Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

John Brice II
Anne Arundel County Court Clerk, 1734-1765
MSA SC 3520-13130


John Brice II was born on November 4, 1705.  He was the son of John Brice and Sarah Howard Worthington.  John Brice, Sr. most likely emigrated from Hampshire, England around 1698.  He was recorded as a gentleman, and also as a merchant and a planter.  Brice II had an older sister, Anne, and a younger sister, Rachel.1

On September 9, 1730, Brice II married Sarah Frisby who was the step-daughter of Thomas Bordley, former Clerk of Anne Arundel County, and also of Deputy Secretary Jenings.2  Together they had several children:  Arianna, Sarah, John, Anne, James, Benedict, Edmund, Margaretta Augustina, and Elizabeth.  The couple also had three other children that died in infancy.  Brice II was an active member of St. Anne's Parish in Annapolis, serving as vestryman from 1758-1759.3

John Brice II was quite involved in local and state politics.  He served as Clerk from 1734 until 1765, when he resigned so that his son could take over the position.  Brice II used a deputy clerk to alleviate his workload.  A deputy clerk was usually paid about one-third or one-half of the office's profits, but did all of the required work.  The governor of the time, Horatio Sharpe, greatly opposed this practice.4  He also served Annapolis as an alderman.  Colony-wide, he served as Judge of Assize for the Western Shore, Chief Justice of Maryland, and a member of the Council of the Province of Maryland.  Brice II served as the colony's Commissioner of Paper Currency from 1764, near the end of his term as Clerk, through April of 1766.5

In addition to his political endeavors, Brice II also worked as a planter and oversaw his grist mill, a brickyard, and a timbering operation.6  He owned a signigicant amount of real estate, as his will indicates.  He owned land north of the Severn River and north of the Magothy River.  He also held land in the City of Annapolis, Cecil County, Kent County (purchased from his wife's family), Frederick County, and on the Patapsco River.7  In addition to his real estate, he also owned forty-two slaves at the time of his death.  The worth of these slaves composed forty percent of his inventory's total worth of 3,169 pounds.8

John Brice II died on 24 September 1766 while on the judicial circuit in Charles County.9  He willed his land to his wife and sons.  To his daughters he willed money and slaves.10

Born:  4 November 1705 to John Brice and Sarah Howard Worthington; Brice came from Hampshire, England around 1698; Brice was a gentleman, merchant, and planter; Captain of the Seven Hundred

Family:  two sisters - Anne, older,  and Rachel, younger

Married:  Sarah Frisby on 9 September 1730 - step-daughter of Thomas Bordley and also of Seer Jenings

Children:  Arianna, Sarah, John (died in infancy), John, Anne, James, Benedict, Charles (died in infancy)...Edmund, Denton (died in infancy), Margaretta Augustina, Elizabeth

Religion:  member of St. Anne's Parish; vestryman 1758-59

Land Owned:  See death section; much of his land was composed of plantations; also owned a grist mill, a brickyard, and a timbering operation

Political Career:  Chief Justice of Maryland, Alderman for City of Annapolis; Judge of Assize for Western Shore, Council of Province of Maryland; Clerk 1734-1765, used a deputy cl;erk which Owings describes did all of the work for 1/3 to 1/2 of the profits; Commissioner of Paper Currency, May 1764-30 April 1766 when act expired

Died:  24 September 1766; inventory valued at $3, 169; the most significant contribution to his wealth was the large number of slaves he owned - 42, totalling $1,324; also owned a signigicant amount of real estate, as his will indicates; he owned land north of the Severn River and north of the Magothy River, in the City of Annapolis, Cecil County, Kent County (from his wife's family), Frederick County, and on the Patapsco River - Edmund

"John Brice II (married stepdaughter of Thomas Bordley above and of Deputy Secretary Jenings), succeeded Beale in April, 1734; resigned in favor of his son, March, 1765, and died 24 Sept. 1766."

Owings, Donnell MacClure.  His Lordship's Patronage:  Offices of Profit in Colonial Maryland.  (Baltmore:  Maryland Historical Society, 1953.), 148.

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