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About Thomas Bladen
Sir Thomas Bladen (1698 – 1780) was a politician and colonial governor. He served as the 19th Proprietary Governor of Maryland from 1742 to 1747.
Early life and marriage
Bladen was born in Maryland in 1698, the eldest son of William Bladen (1670–1718), who came to Maryland in 1690, and Anne Van Swearingen.
He traveled early to England, where he was educated and where in 1737 he married Barbara Janssen (daughter of Sir Theodore Janssen, 1st Baronet, and Williamza Henley), who was also the sister-in-law of Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore and Proprietor of the Province. and aunt to Caroline Calvert Eden wife of Governor Sir Robert Eden, 1st Baronet, of Maryland
In England, he was a Member of Parliament (MP) for Steyning from 1727 to 1734, and for Ashburton from 1735 to 1741. He also saw military service as a colonel.
Life in Maryland
In 1742, he returned to Maryland as provincial Governor, the first governor to be born in the Province. He also served as surveyor general, Western Shore, 1742–1746, and chancellor, 1742–1746/47. While governor, he concluded a peace with the Six Nations. He negotiated with Pennsylvania authorities for the settlement of the Maryland–Pennsylvania boundary.
Upon his arrival in Maryland, the Legislature awarded him £4,000 to build himself a residence, which was £1,000 more than his predecessor. In 1744, he bought 4 acres (16,000 m2) of land in Annapolis from Stephen Bordley and commenced construction of a building, now McDowell Hall, St. John's College, as a governor's residence. He quickly disagreed with the Legislature about its architecture and became involved in a lawsuit with Bordley, the previous owner, and construction halted.
He quickly became an unpopular Governor and was dismissed from office by October 1746 because he was "tactless and quarrelsome". He returned to England in 1746, when he was succeeded by Samuel Ogle.
Bladen died in England in 1780.
The Governor's residence sat uncompleted until 1766 when the roof collapsed. The building now serves as the central hall of St. John's College and is named McDowell Hall.
The town of Bladensburg, Maryland, which was incorporated in the first year of his governorship as Garrison's Landing, was renamed after him.
He had three daughters:
Harriet Bladen (?–1821), m. William Anne Capell, 4th Earl of Essex (1732–1799), ancestress of the 6th and subsequent earls.
Elizabeth (a.k.a. Anne) Bladen, m. Edward Hawke, 1st Baron Hawke.
Barbara Bladen, m. The Hon. Henry St John (1738–1818), a brother of George St John, 3rd Viscount Bolingbroke.