The portion of Broad’s Improvement that would eventually become part of Herring Run Park was purchased from Thomas Broad in 1742 (Figure 7). The new owner, John Hunt, retained the 170-acre parcel for only six years. Very little is known about Hunt, and what does exist is located in a handful of Baltimore County land records from the mid-eighteenth century. The first time Hunt appears in the land records, it was for his purchase of Broad’s Improvement (MSA 1742) (Figure 8).
In the document, Hunt is referred to as both a gentleman and resident of Baltimore County. Hunt’s title of gentleman indicates he was a man who derived his income from property and was thus independently wealthy and did not need to work. As such, it would appear that Hunt may have inherited his wealth and property from his family. While several other people with the same surname did purchase land in Baltimore County in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, there appears to be no existing documentation (i.e. wills and land records) connecting those individuals to John Hunt.
Two other documents associated with Hunt were recorded in the land records after he acquired his 170-acre parcel of Broad’s Improvement. The first was a deed made on October 5, 1743 between himself and Mary Williams a former resident of Stafford County in the colony of Virginia (MSA 1743). According to the deed, Williams decided to relocate to Baltimore County. In the document, it mentions she recently inherited 200 acres of land in Prince William County, Virginia. Williams sold the land to John Hunt for only five shillings. The infinitesimal sum that Hunt paid for the land suggests Williams and Hunt were relations of some sort, although the details of which are unknown.
The second document was recorded in 1747 and consisted of a bail agreement between John Hunt and a laborer in his employ. According to the records, Hunt was willing be financially accountable for the bail of one William Carter, a laborer from Baltimore County (Figure 9). The deed does not provide many details, but it does mention that a certain legal action was brought against Carter in Cecil County by a man named Stephen Onion and that John Hunt paid the bail (MSA 1747). As a result of the bail, Carter agreed to pay Hunt back within six months. If the debit to Hunt was not paid in that time, Carter agreed to give Hunt a large assemblage of goods and chattel including: several hogs, cows, horses, furniture, blacksmith equipment, dishes and all the corn on his farm.
John Hunt sold his 170-acre parcel of Broad’s Improvement in 1749 to two Baltimore County residents, Daniel Barnett and Peter Mirer (MSA 1749). In return for the land, Hunt received £190, providing him with a profit of £171 over the seven years he owned the Herring Run estate. During his tenure as owner, it is unclear how John Hunt used the parcel. It is unlikely Hunt resided on the property himself. The former Broad family house and farm was still one the property and Hunt most likely leased the tract and house to tenants. After the sale of the land to Barnett and Mirer, John Hunt never again appeared in the county land records. A later deed between Barnett and Mirer recounting the transaction mentions they purchased the land from John Hunt, late of Baltimore County (MSA 1752). The reference “late of Baltimore County” suggests either Hunt since died or since removed to another jurisdiction.
Maryland State Archives (MSA)
1742 Baltimore County Court Land Records Liber TB C, folio 66. On file at the Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland.
1743 Baltimore County Court Land Records Liber TB E, folio 592. On file at the Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland.
1747 Baltimore County Court Land Records Liber TB E, folio 599. On file at the Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland.
1749 Baltimore County Court Land Records Liber TR C, folio 236. On file at the Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland.
1752 Baltimore County Court Land Records Liber TR D, folio 332. On file at the Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland.