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Francis Gray and Maryland's Civil War

Francis Gray &
Maryland's Civil War

By William F. Milam

"The governour being returned from Pascatoway, by {Captain Henrie} ffleets directions, we came some 9 or 10 leagues lower in the river Patomeck, to a lesser river on the north side of it, as bigge as Thames, which we call St George. This river makes two excellent bayes, wherein might harbor 300 saile of 1000 tunne a peece with very great safetie, the one called St Georges bay {later named St Inigoe’s Creek}, the other more inward, St Maries bay. On the one side of this river lives the king of the Yoacomaco, on the other our plantation is seated, about a halfe mile from the water, and our town we call St Maries.

Too avoid all occasion of dislike, and Colour of wrong, we bought the space of thirtie miles of ground of them for axes, hoes, cloth, hatchets.... It made them more willing to enterteine us, for that they had warres with the Sasquasahannockes, who come sometimes upon them, and waste and spoil them and their country, for thus they hope by our meanes to be safe.... [380]

Excerpt from Father Andrew White's "A Briefe Relation of the Voyage unto Maryland" 1634

The life of this Francis Gray (Graye) is fascinating since he was one of the earliest settlers of the Province of Maryland, was elected a Burgess, actively participated in the rebellion again Governor Leonard Calvert, became one of the first white settlers of the Northern Neck of Virginia and was elected a founding Vestrymen of Appomattocks Parish, Westmoreland County.

As was the English custom, St Mary's County in the Province of Maryland was divided into adminsitrative divisions termed "Hundreds". Francis Gray initially settled in St Mary's Hundred but by 1640 he was living across the St. George's River in St. George's Hundred.

Map of St Mary's Hundred 1645

Map of St Mary's Hundred 1645.

Gray was a freeman - not an indentured servant - and a carpenter. Evidence that he was a carpenter is found in several Provincial Court records. On 7 August 1638 Thomas Copley, Esq., a Jesuit Priest and large manor owner, brought a complaint against John Norton, a sawyer, for not fulfilling a contract with Francis Gray to deliver lumber:

"August 7th
Tho. Copley Esq by his Attorny Cypria Throughgood complaineth agst John norton in an action of covenant for....the said John norton did on some day in July last covenant wth francis Gray on the behalfe of the said Tho. Copley to deliver unto him upon demand 1000 foote of sawen {sawn} boards upon a price then agreed upon betweene them....the said John norton hath refused and still doth refuse to performe the said agreement on his part; the damage of two thousand weight of tobacco to the said Tho. Copley." [193]

And on 21 March 1639, in the Inventory of Richard Lee, gent deceased, payment:

" ffrancis Gray for making 2 coffins for him & his wife for mr Lee's buriall &c." [194]

In addition to carpentry work for Father Copley, court records demonstrate that Gray worked for John Langford Esq ("....of building 300 foote of howsing at Pinie-neck....") [199] and Capt. Thomas Cornwaleys at his Crosse Manor plantation. Gray earned 20 pounds of tobacco per day: "....Gray demandeth.....360 lbs tobacco more for 18 daies work". [200] A Richard Browne, a John Cook and a Francis Askew worked for Gray on various projects. [200, 201, 202] St Marys City 1634
Maryland State Archives, Cary Carson: Drawing of St. Mary's City 1634.

Francis Gray attended the first Assembly of Freemen held on 25 January 1637/1638, less than three years after the first settlers arrived in the Ark and the Dove on 25 March 1634/35. The first Assembly minutes state in part: "The Acts of the First Day:.... ffrancis Gray of St maries hundred, carpenter". [154] The following year Lord Baltimore ordered that the freemen of the Province elect Burgesses from their respective Hundreds for the next General Assembly to be held at the fort in St Mary's on 25 February 1638/39.

"19th February This day came Thomas Gerard, Nathaniel Pope, Thomas Baldridge....Francis Gray.....James Baldridge.....John Hillierd.....{etc.} Freemen of St. Maries hundred and chose for their Burgesses of that hundred Thomas Gerard and Francis Gray and have Given unto the said Thomas Gerard and Francis Gray full and free Power for the Freemen of the said hundred....." [203]

On 17 September 1640 Gray was elected a Burgess from a different Hundred - St George's - for that October General Assembly. [204] However, Gray was not elected for subsequent Assemblies of Burgesses. A certificate from St George's dated 23 July 1741 reads: "This is to Certify your worships that with the Consent of the hundred we have made choice of Geo Pye in Francis Gray's place." [205]

