|Birthplace:||Admington (present Shipston-on-Stour), Warwickshire, England, (Present UK)|
|Death:||Died in Aquia Harbour, Stafford County, Virginia Colony, (Present USA)|
|Place of Burial:||Brent Family Cemetery at Peace Plantation, Aquia Harbour, Stafford County, VA, USA|
|Occupation:||First female lawyer|
|Managed by:||Ben M. Angel|
Matching family tree profiles for Margaret Brent
About Margaret Brent
Three hundred fifty years ago, a strong-willed, intelligent woman faced the Assembly of colonial Maryland in St. Mary's City with an outrageous demand. Mistress Margaret Brent asked to be a voting representative. The idea was unthinkable. No matter that she was a highly regarded landholder and civic activist. She was a woman. Her request was rejected out of hand. When an irritated Lord Baltimore-Cecil Calvert, the colony's proprietor, who remained in England-heard of her audacity, he was outraged. Yet ironically, it was Margaret Brent who would end up protecting his lords-hip's venture in the New World.
She is best known for being the first woman in America to request the right to vote. But her main contribution may have been the decisive role she played in Maryland history, single-handedly saving the colony at a critical moment. Unfortunately, much of her story is lost. No journal ha s been found that would give us her own words; no portrait was ever painted . Writers have variously described her as a fiery redhead, a large woman with a knobby nose and jutting chin and an "amazing Amazon." Whether she was plain or pretty, serious or witty, greedy or generous, we may never know. What we do know is that she was unusually competent and outspoken, with shrewd business sense and strong diplomatic and leadership skills.
•Name: Margaret BRENT
•Birth: 1601 in Admington, Gloucestershire, England
•Death: MAY 1671 in Westmoreland, VA
Pete Faoro & Shirley Calvert-Faoro
Visit "The Calvert Chronicles" at
"Anne's sister, Margaret, was a remarkable, prominent and colorful character in her own right: an attorney (!) and very vocal advcate of womens' right to vote. She served both as Leonard's personal attorney and as Lord Baltimore's (Cecil) representative to the legislative body.
As regards your question specifically, I only know that the Brents, quite aside from association with the Calverts, were a large and very influential family both in England and in Maryland. Also quite controversial - Margaret was not particularly different from her relatives in that respect. It is highly likely that Brent descendants remain in the Maryland / Virginia region."
"Leonard was given substantial leeway in achieving the objectives set for him by his older brother. Leonard carved a society out of the rough woods and swamps of the new world amidst the almost constant hostility of the Virginians. Where there were forests before he arrived, there were communities and farms and estates when he died, leaving as his executrix his sister-in-law (and attorney) Margaret Brent (9) , a powerful colonial landowner who, because of her remarkable business and legal acumen, has been called North America's first feminist. "
"Margaret Brent was the sole executor of Leonard Calvert's Will on June 9, 1647. She earned a place in the history books by casting a vote in the Maryland Legislature (it was called something other than legislature in 1647).
The verdict of history is that Margaret Brent managed Leonard Calvert's in such a manner as to secure the peace and the future of the Maryland colony. Unfortunately, Leonard's nephew the 3rd Lord Baltimore didn't see it that way. He was furious about the large sums of money which had been spent and generally was "mad as hell" at the Brents."
from E.A. Davis research
BRENT, MARGARET, was born in England about 1600 and died in Maryland in 1661.
She came to Maryland with her brothers in November 1638, and with them, in 1640, received a grant of land on Kent Island, which was called the "Manor of Kent Fort."
Maryland was then the proprietary colony of Cecilius, "Absolute Lord and Proprietary of the Provinces of Maryland and Avalon, Lord Baron of Baltimore" in the peerage of Ireland. His residence was generally in England, and he never visited Maryland.
Under the laws of England the colony was administered by Governors, his representatives. Leonard Calvert, brother of Lord Baltimore, was the first Governor.
Mistress Margaret Brent enjoyed the confidence of Governor Calvert, for she was a woman of influence and powers in the colony, and held estates in her own right, which were increased by a bequest from Thomas White who had vainly sought her hand in marriage.
On various occasions she acted as attorney for her brothers; but interest centres around her principally as the first woman to demand the right to vote in an American colony or state. She also sought a seat in the Colonial Assembly, which she was permitted to address on several occasions. Her claim was based on the fact that she was sole executrix under the will of Governor Calvert, who died June 21, 1647.
She entered the General Assembly at Fort St. John's on January 21, 1648, to demand one vote as a planter, along with other planters and a second vote as Lord Baltimore's representative, as executrix of the late Governor's estates, and also of Lord Baltimore's estates, which the Governor had administered, and which she now held in right of executrix. Her claim was refused by the Assembly, which sat as a court, but she was permitted to address it at that time, and frequently thereafter in Lord Baltimore's interests.
Upon his sending from England a letter objecting to her course of action, the Assembly formally advised him that she was "the ablest man among them."
Notwithstanding her difficulties with Governor Thomas Green, Leonard Calvert's successor, he appealed to her to pay the late Governor's indebtedness to some soldiers, which she promptly did. She stands out as a fascinating, brilliant, daring woman, who displayed unusual courage and ability.
