Nicolas Ory's Land in Maryland

Nicolas Ory's land in Frederick County, Maryland was near Tom's
Creek, a tributary to the Monocacy River, and was about 5 miles SE
of Emmitsburg.  He bought the land 19 Nov. 1754, from William
Diggs, Sr., and the deed was recorded 23 Nov. 1754.  The land was
part of the First Resurvey of Diggs Lot.  It lay on both sides of the
Keysville Road, just East of the present Tom's Creek bridge.  Nicolas
remained there until he removed to Louisiana in 1769.  Associates of
Nicolas Ory, e.g., Nicolas Strasbach, were also in Frederick County
at the same time; however, I have not yet determined where or whether
they bought land there.  Eventually, Nicolas Ory's land was sold to
Christian Keefer.

At the time this region was first settled, it was uncertain whether the
interior of North America would be controlled by the British, who
at the time held only a relatively narrow strip of territory along the
coast, or the French, who threatened to expand down the Mississippi
River from the Great Lakes region.  The British promoted settlement
of the wilderness to the West, in order to bolster their claims to the
interior of the continent.  First, they bought the lands of the Algonquin
Indians and persuaded them to move West.  They then offered land to
settlers at a nominal fee, but also offered large tracts to aristocrats as a
reward for support of the Crown.  This relieved the government of
having to arrange for settlers; rather, the tract owners could divide the
land and either sell or lease it to settlers.

One of the early holders of land grants was John Diggs, a grandson of
the royal Governor of Virginia.  At the time, there was a fierce border
dispute between Maryland and Pennsylvania governments.  As early as
1727, John Diggs, under Maryland authority, offered land in the disputed
region, near the present Hanover, Pennsylvania.  It appears that Diggs
sold land that he did not rightfully possess.  (The reports of Nicolas Ory's
purchase of land in Diggs Choice in Pennsylvania might derive from this
situation, or it might be the result of confusion.)  Diggs also claimed much
land on the Monocacy River and its tributaries.  Despite his extravagant
claims and his earlier questionable land deals, he received grants to three
tracts in the Tom's Creek valley, totalling about 1000 acres; the first 547
acres he named Diggs Lot.  Others also laid claim to large tracts of land,
and often received grants.  In 1754, John Diggs claimed and was awarded
an additional 1000 acres north of Diggs Lot.  His son, William Diggs, Sr.
inherited this land and sold part of the resurvey to Nicolas Ory.

Much of the above information was provided by Michael Hillman, whose
farm now borders what was Diggs Lot.  Michael researched the early
history of the area, and contributed articles to Maryland newspapers.  He
also kindly prepared a map of the area, which depicts Nicolas Ory's land
as well as some of the early land grants.  On the map, the Monocacy River
is at the border to the SE.  Tom's Creek runs generally from NW to SE and
its mouth on the Monocacy is at the SE corner of the map.  Stony Branch is
the stream that runs from the SW part of the map northward, with tributaries
in the central West protion of the map.  Most of the tracts are named as land
grants.  Nicolas Ory's land is depicted by Michael according to its described
boundaries.  It can be noted that the land has an odd shape, and five of its
boundaries coincide with those of other tracts.

If you would like a color print, send me a mailing address and I'll
forward one.

Horace Ory