Margaret Brent


"They came finally to Maryland on November 20, 1638. Of the family, Margaret Brent was easily the leader. She was later the executor of Governor Leonard Calvert, and represented Lord Baltimore in various important matters of state in all of which she displayed marked talent, courage and ability. She enjoys the distinction of having been the first woman in America who exercised the rights of an attorney at law. The records furnish repeated instances in which she appeared before the court in that capacity. She was also a strong and perhaps the earliest advocate of woman's suffrage, having demanded not only a seat in the general assembly of Maryland but a vote there, both in her individual capacity, and as a representative of the estate of Governor Leonard Calvert. Two votes to one woman, however, was more than even the gallantry of the sons of early Maryland could accord." (Chronicles of Early Maryland, by James Walter Thomas, p 44).

"In August of 1638, Margaret Brent, with her two brothers, Giles and Foulk, her sister Mary and their servants, set sail in the good ship chartered to bring the over the water, and after months of delay and much hardship reached St. Mary's City on November 22, 1638. {Chronicles of Mistress Margaret Brent by Mary E. W. Ramey). Before leaving England Margaret Brent obtained from Lord Baltimore two letters to his brother, Leonard Calvert, in which he says: London Aug. 2, 1638. I would have you pass to Margaret Brent and her sister Mary and their heirs and assigns for and in respect of four maid servants, besides themselves which they transport this year to plant in the Province of Maryland, a grant of as much land in and about the Town of Saint Maries and elsewhere in the Province, in as ample a manner and with as large privileges as any of the first adventurers had." (Pearsalls p. 996)

"From the first Mistress Brent was spoken of as a commanding figure in the Colony: and as the sister-in-law of Governor Leonard Calvert, and a relative of the Lord Proprietor, she occupied a position which demanded the respect and attention of all in the Province. Thirty-seven years of her life had passed when her foot first pressed the soil of her home, years which in their passing had modeled and moulded a nature of rare sweetness and courage and a mind of wonderful brilliancy and power. Leonard Calvert, seven years her junior, turned often to her for advice and encouragement, and it was not surprising that she was ever his warm friend and counsellor."

" On October 10, Giles Brent made a mortgage in the form of an absolute deed of conveyance to his sister Margaret Brent of all his estates, including goods, lands, debts, cattle, chattels and servants, in the Province of Maryland, as security for the payment of certain debts to her and to his uncle Richard Reed and others. Margaret Brent in pursuance of this and her many other trusts was constantly before the Courts of Maryland and in some of the records she is mentioned as Margaret Brent, Gent." Ibid (994)

"In April, 1643, on account of the civil war in England, Leonard Calvert was called home. Richard Ingle, taking advantage of his absence, appeared at St. Mary's, stirred up disloyalty among the Colonists, was arrested for treason, but escaped and went to England. Governor Calvert returned to Maryland in September, 1644, and found much unrest in the Province on account of the long struggle between the King and Parliament, which had divided the sympathy of the Colonists, and when on the 15th of February, 1645, Ingle returned in command of an armed ship with Parliamentary Letters of Marque, he met with little resistance, landed his men, took possession of the town and drove Governor Calvert to Virginia."

"While Ingle's attention was centered on conquest, Mistress Brent was not idle. She slowly gathered together the distracted inhabitants, and with their aid, when Governor Calvert returned to St Mary's in August, 1646, at the head of an armed force which he had hired in Virginia, the Province was easily recaptured. Ingle was driven fro St. Mary's and Claibourne from Kent, which he had regained temporarily, while their followers living on Kent Island returned to the allegiance of Lord Baltimore."

"Giles Brent was in some way hard pressed for funds, hence it was easy for Claiborne and his associated, when they had possession of Kent Island, to make terms with him for the continuance of the trading fort by them in connection with Giles Brent." (Ibid p. 997) Giles switched his allegiance to Claiborne and the insurgents putting him in opposition to Thomas Pearsall, Lord Calvert, and the old agreements by the Dutch-English traders. When Lord Calvert took reposession of the island, Giles was evicted and transferred the manor and lease of Kent Fort trading station to his sister Margaret Brent to revert to him and his heirs on her death." (Ibid. P.997)

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