First Lady Of the American Bar
(From: The Washington Post. Dec. 9, 1998)
Three hundred fifty years ago, a strong-willed, intelligent woman faced the Assembly of colonial Maryland in St. Mary's City with an outrageous demand. Mistress Margaret Brent asked to be a voting representative.
The idea was unthinkable. No matter that she was a highly regarded landholder and civic activist. She was a woman. Her request was rejected out of hand.
When an irritated Lord Baltimore-Cecil Calvert, the colony's proprietor, who remained in England-heard of her audacity, he was outraged. Yet ironically, it was Margaret Brent who would end up protecting his lordship's venture in the New World.
She is best known for being the first woman in America to request the right to vote. But her main contribution may have been the decisive role she played in Maryland history, singlehandedly saving the colony at a critical moment.
Unfortunately, much of her story is lost. No journal has been found that would give us her own words; no portrait was ever painted . Writers have variously described her as a fiery redhead, a large woman with a knobby nose and jutting chin and an "amazing Amazon." Whether she was plain or pretty, serious or witty, greedy or generous, we may never know. What we do know is that she was unusually competent and outspoken, with shrewd business sense and strong diplomatic and leadership skills.
Margaret Brent (c. 1601-1671) was born in England, sixth of 13 children and the oldest daughter of Richard Brent and Elizabeth Reed. The Brents were a prominent family of noble and ancient lineage, and Richard was a successful country squire who became sheriff of Gloucestershire.
His life would likely have continued on an orderly, prosperous path had not an unusual change occurred. In 1619, one of Margaret's younger sisters, Catherine, converted at age 17 to Roman Catholicism. Moreover, she persuaded her entire family, except for one or two brothers, to do the same.
Being a Catholic in the wake of the Reformation entailed great sacrifice. Catholics were subject to stiff fines and imprisonment. Richard Brent lost two-thirds of his estate in the years to come, when he refused to attend worship services in the Anglican church, a "crime" called recusancy.
Four of the Brent children-Fulke, Giles, Margaret and Mary-decided to emigrate to the fledgling colony of Maryland to escape religious persecution and shore up the family's fortunes. Margaret arrived Nov. 22, 1638, bearing a letter from Cecil Calvert granting her and her sister a "patent" to hold land in their own names. The generous land grants given to the Brents comprised thousands of acres and showed the high esteem in which the family was held.
When the Brents arrived, Maryland was four years old and had fewer than 400 people. It was made up of what we now consider Southern Maryland, from Point Lookout to Port Tobacco, including Kent Island. Mirroring English society, it was composed of a handful of large manors, which employed about 80 percent of the population as tenant farmers or laborers. Margaret and Mary chose to develop a lovely 70-acre parcel on St. Mary's town lands, adjacent toGiles's land, and they named it Sisters' Freehold. They brought indentured servants, including four women. In the colony's earliest days, to encourage immigration, land grants were given according to how many servants one brought-the more servants, the more land.
According to Timothy Riordan, historical archaeologist at Historic St. Mary's City, the presence of the four female servants was unusual. Most landholders preferred to start with men to clear land for planting.
Today, three private homes cover the Brents' land, and trees block the view to the St. Mary's River. But in the 1630s, the land had been cleared for planting, and Margaret would have enjoyed a river view from her doorway. Behind the fields stood a wilderness of towering oaks. Roads had not been built, but the Brents had two sailboats for visiting their few neighbors and transporting their tobacco crop to oceangoing ships that would carry it to markets across the Atlantic.
The Brents likely lived in style, by colonial standards. "All the major players had well-built houses," Riordan says. "They came expecting to be manor lords. Their houses had stone foundations and were fully framed."
By contrast, more ordinary folk lived in simple structures, built over posts in the ground. The sisters would have had a large garden,with vegetables, especially corn, and flowers used for herbs, medicine and fragrance because English people of that day bathed only about twice a year.
Tobacco was the mainstay of every farm, and all goods were valued according to their worth in pounds of the golden leaf. Each grower raised about 800 to 1,000 pounds a year, an amount that provided a subsistence level of living for a household. The Brents also owned hogs and cattle, notched on their ears to distinguish them from other livestock that rooted in the woods and grazed on common lands. Disputes about who owned a particular hog or heifer were common, and Margaret fought firmly for her interests.
"Every episode in her career shows undoubted force of character," Frederick Gutheim writes in his book The Potomac.
Margaret threw herself into her new life. She was a close friend of the governor, Leonard Calvert, Lord Baltimore's younger brother, and was active in civic affairs. She frequently lent money to other colonists, readily going to court to collect overdue payments. In 1642, when Giles owed her money, he conveyed to her "all lands, goods, debts, cattle and servants," which included 1,000 acres and a working mill on Kent Island.
Margaret appears so frequently in early court records that some have dubbed her America's first litigator. In part, that is because of her extraordinary diligence; in part, it was because the colony was uncommonly litigious.
Proclaiming Margaret "the first woman lawyer in the world," the American Bar Association's Commission on Women in the Profession named its Women Lawyers of Achievement Award after her.
Unlike England, which had a cash economy, Maryland relied on tobacco as currency and operated entirely on a credit system. So even if one person trusted another to pay his debts, he often took the party to court so there would be an official record of the transaction.
