History of Rising Sun, MD

It might be interesting to know that the Town of Rising Sun has a unique distinction of having been located in two different states, originally in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and finally in Cecil County, Maryland. In 1674, when Governor George Calvert, son of Cecilius in England, proclaimed Cecil County to be a county of the Maryland Colony, Rising Sun was not included because it was claimed by William Penn to be part of his grant of the Province of Pennsylvania. For many years the citizens of Rising Sun voted in Pennsylvania elections, paid taxes In Chester County, and land records were kept in West Chester, Pennsylvania. The undefined boundary of Cecil County, Maryland, and Chester County, Pennsylvania, remained in bitter dispute until 1765, when the Mason & Dixon Line was established and Rising Sun became part of Cecil County.

Rising Sun had its crossroads beginning in the early part of the 18th century, around 1710 to 1720. Being an inland town, the livelihood here was quite different from the developing neighboring towns, who had access to river trans-portation and its related business of commercial fishing, boat building, and shipping. Rising Sun became an agri-culture center with many grain and flourmills and related machinery manufacturing. Wagons to move products to the shipping points were built in Rising Sun. Oxen, horses, harness, cattle, and leather tanning kept the tradesmen busy. In 1730, five different wagon trails from the produce markets of Wilmington, Delaware, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as well as the shipping points of Port Deposit, North East and Elkton crossed here when the loca-tion was identified as “Summer Hill:’ To accommodate travelers and drovers who passed through, a substantial stone tavern was built at the Intersection where presently stands the National Bank of Rising Sun. A swing sign over the entrance depicted the rays of the sun at dawn at the establishment known as “The Rising Sun:’ This first building became very popular as a stopping place for travelers and drivers and many business deals were con-summated there. It was the general meeting place for political end social activities and the meeting place for the sixth, eighth, and ninth election districts. A huge weighing scale was erected in center square to weigh animals, wagons, crops, etc. For many business appointments and social life, the often repeated phrase was, “We will most you at the Rising Sun” Thus the name overshadowed the original Summer Hill, and when the first post office was estab-lished in 1802, David Cumings was appointed Postmaster for the Town of Rising Sun, Maryland. It is generally con-ceded that is how Rising Sun got its name. Presently, Rising Sun is a progressive small town of about 1,500 pop-ulation, but (more importantly it is the business hub of a thriving business community. The majority of the inhabi-tants are single family homeowners who are natives or have chosen to settle here. Rising Sun enjoys the reputa-tion of being a friendly town, whose residents are deeply involved in improvements and making it a great place to live. (Supplied by: William W. McNammee, town Historian 1/1/92.)

Records show that about 1720, on Lot #17 of William Penn’s famous “Nottingham Lots” there was established by one Henry Reynoi0s a atone tavern for a stage stop. Over the front entrance was a swinging sign depicting the rays of the sun at dawn - with lettering “THE RISING SUN:’

It was around this busy tavern that Our village began to grow and until 1815 this crossroad cluster of mostly log houses was known as “Summer Hill!’

The popularity of the tavern as a meeting place for business deals, political activities, elections, etc., prompted the often repeated phrase, ‘We will meet you at the Rising Sun!’

This expression eventually took over and when the first Poet Office was established, where, most likely the first loca-tion of the tavern was, the name Summer Hill had faded and yielded to Rising Sun.

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Updated 7/15/03