Our Early Settlers
All authorities pretty generally agree that our first Anne Arundel settlers came up from Virginia.
In 1620 Edward Bennett, a rich merchant of England, interested in Virginia trade, had organized a company consisting of his nephews Richard Bennett, Robert Bennett, Thomas Ayres, Richard and Thomas Wiseman, to send two hundred settlers to Virginia.
Many of those sent were murdered by the Indians in 1622. Robert Bennett and John Howard were among the number.
Richard Bennett, in 1642, came over in person to revive the company's efforts. He brought with him members of an Independent Church in England, who sought a more favorable field for building up their church.
Upon organizing in their new homes surrounding Edward Bennett's plantation upon the Elizabeth river, in Nansemond County, Philip Bennett, a nephew, was sent to Boston to secure ministers. He carried with him a letter written by John Hill. Rev. William Thompson, a graduate of Oxford, John Knowles, of Immanuel College, Cambridge, and Thomas James were induced to come. Upon their arrival in Virginia, they were coldly received by Governor Berkeley and his chaplain, Rev. Thomas Harrison. Through the Governor's influence, an act was passed by the Virginia legislature forbidding any minister, who did not use the "Book of Common Prayer," to officiate in the churches of Virginia.
The ministers from Boston soon retired from this unpromising field, but to the disgust and surprise of the Governor, his own chaplain, Mr. Harrison, announced his determination to take up the work just laid down.
The church had been built in 1638 upon "Sewell's Point," on the Elizabeth river. It was near Richard Bennett's two thousand acre plantation. It has recently been selected as the site of our coming Jamestown exposition.
Here are Some of Its Records
"At a meeting of the inhabitants of Lower Norfolk County, May 25th, 1640, Mr. Henry Sewell and Lieutenant Francis Mason, both of whom had been appointed by Governor Berkeley to hold monthly courts, to induce Mr. Harrison to continue service at Sewells Point, agreed to pay for themselves and the inhabitants of the parish from Captain Willoughby's plantation to Daniel Tanner's Creek, the sum of £32. Cornelius Lloyd, Henry Catlin and John Hill, agreed to pay for themselves and the Western Branch, £33. And Thomas Meeres, John Gatear (Gaither) and John Watkins, agreed to pay £36 for themselves and the inhabitants of Daniel Tanners Creek." All the members signed this agreement. From the Virginia Rent Rolls we find other early settlers, who later came to Maryland.
There was a grant to John Chew, gentleman, of five hundred acres, in the County of Charles River, due said Chew for the adventure of himself and nine persons on July 6th, 1636. The record shows that John Chew came to Virginia in 1622, and again in 1623.
John Gatear (Gaither) received 300 acres in Elizabeth City County, a neck of land on the eastern branch of Elizabeth River. Fifty acres of which were due him on his own personal adventure, and 250 acres for the transportation of his wife Jane and five persons in 1636. He received 200 acres more on the south of Elizabeth River for the transportation of four persons, the names not given.
Cornelius Lloyd received 800 acres in the County of Elizabeth River, due him for the transportation of sixteen persons in 1665. He was also one of the London merchants who received 8,000 acres in Berkeley Hundred in 1636.
Richards Preston was a justice of Nansemond County, in 1636.
William Ayres secured a plantation on Nansemond River for transporting five persons. Ann Ayres, wife of Samuel Chew, was his sole heiress.
Thomas Meeres held 300 acres in the Upper County of New Norfolk in 1644-5-6-7; he was a justice in 1645, and a church-warden. There is a record which states "that Edward Lloyd was acting for Thomas Meeres, of Providence, Maryland, in 1645."
Thomas Davis held 300 acres in the Upper County of New Norfolk on the south side of Elizabeth River, five or six miles up, due him for transporting six persons on May, 1637. He was a justice of Nansemond, 1654.
In 1648, the vestry of Elizabeth River Church were Francis Mason, John Hill, Cornelius Lloyd, Henry Catlin. The following order was then passed: "And the sheriff is desired to give notice and summon John Norwood to appear before said vestry to account for the profits of the "Glebe Land' ever since Parson Harrison hath deserted his ministerial office and denied to administer ye sacrements with those of the Church of England." That was Captain John Norwood, the first sheriff of Anne Arundel.
Mr. Thomas Browne became a member of the vestry in 1648, and John Hill and William Crouch were elected wardens.
Wm. Durand having been banished in 1648, Thomas Marsh was ordered to pay the tax upon Durand's property.
The vestry in 1649 consisting of Thomas Browne, John Hill, Cornelius Lloyd, Henry Catlin, employed Mr. Sampson Calvert as minister. Mr. James Warner was church warden. He came to Maryland.
At the County Court of 1649, (the same year these parties left for Maryland), the following record reads: "Whereas, Mr. Edward Lloyd and Mr. Thomas Meeres, commissioners, with Edward Selby, Richard Day, Richard Owens, Thomas Marsh, George Kemp and John Norwood were presented to ye board by the sheriff, for seditious sectuaries for not repairing to their church, and for refusing to hear common prayer-liberty is granted till October next, to inform their judgements, and to conform themselves to the established law."