Most of Margaret's cases involved property disputes and debts. She would argue disputes about a single heifer or record that so-and-so owed her 60 pounds of tobacco. Her success in her own cases probably led others to ask that she speak on their behalf. Margaret had no formal legal training. But then there were no lawyers in Maryland. All litigants argued their own cases before the provincial court or appointed "attorneys in fact" to act for them. She was so unusual not only as a woman but also because of the sheer volume of cases she brought -- 124 in eight years-on her behalf and that of others.
"She wasn't afraid to plunge right in," says Lois Green Carr, a historian with the Maryland Historical Trust. "She learned a lot as she went along." Being single gave Margaret freedom she otherwise would not have had.
Married women were not allowed to own property or bring actions in court. "What was radical about her was never getting married," says Carr, who speculates that Margaret and Mary may have taken vows of celibacy. "In a society where there were six men for each woman, the ability to resist marriage and instead have a well-respected, powerful place in the community would have required the kind of protection that vows would give."
The strong and independent Brents were typical of "recusant" women, says Jeanne Cover, a historian in Toronto. "Margaret Brent would have been represe ntative of the women who were wanting to contribute to church and to society and who had faith in women being able to do this," she says.
In 1642, Margaret took on a new role: guardian of a young Indian girl. Early Maryland colonists were on friendly terms with many local tribes. Kittamaqund, leader of the Piscataways, was particularly open to the newcomers and allowed the Rev.Andrew White, S.J., a Jesuit priest and friend of the Brents, to live as a missionary with the tribe. When Kittamaqund decided that his seven-year-old daughter should be educated in English ways, Gov. Leonard Calvert himself and Margaret Brent became legal guardians of the princess. She lived with the Brent sisters and took the name Mary at baptism.
The times were turbulent in England and its young colony. Parliament was dominated by Puritans hostile to King Charles I, who was sympathetic to Catholics: Maryland was named for his Catholic wife. These hostilities spilled over to Maryland, fueled in part by the growing influence there of the Jesuit community, which claimed 6,000 acres of land. Simmering tension between Catholics and Protestants boiled over in 1645 when Richard Ingle, a Protestant sea captain, staged a rebellion, with Parliament's blessing, ransacking the "papist" colony. William Claibourne, a Virginia fur trader, joined in an attempt to seize control of Kent Island. New evidence suggests that Leonard Calvert may have formed a rough garrison, called St. Thomas Fort, at Sisters' Freehold during the early months of the rebellion.
If true, "Margaret would have had some share in all the excitement," Carr says. During the "plundering time," the colony had no government for two years. Leonard Calvert and many of the settlers fled to Virginia. Others were forced to return to England, including Giles Brent and the Rev. White, who was dragged back in chains.
"It was a really scary time," says Leona Meisinger, interpretive programs co-ordinator at St. Mary's. "This was a civilization in embryonic form. They were just starting to get a sense of self-government and along comes Ingle, raids the colony and when he was done, the population had gone from 600 to 100. People must have been thinking, 'Do I stay or go? How strong are my religious convictions?' "
As 1646 ended, Leonard Calvert hired mercenaries in Virginia to help him retake the colony. But his victory was short-lived.
On June 9, 1647, at about age 40, he lay dying of an unrecorded illness. Margaret was one of the few people by his side. On his deathbed, Calvert appointed Thomas Greene to act as governor and made Margaret sole executor of his estate, saying, "Take all and pay all."
He then asked all but Margaret to leave the room, and they talked for some ti me alone. The relationship between Margaret and Leonard Calvert has sparked much speculation. She has been called his kinswoman, his sister-in-law or, most tantalizing, his sweetheart. Modern historians, however, favor the notion that the two were good friends.
Clearly, Calvert knew that she could bring order to his tangled affairs. "Whether or not she was a kinswoman, she was the right person at the right time," Riordan says.
As Calvert's executrix, Margaret inherited a mess . He had large debts, and his belongings seem unimpressive, to say the least. Among the inventory of his possessions: one pair of shoes; a blue jug; four axes, one broken; and one very old feather bed. Of course, he had lots of land. But under English law, she could not use her power as executrix to sell it. Margaret faced a desperate situation. Calvert had promised each mercenary payment of 1,500 pounds of tobacco, which would have given a soldier a modest living for a year, and three barrels of corn , the equivalent of another 750 pounds of tobacco. He died before making good on his pledge. Hungry and restless, the mercenaries threatened trouble.
After selling Calvert's possessions, Margaret was far short of the funds needed even to keep the soldiers fed. She must have summoned all of her diplomatic skills, moral authority and commanding presence to persuade them, week by week, to hold fast while she determined a bold plan.
On Jan. 3, 1648, the provincial court granted Margaret power of attorney over the estate of Leonard's older brother, Cecil, more commonly known as Lord Baltimore. Cecil had never come to his colony. But the judges reasoned that Margaret, as executor of Leonard Calvert's estate, could be made responsible for Cecil's property. The court heard her case and ruled that, until Lord Baltimore could appoint someone else, she could act on his behalf.
