- Born: 1738-1740, Somerset Co., MD
- Marriage (1): Mary Pitts about 1760
- Marriage (2): Mary Brown about 1777 in MD
- Marriage (3): Leah (?) on 28 May 1803 in Somerset Co., MD
- Died: 31 Mar 1814-19 Apr 1814, Worcester Co., MD
Benjamin Hitch was born in Somerset County, Maryland in the years 1738 to 1740 and died in Worcester County, Maryland in Apr 1814. Like his father Samuel, I have used the court records and Tax Lists to ascertain the approximate year of his birth. He first appears in the Somerset County Tax Lists in 1756. He does not appear in the 1754 list and none survives for 1755 so he probably arrived at age 16 in one of the two years 1755 or 56. This would indicate a birth year of either late 1738, or 1739 or 1740. One other piece of evidence may narrow the birth a little more.
In the Tax Lists, only males older than age 15 and slaves were taxed and hence entered into the lists, EXCEPT when there were no male heads of the household. In those circumstances a female head was listed and taxed. This was the case in Benjamin Hitch's household as his father Samuel had died in 1750 and his mother Rachel was listed as head afterwards. However, in 1759, Benjamin is listed alone as head of the household without his mother Rachel (who we know did not die until 1771/73). This suggests that Benjamin had "come of age"; i.e., reached age 21, during that year to obtain the honor of head of the household. Consequently, this would seem to support a birth year of 1738. This may be as close as we ever get to ascertaining the exact date of birth of Benjamin Hitch - barring a miraculous find of an old church or bible record!
In the Tax Records for Somerset County in 1756, Benjamin Hitch is listed in a household in Wicomico Hundred with Rachall Hitch and negro Jack. In the Tax Records for Somerset County in 1757, Benjamin Hitch is listed in a household in Wicomico Hundred with Rachell Hitch and negro Jack. In the Tax Records for Somerset County in 1759, Benjamin Hitch is listed in a household in Wicomico Hundred with negro Jack.
He was listed on the Somerset County, Maryland Rent Rolls for tract called "Mount Pleasant" (total 150 acres, annual rent £0.6.0) surveyed May 24 1684 lying near the head of the main branch of Wicomico Creek. He bought 150 acres from George Wilson on Jan 26 1765. (SoRR-9:157; also, SoLR-C:245, no metes and bounds given).
He had an account in John Nelms' store in Salisbury, Maryland from at least 1767, where he bought in 1767: Jany 9:1 pair shoe buckles, 1 chest lock Marh 14:1 "gimblito" July 23:1 pair garters Augt 8:2 linen handkerchiefs Novr 25:1 dozen tacks by Thomas Price This totaled £0/9/0. George Disharoon delivered 4 bu. of corn for a £0/8/0 credit in 1768 and £0/1/0 was carried to Ledger E. In 1775, he bought a gallon of molasses and paid in cash in 1776. He also paid £0/7/6 to the account of Thomas Price, a sailor, in 1768.
Benjamin Hitch was listed as next of kin with Joseph Hitch when Robert Hitch's estate was inventoried at a value of £25.0.11 between Apr 11 and Jun 23 1768. Executor of Robert Hitch's estate was Eve Hitch. On Jul 4 1768, Benjamin Hitch was listed as receiving a distribution from the final account of Robert Handy in Worcester County. (MdPrA-60:10). On Aug 17 1770, he, with wife, Mary, sold 50 acres of land in "Mount Pleasant" to Thomas Price. The record mentions that the land was "then situated in Somerset, now part in Worcester part in Somerset". (WoLR-H:381,382) In the will of Jacob Morris written Apr 5 1773 and probated May 13 1773, Benjamin Hitch was listed as a witness with Stephen Roach and Levin Gunby. (WoW-1769/83:191) In the court records of 1773, Benjamin Hitch appears in Rachel Hitch's will as; "Rachl Hitch her will of Administration Bond by Benj Hitch his administration will annexed with Charles Hayman of Duncan Maine his sureties in the sum of £100 sterlg dated 17th Aug 1773." (MdPrA-45:182)
On Sep 7 1774, Benjamin Hitch did the account and administered the will of Rachel Hitch deceased valued at £43.18.0. This records mentions, "of money paid by this accountant to Elgit Hitch which was due him from the Deceased out of his Fathers Estate. . ., £9.3.2" Again to Leah Hitch, £1.4.3 (MdPrA-71:201). In 1780, he was listed with the Maryland Militia in the Revolutionary War in the muster rolls for Salisbury Battalion, Mi(ll) Creek Company. In the 1783 Tax Assessment, he was assessed for land, "Mount Pleasant", 100a, 2 horses, 8 cattle in Somerset County, MD, Wicomico Hundred. (TA1783) In Oct 1790, Benjamin Hitch petitioned the court that the bounds of Mount Pleasant "are become Precarious and uncertain" (SoJ-1788/91:184).
On Oct 23 1790, the court records show: "Benjm Hitch commifson & affidavits... to Gillif Polk, James Bennett, Robert Dashiell and John Harris Hayman of Somerset County Gentlemen..." commissioners agree to examine evidence on behalf of "a certain Benjamin Hitch of the County in relation to the bounds of a tract of land called Mount Pleasant." Deponents Revel Hayman "of lawful age" and William Hayman, age 22. Judgment was granted to Benjamin Hitch. (SoJ-1788/91:302, 303).
