Joshua Merriken Life Sketch

(1686 - 1727)

Joshua Merriken was born on May 24, 1686, in Anne Arundel County, British Colonial Maryland. Joshua married (1) Elizabeth Ewins on February 16, 1710, in Baltimore County, British Colonial Maryland, and (2) Dianah Day on June 24, 1718, in Baltimore County, British Colonial Maryland. Joshua died in 1727 in Baltimore County, British Colonial Maryland.

Merriken also spelled: Merrikin, Merekin, Merrica, Merikin, Merrekin, Merican, Maricken, Merrican


Joshua Merriken was born May 24, 1686, in Anne Arundel, British Colonial Maryland, the only known son of Hugh Merriken. Joshua’s mother is not known. Joshua was raised on his father’s plantation “Scotland” in the Broadneck of Anne Arundel near Chesapeake Bay and Scotcher’s Creek, today’s Meredith Creek. Joshua’s mother died while he was young. Joshua’s father also had a daughter, Ann, likely with another wife. Ann is presumably Joshua’s half-sister.

When he was about 10 years of age, Joshua sailed to England with his father. His father married in London in 1697 and died within a few months of the marriage. Following his father’s death, Joshua remained in England for several years before returning to the Province of Maryland in 1701.

Joshua’s uncle Joshua Merriken became his guardian. Joshua learned the family trade from his uncle, the profession of “Boatwright” or Ship Building. In 1707 Joshua reached the age of majority and received his inheritance which consisted of:

“Scotland” - a 50 acre part

“Merriken” - 50 acres

“Merriken’s Purchase” - 100 acres

“Point Look Out” - 40 ½ acres

The 1708 Ann Arundel rent roll confirmed Joshua possessed these tracts.

Also in 1707 Joshua became guardian of his half-sister Ann Merriken. Ann married the following year.

Sometime between 1708 and 1710, Joshua moved to Baltimore county where on February 16, 1710, he married Elizabeth Ewins (Ervins or Ewens). In May of 1710, Joshua Merriken of Baltimore County “eldest son and right heir at law of Hugh Merekin late of Anne Arundel deceased and Elizabeth his wife” sold “Merriken’s Purchase” and “Point Look Out” to John Brice. In 1713 Joshua Merriken and his wife Elizabeth sold “Merriken” to Benjamin Gardner. This branch of the Merriken family was now located in Baltimore County, relatively far from Broadneck where Joshua was born.

In December of 1716 Joshua’s wife Elizabeth died, apparently without children.

In March of 1717 Joshua purchased 100 acres on the south side of Bush River in Baltimore known as “Seneca Ridge”. It was likely at “Seneca Ridge” where Joshua met Dianah Day, who had inherited from her father Nicholas Day half of a tract of land called “Horse Range. “Horse Range” was located at the head of Bush River. In April of 1717, Joshua purchased an additional 126 acres on the north side of Gunpowder River called “Spring Neck”.

Joshua married Dianah Day on June 24, 1718, in Baltimore County. Joshua and Dianah had 3 known children:

  1. Mary Merriken
  2. Hugh Merriken
  3. Ann Merriken

Following their marriage, in November of 1718 Joshua sold “Seneca Ridge” to Edmond Talbot.

In January of 1719 Joshua had land surveyed for him, 93 acres called “Merriken’s Branches”, adjoining “Charles’ Purchase” and near Preston’s Creek. Joshua received the warrant on October 14, 1719, however the land remained unpatented until 1745 when his daughter Mary and her husband Robert Dutton patented the tract. On May 2, 1719, “Merriken’s Fortune” containing 200 acres was surveyed for Joshua.

In spring of 1720 Joshua brought a petition to the Provincial Court. In his petition Joshua asserted that “Scotland”, the original 100 acres tract held by his Uncle John, was lawfully his and that his uncle Joshua stole it from him. The petition stated that his uncle was able to do so since Joshua’s father had left all his papers and deeds with his uncle when they sailed in England in 1697, and the original papers and deeds were destroyed in the State House fire in 1704. The petition also stated that Joshua confronted his uncle and his uncle threatened him. Several depositions were taken from residents of Anne Arundel County who were contemporaries of his father and his uncle. A record indicating the court’s decision has not been found, however, “Scotland” remained in the hands of his Uncle Joshua Merriken’s heirs. Interestingly, following Joshua’s marriage and move to Baltimore county in 1710, his uncle Joshua appeared before a special court and petitioned the court to

assign him 400 acres of “Scotland”, which included Joshua’s 50 acres.

