealle, and Master David
Lynn, shall be and are hereby appointed Commissioners for Freder-
ick County aforesaid; and are hereby authorized and impowered, as
well to buy and purchase sixty Acres, Part of the Tracts of Land
belonging to Messieurs George Gordon and George Bell, at the Place
aforesaid, where it shall appear to them, or the major Part of them,
to be most convenient, as to survey and lay out, or cause the same to
be surveyed and laid out, in the best and most convenient Manner,
into eighty Lots, to be erected into a Town.

The act continues to page 635.

See also these documents concerning the founding of Georgetown:

Archives of Maryland, Volume 0050, Page 0632
632 Appendix.

Volume 75, Page 521


There is also this background from a National Park Service site:

Washington, D.C. Text-Only Version

Georgetown Historic District

Georgetown was formally established in 1751 when the Maryland Assembly authorized a town on the Potomac River on 60 acres of land belonging to George Beall and George Gordon. George Town was named in honor of King George II and soon flourished as a shipping center. Tobacco was the lifeblood of the community, and Georgetown soon prospered as a shipping center with a profitable European and West Indian trade. Commerce and industry developed along the waterfront, where wharves and flourmills were constructed. During the Revolution, Georgetown served as a great depot for the collection and shipment of military supplies. When the town was finally incorporated in 1789, a textile mill, paper factory and more flourmills were established. Georgetown's character was profoundly affected by the establishment of the nation's capital to the east in 1791. Although it was included in the new Federal District, it retained its own character.

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Library of Congress Image Links:

Plan of the city of Washington, published by William Bent, London?, 1793

Plan der stad Washington, published by A. van der Kroe, Amsterdam, 1793

Map of the city of Washington D.C., published by Lloyd Van Derveer, Camden, N.J., 1851

View of Georgetown D.C., published by E. Sachse & Co., Baltimore, [1855]

Library of Congress Citations:

Richard Plummer Jackson, The chronicles of Georgetown, D.C., from 1751-1878. Washington, D.C.: R. O. Polkinhorn, printer, 1878.

Georgetown (Washington, D.C.) Corporation, Government records of Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 1751-1881. 39 v. 31 containers, 8 microfilm reels, Microfilm 19,575-8P.

Map of Georgetown : act of May 15, 1751, Cadastral map showing lot numbers, G3852.G43 1752 .M31

Map of George Town, 1751, Cadastral map showing lot numbers, Corr. in 1758 / by John Frederick Augustus Priggs, surveyor, G3852.G43 1758 .H3

This file was last updated on 7/14/2004.

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