This article concerns the settlement of the Wigton Walker family on the Nottingham Lots, near Rising Sun, Cecil County, Maryland, circa 1726. This family is discussed in general terms at Wigton Walker Home Page. Information about the community of Rising Sun is available at Rising Sun, Maryland.
- "...landed in Maryland August 2. He transported his family and settled in Chester Co., PA, where he died in September 1734. His wife died in 1738. Both are buried at Nottingham Meeting House in Chester Co, Pa."
During the early 18th century various ferries were in operation on the lower Susquehanna River. One ferry operated just below the Falls of the Susquehanna, near the point where Rock Creek enters the Susquehanna on its north shore. A few hundred feet further north is the village of Octoraro, at the point where the Octoraro River discharges into the Susquehanna. Some time before 1726, Scotch Irish settlers began settling in this area. A Presbyterian Meeting House, known by the name "Mouth of the Octoraro", was established at an early date, presumably near the village of Octoraro. The location of this MH was later moved north to the village of "Summer Hill", now known as "Rising Sun", where it was known under various titles, including simply "Nottingham Meeting House". Taking White 1902 at face value, it seems likely that the Walkers probably came ashore at the ferry landing near the village of "Octoraro", where they could take advantage of the presence of the old "mouth of the Octoraro Meetinghouse to serve a base until they could get their bearings. From here they moved up onto the plateau that lies above the Susquehannah, where they established their homes near the Nottingham Meeting House.
The location of that Meeting House has been problematic for Wigton Walker researchers. White 1902 indicates that the Walkers settled in Chester County, Pennsylvania. As a result, researchers have assumed that the Meeting House was located somewhere along "Meetinghouse Road" in lower Chester County, particularly focusing on the area near "Nottingham Cemetery" close to the Maryland border. That cemetery does not appear, however, to have ever been associated with a Presbyterian Meetinghouse, and, indeed, seems to date to the late 18th century.
White includes in her work a photograph titled (simply) "Nottingham Meeting House". The meeting house shown still survives, and is easily recognizable as the structure known as "The Brick" (for its brick construction), near Calvert, Maryland. White's inclusion of this photograph has caused some confusion, because not only is the Meeting House NOT in Chester County, it's also a Quaker meeting house, dating to the founding of the Nottingham Lots in 1702. It is clearly not the meeting house in whose cemetery John II and Katherine are said to be buried.
Part of the explanation of the confusion about the location of the Presbyterian Nottingham Meeting House comes from the fact that at the time the Walkers settled here, the area was within the area claimed by both Pennsylvania and Maryland. The Walkers settled within the Nottingham Lots, whose settlers received their land from William Penn in 1702. Even though they settled near Rising Sun, well within the modern Maryland border, they probably thought of the area as being in Chester Co, PA, and that is what was a) presumably passed down in oral tradition, and in the Joel Walker Record, and b) picked up by White.
Another factor in the confusion is that the Presbyterian Nottingham Meeting House at Rising Sun does not exist today, and in fact, probably did not exist when White was working on her family history. At about the time the Walkers were leaving for Borden's Grant, the Presbyterian congregation of the Nottingham Meeting House was split into "New Side" and "Old Side" factions, with a New Side Congregation erecting a separate meeting house a mile or so away from the original meeting house, Eventually the two factions would re-unite, but would do so as the "West Nottingham Meeting House", a few miles to the south, near Colora, Maryland. The old meetinghouses fell into disuse, with only the old cemetery remaining into the 20th century. During the 1950s even this was lost, as the area was converted into a housing development. Some of the church stones were salvaged, and placed at the modern West Nottingham cemetery. No stone has survived, however, for John Walker II or his wife Katherine.
- "The Official Website for the Town of Rising Sun, MD"
- Wikipedia - Octoraro Creek in Maryland
- See of Rising Sun, Cecil Co, MD for a detailed view of the area.)