Among the goofy little quirks of our states is a chunk of a peninsula at the bottom of Maryland’s territory that actually belongs to Virginia. It’s like a finger of land that hangs off of Maryland and whose residents peer across the bay at their home state of Virginia.
Before borders were decisively drawn, it wasn’t uncommon for territories to issue deeds to property that weren’t actually theirs to sell. Colonists from Virginia had ventured across Chesapeake Bay and began working the land at the tip of the peninsula that was actually part of Maryland. Maryland argued that the entire peninsula was part of their claim but colonists had already paid their money to Virginia for the rights to the land. As had happened in many other land disputes, the English government stepped in to mediate. The final decision was weighted toward the colony that had sold the land first so Virginia won the dispute by default.
And it got even worse for Maryland. Virginia was awarded an even larger part of the peninsula because of a surveying error that stands to this day. The point of reference for surveyors no longer existed by the time they began their task of marking the boundary. A little settlement called Watkins Point was supposed to be the starting point for the east/west line to separate the Virginia property from Maryland, but since erosion had gradually eliminated the point, surveyors had to guess at its location. Very simply, they guessed wrong and Virginia ended up with a larger chunk of the peninsula.