Before that probation had expired all of the above were in Maryland. Edward Lloyd was both burgess and justice of Lower Norfolk. There is a deed on record from Francis Watkins, late wife of John Watkins, of Virginia, then wife of Edward Lloyd, in which she surrendered her dower to Edward Lloyd in consideration for his payment of a certain sum to her son, John Watkins. This agreement was carried out by Edward Lloyd when commander of the Severn. He surveyed a tract for his "son-in-law," (stepson) "John Watkins."
Edward and Cornelius Lloyd were near neighbors in Virginia, in 1635, of Matthew Howard and Ann, his wife. The latter named his son Cornelius in honor of Colonel Cornelius Lloyd.
Two more prominent Virginia officials, Colonel Obedience Robins and his brother, Edward Robins, sent representatives to Maryland. The former was the brother-in-law of Captain George Puddington. The latter was the father-in-law of Colonel William Burgess and Richard Beard, all settlers of South River, Maryland, in 1650.
Mr. Harrison's persistence had increased the independent church in Virginia to a membership of one hundred and eighteen, and when the order of banishment was issued, we have Mr. Harrison's statement that he and Elder William Durand left Virginia because they were ordered to go. This statement was supported by the record that "the lands of William Durand in Virginia were confiscated because of his banishment." At this crisis in Virginia a protestant Virginian had just been appointed Governor of Maryland. Governor Wm. Stone knew many of the independent exiles, and having promised Lord Baltimore to bring to his new province a large number of settlers, he naturally sought an interview with them.
Calvert's previous attempts to induce immigrants from England had not been successful.
He had even written a letter to Captain Gibbons, of Boston, offering land to any people of Massachusetts, who would transport themselves to his province; but "the Captain had no mind to further his desire, nor had any of our people temptation that way."
Governor Stone sought out William Durand. The evidence is the following records.
"Captain Wm. Stone, of Hungers Creek on eastern shore of Virginia, was born in Northamptonshire, England in 1603. He was the nephew of Thomas Stone, a haberdasher of London.
"In 1648 he conducted the negotiation for the removal of a party of non-conformists from Virginia to Maryland; and in August of that year Lord Baltimore commissioned him governor of that colony.
"William Durand, in 1648, came to Maryland with his wife, his daughter Elizabeth, and four other children, two freemen, Pell and Archer, and servants, Thomas Marsh, Margaret Marsh, William Warren, Wm. Hogg and Ann Coles." This is what our "Rent Rolls" show upon his coming: "William Durand demanded 800 acres of land for transporting himself, two male servants, one female servant, and two freemen into the province in 1648."
The grant was located in "Durands' Place," on the north side of the Severn.
Richard Bennett, the same year, took another grant of 250 acres, to be divided into small lots for a number of settlers who wished to be close together. This was located at "Towne Neck," a point now known as "Greenberry Point."
Then they returned to Virginia, with the terms upon which their followers could obtain homes in Maryland. John Hammond, the historian, thus records that agreement.
"Upon the express assurance that there would be a modification of the oaths of the office and fidelity, an enjoyment of liberty of conscience, and the privilege of choice in officers, the Virginia Non-Conformists agreed to remove to the banks of the Severn."
Hammond was a strong advocate of Governor Stone's administration. Other historians differ as to the exact promises made at that interview, but our "Rent Rolls" undoubtedly show that Governor Stone and Lord Baltimore went both anxious to have settlers upon the modified terms offered in the "Condition of Plantation" of 1648.
Hammond declares, "Maryland was considered by the Puritans as a refuge. The lord proprietor and his governor solicited, and several addresses made for their admittance and entertainment into that province, under the conditions that they should have convenient portions of land assigned, the liberty of conscience and privilege to choose their own officers."
"After their arrival," continues Hammond, "an assembly was called throughout the whole county, consisting as well of themselves as the rest, and because there were some few papists that first inhabited, these themselves, and others, being different judgements, an act was passed that all professing Jesus Christ should have equal justice." And, "At the request of the Virginia Puritans," the oath of fidelity was overhauled and this clause added to it: "Provided it infringe not the liberty of conscience."
This was confirmed in 1650.
In confirmation of Hammond's statement, our "Rent Rolls" show that Edward Lloyd, in 1649, was granted a permit to lay out one thousand acres on the western side of the Chesapeake Bay to the northward of the Patuxent River, and a small creek, about the middle of "The Cliffs,' adjoining the lands of Richard Owens, there and to the northward of the Patuxent, not formally taken up yet."
He was so desirable an immigrant that he easily secured another grant of 570 acres on the north side of the Severn, just opposite Annapolis. There he seated himself and was soon surrounded by many neighbors. Colonel William Burgess, that same year, brought up his colony to South River.
As there has been considerable discussion upon the exact location of the first settlement of the Severn, I will give the best light that comes from our Record Office. Read this grant of 1654.
