About a Town

Did you know that Upper Marlboro was established in 1706 as “Marlborough Town”? It is named after John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough. The area was first settled around 1695. This town is old. While this area was getting selttled Russia declared war on the Ottoman Empire and gold was discovered in Brazil. The land, which was to become the town, was part of several estates known as Grove Landing, Meadows, and Darnall’s Chance, owned by the Brooke, Beall, and Darnall families, respectively.

The name was changed supposedly because the last three letters in Marlborough. According the legend the “ugh”, did not properly fit on the rubber stamps being used at the time so the postal clerk dropped it. By 1893, postal guides were referring to the town as Upper Marlboro and the name stuck, despite a proposed ballot to have it changed back in 1968.
In 1706, Marlborough Town was established as a port town by the Act for the Advancement of Trade and Erecting Ports and Towns. It was declared that the town would be constructed,
“at the upper landing on the Western Branch, commonly called Colonel Belt’s landing.”
County surveyor Thomas Truman Greenfield conducted a survey of 100 acres (0.40 km2) of the three estates from which the town would be formed. Streets, alleys, a meetinghouse, lots for small businesses, and 100 lots to be used for homes were laid out. Earliest plans showed the town being laid out in a grid pattern with an L shape.

Residents of the area were not happy with Greenfield’s initial layout and petitioned the General Assembly to have the town re-platted. In 1744, the new survey was approved and the town was given a new name, Upper Marlborough. Upper was added to distinguish the town from the community of Marlboro (now known as Lower Marlboro) in Calvert County.

For more information about the history of Upper Marlboro, visit the Town of Upper Marlboro historical society .

Since its initial conception the town has changed quite a bit. It initially boomed as a port town for tobacco trade, but the clearing and cultivation of land for farming would lead to erosion in the area. Over the years this erosion caused sedimentation, leading the Western Branch to become unnavigable. The fields of tobacco that once dominated the area have been converted over to residential developments, with the number of farms dwindling each year.

The town is the county seat of Prince George’s County. Located within the town are the Prince George’s County Courthouse, County Administration Building, the Board of Education, and the headquarters of the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Office. The town’s atmosphere is remarkably different, depending on the time of day.

The Town of Upper Marlboro is among the oldest of the surviving Southern Maryland towns dating back to colonial times. It was established as a port town for tobacco
shipments in 1706, when the Western Branch of the Patuxent River was still navigable. It has been the county seat of Prince George’s County since 1721.

It is the birthplace of John Carroll, the first Catholic Archbishop in the United States and founder of Georgetown College. His brother Daniel was a signer of the U.S.

Constitution. Thomas John Claggett was the First Episcopal Bishop consecrated in the United States, the first bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland and organized the Trinity
Church in Upper Marlboro in 1810.

Town resident John Rogers was one of three Maryland delegates to the Second Continental Congress, held in 1776. Daniel Carroll, a native of Upper Marlborough, participated in the
deliberations of the Constitutional Convention.

In the early years of the eighteenth century, a tobacco port town known as Colonel Belt’s Landing developed on the Western Branch of the Patuxent river. Area planters would roll their hogsheads of tobacco down the rolling road and load them onto barges to be poled down to the deep water ocean vessels anchored at Jug Bay on the Patuxent. By 1706, the Maryland
Assembly officially chose this site for a new town in Prince George’s County. Marlborough (named in honor of the hero of the Battle of Blenheim, the Duke of Marlborough,) was formed
from 100 acres taken from the patented properties of several local planters.

**This name Marlboro has nothing to do with the figure used in tobacco advertising campaigns for Marlboro cigarettes from 1954 to 1999. The Marlboro Man name was first conceived by Leo Burnett in 1954 and is being used by this site just because I am a resident of Upper Marlboro and I think its cool.


Rev. Kenn Blanchard is a professional speaker, writer, podcaster, and digital influencer. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook He is the force behind BlackManWithAGun.com, founder of Blanchard.Media and the SpeaklifeChurch.net