John Merriken Life Sketch

(1718 - 1794)

John Merriken was born on December 2, 1718, in Anne Arundel County, British Colonial Maryland. John married (1) Ann Sadler on October 28, 1746, in Anne Arundel County, British Colonial Maryland, and (2) Elizabeth Moss on November 4, 1756, in Anne Arundel County, British Colonial Maryland. John Merriken died before March 25, 1794, in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.


John Merriken was born December 2, 1718, in Anne Arundel County, British Colonial Maryland, the oldest son of John Merriken and his wife Mary Stephans. John and his siblings grew up in the Broadneck of Anne Arundel county on their father’s 400 acres plantation “Scotland”. John’s father also owned and patented additional land in Broadneck including a part of “Young Richard”, “Persimmon Point”, “Betty’s Point”, a part of “Leonard’s Neck”, and “Fox Point”.

On October 28, 1746, 27 year old John married Ann Sadler in Anne Arundel County, British Colonial Maryland. John and Ann had the following known child:

  1. Joseph Merriken

Sometime shortly after Joseph’s birth, Ann died.

In early 1754 John’s father John died. John inherited half of the tract “Scotland” and “Betty’s Point” and a 20 acre part of “Leonard’s Neck”, about 310 acres of land in all. John’s son Joseph received a silver cup and silver spoons from his grandfather. John was executor and administered his father’s estate.

On November 4, 1756, John married again, Elizabeth Moss, daughter of Richard Moss and Jane Skidmore. Elizabeth’s family lived in the Broadneck of Anne Arundel on property adjoining “Scotland”. John and Elizabeth had the following known children:

  1. Joshua Merriken
  2. Ann Merriken
  3. John Merriken
  4. Richard Merriken

John became a member of the Anne Arundel Land Commission, a position he would hold for many years. The Land Commission addressed conflicts regarding boundaries of land tracts. The members would travel to the boundaries in dispute, gather testimony and determine the boundary.

Like his father, John became a captain, a title of military distinction.

In 1772 John gave testimony to a land commission regarding the boundary of his Uncle Hugh Merriken’s land:

“Capt. John Merriken about 53 years said that about 30 years ago he was riding up to Hugh Merriken’s plantation with his father John Merriken and went to a hole on a hill and his father told him that in the hole stood a bounded read oak of your uncle Hugh Merriken’s land.”

John was highly respected, was named executor of many wills, witnessed many wills of his neighbors, and provided securities for their estates. In 1769 when Margaret Page wrote her will, she left her large estate to John Merriken and Nathan Hammond instead of her daughter Mary. Mary had a son George Pecker by her first marriage and was married to John Evitts when Margaret died. To ensure the estate would descend to George Pecker, Margaret left the estate in trust to John Merriken and Nathan Hammond, who did pass the estate to George when he became of age.

In 1767 John’s son Joseph married. Joseph and his family lived on John’s property’s “Betty’s Point” and “Leonard’s Neck”. Sometime between 1773 and 1783, John re-acquired his father’s former property, 15 acres called “Persimmon Point”. Joseph also inhabited “Persimmon Point”.

In 1776 John and his sons Joseph and Joshua signed the Oath of Fidelity to Maryland. Younger sons John and Richard were too young to sign.

John’s son Joseph became a land commissioner and a judge. Joseph also received the military title of Major.

In 1783 John’s son Joseph died. John administered his son’s estate.

On August 14, 1792, John created a deed leaving his sons John and Richard his 200 acre part of the plantation “Scotland”.

In January of 1793 John wrote his will.

In August of 1793, 74 year old John gave a deposition regarding the boundary of “Cockey’s Addition” and stated that he was on the land commission that ruled on the boundary 32 years before.

By March 25, 1794, John Merriken was deceased at the age of 76 in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

At the time of his death, John owned the following properties:

“Scotland” - 200 acre part

“Betty’s Point” - 90 acres

“Persimmon Point” - 15 acres

“Leonard’s Neck” - 20 acre part

John devised his sons John and Richard Merriken “my plantation whereon I now live” after the death of his wife. Since John had previously deeded “Scotland” to John and Richard, he may have lived on his properties “Betty’s Point”, “Persimmon Point” and “Leonard’s Neck”, the land that his son Joseph had once lived upon. He also devised slaves to his wife Elizabeth, sons Joshua, John, and Richard, to his daughter Ann Merriken Gardiner, and to his granddaughter Sarah Merriken. To grandsons Joseph, Robert, Thomas, John and Henry Merriken he left 10 pounds each at the age of 21. John and Richard were appointed co-executors of the will.

Following John’s death and before 1798, “Persimmon Point” and the 20 acre part of “Leonard’s Neck” became possessed by Thomas Stinchcomb. It is unclear how Thomas acquired these tracts and they may have been sold to pay debts associated with the estate.

In 1798 sons John and Richard resurveyed “Scotland”. The resurveyed tract contained 292 acres, an additional 92 acres which may indicate that “Betty’s Point”, 90 acres, was added to the tract.

John’s son Joshua wrote his will in 1797 and by 1801 he was deceased. Joshua left his entire estate to his mother Elizabeth.

John’s son Richard died in 1814. John’s wife Elizabeth lived until 1817. Son John died in 1824.

Genealogical Research and Life Sketch Completed: June 2021


Sources:

"Maryland Births and Christenings, 1650-1995", database, FamilySearch, Jno Meriken, 1718.

"Maryland Marriages, 1666-1970", database, FamilySearch, John Meriken, 1746.

"Maryland Births and Christenings, 1650-1995", database, FamilySearch, John Merriken in entry for Joseph Merriken, 1747.

Maryland State Archives. Probate Records. Wills. Liber 29 Folio 80.

"Maryland Marriages, 1666-1970", database, FamilySearch, John Merriken, 1756.

"Maryland Births and Christenings, 1650-1995", database, FamilySearch, John Merriken in entry for Joshua Merriken, 1757.

"Maryland Births and Christenings, 1650-1995", database, FamilySearch, John Merriken in entry for Ann Merriken, 1759.

"Maryland Births and Christenings, 1650-1995", database, FamilySearch, John Merriken in entry for John Merriken, 1760.

"Maryland Births and Christenings, 1650-1995", database, FamilySearch, John Merriken in entry for Richard Merriken, 1764.

Maryland State Archives. Probate Records. Wills. Liber 37 Folio 203.

“Anne Arundel County Land Commissions”, Anne Arundel Readings, Vol 13 No 1. Anne Arundel Genealogical Society. Anne Arundel, MD. Jan 2010.

“Anne Arundel County Land Commissions”, Anne Arundel Readings, Vol 15 No 2. Anne Arundel Genealogical Society. Anne Arundel, MD. Jul 2012.

Carothers, Bettie Stirling. “9000 Men Who Signed the Oath of Allegiance and Fidelity to Maryland During the Revolution”. FHL, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Maryland State Archives. “Assessment of 1783”. Anne Arundel County, MD. MSA S 1437.

"United States Census, 1790," database with images, FamilySearch, Maryland > Anne Arundel > Not Stated > image 40 of 44; citing NARA microfilm publication M637, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Anne Arundel. Liber NH 6 Folio 342.

"Maryland Register of Wills Records, 1629-1999," images, FamilySearch, Anne Arundel > Wills 1788-1797 vol 36 > image 203 of 328; Hall of Records, Annapolis.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Anne Arundel. Patent #975.

John Merriken genealogy research