A Brief History of the Founding of the Province of Maryland

The Province of Maryland was a grant from King Charles I to Cecilius Calvert, the oldest son of Sir George Calvert, Knight (1617), First Baron of Baltimore (1623), who died just before the Maryland Charter was issued in April 1632. Having declared that he was a follower of the Roman Catholic Church in 1625, Sir George originally planned to establish Maryland as a haven for aristocratic Catholics but late in the negotiations - under pressure from the increasingly Puritan Privy Council - he agreed to make Maryland the first colony with “religious freedom to all Christians”. Sir George Calvert furthermore envisioned organizing the Province using the traditional English medieval manor system whereby the large manor owners had tenant farmers. This concept however was being contested actively in Great Britain at the time. Cecilius Calvert, the 2nd Lord Baltimore, embraced this plan and appointed his younger brother, Leonard Calvert, Proprietor of the Province of Maryland. Thus, of the early settlers in Maryland, a majority of the landed Gentry were Roman Catholics including Jesuits and most of the servants and freemen were Protestants, either followers of the Church of England or the more radical Puritans.

Religious Discord

Francis Gray was a Puritan Protestant which was demonstrated on 1 July 1638 when he and Robert Sedgrave, a servant of William Lewis on St. Inigoe's Manor, were brought before Captain Thomas Cornwaleys, one of the Commissioners of Maryland, for writing a petition to Sir John Harvey, the Governor of Virginia. [155] In it they complained about the:

“.....abuses and scandalous reproaches....doe daily suffer by William Lewis of St. Ingego's {St. Inigoe's - Lewis was the overseer on this Jesuit Manor}, who saith that our Ministers are the Ministers of the divell; and our books are made by the instruments of the divell.....Therefore we beseech you brethren..... and Savir XSt Jesus that you who have power, that you will doe in what lieth in you to have these absurd abuses and hereticulous crimes to be reclaymed, and that God and his ministers may not be so heinously trodden downe by such ignominious speeches; and no doubt but he or they wch strive to uphold Gods ministers and word, he shalbe recompenced wth eternall joy and felicity to reigne in that aeternall kingdome wth XSt Jesus, under whose banner we fight for evermore. ” [156]

Harry Wright Newman recounts the details in The Flowering of the Maryland Palatinate:

“Robert Sedgrave admitted being the author of the petition, and that he and Francis Gray were much disturbed by the speeches of William Lewis. Before circulating the petition Gray wanted to speak with Father Copley. On Sunday morning at the fort, Sedgrave asked Gray whether he had spoken with Copley, and Gray replied that he had and that ‘Mr. Copley had give him good satisfaction in it & Blamed much William Lewis for his contumelious speeches and ill-governd zeale and said it was fitt he should be punished."

“Ellis Beach swore in court that William Lewis came into the room where Francis Gray and Robert Sedgrave were reading ‘Mr. Smith’s sermons’ and Lewis stated that the ‘booke was made by the instrument of the divell’. Richard Duke, a witness produced by Francis Gray who declared himself to be a Protestant, swore that Lewis stated that Gray could not read such books in his house. William Lewis defended himself in that the book stated that the ‘Pope was Anti-christ and the Jesuits Anti-Christian ministers’. He told the servants that it was a ‘falsehood & came from the Devill as all lies did’. The court found Lewis guilty of an offense and indiscreet speech against Protestant ministers,... He was committed to the Sheriff and fined 500 lbs of tobacco.” John Medcalfe and Richard Browne gave bond {in the amount of 3000 lbs of tobacco for Lewis’ good behavior}. [157]

Newman provides a footnote: “Mr. Smith’s sermons were most likely not of the orthodox Episcopal {Church of England} order, for both Sedgrave and Gray were radical Dissenters and became accomplices of {Richard} Ingle during the 1645 Puritan rebellion.” [157] Timothy B. Riordan, chief archeologist of St. Mary’s City, remarks about this incident in The Plundering Time: Maryland and the English Civil War :

“This case clearly demonstrates how far the Maryland authorities were willing to go in pacifying the Protestant faction. The court, comprising only Catholics, imposed a heavy fine on Lewis, a fellow Catholic, but did not punish Sedgrave or Gray at all....."

