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James W. (James Walter) Thomas.

Chronicles of colonial Maryland, with illustrations online

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CHRONICLES



OF



COLONIAL MARYLAND



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS



BY

JAMES WALTER THOMAS



Member of the Maryland Historical Society



THE EDDY PRESS CORPORATION
CUMBERLAND, MD.



Copyright 1913

James Walter Thomas

All rights reserved



1198817



PREFACE

TPHIS work may be classified as an historical review of Maryland,
anterior to and during the American Revolution, though its Author be-
stows upon it the more modest title— Chronicles of Colonial Maryland.
His chief object has been to explore and develop historic fields which have
hitherto either|been wholly neglected, or have received but scant notice at
the hands of historians. This does not apply to the first chapter, the ob-
ject of which was to re-locate a cherished landmark, "once known, but
forgotten" — the historic island of Saint Clement's — and thus rescue from
oblivion, the spot consecrated as the first landing place of the Maryland
colonists; as well, also, to identify the exact point of landing at the place
of its permanent settlement. The Author, while conscious of the laborious
research and painstaking care bestowed upon it, fully realizes that a work,
so largely one of original research, is inevitably not without imperfections.
In submitting it, therefore, to the public, he does so with the assuring hope
that the learned and generous will appreciate the difficulties attending the
undertaking, and will accord consideration and justice to the motive which
animated this humble tribute to his native State.

J. W. T.
Cumberland, Maryland,

March 27th, 1913.



Contents



CHAPTER I.

PLACE OF LANDING OF THE MARYLAND COLONISTS.

Place of first landing named Saint Clement's — Impressions of the
Colonists on seeing the Country — First Mass celebrated in Maryland —
Identity of Saint Clement's Island rescued — Place of Permanent Settle-
ment selected — Place of Landing identified — View of — Name bestowed
on first Maryland Town — Natives — Origin of certain Indian Names, 9-18

CHAPTER II.

THE FIRST CAPITAL OF MARYLAND.

Location — Beauties of Situation — Baltimore's Instructions concern-
ing it — Character of Improvements — Fort Saint Mary's — Location of
principal Streets — Lots, and Houses — State House — Jail — "Old Mul-
berry" — Copley Vault — Taverns — First Water Mill — Roman Catholic
Church — Protestant Church — Baltimore's Home — 'The Castle".. 19-47

CHAPTER III.

the first capital of Maryland — Continued.

First General Assembly — Organization of — Early struggles for po-
litical freedom — Character of Legislation — Ingle's Rebellion — Religious
freedom — Death of Governor Leonard Calvert — Life and character of —
His Descendants — Battle of the Severn — Puritan reign — Fendall's Rebel-
lion — Effort to have Capital removed — Maryland Coin — Protestant Rev-
olution — Royal Government — Removal of Capital — Downfall of Saint
Mary's — Calvert Monument — An historic spot 48-68

CHAPTER IV.

RELIGIOUS TOLERATION IN COLONIAL MARYLAND.

Religious Toleration established from the date of the settlement —
A Cornerstone on which the state was founded — Its Rigid Enforce-
ment — Maryland the first home of — The Act concerning Religion —
Its scope and purpose — How passed — The Religious Toleration of
Rhode Island — Roger Williams, its supposed patron 69-76



CHAPTER V.

SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE IN COLONIAL MARYLAND.

It fell to the destiny of Maryland to work out this great problem —
How it was accomplished — Baltimore encountered the opposition of
his church — How he met it — Had no confidence in Jesuits — A great
principle in political economy and in the development of civiliza-
tion 77-82

CHAPTER VI.

LAND TENURE OF COLONIAL MARYLAND.

Maryland a Palatine — Rights and Powers of a Court Palatine —
Character of Tenure — -How Land could be obtained — To whom, and
in what quantity granted — Nature of the grants — Statutes of Mortmain
— Remnants of Feudal Tenure — Fealty — Escheats — Fines — Relief — Quit-
rents — The latter a large source of revenue to Proprietary — Difficulties
in their payment — Confiscation of Proprietary rights — Contest among
Heirs of last Proprietary — Curious data from Land Office 83-99

CHAPTER VII

LAND TENURE OF COLONIAL MARYLAND.

Methods of transferring Land — Livery of Seisen — Indentures —
Deeds of Conveyance — Acknowledgments — Descent of Land — Manors —
Primogeniture — Entailment — Influence in shaping Institutions, and hab-
its of people — Its tendency aristocratic 100-1 10

CHAPTER VIII

JUDICIAL SYSTEM OF COLONIAL MARYLAND.

Gradual development of the system — Justices of the Peace — County
Court — Manorial Courts — Prerogative Court — Chancery Court — Admir-
alty Court — Assize Courts 111-136

CHAPTER IX.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM OF COLONIAL MARYLAND.

Provincial Court — Origin of — Justices of — Jurisdiction of — Chief
Judicial Tribunal — Court of Appeals — Appeal to King and Council —
Early Reports — Characteristics of Provincial Judiciary 137-153

CHAPTER X.

CHARACTERISTICS OF MARYLAND ESTABLISHMENT.

Protestant Episcopal Church in Early Maryland — Became estab-
lished Church — Nature of Establishment — Parishes — English ecclesias-
tical law not in force — Induction, its uses and abuses — Church tax —
Contest over — Abolished — Glebes — Church Wardens — Clerks — Regis-
trars 154-189



CHAPTER XL
some of Maryland's early churches.

Division of Province into Parishes — Number in each County — Wil-
liam and Mary Parish — King and Queen — All Faith — Saint Andrew's —
Prince George's — Marriage Records of Latter — Newtown Church — Saint
Inigoe's — Saint Joseph's — Sacred Heart — Saint Aloysius — Saint John's,
190-222

CHAPTER XII.

THE GREAT SEAL OF MARYLAND AND HER FLAG.

Great Seal unique — Heraldic in design — Description of — Those in
use before the Revolution — Those after — Lesser Seals at arms — Impres-
sions of on Money — Present Great Seal — Origin of Flag — Design of—
Early uses of — Beauty of — Great Seal of United States — Origin of The
Stars and Stripes 22.2-237

CHAPTER XIII.

FORCE AND VALUE OF THE MARYLAND LINE IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

Formation of the Maryland Line — Well appointed and organized-
Commanded by Colonel William Smallwood — Maryland Rifle Com-
panies — Maryland Line ordered to New York — Made part of the Divis-
ion of Brigadier-General Stirling — In Battle of Long Island — Its Hero-
ism — Its terrific charges — Saved the American Army — Covered Wash-
ington's Retreat from Long Island — At advance posts at Harlem— Or-
dered to cover retreat from New York, after failure of other troops—
In battles of Harlem and White Plains — Destruction of enemy by Mary-
land and Virginia riflemen at Fort Washington — Maryland Line cov-
ered Washington's retreat through New Jersey — Crossed the Delaware
with Washington — In battles of Trenton and Princeton — Badly thinned
and shattered by end of the season.

CAMPAIGN OF 1 777.

The Maryland Line re-enforced and increased to eight battalions —
Divided into two brigades — Commanded by Brigadier-General Small-
wood and Brigadier-General De Boore — Part of General Sullivan's
Division — In Battle of Brandywine — In Battle of Germantown — Drove
British Light Infantry from the field — In winter quarters under Small-
wood, at Wilmington to protect the State of Delaware — Captured val-
uable prizes.

CAMPAIGN OF 1778.

Maryland Line again re-enforced — In Battle of Monmouth — Held
back enemy until Washington could form — Ordered up to secure the
day — Marched to Middlebrook to protect the State of New Jersey.



CAMPAIGN OF 1779-

Maryland's quota for campaign of 1779 — Depreciation in currency
compelled General Smallwood to ask that better provision be made for
support of the Maryland Line — Ordered to Elizabethtown, New Jersey —
Major Stewart of Maryland Line in capture of Stony Point — The
Maryland Line at Paulus Hook (Jersey City) — Formed right wing
of army at Morristown.

CAMPAIGN OF 1780.

Maryland asked to furnish 1400 additional men — Maryland Line
sent South to re-enforce Southern department, under General Baron
DeKalb — Its passage through Maryland — The folly of Gate's line of
march — Battle of Camden — Terrific charge of — Whole British force
brought against it — Flight of Gates — Fall of DeKalb — Loss to line heavy
— Smallwood in command — Gist hurried to Maryland for recruits.

CAMPAIGN OF I781.

General Nathaniel Greene superseded Gates in command of South-
ern department — Smallwood promoted to Major-General — Was retained
as second in command — The Maryland Line under command of Colonel
Otho Holland Williams — The Maryland Line at the battle of Camden —
Colonel John Eager Howard a hero — Greene's masterly retreat — Wil-
liam's splendid strategy in covering it — Battle of Guilford Court House
— Other strongholds of the South — Eutaw Springs — Maryland Line
charges the Buff's — Desperate struggle — Won the admiration of the
enemy — Smallwood in Virginia with Lafayette — Yorktown — Maryland
line turns its face homeward — Disbanded — An essential factor in the
war for Independence — Justly treated by a grateful State .... 238-302

CHAPTER XIV.

THE WESTERN RESERVE AND MARYLAND'S PART IN IT.

A vast domain — Grasping claims of Virginia, New York, Connec-
ticut and Massachusetts — Maryland rose to the occasion — Her position
towards it — Resolute way in which she pursued it — Her claim ultimately
sustained — An immense folkland thus obtained for the new Confeder-
ation — Its acquisition speedily led to far-reaching results — Cornerstone
of the American Republic 303-314

CHAPTER XV

CHRONICLES OF SAINT MARY'S COUNTY.

Oldest County organization — Theatre of Maryland's early struggles
— Beauties of — Resources of— Boundary of — Early civil divisions —
County seat— Other early towns— Ports of Entry— Roads — First mail
route — Historic value of Will Records — Traditions — Early School Sys-
tem—Charlotte Hall— Revolution— Civil Officers 3i5"347



CHAPTER XVI.

CHRONICLES OF SAINT MARY'S COUNTY.

Historic places — Character of improvements — Governor Calvert's
Manors — Cross Manor — Mattapany — Susquehanna — Sotterly — Fenwick's
Manor — De La Brooke — Trent Hall — The Plains — Calvert side of Pa-
tuxent — Deep Falls — Bashford — Notley Hall — Brambly — Bushwood —
Saint Clement's Manor — Tudor Hall — Portobello 348-377

APPENDIX.

Letter, 1799, giving account of opening of "Copley Vault," at
Saint Mary's City— Topographical Map of Maryland's First Capital,
showing location of principal lots and house 379-381



Illustrations



Page

Chancellor's Point 17

Saint Mary's Bluff, site of First State House 29

Maryland's First State House 31

Great Seal of Maryland under the Proprietary Government.... 227

Reverse of the Great Seal used by Cecelius, Lord Baltimore 228

Lesser Seal at Arms 229

Plate for Stamping Seal on Money 230

Present Great Seal of Maryland 233

The Maryland Flag 237

Map of Leonard-Town 325

Map of Saint Mary's City Appendix



Colonial Maryland

CHAPTER I
Place of Landing of the Maryland Colonists



QN the 5th of March, 1634, the Ark and the Dove, bearing
the representatives of the two great principles — "politi-
cal freedom and religious peace", for which Maryland became
renowned — after a long and eventful voyage from the old to
the new world, entered the Potomac River. 1

Charmed with the genial climate, picturesque landscape
and majestic waters that greeted them, Governor Leonard
Calvert and his companions began naming the places as they
passed, calling the southern part, at the mouth of the river,
Saint Gregory 2 (now Smith's Point) and the northern poini
(now Point Lookout) Saint Michael's. 3

Sailing up the river amid the consternation of the Indians,
and by the "light of their council fires, which blazed through
the land," they anchored at an island which they named Saint

1 "Relatio Itineris in Marylandiam." — The Report of Father
Andrew White, one of the Maryland Colonists, to his superiors at
Rome, April, 1634; discovered by Rev. Wm. McSherry in the archives
of the "Domus Professa," and published by the Maryland Historical
Society; "Relation of Maryland," dated Saint Mary's, May, 1634, pub-
lished in London, 1634, and republished as "Shea's Early Southern
Tracts," No. 1 ; "Relation of Maryland," published in London, in 1635,
and republished, with map of the country, by Joseph Sabin, of New
York.

2 Ibid.

3 The pleasing impressions which the Maryland Colonists formed
of their new country and surroundings, may be gathered from the fol-
lowing extracts from Father White's report of the voyage and landing:
"The country is not without such things as contribute to prosperity and



io COLONIAL MARYLAND

Clement's. 1 This island, as described at the time, was thickly
wooded with cedars, sassafras and nut trees, and abounded in
herbs and flowers, but had such a sloping shore that a landing
could only be effected by wading. 2 It is twenty-six miles from
the mouth of the Potomac, lies directly above Saint Clement's
Bay, and half a mile from the Maryland shore.

Leaving the Ark and the greater part of the colonists
there, Governor Calvert spent some days exploring the coun-
try and treating with the Indians, ascending the river as high
as Piscataway, nearly opposite Mount Vernon. During his
absence "a court of guard" was kept at Saint Clement's, while
others of the colonists were occupied in putting together a
barge, the parts for which they had brought with them, and
in getting out material for a palisado. 3 On his return, prepa-
rations were made for religious ceremony, and on the 25th of

pleasure." "The soil seems remarkably fertile, is dark and not hard, to
the depth of a foot, and overlays a rich, red clay." "Fine groves of trees
appear, not chocked with briars or bushes and undergrowth, but grow-
ing at intervals, as if planted by the hand of rrian." There are "straw-
berries, vines, sassafras, acorns, and walnuts;" also, "deer, beavers,
and squirrels," and "an infinite number of birds of various colors, such
as eagles, crows, swans, geese, turkeys, partridges, and ducks." "Nu-
merous springs furnish a supply of water." "Never have I beheld a
larger or more beautiful river (than the lower Potomac). The Thames
seems a mere rivulet in comparison with it; it is not disfigured with
swamps, but has firm land on each side." The Saint George's (Saint
Mary's) River "has two harbors, capable of containing three hundred
ships of the largest size." "The natives are very tall, and well propor-
tioned; their skin is naturally rather dark, and they make it uglier by
staining it, generally with red paint, mixed with oil to keep off the mos-
quitoes." "The soles of their feet are as hard as horn, and they tread
on thorns and briars without being hurt." "The race are of a frank and
cheerful disposition, and understand any matter when it is stated to
them ; they have a keen sense of taste and smell, and in sight, too, they
surpass the Europeans. They live for the most part, on a kind of paste,
which they call Pone and Omini, both of which are made of Indian
corn, and sometimes they add fish, or what they have procured by hunt-
ing or fowling. They are especially careful to refrain from wine or

1 Ibid. » Ibid.

3 Relation of Maryland, 1634.



THE LANDING u

March (the day of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary),
1634, among the trees and flowers, they celebrated, at Saint
Clement's, the first mass in Maryland. They then erected a
great cross, "hewn out of a tree," as a "trophy to Christ,"
and as an emblem of Maryland's christian faith. 1 After this,
with solemn ceremonies, they took formal possession of the
country for "our Saviour and for our Sovereigne Lord the
King of England." 2

It should here be noted that it is singularly unfortunate
that historians have fallen into the grave error of asserting
that the Island of Saint Clement's, thus consecrated as the
landing place of the pilgrims of Maryland, has long since
yielded to the ravages of the insidious and relentless surf, and
has almost disappeared — an error resulting apparently from
a misapprehension of the location of the island and the
assumption that it was the same as Heron Island, nearby, but
more inland and immediately at the mouth of Saint Clement's
Bay, and which, well authenticated tradition says, for more
than a century and a half has been practically washed away.
The pioneer Maryland historian, Bozman, 3 left the matter in
doubt. Later, Dalrvmple, in his valuable annotation of "The
Relatio Itineris in Marylandiam", and who appears to have
made it the subject of personal investigation, concluded that it

warm drinks, and are not easily persuaded to taste them." "They run
to us of their own accord, with a cheerful expression on their faces, and
offer us what they have taken in hunting or fishing," sometimes bringing
"oysters, boiled or roasted." "They cherish generous feelings towards
us, and make a return for whatever kindness you may have shown
them." "They live in houses built in an oblong, oval shape. Light is
admitted into these through the roof, by a window a foot and a half
long, this also serves to carry off the smoke, for they kindle the fire in
the middle of the floor, and sleep around it. Their Kings, however, and
chief men, have private apartments of their own, and beds, made by
driving four posts in the ground and arranging poles above them hori-
zontally." "One of these cabins has fallen to me." "It has been fitted
up" as a temporary place of worship, "and you may call this the first
chapel of Maryland."

1 Relatio Itineris.

2 Relation of Maryland, 1634.

3 Bozman's History of Maryland, p. 27.



12 COLONIAL MARYLAND

was Heron Island on which the landing was made and to which
the name of Saint Clement's was affixed. As recorded by
him, "the name has disappeared and almost the whole of the
island has been washed away by the river. * * * All that is
left of it is a sand bank of about ten acres". 1 Still later
authors, among them Scharf, Bryant, and even the careful
and painstaking Brown have united in the confounding of
Heron Island with Saint Clement's, and thus recording it as
a lamentable, but nevertheless an historical fact, that the spot
on which the colonists of Maryland first set foot upon her
soil, and proclaimed the right of sovereignty over her domain,
— than which none should be more sacred to the memory of
her people — no longer exists either in fact or in name. 2

They are not one and the same. A chronicle of the land-
ing says, "they sayled up the river till they came to Heron
Island (so-called from the large number of birds there of
that name) which is about 14 leagues, and there came to
anchor under an island near unto it which they called Saint
Clement's." 3 A map of that time, 4 and also one of later date, 5
as well as the early land grants of the land nearest these
islands, 6 not only confirm this as to the separate identity of
the two, but show that their relative position at that day was
the same that the remnant of Heron Island bears to-day to the
undiminished proportions of Saint Clement's. In name only
has it changed. The first grant of Saint Clement's Island was
to Dr. Thomas Gerrard in 1639, when it was included in the
grant of Saint Clement's Manor. From him, through inter-
marriage of his daughter Elizabeth, with Colonel Nehemiah
Blackiston, it passed to the Blackistons, and from long posses-
sion in them, it came to be called Blackiston's Island, the
name it bears to-day. It is true. Father White and the Rela-

1 Relatio Itineris, Dalrymple's note, p. 104.

2 Scharf , History of Maryland, 1, p. 74; Brown, History of Mary-
land, p. 23; Bryant, History of United States, 1, p. 492.

3 Relation of Maryland, 1634.

4 Map in Relation of Maryland, 1635. B Maps, 1670, Shea, p. 45.

e Patents to Wm. Britton for Little Britton, and Thomas Gerrard
for Saint Clement's Manor, 1639 in Land Office, Annapolis.



THE LANDING 13

tion of 1634, the authorities perhaps, by which Maryland his-
torians have been misled, say the landing was made on the
first one of the group called Heron Islands which the colonists
reached, but they clearly meant the first one of the three
islands which lie in the Potomac, between Saint Clement's Bay
and the Wicomico River, and known as Saint Clement's,
(Blackiston's) Saint Katherine's, and Saint Margaret's.

The Relation of 1634, indeed, practically establishes the
identity of these islands as being the same as those above
mentioned. It says, "the first of those islands we called
Saint Clement's; the second, Saint Katherine's, and the third
Saint Cecelia's," now Saint Margaret's. It is, happily, a fact
that Saint Katherine's Island has always retained the name first
bestowed upon it. At the time they were named, it was the
second in the trio, and lay above Saint Clement's — to-day its
position is second, and it lies next above Blackiston's Island.
It would therefore, have been a physical impossibility to have
named the islands in the order in which they stand, and to
have placed Saint Katherine's second in the line, without the
island now known as Blackiston's being the first in that course,
and the one lying next below it. Again, in 1678, a new
patent was issued for Saint Clement's Manor, and the three
islands, in the language of the patent, "lying in the Potomac
River, at the mouth of the Wiccocomoco River, called by the
names of Saint Clement's Island, Saint Katherine's Island,
and Saint Margaret's Island," were included in the grant, 1
which three islands are there to-day, and known as Blackis-
ton's, Saint Katherine's, and Saint Margaret's.

It should be noted that Heron Island — now scarcely dis-,
cernible — which lies more inland, and somewhat out of the
direct course in sailing up the river, was most likely very
diminutive and practically valueless even at that date, as no
patent appears ever to have been issued for it. It was also,
apparently, deemed too insignificant for a new name when
bestowing names upon the three lying further out in the river,

1 Liber 20, p. 5, Land Office.



i 4 COLONIAL MARYLAND

and it to-day retains its first name — Heron — the one by which
the entire group was originally known.

The records also of the devises and alienations of the island
covering a period of more than a century, refer to it alternately
as Blackiston's or Saint Clement's Island, which, with a direct
chain of title from the Lord Proprietary to the present time,
incontestably establishes the fact, that the beautiful Black-
iston's Island of to-day, gracefully slumbering upon the bosom
of the lower Potomac, is the historic Saint Clement's Island
of the past. 1

It is also worthy of note that Saint Clement's has passed
into history as possessing, at the time of the landing, an area
of four hundred acres, the result, perhaps, of an error in the
copy of Father White's report at Rome, the authority for the
statement. 3 By the return of the Surveyor General, in 1639,
five years only after the narrative was written, it contained
eighty acres, 3 which is about its size today. Father White
most probably said it contained four score, and not four hun-
dred acres.

Before the colonists left England, Lord Baltimore sent to
Governor Leonard Calvert a set of instructions for the govern-
ment of the colony upon their arrival in Maryland, in which
he urges him in selecting the place of settlement, that his
chief care be "to make choice of a place first, that is probable
to be healthfull and fruitfull; next, that it be easily fortified,

1 Patent to Thomas Gerrard, 1639 Liber 1, p. 48, and Justinian Ger-
rard, 1678, Liber 20, p. 5, Land Office; judgment in suit, Nehemiah
Blackiston vs. Justinian Gerrard, 1686, Provincial Court Records, Liber
D. S. A., p. 532; will, Elizabeth (Blackiston) Guibert, Liber 14, p. 224,



Online LibraryJames W. (James Walter) ThomasChronicles of colonial Maryland, with illustrations → online text (page 1 of 35)