During colonial days, English government has hopes of exporting furs, foodstuffs, timber, flax and other products from Maryland's ports to the home county. In reality, tobacco was the only notable item produced and exported to England in large quantities.
In the 18th century, Sotterley Creek accommodated fairly large ocean-going boats such as Brigs, Brigantines, and Schooners. Brigs measuring more than 100 feet in length were the workhorses of the Atlantic and Caribbean trade, carrying up to 500 hogsheads of tobacco.
By the 19th century, severe silting made passage of the creek nearly impossible, except for smaller sloops. By the end of the Civil War, the creek was abandoned entirely by tradesmen.
Sotterley Plantation played an integral role in international and domestic trade in the 17th and 18th centuries. Plantation owners George Plater II and George Plater III inspected ships from England, Ireland and the West Indies, as well as domestic ports.
Hogsheads of tobacco from Sotterley and neighboring plantations were shipped to British ports and exchanged for furniture, tools, paper, household items, linens and other goods. Sotterley received rum, sugar, molasses, and spices from Caribbean ports.