“Francis Gray bears most of the responsibility in this case. He seems to have been the instigator of events. Gray was present in the house when the book was read, it was his idea that Sedgrave write the petition, and he was going to get the Protestant freemen to sign it. Lewis claimed that the petition was aimed against him personally, but the request for assistance is not specific and could have been used as an excuse for overthrowing the Proprietary government.....It may be that Cornwaleys’s prompt action is the only thing that kept the first Protestant rebellion from occurring in 1638.” [158]

Later that year on 26 November 1638, Gray obtained a license to marry Alice Moreman who was brought to Maryland in 1637 on a ship by Captain Thomas Cornwaleys. [160]

"Novr 26:

This day came ffrancis Gray, Carpenter, and made Oath that he is not precontracted to any other woman than Alice Moreman &c ut Supra.

ffrancis Graye

Whereupon a Certificate was made." [159]

In early 1642 another incident erupted. Thomas Gerard, Esq., a Lord and Gentleman of the Council locked the chapel door in St. Mary’s and took the key preventing the Church of England from holding their Sunday afternoon service. The reason for his action is not known. The Protestants took the matter to the Assembly of Maryland in St. Mary’s which heard it on 23 Mar 1641/1642:

“Then was a petition presented by David Wickliff in the name of the Protestant Catholicks of Maryland....

“The petition of the Protestants was read complaining against Mr. Thomas Gerard for taking away the Key of the Chappel and carrying away the Books out of the Chappel and such proceedings desired against him for it as to Justice appertaineth Mr. Gerard being charged to make answer. The house upon hearing of the Prosecutors and his defense found that Mr. Gerard was Guilty of a misdemeanor and that he should bring the Books and Key taken away to the place where he had them and relinquish all title to them or the house, and should pay for a fine 500 pounds tobacco toward the maintenance of the first {Protestant} minister as should arrive." [161]

Religious, Political and Social Discontents

The undercurrent of discontents continued. Since King James broke with the Roman Catholic Church and installed himself as the head of the Church of England, Anglican church attendance was mandatory. Lord Baltimore, although a Catholic, had instructed the colonists that the Catholics must worship in private and avoid discussing religion. However, the Jesuit priests over time pressured Lord Baltimore for the quasi-establishment of the Catholic Church. Riordan argues that religion was only one of the areas of friction in the Province of Maryland. The troubled relationship between the Colonies of Virginia and Maryland was another. Virginia led by its Secretary of State, William Claiborne, who in 1631 had settled the Isle of Kent in the far north of the Chesapeake Bay opposed the idea of a second colony on the Chesapeake. In addition, the leaders of Virginia were Royalists and strong supporters of Charles I and the Church of England. Thirdly, there was an incipient struggle between Lord Baltimore’s idea of perpetuating the aristocratic manor-tenant society and the idea already advancing in the English country-side toward open agriculture as the medieval political order was breaking down. Because of cheap land in Maryland, tenant farmers chose to acquire their own land as soon as possible which led to a dispersed population and also the possibility for upward social mobility. Finally, underlying it all, was the brewing Civil War in England between the elected Parliament increasingly dominated by militant Puritans (“The Roundheads”) and the autocratic King Charles I which erupted in September 1642. This first English Civil War would result in the King's beheading on 30 Jan 1649.

Riordan in The Plundering Time sums up:

“These flaws - religious, political, and social - were present from the beginning of Maryland’s settlement and were accentuated by the isolated, demographically skewed nature of the immigrating society. Like tinder, they awaited a spark. The English Civil War provided the spark and Richard Ingle bore the torch. It is probable that Protestant rebellions were inevitable given these flaws, yet they did not occur in isolation from political events in England....The Plundering Time, although its root causes were grown at home, cannot be understood without reference to events in England.” [162]

Ingle's Rebellion

The proximate cause of the Maryland Civil War which brought about the plundering of Catholic manors and nearly two years of rebel government was Richard Ingle’s “treasonable” remarks against the King both in Accomac, Virginia (Feb 1642/1643) and along the coast of Maryland (Feb / Mar 1643). Ingle had been trading on the Chesapeake for several years and was master of the sailing vessel Reformation. He was known to be a Puritan and out spoken supporter of Parliament, a so-called “Parliamentarian”. Strangely, no action was taken by the Maryland authorities in 1643 when Lord Calvert was Governor. However, when Ingle returned to Maryland the following January, Acting Governor Giles Brent on 18 Jan 1643/1644 ordered William Hardige with the assistance of Capt. Thomas Cornwalyes to arrest him with the intent of shipping Ingle back to England for trial on his own ship. But Ingle escaped and on 20 January sailed to Kent Island in the northern Chesapeake Bay. [163]

Over the next week, Acting Governor Brent held four different Inquests against Ingle and each of them replied "Ignoramus" (insufficient evidence). [164, 165] Gray was on the second panel on 1 Feb 1643/44 which included these men:

"Cutbert ffenwick, walter Beane, John nevill, John medley, ffrancis Gray, Rich. nevett, barnaby Jackson, Peter draper, Joseph Edlo, John Langford, Arthur Hay, Gerard fford" [195]

And the third Inquest on 3 Feb:

"Robt vaughan, foreman; francis Gray, thomas hebden, John Price, George Binx, John wavill, thomas Sterman {Sturman},

