Saturday, September 19, 2015

Mid-Atlantic Colonies: Maryland

Maryland was unique among the 13 colonies in that it provided religious freedom for Catholics. George  Calvert, Lord Baltimore, applied for a royal charter in 1632. Calvert died before the charter was granted, so it went to his son Cecilius. The first settlers arrived on St. Clement's Island in southern Maryland in 1634. They were led by Leonard Calvert, Cecilius' younger brother. About 200 indentured servants were with Calvert's group. The town of St. Mary's was established. Calvert took over a Protestant settlement on Kent's Island in 1638. The Protestants counterattacked and forced Calvert to flee to Virginia in 1644. He would later return to leadership in Maryland in 1646.

Virginia Puritans opposed to the Anglican Church in that colony, established the town of Providence [Annapolis] in 1642. The Puritans overthrew the proprietary government in 1650, outlawing Catholicism and Anglicanism. In 1655  Calvert sent an army under Gov. William Stone to regain control. Stone's army was defeated and he was captured. Calvert was back in charge by 1658. Annapolis became the seat of government in 1702.

Tobacco was the chief crop of colonial Maryland. The planters utilized slaves, indentured servants and penal labor to harvest the crop.

During the years leading up to the American Revolution, Maryland patriots were active in the various committees opposing British rules. Marylanders sent relief to Boston after that city's port was closed.

William Smallwood led a Maryland Regiment to New York in 1776. The Maryland and Delaware regiments distinguished themselves during the Battle of Brooklyn. They held the field to allow the Continentals to retreat. 400 of the Marylanders were captured or taken prisoner. The Continental Line troops from those two states would continue to be the top regiments until they were decimated by casualties.

More on Maryland:

Family connections: Cawby, Rhodes, Cunningham, Wright, Prall.  [Edward Prall served with the 1st Maryland, nephew Cornelius Jr. settled in Maryland for several years.]

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