In October of 1720 Joshua had 559 acres of land surveyed called “Merriken’s Inheritance Forever”. The survey combined a tract of land called “Charles Purchase” containing 300 acres, “Spring Neck”, containing 128 acres, and 131 acres of vacant, undeeded land for a total of 559 acres. At the time of the survey, Joshua did not own either “Charles Purchase” or “Spring Neck” therefore he could not proceed with a patent. He also had an additional 200 acres surveyed called “Merriken’s Outlet”. This tract was also never patented.

In November of 1720 Joshua purchased “Charles’ Purchase”, 300 acres of land on the Gunpowder River. The next day Joshua and his wife Dianah, “daughter and legatee of Nicholas Day”, sold her half of “Horse Range” to Alexander Maccomus.

In June of 1723 Joshua purchased an additional 53 acres on Gunpowder River from Thomas Tolley, a part of a tract known as “George’s Hill” and in 1726, Joshua purchased “Spring Neck”, 126 acres also on the Gunpowder River.

Joshua wrote his will on November 6, 1726 and by March 8th, 1727, Joshua was deceased. Joshua Merriken died at the age of 40 in Baltimore County, British Colonial Maryland.

At the time of his death, Joshua held deeds or unpatented certificates to the following tracts of land:

Merriken’s Inheritance Forever” also known as “Merrikin’s Inheritance” [Unpatented Certificate] - 559 acres including Charles’ Purchase [Deed] and Spring Neck [Deed]

“George’s Hill” - 53 acres [Deed]

“Merriken’s Outlet” - 200 acres [Unpatented Certificate]

“Merrikin’s Branches” - 93 acres [Unpatented Certificate]

“Merriken’s Fortune” - 200 acres [Unpatented Certificate]“

When the will was written, Joshua’s wife Dianah was pregnant. Joshua specified that if the child were a boy, he was to be named “Joshua” and if the child were a girl, she was to be named “Dianah”. Joshua devised his son Hugh and unborn son Joshua equal parts of “Merriken’s Inheritance”, unborn son Joshua to receive his share after his mother’s death. Both were also devised “George’s Hill”. Daughter Ann received the outward part of “Merriken’s Inheritance”. Daughter Mary was devised the unpatented certificate to “Merriken’s Outlet”. Unborn daughter Dianah was devised the unpatented certificate to “Merrikin’s Branches”. As of today, a record of the birth of Joshua and Dianah’s 4th child has not been found nor is there any evidence that this child survived.

In June of 1735 Dianah Merriken patented “Merrikens Inheritance Forever” on behalf of her son Hugh Merriken who was still a minor.

Genealogical Research and Life Sketch Completed: April 2021


Sources:

"Maryland Births and Christenings, 1650-1995", database, FamilySearch, Joshua Merriken, 1686.

Maryland State Archives. Probate Records. Accounts. Liber 29 Folio 206.

Maryland State Archives. Provincial Court Judgment Record. Liber TB 1 Folio 351.

Maryland Historical Society. Maryland Historical Magazine. “Rent Rolls”. Vols 19 - 26.

"Maryland, Church Records, 1668-1995," database with images, FamilySearch, Joshua Marrikin and Dinah Day, 24 Jun 1718; citing Marriage, Maryland, British Colonial America, multiple denominations and churches, Maryland; FHL microfilm.

"Maryland, Church Records, 1668-1995," database with images, FamilySearch, Joshua Merriken in entry for Hugh Merriken, 17 Sep 1721; citing Birth, Maryland, British Colonial America, multiple denominations and churches, Maryland; FHL microfilm.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Baltimore County. Liber TR A, Folio 79, 419 & 527.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Anne Arundel County. Liber IB 2 Folio 143.

Maryland State Archives. Probate Records. Wills. Liber 3 Folio 437.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Baltimore County. Liber TR RA Folio 458.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Baltimore County. Certificates. Patented, #3224.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Baltimore County. Certificates. Patented #1011.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Record. Anne Arundel. Liber IT 5 Folios 44-50.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Anne Arundel. Liber WH 4 Folios 128, 130 & 131.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Baltimore County. Patented Certificate #3225.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Baltimore County. Liber TR DS Folio 232 & 251.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Baltimore County. Liber IS G Folio 175.

Maryland State Archives. Probate Records. Wills. Liber CC 2 Vol 19 Folio 72.

Joshua Merriken genealogy research