Meanwhile, as the threat of mutiny escalated, an Assembly session was called. Members gathered in the home of John Lewgar, a prominent political figure. On the fateful day of Jan. 21, 1648, the room most likely was filled with 30 to 40 men and one determined woman.
Here is the only record of what transpired: "Came Mrs. Margaret Brent and requested to have vote in the howse for her selfe and voyce allso for that att the last Court 3rd Jan. it was ordered that the said Mrs Brent was to be looked uppon and received as his Lps attorney. The Govr denyed that the sd Mrs Brent should have any vote in the howse. And the sd Mrs Brent protested agst all proceedings in this pnt Assembly, unless shee may have vote aforesd."
In other words, Margaret asked for two votes-one for herself as a land holder and the other as Lord Baltimore's attorney. Whenher request was denied, she apparently denounced the proceedings. Implications of her demand have been interpreted differently. Women's rights advocates proudly see it as a blow for equality, though that is not clear from the record.
Calling her the first suffragette, Carr says, is "a very large exaggeration." Nevertheless, Carr adds, "It was an act of enormous courage to go to the Assembly and make this request which she must have known was certain to be refused."
Carr suggests that Margaret's plea to join the Assembly may have been a last-ditch effort to win support for raising money to pay the soldiers. She may have hoped to persuade the Assembly to tax tobacco. Or she may have wanted endorsement for her next move -- selling Lord Baltimore's cattle, without his permission, to raise the funds. Waiting for his lordship's permission would have taken months. By then, the malcontented mercenaries might well have sacked the struggling colony. So Margaret sold the livestock. Once the soldiers were paid, they left without trouble.
"She really saved the colony," Carr says. "Virginians always believed that Maryland should have been granted to them. If the soldiers had mutinied, Virginia would have sent people to restore order, and eventually the [British] Parliament would have rescinded the charter an d given it to Virginia."
The colonists breathed a collective sigh of relief, but Lord Baltimore was furious. He regarded the Brent clan as pesky troublemakers. As acting governor and council member, Giles had tried to undermine the lord's power. Moreover, Giles had married the Indian girl, Mary Kittamaqund, when she was 10. Why Margaret allowed this is unclear. Lord Baltimore also was suspicious that Giles was intending to use his marriage in order to make a sweeping claim to Piscataway lands, property that Lord Baltimore saw as his alone to give. The same Assembly that had denied Margaret the vote rose to her defence.
In an angry letter to Lord Baltimore on April 21, 1649, the Assembly wrote: "We do Verily Believe and in Conscience report that it was better for the Collonys safety at that time in her hands then in any mans else in the whole Province after your Brothers death for the Soldiers would never have treated any other with that Civility and respect and though they were even ready at several times to run into mutiny yet she still pacified them." The letter continued: . . . "she rather deserved favour and thanks from your Honour . . . then to be justly liable to all those bitter invectives you have been pleased to Express against her."
But Lord Baltimore's hostility toward the Brents continued. Giles moved to Virginia, with Margaret and Mary soon to follow, about 1650. The Brents acquired nearly 11,000 acres in Virginia from 1651 through 1666, according to research by Nan Netherton, a Northern Virginia historian. Part of their holdings included a 700-acre rectangular tract of land on the Potomac River above Hunting Creek in what now is the heart of Old Town Alexandria. The family settled on the edge of the wilderness, in today's Stafford County. Virginia's strict anti-Catholic laws apparently never affected the Brents. While little was heard again from Margaret, Giles held key political positions. According to minutes of Virginia's Council of 1668, in 21 years Giles had proved "his fidelity in not seducing any Persons to the Roman Catholic Religion."
As far as is known, Margaret never returned to Maryland. She died on her Virginia plantation, called "Peace," in 1671 and probably was buried there. If so, there is no marker on her grave.
Father: Richard * BRENT b: 1573 in Larke Stoke, Gloucestershire, England
Mother: Elizabeth * REED b: ABT 1578 in of Tusburie, England
And finally, the Wikipedia page on Margaret Brent:
Margaret Brent (1601–1671) was the first woman in the English North American colonies to act as an attorney before a court of the Common Law, and a significant founding participant in the early history of the Colony of Maryland and the Colony of Virginia. She ranks, with Anne Hutchinson among the most confrontational and controversial women figures to rise to prominence in early Colonial American history. Hailed as a feminist by some in modern times in advancing rights of women under the laws, her insistent advocacy of her legal prerogatives, as an unmarried gentlewoman of property, while notable in its exceptional energy, in fact did not stray from English law.
Born into a Catholic family, her emigration and that of her siblings occurred during a period of agitation against those suspected of recusancy preceding the English Civil War. She was one of six daughters of a total of thirteen children of the Lord of Admington and Stoke, Richard Brent, and his wife, Elizabeth Reed (daughter of Edward Reed, Lord of Tusburie and Witten, all of Gloucester, England). Ode Brent, a knight in 1066, is direct ancestor to The Brents of Stoke, by their lineage account, while Elizabeth Reed's family claimed descendancy from William the Conqueror of 1066. Margaret, her sister Mary, and her brothers Giles and Fulke sailed together from England and arrived at St. Mary's, Maryland on November 22, 1638.
