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A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature 1635-1789 by Edward C. Papenfuse, et. al.
Volume 426, Page 230   View pdf image (33K)
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officeholder, 1717-1740; attorney, admitted to
Charles County Court in 1720; planter, 1729-
1730; merchant, 1730. PUBLIC CAREER. LEGISLA-
TIVE SERVICE: Lower House, Charles County,
1720-1721/22 (elected to the 3rd session to fill
vacancy; Laws 3-5). LOCAL OFFICES: deputy com-
missary, Charles County, in office 1716-out of
office by 1721; clerk, Charles County, 1717-1720,
Prince George's County, 1720-1740; recom-
mended by the court to be clerk of Indictments,
Charles County, 1721. WEALTH DURING LIFE-
Prince George's and Charles counties (inherited
from his uncle, 1708). SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN


sold 250 acres in Charles County, 1726; acquired
458 acres (his wife's dower) in Prince George's
County, 1726; patented 2,921 acres in Charles
County, 1727-1737; leased 200 acres in Charles
County, 1729-1730. WEALTH AT DEATH. DIED: on
December 24, 1740, in Prince George's County;
buried at "The Valley," Brookefield, Prince
£1,613.2.11 sterling, plus £3,827.19.8 current
money (including 32 slaves, 2 servants, books, and
clerk's writing equipment). LAND: at least 2,598
acres in Charles and Prince George's counties.

CONTEE, JOHN (?-1708). BORN: in Barnstable,
Devonshire, England. IMMIGRATED: ca. 1699 as a
free adult with a kinsman from England. RESIDED:
in Charles County. FAMILY BACKGROUND. FA-
THER: probably Peter Con tee, son of Adolphe de
Conti, a Huguenot who immigrated to England
from France during the reign of Louis XIII; he
was lord mayor of London, England, in 1643, and
sheriff of Middlesex, England. MOTHER: Grace.
BROTHER: Peter Contee (?-ca. 1714), of Barnsta-
ble, England, physician. SISTER: Agnes Contee
Berry. NEPHEW: Alexander Contee (ca. 1691-1740),
who married Jane, daughter of Thomas Brooke
(ca. 1659-1730/31). MARRIED first, in 1703 Char-
ity (?-1703), widow of John Courts (1655/56-
1702); daughter of Robert Henley (cm. 1617-1684).
MARRIED second, ca. June 1704 Mary Townley (?-
by 1725). She subsequently married both Phile-
mon Hemsley (1670-1719) and Capt. William Ro-
gers of Annapolis. Her sisters were Frances, who
married James Wotton, of Wiltshire, England; Ju-
dith, who married John Bruce. Her first cousin
was Gov. John Seymour (1649-1709), with whom
she immigrated in 1704. CHILDREN. STEPSONS:
John Courts (1691/92-1747/48); Henley Courts;
Charles Courts; and William Courts. STEPDAUGH-
TERS Ann Courts (1693-?), who married John

Rogers; and Charity Courts (1680-1711), who
married first Bayne Smallwood, son of James
Smallwood (ca. 1639-ca. 1714/15), and second, in
1710 Daniel Dulany (1685-1753). PRIVATE CA-

Contee arrived with important mercantile connec-
tions. Two marriages within a year brought impor-
tant family connections and control of the sub-
stantial estate of John Courts (1655/56-1702). His
second marriage to Mary Townley, a favorite
cousin of Gov. Seymour, was reported by a con-
temporary to have been responsible for his ap-
pointments tO Office. OCCUPATIONAL PROFILE:
factor for Sir John Rogers, of Plymouth, England,
1699; merchant; planter. PUBLIC CAREER. LEGIS-
LATIVE SERVICE: Lower House, Charles County,
1705-1707 (elected to the 3rd session; Laws 4, 5).
OTHER PROVINCIAL OFFICES: commissary general
and judge of probate (joint appointment, 1704-
1706; sole appointment, 1706-1708); naval officer,
Pocomoke, 1705-1708; Council, 1708. LOCAL OF-
FICES: justice, Charles County, 1704-1708 (quo-
rum, 1705-1708); William and Mary Parish Ves-
try, Charles County, 1705. MILITARY SERVICE:
major, 1704/5-1705/6; colonel, 1705-1708.
ELECTION: ca. 2,500 acres, plus 1,000 acres he held
for the orphans of John Courts (1655/56-1702).

WEALTH AT DEATH. DIED: by August 3, 1708.

PERSONAL PROPERTY: TEV, £2,252.17.8 sterling
(including 13 slaves). LAND: ca. 3,697 acres. ADDI-
TIONAL COMMENTS: Depositions taken in 1725 at
the request of Alexander Contee (ca. 1691 -1740)
revealed that the "pretended will" of John Contee,
which was confirmed by Act of Assembly in 1708
and which named Mary, his wife, sole executrix,
had actually been written by Philip Lynes (1649-
1709), a person "Very Officious to Oblige The said
Mary," and that Contee had refused to sign it. An
Act of Assembly passed in 1725 repealed this ear-
lier act, stating it had passed both Houses through
"perjury" and "other means too shocking to be
transmitted to posterity."

CONTEE, JOHN (1722-ca. 1796). BORN: in 1722
near Nottingham, Prince George's County; eldest
son. NATIVE: second generation. RESIDED: at
"Ranelagh," Prince George's County. FAMILY
BACKGROUND. FATHER: Alexander Contee (ca.
1691-1740). MOTHER: Jane (?-1779), daughter of
Thomas Brooke (ca. 1659-1730/31) and wife Bar-
bara Dent (1676-1754). HALF UNCLE: Thomas
Brooke (1683-1744). HALF AUNTS: Priscilla
Brooke, who married Thomas Gantt (?-1765); Sa-


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A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature 1635-1789 by Edward C. Papenfuse, et. al.
Volume 426, Page 230   View pdf image (33K)
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