"Cecilius, Absolute Lord and Proprietary of the Province of Maryland. To all persons to whom these presents come, greeting: Whereas, William Pell, George Saphir, Robert Rockhould, William Penny, Christopher Oatley, Oliver Sprye, John Lordking, and Richard Bennett, Esq., did in the 1649 and 1650, transport themselves into this province, here to inhabit and for their mutual security, did several small parcels of land then take upon a place called the "Towne Neck," to the intent they might seat close together, and whereas, the said several parcels are since by lawful purchase from the said (persons named), become the sole right of the said Richard Bennett, and whereas, the said Richard Bennett hath since alienated, and for a valuable consideration, sould the said several parcels unto our trusty and well beloved counselor, Nathaniel Utie, Esq. Now know ye, that we hereby grant unto said Nathaniel Utie all that parcel called Towne Neck, on the west side of Chesapeak Bay, and on the east side of Anne Arundel River, now again surveyed to the said Nathaniel Utie, beginning at Towne Creek, and running for breath northeast 140 perches, to a creek called Ferry Creeke, bounding on the east by a line drawn south, for length by the said creeke and bay 320 perches; on the south by a line drawn west from the end of the south line 110 perches, unto Anne Arundel River; on the west by a line drawn north from the end of the west line unto the marked line; on the north by the first northeast line-containing 250 acres," (There is no evidence from our "Rent Rolls" that any of these people were ever seated at "Towne Neck.")
Nathaniel Utie held this Towne Neck from 1654 to 1661, when he sold it to Wm. Pennington, who, that same year, sold it to Ralph Williams, of Bristol, England. It descended to his daughters, Mrs. Elizabeth Molling and Mrs. Rebecca Barber, who sold the same to Edward Perrin, of Bristol, England. It was then transferred to Edward Deaver and finally to Colonel Nicholas Greenberry, who did not come over until 1674. It was not secured by him until 1685. It then became known as "Greenberry Point." The deeds of transfers cover some thirty pages, and the time of transfers some thirty years.
Adjoining "Towne Neck," on the west, extensive tracts were taken up and held, as our "Rent Rolls" show.
Edward Lloyd, in 1650, had laid out 570 acres on the north side of the Severn, adjoining "Harrards' Line," (this may have been Howards), running with the river for a length of fifty-five perches.
In 1659, he also took up "Pendenny," upon which stands, today, the house of Captain John Worthington, now held by the late Mr. R. Tilghman Brice's family, just opposite the Naval Academy.
There are many evidences in the old foundation relics at "Pendenny Heights," to show that here dwelt Edward Lloyd, when in 1650, Governor Stone and his secretary, Nathaniel Utie, came up to the Severn and organized the new settlement.
By Governor Stone's appointment, Edward Lloyd was made commander of Providence, a title kindred to that of deputy-governor; with power to name his own Council, who, with him, were empowered to grant certificates of surveys of lands, organize courts, and direct that settlement.
Edward Lloyd's commissioners were James Homewood, Thomas Meeres, Thomas Marsh, George Puddington, Matthew Hawkins, James Merryman, and Henry Catlyn.
He built his home on the north side of the Severn, in the neck, just opposite the city of Annapolis; Henry Catlyn and James Merryman were his immediate neighbors.
These two settlers did not long remain. Their combined estates were later embraced in the Greenberry and Worthington surveys, now held by Messrs. R. Tilghman Brice and Charles E. Remson.
James Homewood and Matthew Hawkins were upon the Magothy River; George Puddington was upon South River; Thomas Marsh and Thomas Meeres were first upon Herring Creek, but later resided on the Severn.
Edward Lloyd's house was the Council Chamber. His immediate neighbors were William Crouch, on the Severn; Richard Young, on the Magothy; Ralph Hawkins, of the Magothy; Richard Ewen, of the Magothy; William Hopkins, Thomas Browne, John Browne, Henry Catlyn, John Clarke were all near the Commander upon North Severn.
George Goldsmith, and Nathaniel Proctor held lands adjoining Lloyd's "Swan Neck," upon the bay.
Captain William Fuller located on "Fuller's Survey," which is now known as "White Hall." Leonard Strong, the first historian of the Anne Arundel settlers, and his daughter Elizabeth, held 800 acres adjoining Captain Fuller.
Thomas Meeres adjoined them, holding 500 acres. This North Severn settlement was "Broad Neck," and included Colonel Greenberry's "Towne Neck."
Rev. Ethan Allen, in his historical notes of St. Annes, records: "There was a meeting house at Towne Neck; there is still to be seen the place where the chapel and burying ground was. Among the ruins is a massive slab with this inscription: 'Here lies interred the body of Mr. Roger Newman, merchant, born in London, who dwelt at Palip, in Talbot, in Maryland, twenty-five years, and departed this life the 14th of May, 1704.
"There was at this time a dissenting minister, a Mr. Davis, in the neighborhood."
Middle Neck Hundred
In 1650, there were three known settlers on the site of Annapolis, as the following grant to Thomas Todd, the shipwright, shows. "Laid out for Thomas Todd 100 acres, commencing at Oyster Shell Point, running up the river northwest 160 perches to Deep Cove, bounding on said creek 140 perches to a marked line; on the west unto the bounds of Richard Acton's land at a marked oak; on the south with a line drawn northwest by north unto the bounds of Thomas Hall's land, being a marked poplar; and with the same for thirty-five perches. Then from the end of a former line unto a creek called Todd's Creek; on the east with said river; containing one hundred acres."
One more surveyor, destined to be better known in history, was Robert Proctor, who took up "Proctor's Chance," in 1679, at a beginning tree of "Intact," on the west side of the Severn River. This tract became "Proctor's Landing," and was his residence in 1681, when he then designated his place at "town." Major Dorsey was there and had built a row of houses on "Bloombury Square," near the present new post-office. He also held houses and lots on High Street, which his window, Margaret Israel, sold to William Bladen, in 1706.
Another survey of Todd's tract seems to locate a town there in 1651. It reads: "bounding on Thomas Hall's land and on Todd's Creek, beginning at ye northeast point of "Town" and extending along the river to ye first creek to ye west and then with back lines to ye beginning." "Todd's Range" extended along the south side of the Severn, west to the head of Dorsey's Creek.
The south-side settlers followed the Severn back to Round Bay. They were James Horner, who held "Locust Neck"; Peter Porter at "Bustions Point," adjoining James Warner.
Captain John Norwood held 200 acres of "Norwood's Fancy," adjoining Thos. Meeres.
Nicholas Wyatt surveyed "Wyatt's Harbor" and "Wyatts' Hills," upon which "Belvoir" now stands, just south of, and in sight of Round Bay. Adjoining it was Thomas Gates, upon "Dorsey's Creek," near "Dorsey," taken up by the first Edward Dorsey, in partnership with Captain John Norwood.
James Warner and John Freeman were both near by; William Galloway and Thomas Browne were further west, but touching upon Round Bay.
Lawrence Richardson and the first Matthew Howard surveyed also near Round Bay.
John Collier was on "Todd's Creek," near the present site of Annapolis.
The Middle Neck settlers along the bay, north of South River, were Philip Thomas, of "Thomas Point;" Captain William Fuller, Leonard Strong, Thomas Meeres, Thomas Tolley and William James.
Upon their surveys stand, to-day, Bay Ridge and Arundel-on-the-Bay.
At the head of South River on the north side, were John Baldwin, James Warner and Henry Ridgely.
South River Hundred
In 1650, Colonel William Burgess, the merchant whose vessels brought 150 settlers, was the central figure around whom settled a band of large land-holders.
Joseph Morely held "Morely's Grove."
John Freeman, son-in-law and heir of Joseph Morely, took up at the head of South River, "Freeman's Fancy," "Freeman's Stone," "Freeman's Landing." Adjoining him were John Gaither and Robert Proctor, both heirs of Joseph Morely. They were surveyors of "Abbington," and final heirs of Freeman's and Morely's lands.
Mareen Duval, the Huguenot immigrant from Nantes, France, held a large estate around South River, viz: "Middle Plantation" and "Great Marsh." He came with Colonel William Burgess.
Captain George Puddington surveyed "Puddington Harbor," and "West Puddington." Richard Beard, brother-in-law of Colonel William Burgess, held "Beard's Habitation" on "Beard's Creek," near the site of Londontown. Neal Clarke, related to both Puddington and Beard, was an adjoining neighbor near the head of South River.
Thos. Besson, the younger, adjoined Colonel William Burgess on the south side of South River. Ellis Brown was on the south side, near Edward Selbys. Captain John Welsh held lands first upon South River and afterwards on the Severn.
Rhode River Hundred
Robert Harwood took up "Harwood," in 1657, which later descended to Abel Browne. Walter Mansfield adjoined him. Captain Thomas Besson settled on the west side. His neighbors were Thomas Sparrow, George Nettlefield, John Brewer, Edward Townhill and Colonel Nicholas Gassaway, son-in-law of Captain Thomas Besson, Sr. Captain Thomas Francis "The Ranger," was another large land-holder of Rhode River.
The West River Hundred
Roger Grosse, the popular representative, whose widow married Major John Welsh, held a large estate upon West River. His neighbors were Thomas Miles, John Watkins, Hugh and Emanuel Drew, Richard Talbott, John Browne and John Clarke. Still later the West River meeting-house of Quakers attracted a large settlement of leading Quakers, among whom were the Galloways.
Herring Creek Hundred
Samuel Chew laid out Herrington.