Large entitlements of land grants and high political offices were secured due to their prestigious bloodline and/or political affiliations. Wanting individual independence, Margaret came to Maryland's Proprietary Governor, Leonard Calvert (with whom she shared a guardianship of Mary Kitomaquund, the daughter of a Piscataway "Emperor" chief). He appointed her his executrix while on his death bed on June 9, 1647,) with land entitlement letters from Maryland's Proprietary Governor, Lord Baltimore, entitling the Brent sisters to land grants of equal size to those of the Maryland arrivals of 1634. Their initial entitlement was enlarged to 800 acres (3.2 km2) per sister, as written in the colonization inducements offered to women, since Margaret had also brought with her five men and four maid servants. In the end, due to the letters from Lord Baltimore, the Brent sisters each received much larger land grants. Then on October 4, 1639, she became the first Maryland female land owner. She obtained the first recorded land grant in St. Mary's, a 70.5-acre (285,000 m2) patent with which she established the "Sister's Freehold", and an adjacent 50 acres (200,000 m2) titled St. Andrew's. Next Giles Brent turned over to her a 1,000 acre (4 km²) land tract on Kent Island, Maryland as payment of a debt owed her. Her land holdings grew as she continued to import bondservants and sell their indentures.
Almost immediately, showing great determination and fearlessness, she assembled armed volunteers to assist Governor Calvert's forces in suppressing the Claiborne Rebellion upon his return from Virginia in August, 1646. He appointed her his executrix while on his death bed on June 9, 1647, with Letters of Administration granted on June 19, 1647.
On January 3, 1648, with no time to spare, Lord Baltimore in England, religious tolerance in Maryland at stake, potential loss of the colony to Virginia, and Margaret Brent pacifying hungry soldiers over their pay, the Provincial Court appointed her attorney-in-fact to Lord Baltimore whereby she collected his rents and paid his debts.
On January 21, 1648, three things happened. First she entered the Provincial Court's assembly and entered a plea for voice in the assembly's council and a second plea for two votes in its proceedings (one as landowner and one as Lord Baltimore's attorney - Archives of Maryland, I, 215). Governor Thomas Greene flatly refused them, as they considered by the assembly at the time to be privileges reserved only for queens. She left resentfully with a statement to the council that she "Protested against all proceedings ... unless she may be present and have vote as aforesaid." Secondly, the assembly defended her stewardship of Lord Baltimore's estate, stating that it "was better for the Colony's safety at that time in her hands than in any man's...for the soldiers would never have treated any others with that civility and respect...". And thirdly she demanded corn imports from Virginia to feed hungry troops camped at St. Mary's, and may have spent all of Leonard Calvert's personal estate and Lord Baltimore's cattle to pay the soldiers wages, although there is disagreement on this matter. English law would not permit these possessions without a court order or a special act of the legislature. However Calvert's lands and buildings were added into the inventory. Margaret Brent and then Governor William Stone disagreed upon the act of a sale of a 100-acre (0.4 km2) land tract entitled "The Governor's Field". From England Lord Baltimore tersely objected to the selling of any of his property.
She appeared a final time as Lord Baltimore's attorney on February 9, 1648 in a case against one Thomas Cornwallis, and was possibly replaced by Thomas Hatton, the new Provincial secretary. All in all, Margaret Brent entered more law suits than anyone in the colony, although she was more of a businesswoman than a lawyer. In 1658 Mary Brent died, leaving her entire estate of 1000 acres (4 km²) to Margaret.
She moved across the Chesapeake Bay and founded a community called "Peace" in Westmoreland County, Virginia. She held festive annual court leets for her people. She never married, one of very few English women of the time in Chesapeake not to do so, and at a time when men outnumbered women there by 6:1. In 1663 she wrote her will. In 1670 she assigned one half of her 2,000 acres (8 km²) in Maryland to her nephew, James Clifton. Her will was admitted into probate on May 19, 1671. She died at "Peace", Stafford County, Virginia in 1671. Exact dates of her birth and death are currently unknown.
A Liberty Ship of World War II was named after her; the SS Margaret Brent (launched 1943).
Several public schools in the state of Maryland are named for her.
Margarent Brent is also valorized at Historic St. Mary's City. The museum on the spot of Maryland's colonial capital features her prominently in exhibits and publications for the role she played in women's suffrage by asking for the right to vote. The St. John's site archaeology museum, which sits atop the exposed foundations of the house where Brent appealed to the Assembly, includes an exhibit devoted to her life. The Historic St. Mary's City grounds also include a garden dedicated in memory of Brent, and a street at neighboring St. Mary's College of Maryland is named Margaret Brent Way.
1.^ The same law by which a Reigning Queen ruled the throne of England.
2.^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Article Margaret Brent -- A Brief History © Lois Green Carr retrieved on July 31, 2006
Johnson, Allen, ed. Dictionary of American Biography. New York:Charles Scribner's Sons, 1936.
Article "Margaret Brent: A Woman of Property" by Professor James Henretta retrieved July 31, 2006
Article Margaret Brent -- A Brief History © Lois Green Carr retrieved on July 31, 2006
- Richard Brent, Esq., Sheriff of Gloucestershire1
- M, b. circa 1573
- Father Richard Brent1 b. c 1548, d. 1587
- Mother Mary Hugford1 b. c 1551
- Richard Brent, Esq., Sheriff of Gloucestershire was born circa 1573 at of Admington, Gloucestershire, England.1 He married Elizabeth Reade, daughter of Giles Reade, Esq., Sheriff of Gloucestershire & Worcestershire and Katherine Greville, in 1594; They had 6 sons (Fulk; Richard; Col. Giles, Esq;William; Edward; & George) & 7 daughters ('Margaret'; Mary; Catherine, a nun; Elizabeth, a nun; Eleanor, a nun; Jane; & Anne).1 Richard Brent, Esq., Sheriff of Gloucestershire was buried on 1 May 1652 at St. Mary's, Ilmington, Gloucestershire, England.1 His estate was probated on 21 May 1652.1
- Family Elizabeth Reade b. c 1572, d. c 16 May 1631
- 1.[S16] Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. I, p. 305.
- 'Ancestral records and portraits: a compilation from the archives ..., Volume 2 By Colonial Dames of America. Chapter I, Baltimore, Grafton Press
- Pg. 522
- The name of Odo de Brent's son is not known, but that of his grandson Jeffry, whose son, Nicholas, was the father of Sir Robert, who died in 1262 (46 Henry III.), having married Millicent ___. (She married second, Raymond Malet.5) Their son, Sir Robert, married Isabella, the daughter of Simon de Montecute; she survived him, his death occurring in the second year of Edward II. When Edward I. went into Gascony, 1277, Sir Robert attended him, as he did in most of his expeditions into Scotland, being then a Knight. In 1297 he was Knight of the Shire of Som-
- Pg. 523
- erset, at the Parliament then held at Westminster. he is said to have been the first to use a seal of his arms, viz., a Wiven, as it is now borne and has generally been used by his descendants.6
- His son, also Sir Robert de Brent, married Claricia, the daughter and heir of Sir Adam de la Ford, of Ford, in the Parish of Bawdrip, by whom he had the Manor of Ford, and other lands, in this County, Wilts, Hants and Essex. Sir Robert is buried on the north side of the shoir of the Abbey Church of Glastonbury. This Robert was also a knight and a great benefactor to the Abbey of Glastonbury.
- His son, Sir Robert de Brent, married Elizabeth Deneband, and died 1357 (25 Edw. III.). One of their sons, also Sir Robert, succeeded his father at Cossington. Another son, John, settled himself at Charing, in Kent, on some lans which were Sir Adam de la Ford's, and became the progenitor of a family which continued there with great dignity for many generations.8
- Their son, Sir John Brent, married Joan, the daughter and heir of John le Eyre, of Midlezoy, by whom he
- Pg. 524
- had a manor in that parish. The arms of Le Eyre were: Ar, on a chevron, sable, three quatre foyles oF.9
- Their son, Sir John Brent of Cossington, married, first Ida, the daughter of Sir John Beauchamp, of Lilisdon, Knt., by whom he had Sir Robert, who succeeded him in the estates of Cossington; and, second Joan, the daughter of Sir Robert Latimer, Knt.
- A son of the second married, Sir John, succeeded to the estate of Cossington (upon the death and exinction of the line of his half-brother, Sir Robert Brent).10
- His son, Sir Robert, married Margaret, the daughter of Hugh Malet, of Currypool.
- Their younger son, Robert married Margery, the daughter of George Colchester, Lord of Stoke and Admington, and died 1531. This Robert Brent founded the Brent family of Stoke and Admington, whose place of burial was in the church at Ilmington, in Warwickshire, where a memorial tablet in brass gives an account of their marriages and deaths.
- A son, Sir William Brent, Lord of Stoke and Admington, married Elizabeth ___, and died 1595. Their son, Sir Robert, married, 1572, Mary, the daughter of John and Katharine (Hennage) Huggeford, and died 1587. The will of Mary Brent, widow,11 bequeathed silver to her grandchildren, Elizabeth, Elinor, Anne, Jane, Richard, Gyles, William, Edward, and George Brent.
- Pg. 525
- The elder son, Sir Richard, married, 1594, Elizabeth, the daughter of Giles Reed, Esq., Lord of Tusburie and Witten, and Katherine Greville, his wife. Sir Richard died 1652, and was buried at Ilmington. He had thirteen children, a number of whom were conspicuously connnect with the early history of Maryland and Virginia, viz.: Foulke, Giles, Mary, and 'Margaret'.
- Their sixth child, George, was granted administration on his father's estate, May 21, 1652. He is mentioned in his grandmother's will and in a conveyance of 1663, as of "Defford." he married Marianna, the daughter of Sir John Peyton, of Doddington; she was twice married after George Brent's death, and died after 1663. Their son GEORGE, was the colonist, who went to Virginia.
Margaret Brent's Timeline
Admington (present Shipston-on-Stour), Warwickshire, England, (Present UK)
Plymouth, England, UK
The ship Charity departs from Plymouth for Maryland. On board is Giles Brent, his brother Fulke Brent, and sister Margaret Brent. The three, coming from landed Catholic gentry living in Gloucestershire, sought their fortune in the new Catholic colony of Maryland, a proprietary colony under the Calverts, another English Catholic family.
