Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Leonard Calvert (ca. 1606-1647)
MSA SC 3520-198


Leonard Calvert, Maryland's first colonial governor, was born in England circa 1606. His father, Sir George Calvert, received the title, Baron of Baltimore, from King James I of England, and thus became the First Lord Baltimore in February, 1625. When George died on April 15, 1632, Leonard's brother, Cecilius Calvert, succeeded to the title Second Lord Baltimore. Cecilius was granted the Charter of Maryland on June 20, 1632 by King Charles I of England. In 1633, Leonard sailed to Maryland with the first two ships of immigrants, and he became the colony's first governor. He served until his death on June 11, 1647.

Born: ca. 1606 in England; second son.
Died: On 10 June 1647, Margaret Brent informed the Council that "the late governor, Leonard Calvert . . . " lying upon his death bed, did by word of mouth on the ninth of this month, appoint Thomas Greene Esq. governor of the province." [AOM,3:187] Thus Leonard Calvert died on either June 9th or June 10th.
Immigrated: 1633/34 as a free adult.
Resided: St. Mary's County.

Family Background:
Father: Sir George Calvert, 1st Lord Baltimore (1578/79- 1632).
Mother: Anne (1579-1622), daughter of George Mynne.
Brothers: Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Lord Baltimore (1605-1675); George (1613-1634); Francis; Henry; and John (1618-1618/19).
Half Brother: Philip Calvert (1626-1682).
Sisters: Anne; Dorothy; Elizabeth; Grace (1614-?); and Helen (1615-1655).
Married: possibly Anne Brent.

Son: William Calvert (ca. 1642/43-1682), who married  in 1661/62, Elizabeth, daughter of William Stone (ca. 1603-ca. 1659/60).
Daughter: Anne (1644-ca. 1714), who married first in 1664, Baker Brooke (1628- 1678/79), second, ca. 1680, Henry Brent (?-1693), and third, Richard Marsham (?-1713).

Private Career:
Education: Literate, probably had considerable schooling.
Religious Affiliation: Catholic.
Social Status and Activities: Sailed to Maryland as governor with the first two ships of immigrants, 1633; returned to England in 1641/42 and 1643/44, during which time he fathered his two children, who were probably illegitimate.
Occupational Profile: Placeman; planter; engaged in some trade with the Indians.

Public Career:
Provincial Offices: Governor, 1633-1647.
Out of Colony Service: Prothonotary and keeper of writs in Connaught and Thomond, Ireland, 1621.
Stands on Public/Private Issues: Calvert had a very difficult task in the initial years of settlement of steering a middle ground between the demands of various groups in colony, especially the Jesuits, and his responsibilities as chief executive officer for his brother; he was generally more lenient to special interest groups in Maryland than his brother wished.

Wealth During Lifetime:
Land at First Election: 3,000 acres in 1634.

Wealth At Death:
Land: Patents or certificates for ca. 9,000 acres.
Executrix: Margaret Brent.

Source: Edward C. Papenfuse, et al., eds. A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 1635-1789. Vol I. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979. 190.

Extended Biography

Return to Leonard Calvert's Introductory Page

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