Tho. Greene, gent; robt perry, nathaniel Pope, arthur whale, John ormsby" [196] The sheriff assembled a fourth Inquest panel for 5 Feb, again including Gray: "Tho. Greene, tho. Sterman {Sturman}, thomas bushell, thomas hebden, nathan. Pope, Joseph Edlo, Ellis beach, franc Gray, John Price, tho. baldridge, henry bishop, nicolas Cossin" [197]

Since Ingle was the chief trader for carrying the Maryland planters’ tobacco crop to England and since many planters also supported Parliament, they were not interested in convicting Ingle for slanderous remarks. With the intersession of Capt. Thomas Cornwaleys, on 8 February an accord was reached whereby Ingle agreed to appear in court within one year to answer charges and to deposit one barrel of gun powder and 400 pounds of lead shot in exchange for a certificate for free and unmolested trade in Maryland. [166] Ingle and the Reformation returned to St Mary’s in late February to finish unloading supplies and to take on the planters’ tobacco. After a peaceful stop in Accomac, Virginia, in late March where Capt. Cornwaleys joined the ship, the Reformation sailed for London in April 1644 .

During the Summer of 1644, the Civil War in England drug on with neither side gaining the advantage. Complicating trade for the English colonies in America, both Parliament and King Charles I issued “Commissions” or “Letters of Marque” to the captains of sailing vessels giving them permission to capture ships supporting the other side. Parliament controlled the port of London and the King controlled Bristol, Gravesend on the Thames and some southern ports. In the Fall and Winter of 1644 – 1645 matters came to a head for Maryland after Governor Leonard Calvert returned from England in September with a Commission to capture Parliament supporting ships on the Chesapeake. He met with the Virginia Council who, although Royalists, were opposed to this idea since they foresaw the danger to their tobacco trade. In October, Richard Ingle while loading cargo in London for his annual voyage received a Commission from the Lord High Admiralty authorizing him “to seize vessels trading to ports which were hostile to Parliament” i.e. Bristol, Gravesend, etc. When the Reformation arrived in Virginian waters in December 1644, the stage was set.

Just before Christmas, 1644, the resentful Capt. William Claiborne, first settler of the Isle of Kent (1631) and now a Virginia Council member, sailed two ships to Kent Island and landed an invasion party of 10. They were joined by 8 men from Chicacoan on the Northern Neck (link) of Virginia which was inhabited by some of Claiborne’s disheartened settlers from Kent Island and also by Protestant fugitives from St Mary’s. Capt. Claiborne rallied some of the islanders and marched toward Giles Brent’s plantation. When they arrived at John Abbott’s house some asked to see Claiborne’s letter from the King authorizing him to seize the island’s government. They were not convinced by the “parchment” that he showed and abandoned the attack. Claiborne sailed back to Virginia. [167] Upon learning this, Gov. Calvert on 22 December ordered Mark Pheypo and John Genellas on a secret reconnaisence to the Isle of Kent to learn of Claiborne's forces and plans. [168] On 1 January 1644/1645, he appointed William Brainthwaite to be Commander of Kent Island and ordered an expedition to the island to secure it. Calvert further declared that Capt. William Claiborne was "an enemy of the Province". [168]

The Plundering Time

The Maryland Assembly met on 11 Feb 1645 at Nathaniel Pope’s home / ordinary in St Mary’s. Thomas Sturman, a freeman from St Michael's Hundred, pointedly asked the Governor if his “Commission” for seizing London (Parliament supporting) ships applied to Maryland waters as it did to Virginia? [169] Calvert replied that it did not extend to Maryland. Like the Virginia Assembly, the Maryland Assembly declared itself for free trade.

On 14 Feb 1645, Richard Ingle sailed the Reformation, accompanied by one ship from Chicacoan, up the St George’s River to St Inigoes Creek. Ingle first seized the Dutch trading vessel, Der Spiegel (Looking Glass) even though it hailed from Rotterdam and its records showed that it had not traded in England. They captured former acting Governor Giles Brent who was on board and took him prisoner on the Reformation. Capt. Cornwaleys sent his servant, Andrew Monroe, to secure his pinnace (small ship). Apparently seeing a chance to gain his freedom, Monroe and Thomas Harrison surrendered the ship to Ingle’s forces and joined the rebellion. Then Ingle attempted to capture the Trewlove, a small pinance, sailing out of Bristol, England, which was 1 mile up St. Inigoes Creek but the crew moved it further up the creek where the larger Reformation couldn’t sail. After nightfall the Trewlove quietly slipped out and sailed for England. The next morning Ingle sent 7 men – including Thomas Sturman – to take the Cross House, the mansion of his good friend, Thomas Cornwaleys. At the time it was the largest and wealthiest home in Maryland which Ingle feared could be used by the Catholics as a garrison. Although Ingle promised Cornwaleys’ wife otherwise, it was pillaged, plundered and left in ruin within 24 hours. Sturman commanded a garrison there for a while and later in the rebellion a number of prisoners were held at his house in St. Michaels. [170]