November 22, 1638
St Marys City, MD, USA
After nearly two months at sea, the ship Charity arrives at St. Mary's City with the dawn. Giles Brent, accompanied by brother Fulke and sister Margaret, set foot for the second time in the New World. Coming from landed Catholic gentry from Gloucestershire, the three newcomers quickly obtained positions in the fledgling Maryland society, with Giles quickly becoming Governor Leonard Calvert's assistant. Margaret presented letters from Lord Cecil Calvert, Second Baron Baltimore, giving her rights to claim lands and privileges for her and her sisters. As a result of having brought five men and four maid servants, she received land entitlements equal to those who arrived in Maryland on the Ark and Dove, or 800 acres (3.2 sq km) per sister.
July 5, 1640
St Marys City, MD, USA
July 15 (July 5 Julian Calendar, Sunday), Mid-Atlantic: In Maryland Colony, Jesuit missionaries Andrew White and John Altham, based at St. Mary’s City, convert to Catholicism the Tayac (“Emperor”) of the Piscataway tribe, Kittamaquund and his wife. (His daughter, age 7, converts less than a year later when she comes to stay with Governor Leonard Calvert, to learn about Christianity and English from Margaret Brent; the daughter takes the Christian name Mary). When the Jesuits provide food during the coming drought, the Anacostan tribe likewise converts to Catholicism, and White prepares a grammar book and dictionary in their language for use in reading the Bible. When Lord Cecil Calvert, second Baron Baltimore, learns of the Jesuits purchasing land from tribes in Maryland, he demands the tribes submit to his Governor, Leonard Calvert.
On July 5, 1640, Jesuit missionary Father White in a public ceremony attended by the governor (Leonard Calvert) and several colonial officers baptized and gave Christian names to the Kittimaquund and his wife, afterward uniting them in Christian marriage.(2) While the Catholic Encyclopedia account states that Mary was given her Christian name and baptized at the same time, original records suggest her baptism took place a year or so later.
2. "Piscataway Indians" in The Catholic Encyclopedia, © 1913 by The Encyclopedia Press, Inc. Electronic version © 1998 by New Advent, Inc.
February 15, 1641
St Marys City, MD, USA
In order to provide better instruction in the ways of Christianity (as well as the English language), the Tayac ("Emperor") of the Piscataway Kittamaquund gives over his daughter (age 7) to the English at St. Mary's. He entrusts her to the care of Governor Leonard Calvert and Margaret Brent. In fact, the little girl spends a majority of her time with the Brents, which explains her new-found association with Giles Brent, her future husband.
"After Feb. 15, 1640[1/]. The "King" of the Piscataway "brought his daughter, seven years old ... to be educated among the English at St. Mary's, and when she shall well understand the Christian mysteries, to be washed in the sacred font of baptism. (Annual Letters of the Jesuits; from the Annual Letter of 1640 in Clayton Coleman Hall ed., Narratives of Early Maryland, 1633-1684 (New York, 1910, reprinted 1946), 132.)" cited in Carr.
May 8, 1642
St Marys City, MD, USA
From Archives 4: 271-272, cited by Lois Green Carr according to genealogist Jackson Day:
May 8, 1642: "Sold unto Mrs Mary Kitomaquund, foure kine, three yearling heifers, one yearling bullock, two bull calves, & 2. cow calves of his Lops stock, now being in the possession of mrs Margarett Brent; for the price of five thousand seven hundred (5,700) wt of tob & cask, received by us of the said Mary Kitomaquund to his Lops use afore the signing hereof. And we does hereby on his Lops behalfe warrant the said Kine & their encrease unto the said mary and her assignes against all men."
Signed by Giles Brent, John Lewger and William Brainthwait.
May 8, 1644
St Marys City, (Present St. Mary's County), Province of Maryland
According to Lois Green Carr's "Margaret Brent - A Brief History" in the Maryland State Archives:
Sometime between May 8, 1644 and January 7, 1644[/5], Giles Brent married (Mary Kitomaquund). (1g). This event probably occurred before October, 1644, when Leonard Calvert returned from England, where he had gone in the spring of 1643 to confer with his brother, the Lord Baltimore. (Archives 3: 130, 160.) It is hard to believe that, if present, Leonard Calvert would have agreed to the marriage, given subsequent events_new_new.
Margaret's agreement to the marriage raises several questions. Why did she let her brother marry an 11 years old, who probably had not yet even reached menarche? To our modern eyes, this age seems extraordinary. However, we do find a handful of marriages of 12-year olds in the early Maryland records, the result of the extraordinarily skewed sex ratio. (Russell R Menard and Lorena S Walsh, "The Demography of Somerset County, Maryland: A Progress Report," Newberry Papers in Family and Community History, 81-2 .)
Was her decision affected by her brother's ambitions? A statement made 40 years later by Leonard Calvert's cousin George Talbot hints at what these might have been. At a conference with William Penn in 1684 at what is now Newcastle, Delaware, Talbot was making the third Lord Baltimore's case for lands that he and William Penn both claimed. Talbot mentioned in passing "Capt Brent who in right of his wife the Piscataway Emperors daughter and only Child pretended a right to the most part of Maryland but could doe noe good on't after a great bustle about it." This comment suggests the origins of Lord Baltimore's wrath against the Brents. The comment may be hearsay based on reports of the Proprietor's fears more than actual actions of Giles or Margaret, but the considerable conflict between Leonard and Giles indicates the Calverts' distrust.
