Harford County was formed in 1773 from the eastern part of Baltimore County. The county was named for Henry Harford, son of Frederick Calvert, sixth Baron Baltimore of Balitmore Manor in Ireland’s County Longford. Harford served as the last Proprietary Governor of Maryland.
Havre de Grace, an incorporated city in Harford County, was once under consideration as the capital of the United States rather than Washington, D.C. It was favored for its strategic location at the top of the Chesapeake Bay since it would facilitate trade while being secure in time of war.
The Harford County seal was designed by George Van Bibber and adopted by the county commissioners on Sept. 28, 1964. In the accepted design, the shield is gold to symbolize the wealth of the county and the richness of its fields. Across the shield are waving bands of blue signifying three major county streams — Deer Creek, Bynum Run and Winters Run.
The crest is a two-handed forearm with one hand holding a white quill symbolizing the pen used by those who wrote and signed the Bush Declaration, which expressed support for the Patriot cause in the emerging American Revolution. The other hand holds a sword as if presenting the nation the skills of reproducing defense materials.
The motto “At the Risque of Our Lives and Fortunes” comprises the last eight words of the Bush Declaration and preserves the same spelling for “risk” that is used in that document.