Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Maryland - 8th post

Loyalist or Patriot?

In Maryland during the 1770s, opinions were divided on the issue of loyalty to Great Britain. Many of the power elite of colonial Maryland were immersed in their own interests and maintaining their power. However, many others, who might have been expected to declare loyalty to England in order to maintain their position, instead decided to support the American cause.
Question: How would American autonomy affect these power elite?
Answer: Some would lose their positions, but others saw the opportunity to get out from under the heavy hand of the British government.

In her study of Maryland proprietary elite during the time of the Revolutionary War, Anne Alden Allan came to the conclusion that those who identified themselves as Patriots was higher than might have been expected.

The Fate of Loyalist Women after the War

Norton writes that 468 Loyalist women applied for assistance from the British government. In her study Norton theorizes that while many of the women described themselves as "helpless", this was not necessarily an accurate portrayal of their circumstance. Women at that time, according to Norton, had "internalized" an attitude of helplessness because that is what was expected of them.


Eighteenth-Century American in Peace and War: The Case of the Loyalists
Mary Beth Norton
The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, Vol. 33, No.3(July 1976). pp. 386-409

Patriots and Loyalists: The Choice of Political Allegiances by the Members of Maryland's Proprietary Elite
Ann Alden Allan
The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 38, no. 2 (May 1972) pp. 283-292

Friday, October 31, 2008

Maryland - 7th Blog

Maryland Economy in the 18th Century

There were some significant changes in the economy of Maryland during the long 18th Century. Maryland's Tobacco industry suffered early in the Century as compared to Virginia's Tobacco industry. Virginia Tobacco generally was of a higher quality than was Maryland's. Maryland Tobacco was often referred to as "trash", that is, lesser quality tobacco mixed in with good tobacco, and was about the same price, therefore Maryland economy suffered. As a result, in 1747 Maryland passed the Tobacco Inspection Act of 1747. Inspection notes were used in the purchase of tobacco, including the fact that tobacco was used often as currency.

Marginal producers of tobacco in Maryland faced some economic challenges after the passage of the Tobacco Inspection Act of 1747. The Act led to less production of tobacco, therefore higher prices and more profits for the larger producers. Other smaller farmers began to diversify their growing patterns. Corn and wheat became profitable and valuable to the Maryland economy in the second half of the 18th Century. On Maryland's eastern shore exportation of corn and wheat comprised 25% of Maryland's agricultural profits. Additionally, Maryland farmers increased their trade of livestock, especially cattle, which further diversified the economy.
Different eating patterns by late in the century resulted in wheat overtaking corn as the primary food crop.


Economic Regulation and the Colonial Economy: The Maryland Tobacco Inspection Act of 1747
Mary McKinney Schweitzer
The Journal of Economic History 1980

Tobacco to Grain: Economic Development on Maryland's Eastern Shore. 1660-1750
Paul G.E. Clemens
The Journal of Economic History 1975

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Maryland - 6th blog

Labor Needs in Colonial Maryland

Indentured servants were prevalent in Maryland during the early years of the colony. Men and women from England emigrated to the New World with the hope of eventually acquiring a tract of land. To achieve this, they sold their labor as indentured servants in exchange for their freedom after fulfilling their term of service. On average, servants were indentured for a duration of 5-6 years, after which they earned their freedom. From this standpoint, one cannot conclude that the labor of servants was coerced. Rather, the servants chose to work as indentured servants with an eye towards a better future.
An indentured servants contract from Colonial America

Hierarchies in Colonial Maryland

There were relatively few landowners in Colonial Maryland. Those that did own land were almost all Catholic. Most of the servants, conversely, were Protestant indentured servants. In no other colony, and certainly not in England itself, were Catholics at the top of the social and economic hierarchy.


