Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

William Perry (1746-1799)
MSA SC 3520-985 


BORN, on August 24, 1746, in Dorchester County; only son.
NATIVE: second generation.
RESIDED: in Dorchester County until ca. 1770; Talbot County, ca. 1770 to death: on "Edmondson's Difficulty," St. Peter's Parish, District 3, ca. 1770 until at least 1784, then moved to Hindman land, "Harrington" and "Kirkham," St. Michael's Parish, District 1, probably by 1790.

FATHER: William Perry (?-1750) of Dorchester County, who immigrated from England by 1716 and was a merchant and planter.
MOTHER: Anne (?-by 1751), daughter of Stephen Fleaharty (?- 1762) and wife Sarah.
SISTERS: Sarah, who married first, by 1764, Alexander Frazier and second. Thomas Noel; Deborah (ca. 1748-1805), who married in 1787 Henry Dickinson (?-1789).
MARRIED first, by 1771, Elizabeth (?-by 1788), daughter of Jacob Hindman (by 1713-1766) and wife Mary (?-1782). Elizabeth was the granddaughter of Henry Trippe (?-ca. 1723/24). She was the niece of Henry Trippe (?-1744); Elizabeth Trippe, who married second, Bartholomew Ennails (ca. 1700- 1783). She was the half niece of William Allen (?-1792). Her brothers were James Hindman (1741-1830); William Hindman (1743-1822); Jacob Henderson (?-1781); Edward (?-1781); and John (?-by 1794). Her sisters were Mary (?-died young); Sarah (?-ca. 1782). Her first cousins were Mary Emerson Trippe (ca. 1739-1811), who married Robert Goldsborough IV (1740-1798); Ann Trippe, who married John Dickinson (ca. 1726- 1789).
MARRIED second, by 1788, Sarah (?-by 1799), daughter of George Rule, headmaster of the Talbot County Free School, and probable wife Grace Woodward.
CHILDREN. SON: William. DAUGHTERS. Mary Hindman, who married in 1798 William Bedingfield Smith (Smyth) (ca. 1777- 1819), son of Thomas Smyth (1730-1819); Maria (ca. 1788-?), who married first, in 1804, David Kerr, Jr. (?-1814), son of David Kerr (1749-1814), and second, ca. 1822, Dr. John Rodgers.

EDUCATION: literate.
RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Anglican; delegate from St. Peter's Parish, Talbot County, to meeting at Chestertown, Kent County, to petition the General Assembly for an act to support the Anglican clergy, February 1781; delegate from St. Michael's Parish, Talbot County, to convention of Protestant Episcopal clergy in Baltimore City, 1789, and to conventions of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Easton, 1790, and Baltimore City, 1794.
SOCIAL STATUS AND ACTIVITIES: Gent., by 1769; Esq., by 1776. Perry was a member of Masonic Lodge 34 at Talbot Court House (later became Easton), Talbot County, and a delegate to the Masonic Convention of 1783 at which he was elected Grand Treasurer of the Grand Lodge of Maryland.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: In August 1776, Perry was recommended for the position of militia quartermaster by Matthew Tilghman (1717/18-1790) as "a person who in my opinion will not fail to execute the office properly and whose appointment will give satisfaction."

LEGISLATIVE SERVICE: Senate, Eastern Shore, Term of 1781-1786: 1783 (elected on November 28, 1783, to fill vacancy in the 1783 Assembly; qualified on December 16, 1783), 1784, 1785, Term of 1786-1791: 1786-1787, 1787-1788, 1788, 1789, 1790, Term of 1791-1796: 1791-1792, 1792 (elected president after the resignation of George Dent on December 21, 1792), 1793 (president), 1794 (president), 1795 (president), Term of 1796-1801: 1796 (president), 1797, (elected president on November 23, 1797, to replace John Thomas), 1798 (president; died during the Assembly on January 10, 1799).
OTHER STATE OFFICES. Maryland Senate elector, Talbot County, 1791; associate justice, 2nd District, appointed 1791.
LOCAL OFFICES: justice, Talbot County, 1774-at least 1775 (no records, 1776), 1778-1779, appointed December 1779; justice, Orphans' Court, Talbot County, 1778-1779, appointed December 1779; St. Peter's Parish Vestry, Talbot County, 1779-1784; St. Michael's Parish Vestry, Talbot County, elected 1787, 1793-1796, 1797; commissioner of the tax, Talbot County, appointed 1781.
MILITARY SERVICE: quartermaster, 4th Battalion of Militia, Talbot County, appointed August 13, 1776.
STANDS ON PUBLIC/PRIVATE ISSUES: In the recommendation submitted by the officers of Wye Company, Talbot County Militia, supporting Perry's appointment as quartermaster in 1776, he was described as "harty in the cause of the libertys of America, he steped forth early in the present cause and his integrity seems to be soported with zeal and earnestness....." Perry was a supporter of Washington College in Chestertown, Kent County, and of Easton Academy in Talbot County.

PERSONAL PROPERTY: assessed value £875.14.2, including 35 slaves and 68 oz. plate, in Talbot and Caroline counties, 1783; 35 slaves, Talbot County, 1790; assessed value £1,580.18.8, including 50 slaves and 140 oz. plate, District 1, Talbot County only, 1798.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: owned a share in the sloop Richardson, which received letters of marque and reprisal on July 25, 1778; acreage in Caroline County supported ten farms with ten tenants, 1798.
LAND AT FIRST ELECTION: at least 3,263 acres in Talbot and Caroline counties (at least 2,630 acres in Caroline County-formerly Dorchester County-resurveyed and patented from land inherited from father; 283 acres in Caroline County and 350 acres in Talbot County by purchase).
SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN LAND BETWEEN FIRST ELECTION AND DEATH: purchased Hindman family plantation of 620 acres in Talbot county from his brother-in-law William Hindman (1743-1822), 1790, and an additional 717 acres adjoining the Hindman land, 1794-1796; purchased at least 200 acres in Talbot County in 1795 and patented 6 acres in Talbot County in 1796; resurveyed his Caroline County land, including recent purchases of at least 114 acres, for a net gain of over 200 acres, 1797; gave 50 acres in Talbot County to his son-in-law William B. Smith, 1798.

DIED: on January 10, 1799, of apoplexy, in Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, while attending the General Assembly; buried in St. Anne's Cemetery, Annapolis.
PERSONAL PROPERTY: TEV, £8,063.2.8 current money (including 63 slaves and 104 oz. plate; 20 oz. of the plate belonged to Mrs. Hindman's estate and 27 oz. was a legacy to his daughter Maria); FB, estate overpaid £656.10.7 current money.
LAND: at least 4,837 acres in Talbot and Caroline counties as computed from deeds, patents, and assessments; actual acreage, according to surveys after Perry's death, was 4,522 acres.

Source: Edward C. Papenfuse, et al. A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 1635-1789, Vol. 2 (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985), 644-646.  

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