Harford County is a vibrant and historic region located in the northeastern part of the state of Maryland, United States. The county is named after Henry Harford, the last colonial proprietor of Maryland, and was officially established in 1773. Since its establishment, Harford County has played a significant role in the history of Maryland and the United States. In this blog post, we will explore the rich history of Harford County, from its Native American roots to the present day.

Native American Settlements
The area now known as Harford County was once inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Susquehannocks, the Lenape, and the Shawnee. The Susquehannocks were the largest and most powerful tribe in the region, and their territory extended from the Chesapeake Bay to the upper reaches of the Susquehanna River. The Susquehannocks were skilled farmers and hunters, and their villages were situated along the banks of the Susquehanna River and its tributaries.

Colonial Era
In 1608, Captain John Smith of the Jamestown Colony explored the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, including the Susquehanna River. By the mid-17th century, English settlers began to establish plantations in the area, which eventually led to the displacement of the Native American tribes. In 1652, Maryland became a royal colony, and Harford County was included in the newly created Baltimore County. In 1773, Harford County was officially established as a separate county, named after Henry Harford, the last colonial proprietor of Maryland.

Revolutionary War
During the Revolutionary War, Harford County played a crucial role in the fight for independence. The county was strategically located between the British stronghold of Philadelphia and the colonial capital of Annapolis. In 1777, General William Howe, commander of the British forces in North America, launched a campaign to capture Philadelphia. The British army marched through Harford County, and several skirmishes were fought along the way. One of the most significant battles was the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge, which took place near Elkton in neighboring Cecil County.

Civil War
During the Civil War, Harford County was a border county, with sympathies divided between the Union and the Confederacy. Many Harford County residents fought for the Union, while others joined the Confederate Army. The county was also a significant center of activity for the Underground Railroad, which helped escaped slaves reach freedom in the North.

20th Century
In the 20th century, Harford County became an important industrial and agricultural center. The county’s rich agricultural heritage was preserved through the establishment of the Harford County Farm Fair, which has been held annually since 1988. The county’s economy also benefited from the development of the Aberdeen Proving Ground, a major military installation that was established during World War I.

Today, Harford County is a thriving community with a rich cultural heritage. The county is home to numerous historic sites, museums, and cultural institutions, including the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum, the Harford County Historical Society, and the Steppingstone Museum. Harford County is also known for its natural beauty, with abundant parks, forests, and waterways that offer a wide range of recreational opportunities.

In conclusion, Harford County has a rich and diverse history that spans centuries. From its Native American roots to its role in the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, Harford County has played a significant role in the history of Maryland and the United States. Today, Harford County is a vibrant and dynamic community that continues to celebrate its heritage and embrace the challenges of the future.

If you would like to learn more about Harford County’s 250 years of history, our friends at The Historical Society of Harford County created an amazing video highlighting our County’s history! Check it out below: