Harford History

July 16, 2006

Evolving town names

On July 19, 1658, some of the land that is now Havre de Grace was assigned by the Lord Proprietor of Maryland to Godfrey Harmer. Earliest records refer to the settlement as Harmer's Town.

Harmer's tenure was brief, and on June 30, 1659, the land was reassigned to Thomas Stockett. The town became known as Stockett's Town, following a pattern of renaming a settlement with a change or growth in occupancy, a pattern repeated all over the county.

Stockett's Town continued to grow. In October 1695, the first legalized ferry started operation across the Susquehanna River. Soon after 1700, the town became known as Susquehanna Lower Ferry. Conflicting stories are told about how the town got the name of Havre de Grace, but that was how it was known by its incorporation in 1785.

Other communities whose names have changed are Aberdeen, Bel Air and Churchville. Until 1870, most of the area of Aberdeen was known as Hall's Crossroads. Bel Air was laid out in 1780 and originally was known as Scott's Old Fields. Churchville was called Lower Cross Roads throughout the 1700s, but in 1800, it is mentioned as Herbert's Crossroads. It was known as such, because of extensive adjoining land held by the Herbert family, until 1825 when a Presbyterian church was located at the crossroads.

[Source: Our Harford Heritage by C. Milton Wright. Research by Harford County Public Library.]

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