The Story of Queen Anne’s County by Harold W. Hurst
Bounded on the north by the Chester River and on the south by Caroline and Talbot counties, Queen Anne’s County is one of the most rural of the nine counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Much of its 372 square miles consists of farms, forest lands and small villages that time seems to have passed by. Created in 1706, the county is named for Queen Anne of England, who reigned between 1702 and 1714. One noted British historian has reminded us that she was “the dull, devout, high church daughter of James II, who by a freak of fortune, has given her name to a brilliant age.” Between 1707 and 1782, Queenstown was the county seat of Queen Anne’s County. Located on the Chester River, it was an important trading center. Tobacco and other crops were shipped from the wharves of Queenstown to ports on the western side of the Chesapeake Bay or directly to England. The old Colonial courthouse still stands, although a brick addition was added in 1830. While being important historically, Queenstown’s population has never surpassed 650, demonstrating the continuing rural nature of the county.
Statue of Queen Anne, dedicated in 1977, on the grounds of the historic courthouse in Centreville. Centreville, the county seat since 1782, has since remained the chief town in the area. Centered on a historic courthouse square located on a hill, its narrow streets are lined by lovely Federal, Antebellum and Victorian houses. The close proximity of the commercial district and the courthouse to the residential area lends an old-fashioned, tight-knit, small-town atmosphere to the town. Church Hill, near the Chester