Ingle also sent out search parties for specific individuals: in particular, Governor Leonard Calvert, Secretary John Lewgar and Jesuit Priest Thomas Copley. [171] Calvert attempted to organize a resistance. But to quote Riordan: “Calvert was about to discovered what had become painfully obvious to both sides in the English Civil War: A citizen militia might be effective against a foreign enemy but in the case of civil war it is torn by the same forces that caused the conflict.” [172] Since the Protestants greatly outnumbered the Catholics in Maryland, Governor Calvert’s situtation was precarious. However, it appears that the Catholics were not immediately overwhelmed and that he was able to gain enough men to mount a defense and construct St. Thomas Fort on the property of Giles Brent's sisters: Margaret and Mary Brent. For their defense, the Protestants constructed a fort around Nathaniel Pope’s house and ordinary. The battle became one of raids and foraging to support each garrison. Poor Blanche Oliver, for example, lost an ox to Calvert supporters at St. Thomas Fort and a cow to the rebels at Pope’s Fort. [173]

The Catholic gentry were especially badly plundered. For example, early in the rebellion Sherriff Thomas Baldridge referring to himself as “Captain and Commander” led a party to the home of Nicholas Harvey, the prominent Catholic baron of St. Joseph's Manor on the Patuxent River, which was plundered and burned. Baldridge and his wife would occupy the Jesuit manor house at St. Inigoes Hundred during the rest of the rebellion. [266] Ingle ordered all of the Catholics' plundered tobacco and silver plate placed on board the Reformation and the Looking Glass. But their household goods, livestock and tools went to the Protestant rebels. In addition, Ingle collected all the debts in pounds of tobacco owed to Calvert, Lewgar, Cornwaleys, Fenwick and Copley for himself. Ingle desperately wanted to capture the Catholic Priests so that he could take them to London in order to prove that Maryland was hostile to the Protestant controlled Parliament and to justify his actions and his anticipated reward. Father Thomas Copley was subdued at his Portobacco house and later Father Andrew White was found. Three other, lower ranking Jesuits “disappeared” and were never heard from again – the only casualties of the conflict. [174]

The mission properties of the Jesuit Priests were plundered, some houses burned and others turned over to the rebels. According to later court records, Father Thomas Copley filed a claim against Richard Ingle in England for £ 1800 including for jewelry and a number of items made of gold or silver and containing diamonds, rubys and sapphires – possibly religious symbols. [175]

In mid March, unable to capture Governor Calvert, Richard Ingle sailed to the Isle of Kent where they continued to plunder - in particular, Giles Brent’s plantation – while Brent remained a prisoner on the Reformation. Brent was a prominent Catholic and a member of Maryland’s Council; had been acting Governor while Leonard Calvert was in England in 1644; and had been commander of the Isle of Kent. Edward Cummins and Thomas Bradnox were leaders in this operation. By the end of March, the Reformation and Looking Glass were full with tobacco and plundered lute. By early April, they had set sail for England with his carefully chosen prisoners, all Catholics: Giles Brent, John Lewgar, Father Thomas Copley and Father Andrew White who would be taken to testify in London’s High Court of the Admiralty as the Letter of Marque required. They reached London in early June 1645. [176]

The Aftermath

The first law suit began on 13 June when Captain Ingle sued the Looking Glass in Admiralty Court "for trading with a port hostile to Parliament" i. e. St. Mary's in the Province of Maryland. In July Thomas Cornwaleys sued Richard Ingle in Admiralty Court and in August in Chancery Court under common law. Giles Brent and Father Thomas Copley sued Ingle in Admiralty Court in August as well. In November of 1645 Richard Ingle countersued Cornwaleys and others under Common Law. Unfortunately for Ingle, the courts did not agree with him and he did not receive any "prize" money for taking the Looking Glass or benefit from his plunder. Furthermore, he came under suspicion of stealing and embezzling goods from the Looking Glass. Richard Ingle never returned to trade on the Chesapeake Bay. [177, 178, 179, 180, 181]

Meanwhile in the Province of Maryland, Governor Leonard Calvert held out through the Spring of 1645 avoiding capture by Ingle then fled to Virginia as did most Catholic manor owners. A thesis of Riordan's The Plundering Times is that Maryland did not fall into anarchy and chaos but rather was governed by Protestant freemen who organized themselves with elected Assemblies and Courts. [182] After all it was a stated justification of Richard Ingle to the courts in England that "he helped settle the government of the Province in Protestant hands". Eighteen months later at the end of 1646, Calvert - after offering a pardon to the Maryland rebels who would accept Lord Baltimore's authority - led a few dozen soldiers ( about half exiles from Maryland ) who easily overthrew the rebels at St. Mary's. However much of the Province and especially Kent Island remained to be subdued.