Thomas Marsh took up lands on the west side of Herring Creek, beginning at Parker's Branch, and running to Selby's Cove; he also held a thousand acres adjoining Richard Bennett, running up the bay. He held a tract adjoining John Norwood, running down the bay, 600 acres more. He gave the name to Marshe's Creek, so difficult to locate in the division of the two counties. Edward Selby held lands on Shelby's Cove, adjoining Thomas Marsh. He also adjoined Thomas Meeres on the west side of South River, next to John Watkins; in all some 1000 acres. William Parker adjoined Thomas Marsh on Herring Creek, and also, Richard Bennett, Sampson Warring, and Thomas Davis on the bay, holding 1200 acres. William Durand adjoined Edward Shelby, running down the bay; John Covell adjoined William Durand; Thomas Emerson adjoined William Parker; Captain Edward Carter, near Herring Creek, adjoined William Ayers, whose lands were assigned him by Thomas Marsh. Richard Ewen adjoined Richard Bennett and Richard Talbott, on Herring Creek. Richard Wells, Chirurgeon, was on the west side of Herring Bay, adjoining Stockett's Creek, holding 600 acres. The three Stockett brothers were on Stockett's Run; they did not come from Virginia. Back on the Patuxent, Colonel Richard Preston held 500 acres, and built a house which still stands; it is the oldest house in Maryland. He was an important man, in both Maryland and Virginia. Commander Robert Brooke, with his body guard of forty, was still below on the Patuxent, holding at first a whole county. Richard Bennett held thousands of acres at Herring Creek, and later as many more upon the Eastern Shore.
From these surveys, running form 100 to 1000 acres, we get a list of the most prominent settlers in 1649-50. The leaders took up land in several sections. The largest land-holders were in the southern section, where the soil was remarkably rich.
As soon as these settlers were well-seated, Governor Stone by proclamation, called a legislature in which he used these words: "and for the Puri-- to give them particular notice." This referred to the settlers just enumerated; the term "Puritan" was then a reproach, and from policy perhaps, Governor Stone left the word incomplete. About the time for assemblying the legislature, Governor Stone paid a visit to these settlers; he succeeded in getting a representation. Upon his return he made this report: "By the Lieutenant of Maryland, The Freemen of that part of this province now called Providence, being by my appointment duly summoned to this present assembly, did unanimously make choice of Mr. George Puddington and Mr. James Cox for their burgesses, I being there in person at that time." Upon the organization of the assembly, a high compliment was paid to that settlement, in the election of Mr. James Cox speaker of the house. There were fourteen members, eight of whom were Protestants who threw their influence to Mr. Cox for speaker. The assembly passed an order that the governor issue writs to summon three or four inhabitants of Anne Arundel, to meet him and the council, to consider what is necessary to be added to the levies of this year, besides those already brought in by the committee. An act was passed for fixing surveyors' charges at one pound of tobacco per acre; if above 100 are surveyed, then one-half pound per acre be charged. The expenses for the assembly to be levied from Anne Arundel County, in 1650, were:
To Mr. Puddington and Mr. James Cox, for 37 days, apiece at 50 pounds per day = 3700 pounds Boate, hand and wages = 600 pounds. Total 4,300 pounds.
An order was passed providing for a march upon the Indians for murdering an English inhabitant in Anne Arundel-to press men to make war. The charge of such war to be laid by an equal assessment on the person and estate of the inhabitants of the province. An order was passed for a levy of half a bushel of corn per poll upon every freeman in Anne Arundel, to be disposed of by the governor as he shall see fit. During that session, was passed an act for erecting Providence into a county by the name of Anne Arundel. This was the first and almost only legislative provision for erecting any county in the province. It's name was in honor of Lady Anne Arundel, daughter of Lord Arundel, of Wardour, wife of Cecilius Lord Baltimore. Induced by the murder of some English in that section, an act was passed prohibiting Indians from coming into the new county of Anne Arundel. The last important act of the session of 1650, was the oath of fidelity to Lord Baltimore.
The Protestants were in the majority in the assembly, yet they joined Governor Stone in his declaration setting forth that they enjoyed fitting freedom of conscience in Lord Baltimore's province. This act was signed by speaker Cox, George Puddington and even by William Durand, the Virginia elder who attested Leonard Strong's pamphlet. This Protestant assembly enacted that an oath of fidelity should be taken. John Langford recorded the following: "No one was banished under that law for refusing to take it." Up to this period it was evident that a judicial administration of governmental affairs had, to a certain extent, conciliated the cautious non-conformist element, which had looked with suspicion upon the oath of fidelity.
Let us now look at the government to which these people had just come. Cecilius Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore, held by charter rights, a territory with almost unrestricted privileges. All office, title, honor were in his hands; head of the church, of the military, executive and judicial powers, he could control all legislative acts. Yet the charger granted him secured to the people of Maryland "all the privileges, franchises and liberties" which other English subjects enjoyed.
Granted by a king who held to "the divine right"; modeled after the established institutions of an absolute monarch, William, the Norman, the charter of Maryland, though giving a long list of sovereign rights which made the lord proprietor absolute in his domain, contained three words above quoted, which, viewed under the light of the Magna Charta and the English Bill of Rights, were destined to put the people in control of the province even upon the Charta basis.
The ruling motive of the more influential settlers in Maryland, was a desire for greater political and religious liberty.
Others of the more restless nature were attracted by the easy and favorable terms on which land was offered.