Maryland was designed as a profit making society. As a result of the social and economic system, Maryland operated as a stratified society.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Maryland - 5th Blog

Material Conditions

Most businessmen in Colonial Maryland were merchants running single proprietorships. To be successful, a single proprietor had to be a jack of all trades. His place of business looked something like a warehouse, with various inventory sitting around. Communication became a major challenge for these businessmen. In some cases, a message could take 3 weeks to over a month to receive a reply. Therefore, the pace of business for those proprietors was very slow. Some studies have indicated that these proprietorships would transact only 2 or 3 business deals per day, on average.
Small business ownership in Maryland was presented with great uncertainty because these businesses were not specialized and streamlined, therefore they tended to be highly inefficient.
Finally, the proprietors of those businesses often had other obligations such as participation in local government , which served to further slow down their business.


Corn provided the main part of a colonists diet in the 1600s. Affordable and versatile, corn could be carried with colonial travelers quite easily when on trips of exploration or business. How was the corn prepared? The corn was dried and then ground into a fine powder. From this powdered form, a colonists could make Indian Pudding which consisted of ground corn boiled in bags, and sweetened with sugar or honey. Additionally, creative colonists would add various kinds of berries to the corn mix. One of the most popular dishes was called "Sukquattah hash", which consisted of "corn seethed like beans."


On average women were slightly older than men.
Why were there less women in Colonial Maryland than men? Perhaps it was reluctance on the part of women to sign away five years of their life in indentured servitude. Maybe it was not considered socially acceptable for a young English woman to venture across the Atlantic Ocean to the colony of Maryland. Unquestionably there was reluctance on the part of the merchants and trappers who believed women were not the productive servants men were.

Why did women come to Colonial Maryland? The primary reasons were to get a husband, and to get some land. Both were plentiful in the new colony. And because of the approximately 3 to 1 ratio of men to women, a female settler in Maryland had greater social power than did their counterparts in England.

Death of Husband meant remarriage for widows with sons not old enough to "make tobacco."
Some wives had to help their husbands work in the fields. Perhaps as many as 20% of colonial wives helped their husbands perform manual labor.

Daughters of colonial immigrants married much younger than their mothers a vital register in Somerset County, Maryland showed that some daughters married as young as age 12, and the mean average age of daughters marrying was 16 1/2. Many of the girls who got married were already pregnant, about 20%. Native born Maryland girls bore more children than immigrant women did because they were younger and had more childbearing years in which to produce children. This had the net effect of slowly increasing the native Maryland population.


The Tempo of Mercantile Life in Colonial America Author(s): Arthur H. Cole Source: The Business History Review, Vol. 33, No. 3 (Autumn, 1959), pp. 277-299 Published by: The President and Fellows of Harvard College Stable URL: Accessed: 25/09/2008 06:16

American Origins and Regional Institutions: The Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake Author(s): Robert D. Mitchell Source: Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 73, No. 3 (Sep., 1983), pp. 404-420 Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. on behalf of the Association of American Geographers Stable URL: Accessed: 25/09/2008 06:14

The Planter's Wife: The Experience of White Women in Seventeenth-Century Maryland Author(s): Lois Green Carr and Lorena S. Walsh Source: The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, Vol. 34, No. 4 (Oct., 1977), pp. 542-571 Published by: Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture Stable URL:

Friday, September 19, 2008

Maryland - 4th Blog

Social Conflicts
In first 100 years Maryland a land of immigrants that could not increase its own population too much with its families. as a result, the social structure of early Maryland was very diverse with different groups of immigrants with diverse mindsets and ways of life. Different traditions meant some fragmentation within early Maryland society.

Religious Practice

Maryland was founded with the idea of it being a place where Catholics and other Christians would be welcome and accepted and be able to live in peace and harmony. Unfortunately, non - Christians did not enjoy the same hospitable welcome.

Ordinary Lives of People
Early Marylanders had short life spans. Their average age of death was just 43. Indentured servants in the colony were young, with half between the ages of 18 and 22. Their specialties included yeoman, husbandmen, farm laborers, artisans, and others untrained with a particular specialty. While middle aged men any have the perception of colonists as middle aged men, the Majority of men in Maryland were between 17 and 28 years of age. Why was this so? Probably because those men were required to performing difficult physical labor and would be more suited to such work than would an older man.