A few days later on 29 December 1646, Leonard Calvert called a meeting of the Maryland Assembly - as constituted under the rebels' rule - at St. Inigoe's fort which passed a number of laws including a tax on exported tobacco to support the government and Calvert's soldiers. On 2 January 1646 /47 Calvert demanded that the pardoned men of St. Mary's swear an oath of fealty to Lord Baltimore. The minutes of the Council record that 38 men did so including Francis Gray, Nathaniel Pope, Thomas Sturman, Walter Broadhurst, John Hilliard, John Hampton and John Hollis all of whom would soon emigrate to Virginia. [183]

Francis Gray One of the Rebels

Because there were rumors of a plot to retake St. Mary's by rebels gathered at Chicacoan on the Northern Neck of Virginia - perhaps when Governor Calvert would be distracted by subduing Kent Island - the Maryland Council issued a Proclamation 0f Embargo on 16 January 1646 / 47:

"Upon certain reasons known unto my Self requiring an embargo to be laid at this present upon all persons & vessells and to the end that noe Intelligence may be communicated....with fforraigners during this time of war, I doe hereby forbidd all persons now being in the County of St Maries....not to goe....out of the County of St Maries without acquainting me first therewth....and that noe person entertain any Communicacon or give any entertainment to any one comeing into the Province or from the Isle of Kent but that Immediately after the knowledge of any arrival of any person or Vessell Comeing into the County of St Maries they give notice thereof to me as Soon as they may and warn all persons Soe arriving to come to the ffort to me afore they entertain any Communicacon with any person of the province....observe it in every point Soe far as it Shall concern them upon pain of death....Given at St Inego's ffort this 16th January 1646." [184]

The rumorers said that a certain Captain Wyatt was on the Chesapeake Bay with several ships planning to attack; that rebels from Chicacoan had returned to Maryland by night and stolen cattle taking the meat back to Virginia; and that William Claiborne and twenty men were on Kent Island attempting to rally them to attach St. Mary's - the latter rumor was in fact true. On 18 January, the Province's Attorney, John Lewgar, presented charges to the Council of Maryland against Thomas Sturman, John Sturman, ffrancis Gray, John Hamton, Robert Smith, Tho. Yewell charging them with:

"1....that since they were lately pardoned bye two several pardons one after another of the Crimes of Rebellion & Sedition, they the said delinquents.....secretly fled out of the Province by night & made resort and assembled themselves together at the house of one John Mottram, and with others of Checkacoan notorious enemies to the Lord Proprietary and his governmt here established and on the thirteenth, ffourteenth, ffifteenth and Sixteenth days of this Instant Month of January, Some one or more of them, have at the place, and with the enemies of the Province aforesaid, used divers Speeches and practises and hatched & Complotted divers Machinations and Conspiraces agt the person of Leonard Calvert Esq now Govr of the Province and for the entring into the Province by force as enemies and robbers to destroy the Inhabitants and the Cattle, and to burn & fire the Country afore them...."

"2....have used Speeches and news at their returning into the Province on the 17 Jan:....viz. publishing and proclaiming in triumphing Manner, that one Capt Wyatt was comeing in with Comission from the parliamt for the Governmt of this Province, and that divers Ships were in the bay to that end, as likewise Spreding news at other times that Capt Clayborne had likewise Comission for the Governmt and was come up with 50 men to take the Governmt or at least to Support the Rebellion of Kent {Island} which divers other Speeches and news tending to fright the people & divert their Obedience from the Lord Proprietary."

"3....come by night into the Province, and drive and carry away the Cattle of the Inhabitants, as enemies and Robbers, and Some of them they kill and convey over to the residue of their Confederates as aforesaid,....And thereupon his Lordships Said Attorney prayeth that the Said Several Delinquents now in prison, may be Judged for the Said Several Crimes, to be banished out of the Province, as persons incorrigible and desperate...., and all their goods to be Confiscated to the Lord Proprietary, and their Lands to the Several Lords of whome they are Imediatly holden, and that their persons may be kept in Close prison untill means may be provided for their transport, And that the rest of the Said Delinquents not being.... found may be proclaimed to render themselves to the Sherriff within ten days after notice thereof upon perill of being proceeded agt in their absence, & forfeiting all their Lands and goods as afd.

