The system of land tenure in Maryland has its roots in the policies and procedures of the Lords Baltimore, who were granted almost royal powers in Maryland by the King of England. Viewed by them as a large land market, the Proprietors ultimately created a Land-Office to manage the conveyances of land. It became the well-spring of private land ownership in the state.
John Kilty began his study of the office out of necessity: he was appointed Register of the Land-Office just over a week after his predecessor had died, and, like most others, had only a vague idea about its functioning. He resolved to learn everything he could about its policies and procedures, and at the same time document what he found for the benefit of others. In an engaging style, here he provides the fruit of his labor. The text weaves the history of the province through the affairs of the Lords Baltimore and the office that managed their land. It is a treat to read.
The Land-holder’s Assistant and Land-Office Guide delivers on Kilty’s promise to explain the Land-Office. Originally published in 1808. it has never been eclipsed as the definitive work on the Maryland Conditions of Plantation, warrants, original surveys and land patents. All serious students of Maryland land tenure should have Kilty on their bookshelf.
What’s so special about this edition?
There are other editions of this work available on the internet, but none like this one. The others are either photo-reproduced copies of the original printing, or they are the result of marginally cleaned-up optical character recognition software. Either results in poor reader experience. In contrast, the Martenet Press edition is a completely new typeset version with larger type and reader-friendly features throughout. And because The Land-holder’s Assistant has been cited so many times in the literature of Maryland history, we included original edition page markers so that you can find those references in our edition. Check the inside of the book out in the sample above.
We think you’ll like our version. We set out to produce a book Kilty himself would have preferred over his original. Compare the images from the original 1808 edition with our sample images. You can be the judge as to whether we’ve succeeded or not.
Our own Joel Leininger has written a new Foreword to introduce the text and to explain our approach in producing the edition. We’ve also included two new indices, one a general subject index and the other an index of the nearly 600 people mentioned in the text.
About the author
John Kilty (1756-1811) was Register of the Land-Office of the Western Shore from 1803 until his death. An officer in the Continental Army during the Revolution, he later served as Supervisor of the revenue for the United States in Maryland, on the Maryland Executive Council and as Mayor of Annapolis.
About Martenet Press
Martenet Press is an imprint of S.J. Martenet & Co., focused on bringing to the Maryland real estate and history communities books of lasting value.