Both classes were opposed to the extensive sovereign rights granted the lord proprietary, and were only brought into subjection by concessions to prevent uprisings. Back of these storm signals serious trouble had already threatened the proprietary of Maryland. William Clayborne, of a distinguished English family, a man of marked ability, had made a prior claim to the very territory over which Cecilius Calvert was now lord. Further than this, a war was at hand in the mother country between the king and parliament.
There were, in Maryland, influential settlers ready then to take the side of parliament; and when, at last, the parliamentary forces were victorious, and King Charles had been sacrificed in the triumph of popular rights over "divine right," the contest was to be fought out in the province of Maryland.
Parliament had declared it to be treason for any one to acknowledge Charles, the son, king, yet in the face of that declaration, Governor Green, acting for Governor Stone, had already acknowledged Charles, the Second, "the rightful heir of all his father's dominions." This unfortunate proclamation, not intended by the Lord Proprietary, gave much trouble in Maryland, ending finally in its reduction.
Legislature of 1651
Governor Stone called an assembly in 1651; to this the people of Anne Arundel sent no delegates. News had reached them that Parliament had, in 1650, passed an ordinance for the reduction of Lord Baltimore's province. Instead of sending delegates to the assembly of 1651, Commander Lloyd sent a message explaining the reason for not answering the call. That message, when forwarded to Lord Baltimore in England, gave offence.
Though not a matter of record, its tenor may be seen in the following proclamation of Lord Baltimore.
"To Governor Wm. Stone, and the Upper and Lower Houses, and all the other officers and inhabitants of the Province:
Greeting:--We can but much wonder at a message which we understand had lately been sent by one Mr. Lloyd from some lately seated at Anne Arundel, to our general assembly at St. Maries, in March last; but are unwilling to impute either to the sender or deliverer thereof, so malign a sense of ingratitude as it may seem to bear, conceiving rather that it proceeded from some apprehension in them at that time grounded upon some reports of a dissolution or resignation of our patent and right to that province, which might, perhaps, for the present, make them doubtful what to do till they had more certain intelligence thereof." Thus in a very temperate, conciliatory spirit, he continued to review the necessity for all settlers to conform to the rules and usages already established, urging that a government, divided in itself, must needs bring confusing and misery upon all. "If such divisions continue, which God forbid, then we must use our authority to compel all factious spirits to a better compliance with the lawful government; requiring you, our said lieutenant, to proceed against such disturbers, and, if continued after admunition, then to be declared enemies to the public peace.
"And, whereas, we understand that in the late rebellion of 1644, most of the records of that province being then lost, or embezzled, no enrollment remains now of divers patents of land formerly granted by us, we therefore require you to issue a proclamation requiring all persons within a certain time therein fixed, to produce to our surveyor-general, or his deputy, all such patents by which they claim land in our province; and to require our secretary to give you a list of all such patent now on record, and to require all such persons as claim land to cause them to be enrolled in our secretary's office within some convenient time, to be limited by you. And, whereas, by the third article of our last "Conditions of Plantation," dated 1649, there is allowed one hundred acres to every adventurer, or planter, for every person of British or Irish descent, transported thither, we understand that it may be prejudicial to the general good of the colony, in case so great allowance shall be long continued, causing the people to be too remote from each other; inasmuch as a few persons may take up large tracts, leaving but little opportunity for others to come, therefore, we proclaim that, after the 20th day of June, 1652, only fifty acres shall be assigned, instead of one hundred acres.
"The proportionate rents and oath of fidelity to stand as already expressed, in 1650." Dated 1651.
Following that proclamation, Governor Stone issued his call for all settlers to come forward and demand grants. As the returns from Commander Lloyd, of Anne Arundel, and Robert Vaughan, of Kent Island, were both unsatisfactory, their commissions to issue land grants were revoked.
The year 1651 ended without much change in the condition of the settlers. Parliament, however, had determined to take in hand the struggling provinces of Virginia and Maryland. Commissioners were appointed to take control. Virginia readily acquiesced and soon after, in 1652, the Virginia commissioners came to Maryland to subdue it.
Mr. John Langford states, "that Richard Bennett, who was active in procuring preachers from Boston for the Puritans of Virginia, was one of those, who, when driven out of Virginia, came and settled in Providence." Bennett, however, still retained his residence in Virginia when appointed one of the commissioners for the reduction of Maryland. In his proclamation he proposed, "that the settlers should all remain in their places, but only conform to the laws of the commonwealth of England, and not infringe the Lord Baltimore's just rights. That all the inhabitants, including the governor and council, should subscribe the test called 'the engagement.'"
Governor Stone and the rest of the officers readily assented to a portion of the requirements, but having refused to accept the proposition "that all writs should be issued in the name of 'The Keepers of the Liberty of England,'" commissioners Bennett and Claiborne demanded Stone's commission from Lord Baltimore. This then detained, and dismissing him, appointed other officers. Issuing their proclamation that all writs, warrants and other processes be made in the name of the Keepers of the Liberty of England, by authority of parliament, they named the following commissioners, one or more of whom should sign them, viz: Robert Brooke, Colonel Francis Yardley, Mr. Job. Chandler, Captain Edmund Winder, Colonel Richard Preston and Lieutenant Richard Banks. These were authorized to take in hand the government of the province. The acts of Governor Stone and his council were declared null and void.