The Planter's Wife: The Experience of White Women in Seventeenth-Century Maryland Author(s): Lois Green Carr and Lorena S. Walsh Source: The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, Vol. 34, No. 4 (Oct., 1977), pp. 542-571 Published by: Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture Stable URL:

Friday, September 12, 2008

Maryland - 3rd blog


It has been noted by historians that the colony of Maryland made more progress in its first six months of existence than Virginia had made in its first 6 years of existence. Probably the main reason for the quick progress of Maryland was that it had the advantage of being the first American colony that was established as a proprietorship. This means that the form and structure of Maryland government was modeled after British Government.

Leonard Calvert, brother of Cecil Calvert, was named Maryland's first governor. Upon arrival in the Chesapeake region, Leonard Calvert purchased a village from the Yaocomoco Indians in exchange for gifts, trading assurances, and promises to help defend them against attacks from their enemies, the Susquehannock and Iroquois Indians. This settlement, established by the English in 1634, was named St. Mary's. By6 1685 St. Mary's became the first official city in Maryland.


Resentment of Maryland motivated Virginia to attempt to retake their former territory from the newcomers. Battles and skirmishes ensued between the colonies. Maryland endured these military incursions before repulsing them. Upon the unsatisfactory result of military conflict, Virginia sued Maryland to try to regain land lost, but that course of action also failed.

Everyday Life in the Colony

Maryland went from being a settlement to a solid destination when families, or more precisely, women, congregated to Maryland. Young women served an indentured servitude for an average of about 5 years in order to pay for the expensive passage from England. If she was lucky, she would be employed by a well-to-do family where she could work indoors, cooking and cleaning. If she was employed by a less well-off employer, she might have to help her employer work in the fields all day. Back in England, women of a similar age never were subjected to outdoor manual labor.

While all of this may seem as if colonial women were oppressed, the truth is quite different. These indentured servants worked hard, yes, but they also benefited from a much greater social power than they had back in England. Marriageable men far outnumbered marriageable women in Maryland, thus these women had a greater number of choices than women of the same age in England.

Growth of Maryland

Literature and pamphlets were distributed throughout England trumpeting Maryland's opportunities and lifestyle. Emigrants were given land on which to settle. Much of the work on the land was done by indentured servants, almost all of whom were white. Black slavery did not exist in significant numbers in Maryland until after the start
of the 1700s.


Maryland, the First Proprietary Colony>

American Origins and Regional Institutions: The Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake
Robert D. Mitchell
Source: Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 73, No. 3 (Sep., 1983), pp.
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. on behalf of the Association of American
Stable URL:

Friday, September 5, 2008

Maryland 2nd blog

In the Chesapeake Region of Colonial America, most of the Native groups descended from the Algonquian Indian tribe. Offshoots of the Algonquian tribe included: 1. Susquehannock Indians, 2. Piscataway Indians 3. Wiccomiss Indians.

Some other Indians of the area were relatives of the Iroquois Indians.

The Europeans in the Chesapeake region were largely traders with great business interests in the area. To help the achieve financial success, the settlers employed the indigenous Indians who had intimate knowledge of the land to accentuate potential profit.

An important case study involved the issue of Kent Island. The island became the first European settlement in the colony of Maryland. William Claiborne, the secretary of state of Virginia, led the way in the settlement of Kent Island. . Maryland, the territory granted to the Calvert family, who claimed that the island was part of the newly created Maryland colony.

Claiborne established the first settlement on Kent Island in 1631. The island represented a great point of trade. Some of the industries derived from Kent Island were the lucrative beaver pelt trade, along with the island's tobacco crop. Primary trading partners for the Virginians were the Susquehannock Indians, with whom they did much business. As a show of good faith, Claiborne purchased Kent Island form the Susquehannock for the equivalent of the pay for two days labor of an average worker. By 1638, about 120 men, women , and children lived on Kent Island.

Problems arose when the Calvert family staked their claim to Kent Island as being in Maryland territory. In 1632, the Calvert family was granted the colony of Maryland, much to the chagrin of the Virginians. As a result of this, Kent Island became a major point of contention between the two colonies.



Essortment: Information on the Susquehannock Indians

Kent Island


Colonial Chesapeake Society
edited by Carr, Morgan, and Russo
published for The Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg Virginia