A Thriving Colonial Village
Coxtown, Maryland was founded by English settlers, perhaps as early as 1654, and certainly by 1682, and named after early residents Thomas and Henry Cox. The village lies on the Patuxent River about 35 miles southeast of present-day Washington, D.C., and was well suited for sailing vessels because of the river's deep water. In 1683 it became one of the five original ports of entry in Maryland (a point for tariff and tax collection). The town's name was changed to Marlborough after the Duke of Marlborough led English forces in the battle of Blenheim, a major victory for England against France in 1704. In 1747 it was designated one of three county tobacco inspection stations.
The earliest wharf in the town was located at the foot of Goose Lane, where stone footings still remain. From that wharf a ferry ran across the river to Magruder's Landing, where travellers could pick up the road to Brandywine, Maryland. Until the end of the steamboat era, the main road in the village was on the edge of the river, at the rear of the houses on Varden Street (Lower Marlboro Lane). A warehouse, sawmill and fish house were also located in the south end of the town. River Road, running along the river bank, has now disappeared, but would have connected the modern-day bridge on Chaneyville Road over Graham Creek with the foot of Goose Lane in Lower Marlboro, about a quarter mile away.
After being designated as a tobacco inspection station, the town grew rapidly, with a
small shipyard and a tavern among the early businesses. A half-mile race track attested to Lower Marlborough's importance in the 1760's, with purses in the ₤200 - ₤300 range (about $28,000 - $42,000 in 2010 dollars). A wind-powered grain mill stood on the hill at the south end of town, past Goose Lane. In 1762 one of the early graduates of the town's new private school, the Lower Marlborough Academy, was Thomas John Claggett, who later became the rector of All Saints Parish a few miles up the road, and went on to become the first bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States. The prosperity of the town might have continued save for the onset of the Revolution. Townspeople were divided, some siding with the patriots, some with the Tories who remained loyal to England, and some trying to remain neutral.