All the records were then ordered to be placed into the hands of the above council, at Richard Preston's, where the proceedings were to be held.
Lord Baltimore's power was thus quietly obliterated. The commissioners returned to Virginia, where Bennett became governor, and Claiborne, secretary of state.
Robert Brooke was now head of the province. He was not one of the Virginia settlers, but came with his household of forty persons direct from England, bearing in his pocket the following grant from the proprietor, then in London.
"We appoint him, the said Robert Brooke, to be commander under us, and our lieutenant of our whole county, to be newly set forth next adjoining the place he shall so settle and plant in, giving him all the perquisites of a county commander, with power to appoint six or more inhabitants to advise with him."
The county thus set off was the present county of Calvert, but then named Charles County.
The location of Robert Brooke, was first at "Dela Brooke," but still later at "Brooke Place," upon Battle Creek, about forty miles from the mouth of the Patuxent. Two years from his landing he, too, was acting with opposing settlers. Governor Bennett and Secretary Claiborne, of Virginia, soon returned to Maryland to watch the progress of their revolution. Knowing that Governor Stone was popular with the people, they sought him and offered the office of governor, which Stone accepted under certain conditions.
Thomas Hatton, his late secretary, was also accepted, who, with Robert Brooke, Captain John Price, Job. Chandler, Colonel Francis Yardley, Colonel Richard Preston, were declared the governor's council. Colonel Claiborne renewed his claim to Kent Island. Governor Stone next issued a commission to Captain William Fuller, purporting to be in the name of "The Keepers of the Liberty of England," as commander-in-chief under him of all forces for a speedy march against the Eastern Shore Indians, giving him full power to levy forces in Anne Arundel County. The people of Anne Arundel were not in favor of going against the Eastern Shore Indians. Their reasons were given in Commander Fuller's letter to Governor Stone. "Sir, I find the inhabitants of these parts wholly disaffected, not to the thing, but the time of year, on account of a want of vessels and the frozen waters."
In 1652, Governor Stone issued his proclamation that information from Captain William Fuller of the want of soldiers, apparel and the unseasonable time induced him to relinquish the movement and discharge the forces raised." In the meantime, an important treaty was that year made "at the River of Severn" with the Susquehannock Indians, by which Richard Bennett, Edward Lloyd, Thomas Marsh, William Fuller and Leonard Strong, commissioners upon the part of the English settlers, had secured all the land lying on the west side of the Chesapeak Bay, from the Patuxent River unto Palmer's Island, which island was recorded as belonging to William Claiborne, along with the Isle of Kent. That treaty was pointedly indicative that the two chief owners of the land of the Province, were by those commissioners, considered to be the Susquehannock Indians, and Captain William Claiborne, of Virginia. This treaty was made under the big popular on College Green. These men preferred to secure their rights and protection by means of a treaty rather than through the hazards of war.
This act showed wisdom in an age when might generally secured right. That treaty also shows the cause of their delay in taking up grants from the proprietary. They were already seated upon lands which their Commander Edward Lloyd, had been authorized to have surveyed for them. The claim to the province was known to be in dispute. Parliament was in control in England, and they were more in sympathy with the parliamentary leaders than with the faith and requirements of the proprietary. They saw the coming conflict and awaited its results, believing that the final issues would be more favorable to them.
These are the unwritten reasons that actuated the settlers of Anne Arundel. Whether they were right or wrong, the history of succeeding events showed that their judgment was well founded, for even though the proprietary held his patent under Cromwell, his son and successor was destined to lose it, by rebellions still more active.
We come now to the clash of arms for the mastery of contending claims. Leonard Strong, the settler's historian, and John Langford, the historian of Lord Baltimore, in their respective publications, give us some contemporary records of that contest. Strong's pamphlet was "Babylon's Fall", and Langford's was "A Refutation of Babylon's Fall."
Strong declared that John Langford, and not Governor Stone, had invited them to come. "They were received and protected, but an oath to Lord Baltimore was urged upon them soon after their coming up from Virginia, which, if they did not take, they must have no land or abiding place in the Province." This was the oath of fidelity attached to the "Conditions of Plantation," issued by the proprietary in 1648. Strong further adds, "That they must swear to uphold that government and those officers who were sworn to countenance and uphold the Roman Catholic Church."
John Langford in answer wrote, in 1655: "That there was nothing promised by my lord or Captain Stone to them, but what was performed. They were first acquainted by Captain Stone before they came there, with that oath of fidelity, which was to be taken by those who would have any land there from his lordship. That the term were well known, and they were not forced to come or stay. He denied that the oath "was to uphold the Roman Catholic Church," but urged that the officers were Protestants, and that the oath of fidelity bound no man to maintain any other jurisdiction of my lord's than what is granted in the patent. He boldly charged Mr. Strong's people with a desire "to exercise more absolute dominion than my Lord Baltimore ever did. Not content to enjoy, as they did, freedom of conscience for themselves, they were anxious for the liberty to debar others from like freedom."
