The Indian Deed
The first deed for land bordering the Potomac north of Antietam Creek was negotiated with Indians in 1727, and the amount of land was measured in a quite unusual way.
It was known as the Indian Deed and was negotiated by Israel Friend, the first documented white settler in the area, and six Indian representatives who had claimed authority over the Great Valley for hunting and fishing.
And how much land did Israel Friend buy? It was measured by shooting an arrow. More specifically, “two hundred shoots as far as an arrow can be slung out of a bow” running up the Potomac and “one hundred shoots right back from the river.” Given the shooting distance of an arrow, researchers believe Friend’s land amounted to 72 square miles.
Recorded on birch bark, the deed was later deemed not legal by the Maryland Governor, explaining that the Indians had no authority to sell land.