Jo. Lewgar" [185]

Later the same day the Council examined Edward Thomson of Chicacoan:

"This Examinant Saith that being at his house in Chickacoan on Wednsday last, one Sam Tailor - comeing into the house and being ask't by this Examinant what news abroad - Replyed the Speaker (meaning ffrancis Gray) had Spoke once again, and that they that were the Chief cause of entertaining the present Governor were aimed at and their death vowed (nameing Capt Price and Thornbury and Hebden) but that there was a party that would goe over from this Place (Meaning Chickacoan) Soe Soon as the Governor is gone to Kent or where else they can gett an opportunity to goe over & would fire and burne and destroy all that they can.

By his Lordships Lieutent" [186]

{NOTES: The parentheses () are in the original court document and are not my clarifications which are in brackets i.e. { }. Capt. John Price was commander of Governor Leonard Calvert's forces and would later become Colonel John Price.}

The following day, 19 January, the Council granted a bond to these prisoners: Thomas Sturman, ffrancis Gray, John Hampton, John Sturman and Robert Sedgrave - the author of the July 1638 petition to the Governor of Virginia complaining of “abuses and scandalous reproaches....doe daily suffer by William Lewis of St. Ingego's". Each pledged a 2000 pounds of tobacco bond that they would not have contact or communications with John Mottram, Thomas Yewell, Thomas Lewis or Robert Smith, their "Confederates" in the plotting: "....for himself acknowledge themselves to owe unto the Lord Proprietary two thousand wt Tobo {pounds Tobacco} in Case they Shall attempt to goe out of the County of St Maries without acquainting the Govr therewth afore or Shall entertain Secret Comunicacon or intelligence wth John Mott {Mottram}, Thomas Yewell, Thomas Lewis or Robr. Smith or any person comeing from them or any of them, or Shall harbour them or any of them, or Shall know of any of their Comeing into the parts where he lives, and Shall not as Soon as he may give notice thereof to the Governor.

{signed} Mark of T - Thos Sturman, ffrancis Graye, John Hampton, Rob. Sedgrave, John Sturman

By his Lordps Lieutent of Maryland" [187]

On 27 January, Calvert issued an assurance to Smith and Yewell and promised them a pardon if they submitted by 4 February and took the oath of fealty. [230] By the end of January, Calvert had firm control over St. Mary's county. After he subdued the rebels on Kent Island that April, Governor Leonard Calvert suffered an untimely death of natural causes a few months later on 9 June 1647.

Afterwards there were many lawsuits in the Provincial Court demanding reimbursement for losses during the rebellion. For example, from the Maryland Archives of the Provincial Court: "

Febry 4 {1649 / 50}

Mary Clocker demandeth of ffrancis Gray 1000 lbs tobacco being the value of a Cow of the plaintiff's killed by the Said ffrancis at St Maries about Septemb 1646 and assumed by him to be paid for." [188]

And on the same date against Nathaniel Pope:

" the demand of Blanch Oliver for 2 kine {cows} With Calf.....{Pope} Saith that if he did kill any of her Cattle.....he ought not to pay upon any Such Cause Such actions being taken away by Act of the Assembly.

Mary Clocker Saith upon her Oath that in her presence Nathaniel Pope did promise to Blanch Oliver that for an Ox of her's killed in their ffort.....he would give her Satisfaction......She Should have a Sufficient Cow and Calfe as any was in his penn..... And the Court found that the plaintiff recover a good Cow & Calfe as any was then in his {Pope’s} penn....." [188]

In March, another against Gray:

"Mar: 2 Nicholas Keytin demandeth of ffrancis Gray, both in his own name & as Admr of James Cauther, 200 lbs tobacco casked for the price of a hog of the previously said killed by the defendants to their own use.

And in presence of Jo. Piles (Attorney of the Defendant) and pleading for his defence, the Court found for the plaintiff 150 lbs tobacco." [189]

Preparing to leave Maryland, Francis Gray sold all his cattle in April 1647:

"This wittnesseth that I ffrancis Gray ffor and in Consideration of one thousand pounds Wt of good & merchantable leafe tobb {tobacco} and two Sowes - the Tobbaco to be payd at the next Cropp and the Sowes already deliverd - doe bargaine sell and make over all the right and title of all Cattle whatsoever I have in Maryland of my marke unto Mr John Hampton and doe likewise vouch the sale of them against all person or persons what soeuer, as shall lay claime unto them

Wittness my hand this 17th day of Aprill 1647

signature of ffrancis Graye " [198]