The next witnesses are the settlers themselves, under their own names, in 1653, in formal and dignified appeal, as follows:
Petitions to the Commissions of the Commonwealth 1653
To Hon. Richard Bennett and Colonel Wm. Claiborne, Esqs., Commissioners of the Commonwealth of England, from Virginia and Maryland." It was styled, "The Humble Petition of the Commissioners and Inhabitants of Severne, alias Anne Arundel County, Showwith," and reads: "That, whereas, we were invited and encouraged by Captain Stone, the Lord Baltimore's Governor of Maryland, to remove ourselves and estates into the province, with promise of enjoying the liberty of conscience in matter of religion, and all other privileges of English subjects. And your petitioners did, upon this ground, with great cost, labor and danger, remove ourselves, and have been at great charges in building and clearing. Now the Lord Baltimore imposeth an oath upon us by proclamation, which, if we do not take in three months, all of our lands are to be seized, for his lordship's use. This oath, we conceive not agreeable to the terms on which we came hither. We have complained of this grievance to the late Hon. Council of State, which never received an answer, such as might clear the lawlessness of such, but an aspersion cast upon us of being factious fellows. In consideration whereof, we humbly tend to our condition intreating your honors to relieve us according to the power, wherewith you are intrusted by the Commonwealth of England. Severn River, January 3rd, 1663."
This petition was signed by Edward Lloyd, and seventy-seven others of the house-keepers, freemen, and inhabitants of the Severn.
The people of North Patuxent sent a similar petition, dated March the 1st, 1653, signed by Richard Preston and sixty others.
On March the 12th, 1653, Bennett and Claiborne returned an answer, encouraging the petitioners of the Severn and Patuxent, "to continue in your due obedience to the Commonwealth of England and not to be drawn aside by any pretense of power from Lord Baltimore's agents, or any other, whatsoever to the contrary."
Proclamation of 1653
Governor Stone, in 1653, issued his final call for taking up lands under the conditions of plantations, as then existing.
In that proclamation, in the face of his promise to the Parliamentary Commissioners, he declared that the oath of fidelity and writs "must be in the proprietor's name." During that year the Little Parliament had surrendered its powers to Cromwell, the Protector. Governor Stone issued his proclamation in compliance with the change. The next strike at the settlers of Anne Arundel was in 1654, when Robert Brooke, the commander of Charles County, because of his support of them, was deprived of his command by the erection of Calvert County out of the territory of Charles County. This change was intended to cripple the power of Robert Brooke, the commander. Governor Stone next charged the settlers of Anne Arundel with drawing away the people, and leading them into faction, rebellion, and sedition against Lord Baltimore.
This charge cause Bennett and Claiborne to return to Maryland, to look after Governor Stone. They claimed to come under authority of the Lord Protector. But Leonard Strong, even, did not state that they bore an order from Cromwell, and Mr. Langford denied that they had any authority from the Protector. They, however, went before Governor Stone and his Council, who returning uncivil answers, called together his men, to surprise said Commissioners. The latter "in a quite and peaceable manner, with some people of Patuxent and Severn, went over on the Calvert side of the Patuxent , and then proceeded into St. Mary's, meeting no opposition. There Captain Stone sent a message that he would treat with them in the woods; fearful of the coming of a party from Virginia, Stone condescended to lay down his power, and submit again to such a government as the commissioners should appoint under the authority of the protector." On July 22nd, 1654, the commissioners, then at Patuxent, issued this order: "For the public administration of justice, Captain William Fuller, Mr. Richard Preston, Mr. William Durand, Mr. Edward Lloyd, Captain John Smith, Mr. Leonard Strong, Mr. John Lawson, Mr. John Hatch, Mr. Richard Wells and Mr. Richard Ewen-with the first three of the Quorum. They were empowered to call an assembly at the Patuxent, the home of Colonel Preston, but all who bore arms, against parliament, or were of the Roman Catholic faith, were to be deprived of vote. William Durand was made Secretary of State, and Mr. Thomas Hatton was ordered to deliver to him the papers of his office.
The assembly met at Patuxent, October 20th, 1654, and sat as one house. Colonel Richard Preston was made speaker; Thomas Hatten and Job. Chandler, delegates from St. Mary's, refused to sit because they had taken an oath to Lord Baltimore. They were taxed with the necessary expense to elect their successors. It was then declared that "henceforth all power in this province is held by the protector and parliament." Further, "that no Catholic can be protected in his faith, but be restrained from the exercise thereof."
This assembly further enacted that "all those that transport themselves or others into this province, have a right to land by virtue of their transportation. That all may enter their rights of land in their respective courts, and also, may enter caveat for such a particular tract of land as they shall take up."
This revolt culminated in an act making "null and void" the proclamation of Lord Baltimore which read, "that all who would not submit to his authority should be declared rebels."
This act meant war, and war was now at hand.
(Source: History of Anne Arundel and Howard Counties in Maryland, Chapter 1; Transcribed by Susan Geist; Proofread by Vicki Daniel)