First Settlers of Frederick Town

Daniel Dulany
Courtesy Collection of the Maryland State Archives
Daniel Dulany the Elder (d. 1753)
Justus Engelhardt Kühn (d. 1717)
Oil on canvas, 19th century
MSA SC 4680-10-0057

Locally, the earliest known European settlement was about 20 miles north of Frederick. English land speculators and colonial officials wanted to take further control of the area to make it profitable for themselves and the British crown.

One such developer, Daniel Dulany, an Irish lawyer and entrepreneur, had a land patent of 7,000 acres known as “Tasker’s Chance.” Dulany knew he could not successfully settle his new community on Maryland’s rough and untamed western frontier with English immigrants only. Pennsylvania had been successful in developing its unsettled interior lands with the help of German immigrants, known for being skilled, industrious, and brave. For several years, Dulany sent inducements to German and Swiss immigrants living in Pennsylvania as well as in Europe to settle on his Tasker’s Chance parcel. Meanwhile, English and Scots-Irish began migrating to the area, arriving from established towns and counties of the Maryland colony.

In 1745, Dulany developed the grid for Frederick-Town, which would become the county seat. The grid called for hundreds of lots for homes and farm parcels, surrounding Carroll Creek, which would serve as the town’s water source.

Immigrant Trunk, c. 1750

Inscription in Immigrant Trunk

Phillip Jacob Grundler and his family moved to America from Germany in 1754 using trunks like this one to pack their belongings. Sixty percent of Frederick County settlers came from other parts of the American colonies or from England. Approximately forty percent came from Germany, including the Grundlers.

Click image to see inscription detail

Detail of Plat of Frederick-Town

Plat of
Frederick-Town, Maryland

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Frederick-Town was founded in 1745.
In 1782, Samuel Duval created this plat, showing the early layout of the town.