A New Life In Virginia

Gray removed across the Potomac River to the Machodoc River on the Northern Neck of Virginia in 1647 or early 1648. He appears in a court case against Curtbert Fenwick in the Index to the earliest Northumberland Deeds and Orders Book and then appears in the court orders for 24 May 1650 when he was granted a certificate for 300 acres of land by assignment from Capt. Francis Poythers for the transportation of 6 persons into the Colony of Virginia. [190] On 16 July 1654, Gray patented 1000 acres on the south side of the Potomac River extending to the head of Rosyers Creek for the transportation of 20 including a George Rush. [191] On the 3rd of July 1661, Francis Gray took the oath to become one of the first Vestrymen of Appomattocks Parish, Westmoreland County, along with the ancestors of two future U.S. Presidents: Andrew Monroe and John Washington. "Wee whose names are here underwritten were made Choice of as vestrymen by ye parish of Appomattocks & have taken ye oath of Alegiance & Supremacie & doe subscribe ye folloowing words as I doe Acknowledge myself a true sonn of ye Church of Engld. soe I doe believe ye Articles of faith there professed & oblige my self to be comformable to ye Doctrine & Discipline there taught & established dated this 3rd of Jul 1661. Signed: John Dodson, ffrancis Gray, John Washington, Andrew Monroe," etc. [192]

This is a map (click for image) of early Westmoreland County patents which shows Gray’s 16 July 1654 patent 0f 675 acres and his 18 March 1662 patent of 572 acres, the Upper Church at the Round Hills where he was a Vestryman and the mill of the emigrant John Washington (built 1662) on Rozier's Creek.

The Will of Francis Gray was dated 7 June 1667 and was proved at Court on 31 July 1667. It reads in part:

"....Unto my loving wife Alice Grey and my son Francis Grey all my moveable estate such as horses, cattle, hogs &c... ....

Unto my son Francis Grey all my land. In case of the failing of issues of Francis Grey then to be equally divided between my daughter Anne Rush the wife of William Rush and Ann Lancelott the daughter of John Lancelott....

My loving wife Alice Grey executrix." Francis Grey.

Wittnesses: John Ashton, Mary Gardner. Proved: 31 July 1667 [227]

First Settlers of the Northern Neck of Virginia

What interests me now is that most of the Protestant - often Puritan - leaders of the Rebellion of 1645 subsequently settled across the Potomac River on the Northern Neck of Virginia in what became at first Northumberland County (1648) and later Westmoreland County (1653). Many of these men - like Francis Gray - became prominent citizens there. As the St. Mary’s Rebellion demonstrated, these men had an overwhelming desire for individual freedom, ownership of the land they worked and self-determination. Their experiences in Maryland would influence the future of Westmoreland County and indeed of our nation. A century later, prominent citizens from Westmoreland County such as James Monroe, George Washington, George Mason and the Lee brothers - Francis Lightfoot, Richard Henry and Thomas Ludwell - advocated strongly for Virginia to support the Declaration of Independence from England while representatives from Richmond and the Tidewater were more reticent. Three of the first five American presidents were born and educated in this spirited environment: George Washington, James Madison and James Monroe. I summarize the experience in Virginia of nine such rebels at this link: First Settlers of the Northern Neck of Virginia.

Sources of Maryland Court Records

You may access and search the Archives of Maryland Online by clicking here (link) .

In addition, Dr. Lois Green Carr, Historian, Historic St. Mary's City, has placed images of her research index cards online for a number of early Maryland settlers. You may click here (link) to view her "St Mary's City Mens Career Files" where you will find her index cards for Francis Gray.


Patricia Peyton Allen was extremely helpful in sharing research on her ancestor, Francis Gray, with me and convincing me that Francis Gray - early settler and Burgess of the Province of Maryland - was the same Francis Gray who was later found in Westmoreland County and the father of Ann Gray who married William Rush II. Ms. Allen emailed me her typed notes and conclusions as well as several .jpg images of book pages which were some of her sources. She also added citations for all her information as might be expected from the genealogist for the The Peyton Society of Virginia. Patricia Allen is a descendent of Francis Gray through William Rush II's marriage to Ann Gray and their daughter, Mary Rush, who married Philip Peyton. Without her invaluable documentation and persuasion, I might not have believed that the Francis Gray of St. Mary’s, Maryland, was the same man later found in Westmoreland County.

In several paragraphs, I have summarized the fine research of Timothy Riordan from his book: The Plundering Time: Maryland and the English Civil War (Baltimore, Maryland Historical Society, 2004). I am very indebted to his work on Ingle's Rebellion and the men who participated in it.

You may access the Archives of Maryland Online by clicking here (link).

Linked toFrancis GRAY; Francis GRAY

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