In the Somerset County Assessment Records for the years 1793-1796, Benjamin Hitch was listed in Wicomico Hundred and assessed for 100 acres of land, £75; and other property, £40. Total assessment was £115, £115, £115, and £115 for the years 1793, 1794, 1795, and 1796, respectively. (SoTC-1793/96). In the Federal Assessment of 1798, Benjamin Hitch was listed as the owner and occupant of property "situated on the road that divides Somerset from Worcester adjoining Jacob Morris Sr." in Wicomico Hundred, Somerset Co. consisting of "115 acres of land valued at $230 on which is" an old dwelling house, 16' x 15'; a kitchen, 12' x 10'; a corn house, 12' x 6'; "all 'bad'" valued at $20. He was assessed $15 for the buildings and $250 for the 115 acres of land. (TA1798)
In the Somerset County Commissioners of the Tax Received report for the years 1798, 1799, 1800, 1801, 1802, and 1803, Benjamin Hitch was listed in Wicomico Hundred and assessed taxes for 110 acres of land for £85 and other personal property for £35 for a total of £120, £120, £120, £120, £120, and £120 for the respective years. (SoTC-1798/1803)
On May 30 1800, he wrote a deed for land to Joseph Hitch of Somerset County from Benjamin Hitch of Worcester County for £5 for 50 acres of the tract called "Mount Pleasant". (WoLR-V:652). This transaction was evidently not formalized until May 13 1803 when it appears then in the land records. Then, on Sep 30 1809, Joseph Hitch "of Penttletion County in the State of Kaintucky" sold this land to John Hitch for the same amount of £5. (WoLR-AA:338). Benjamin Hitch kept the remaining 50 acres of Mount Pleasant until he bequeathed it to his son Samuel Hitch in his will of 1814.
As the various records indicate, "Mount Pleasant" was located near or on the border of Somerset and Worcester Counties in Maryland somewhere near the source of a "main branch" of the Wicomico Creek. This branch has been identified as the modern-day Passerdyke Creek with "Mount Pleasant" lying about a mile or so south of the present tri-county boundary for Somerset, Worcester and Wicomico Counties on the east side (the Worcester County Side) of Meadow Bridge Road (which divides the counties of Somerset and Worcester at such point).
The property evidently stayed in the Hitch family until the early 1900s (after Benjamin's son Samuel owned it, it was left to his son Handy Irving Hitch who died in 1901). The property is located only about two miles from where the compiler grew up and I have had the opportunity to visit the site many times. Today, it is owned by a Ball family and is a large corn field with a pronounced "hill" in its center. This is no doubt what inspired the original patent holder to name it "Mount Pleasant".
In the Federal Census of 1800, Benjamin Hitch was listed in the Wicomico District of Somerset County on page 31, line 8 with a household of one male age 10-16, one male age 16-26, one male over age 45, one female age 16-26 and one female age 26-45. His neighbor on the tract "Mount Pleasant" and first cousin, Thomas Price, is listed in Worcester Co. with household as 00101-00001 straddled between Charles and William Hayman. Both are consistent with living on the "Mount Pleasant" tract on the line dividing Worcester and Somerset. Hitch had sold Price this land in 1770.
The following is found in the Archives of Maryland, Volume 192, page 120 for Session Laws Nov 2 1801 to Dec 31 1801 but this compiler can find no record whether this was ever carried out: An Act for changing part of the Divisional Road between Somerset and Worcester Counties. (Liber JG4:5). WHEREAS it is represented to this general assembly, by the petition of Benjamin Hitch, of Somerset county, that he is possessed of a tract of land lying and being in Somerset and Worcester counties, through which the divisional road of Somerset and Worcester counties now runs, to the great injury of the said Benjamin Hitch: And whereas it appears that changing the said road will be beneficial to the said Benjamin Hitch, and promote the convenience of the public; therefore, 2. BE IT ENACTED, by the General Assembly of Maryland, That Ebenezer Handy, James Bennett, William Pollitt of Thomas, David Cathell and Thomas Fookes, be and they are hereby appointed commissioners, or any three or more of them are hereby authorized to change, lay out and open, at the expense of the said Benjamin Hitch, in the most convenient manner, a public road, leading through the lands of the said Benjamin Hitch, in the direction the divisional road of the said counties now runs, from Salisbury to Steven's Ferry, so far as the said Hitch's land extend, if necessary; and the said road, when so laid out and completed at the expense of the said Benjamin Hitch, shall be recorded in the records of Somerset and Worcester county courts, and shall be deemed and taken for ever thereafter as the divisional line of said counties, and as a public road, and shall be kept in repair as other public roads are kept up in said counties.
In the 1810 Federal Census, Benjamin Hitch was listed on page 646 in Worcester County. His household contained one male age 16-26, one male over age 45, and one female over age 45.
In his will written Mar 21 1814 and probated Apr 19 1814, Benjamin Hitch states: "Leaves Addam Hitch of Somerset County and Samuel Hitch of Worcester County each one bed and furniture; Equally divide between Robard (sic, Robert), Addam, Rachel, and Samuel Hitch; Leaves to my youngest son Samuel Hitch, plantation whereon I now dwell 50 acres part in Worcester County and part in Somerset County." Witnesses were John Morris Jr., Jacob Morris, and John Pollitt. (WoW-JBR:47,48)
Benjamin married Mary Pitts about 1760. (Mary Pitts was born about 1740 in Somerset Co., MD and died in 1772-1780 in Worcester Co., MD.)
Benjamin next married Mary Brown, daughter of George Brown and Sarah Denston, about 1777 in MD. (Mary Brown was born about 1755 in Worcester Co., MD and died in 1800-1803 in Worcester Co., MD.)
Benjamin next married Leah (?) on 28 May 1803 in Somerset Co., MD. (Leah (?) was born before 1765 and died on 11 May 1831-26 Oct 1831 in Worcester Co., MD.)