FIRST LADIES OF MARYLAND, 1634-1777, PART I
by Robert Barnes
In 1995, the Maryland State
Archives began a formalized research project dedicated to the study of
Maryland's First Ladies and Official Hostesses. To this point, the project
has dealt primarily with the wives of the governors of Maryland since the
Revolutionary War and sought to explore the lives and achievements of these
largely unknown women. This is the first in a series of articles that will
attempt to identify the wives of the governors, deputy governors, and Parliamentary
commissioners who governed Maryland from 1634 to 1777. It will, where possible,
investigate their family connections, determine when, how and if they came
into Maryland, establish what part, if any, they played in the life of
the Province, and finally, examine what estate they may have left.
1. The unknown Mrs.
Leonard Calvert. Leonard Calvert, brother of Cecilius Calvert, was
Governor of Maryland from 1634 to 1644/5, and from 1646 to 1647. It is
believed that he married Anne Brent, but proof of the marriage has not
been found. No Anne Brent or Anne Calvert has been found in various early
settlers lists. Harry Wright Newman states that no proof of the Calvert-Brent
marriage has been found. Tradition states that Leonard Calvert must have
married during a return trip to England in April 1643, a trip that lasted
17 months. Moreover, in 1651 Anne Brent was listed as a non-juror spinster.
However, it should be remembered that the term spinster was sometimes used
to refer to a woman's socio-economic status and not to her marital status.
Nevertheless, if Anne Brent had married Leonard Calvert she most likely
would have been styled Anne Calvert. Mrs. Calvert evidently never came
to Maryland, but she did bear Leonard Calvert two children: William, and
Anne, who married first, Baker Brooke; second, Henry Brent who died in
1693, and third , Richard Marsham.
[-?-], wife of John Lewger. John Lewger governed Maryland in the absence
of Leonard Calvert in 1638 and again in 1641. He came to the province in
1637, on the ship Unity of the Isle of Wight, with his wife Ann,
nine-year-old son John, and others (Patent Record,1: 17, 19, MSA S11).
He returned to England where he died in 1665 during the plague. Ann [-?-]
Lewger died c. 1642. She is probably the "Mrs. Lewger" who was left a satin
petticoat in the will, made 31 March 1639, of Richard Lee, who stated that
it had formerly belonged to his wife (Wills 1: 5, MSA S538; Archives of
Maryland 1: 51). We have no record of a will or administration of Ann Lewger's
estate, but, in 1642, a dispute between John Lewger and John Hollis concerning
Mathias de Sousa mentioned the "disposing of his [de Sousa's] person to
the satisfaction of Mrs. Lewger's just debts" (Archives of Maryland 1:
156). John and Ann were the parents of: John, born c. 1628; possibly Ann,
born c. 1630, married William Tattershall; and possibly Cecily, born c.
1632. In his undated will, proved in 1644, Edward Parker left Cecily Lewger
one half of his estate (Wills 1: 9, MSA S538).
3. The unknown first Mrs.
Thomas Cornwallis. Capt. Thomas Cornwallis governed Maryland from 1643
to 1644, while Leonard Calvert was out of the province. His first wife,
whom he married by 1638, has not been identified; Cornwallis wrote that
her health "disenabled her" from managing his affairs in England.
4. Penelope Cornwallis,
second wife of Thomas Cornwallis. Cornwallis married second, by 1654,
Penelope Wiseman, daughter of John Wiseman of Terrell's Hall, Essex, England.
Penelope was still living in 1688. In 1656, Cornwallis claimed land for
bringing his wife Penelope into the province (Patent Record Q: 451, MSA
S11). In August 1661, Cornwallis and his
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