November 6, 1646
St Marys City, MD, USA
According to Lois Green Carr's "Margaret Brent - A Brief History" in the Maryland State Archives:
Giles makes a brief appearance in the colony before leaving again, possibly to Kent Island.
Nov. 6, 1646. Giles Brent appoints Margaret Brent as his attorney to "demand sue for and recover all debts, goods, and cattell appertayning to mee in Maryland or due from any persons there unto mee with full power to give discharg for the sume received and to the said effects to appoint & constitute any other party to bee my lawfull Attorney....Witness my hand. In the presence of Richard Powers, Mary Brent." Archives 10: 19.
Note: The above was not entered into the Maryland records until June 24, 1650. Since this document was witnessed by Mary Brent,
Giles must have been in Maryland when he created it. Whether he remained there is unclear. He does not appear in the records again until June 19, 1647, after Leonard Calvert's death. The records between November 6 and June 19 are too few to prove Brent's absence. He may have been at his manor at Kent, but actions brought later in the Provincial Court for damages to the Brents' property at Kent suggest deep unrest there without indicating Brent's presence. Archives 4: 399, 417, 454-456. Aleck Loker has suggested to me that Brent went to Piscataway to negotiate territory with his wife's Indian family. Or did he go to Virginia? Why did he not join in Calvert's re-establishment of proprietary authority? There are mysteries here.
Note: Giles Brent was in Maryland on Nov. 6, 1646 (see above, 6a), but does not appear again in any record until June 19, 1647, after Leonard Calvert's death. Was he in Virginia? or at Kent Island? If he had been at St. Mary's when Calvert died, would Calvert have made Giles his executor? Or was Giles in fact on hand and ignored? This last I doubt. If he had been in St. Mary's he likely would have been present with his sisters at Calvert's death bed. See (6a) and Comment 4.
June 9, 1647
St Marys City, St Marys County, Province of Maryland
June 19 (June 9 Julian Calendar, Wednesday), Mid-Atlantic: In Maryland Colony, hardly a year after restoring his control, Royalist Governor Leonard Calvert of Maryland dies of illness at age 41. He is succeeded by Thomas Green.
Leonard Calvert was alive on June 9, 1647 and lived for about six hours after making Margaret Brent his executrix on that day. Presumably he died on June 9, but possibly not until early on June 10. (, .)
As for the cause of Calvert's death, there is no information. However, he was not sick for long. I have sometimes speculated that illness prevented his return to Maryland sooner and weakened him for whatever sickened him that June. One Doctor Waldron was called from Virginia to treat him. (28.)
Why did Calvert select Margaret Brent to be his executor? Why not ask her brother Giles, who had been acting governor in the past? Or, why not Thomas Green, whom Calvert did name governor? As before, one can only speculate. The Calverts and the Brents were cousins, albeit very distant cousins going back eight generations. (Chart showing connections between the Calvert, Arundel, and Brent families, prepared by Aleck Loker, 1998.) This family connection may help account for the special terms on which Margaret and Mary Brent were granted land. The relationship may have counted in Leonard Calvert's choice.
But why Margaret instead of Giles? First of all, Giles probably was not in St. Mary's City when Leonard was dying. After his brief appearance in Maryland in November 1646, he does not turn up in the Maryland records again until June 19, ten days after Calvert had expired. (13.) However, Calvert might not have selected Giles had he been on hand. The Governor had reason to distrust him after his marriage to Mary Kittomaquand. He had not participated in the restoration of Lord Baltimore's government and may have been at Piscataway trying to establish his wife as the inheritor of her deceased father's position. Giles's behavior in the first assembly held after Calvert's death suggests that distrust was an appropriate attitude. At the same time, Calvert knew Margaret Brent had the necessary ability and courtroom experience to carry out his instructions. He chose to rely on her.
11. June 10, 1647. Margaret Brent deposes before the council that on June 9, Governor Calvert "being lying on his death bed, did by word of mouth on the Ninth of this month nominate Thomas Greene Esq Governor of the Province of Maryland." Archives 3: 187.
28. June 6, 1648. Margaret Brent's administration account for Leonard Calvert's estate is recorded. Archives 4: 388-389. Shows: paid 1,250 pounds of tobacco for Dr. Waldron's fee and 80 pounds for provision for carrying him "down to Virginia"
June 19, 1647
St Marys City, MD, USA
According to Lois Green Carr's "Margaret Brent - A Brief History" in the Maryland State Archives:
June 19, 1647. Margaret Brent asks the Governor to give testimony
Under oath about Leonard Calvert's nuncupatory will. Governor Greene asks Giles Brent, Esq. "one of his Lops Councell" to administer the oath. Greene states that about six hours before Calvert died, he said to Margaret Brent "I make you my sole Exequutrix, Take all, & pay all." The court then makes Margaret administrator of Calvert's estate. Archives 4: 312-313.