Melvill’s Warehouse

Other names:  Melvin’s, Melvel, Milvill, Melville’s Warehouse, Melville’s Landing, Mevill’s Mill

David Melvill’s Sr.’s Warehouse and wharf was located at Cedar Point, a four-acre tract called “Addition to Cedar Point,” about one-and-one-half miles north of Denton on the east side of the Choptank River, about 200 yards north of Chapel Branch (once called Ingrams Creek and also apparently called Shillington Creek), located at the end of Garey (also called Smith Landing Road) Road. 91  He built the warehouse between 1736 and 1747.  Listed in the certificate of survey of that tract in 1747 was a 30 by 20 foot frame clapboard “storehouse,” a 40 by 25 foot “tobacco pressing and packing” clapboard structure, believed to be the warehouse, and a dwelling 15 by 10 foot structure possibly with shuttered windows.  Richard Lloyd bought the property in 1763; by 1776 it was owned by Col. Edward Lloyd; in 1779 sold to Col. Matthew Driver; and in 1786 sold to the Justices of Caroline County.  The warehouse was still referred to as Melvill’s warehouse.

The warehouse served twice as the county seat (1773-1778, 1780-1790), alternating with Greensboro.  The first session of court was held in Melvill’s Warehouse on March 15-17, 1774.  The “Caroline Resolutions” (affirming loyalty to the King but proposed an embargo on imports from Great Britain until the Boston Port Bill was repealed) were adopted here in the same year.  Michael Lucas was the tobacco inspector in 1774.  The tobacco inspector received his salary in tobacco, equivalent to about $265.

The warehouse ceased to exist by at least 1823.  In addition to the tobacco warehouse, an inn, general store, and several dwellings made up this important river crossing and region’s most prominent colonial trading center.  When Denton became the county seat Melvill’s Warehouse declined but continued as a river landing at least until 1879.  During the American Revolution Melvills Warehouse, as well as other wharves and warehouses served as centers for gathering grain for the Colonial army.

James Barwick kept an inn located “20 perches south” of the warehouse and operated the ferry in 1776 which ran from the warehouse landing across the river to the west “causeway” at Hardcastle Mill Road Landing (see Barwicks Ferry).  Barwick was paid 3,500 pounds of tobacco to run the ferry until the “end of November Court.”  Benjamin Denny became the ferry operator in 1783 and John Saulsbury became the ferryman by at least 1802. This landing is designated Smith Landing on “Topographic Map of Caroline County” 1950 revised 1971.  A sawmill was located nearby by at least 1810, and referred to as Driver’s and Garvey’s Sawmill.  This was probably the same as Melvills Mill.

(Choptank River Cultural Resources Inventory, 1999-2002)

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