Insolvent Debtors in 19th Century Harford County, Maryland: A Legal and Genealogical Digest

Insolvent Debtors in 19th Century Harford County, Maryland: A Legal and Genealogical Digest

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Insolvent Debtors in 19th Century Harford County, Maryland: A Legal and Genealogical Digest.
Henry C. Peden, Jr.


There were countless individuals in Harford County, Maryland, in the 19th century who were in and out of debt. This book addresses those who were insolvent and unable to pay their debts; it is a digest of legal information that was gleaned from extant newspapers, court records, insolvent books and judgment books and supplemented thereafter with genealogical notes that identify the insolvent debtors. In many instances a legal description of the case is presented verbatim although some may be abbreviated as was common in docket books. Newspaper notices to creditors also reported the insolvents’ situations and trustee’s sales listed the property that was sold to pay the debts. Most of the insolvents herein were individuals, but several of them were companies.

Unlike today, insolvency was a matter of shame and embarrassment back in the day, but it did not only affect poor people per se. All walks of life, from farmers to canners, and merchants to doctors and lawyers, found themselves in dire straits at one time or another. Some dealt with it and paid as best they could and moved on with their lives while others absconded. All are presented in this book.

Henry Peden had previously researched and published two volumes entitled Maryland Prisoners Languishing in Gaol, Volume 1, 1635–1765 and Maryland Prisoners Languishing in Gaol, Volume 2, 1766–1800. Most of the persons in those books were imprisoned for debt. They were his motivation for continuing on and writing this book about Harford County insolvent debtors in the 19th century.

A full-name and place index adds to the value of this work.

2019, 8½x11, paper, 242 pp.

P5750 - $35.50