Joseph L. Meek Manuscript

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It seems appropriate to give a short history of the settlement of Mary-land in and around the Servern River area(Annapolis) in connection with the genealogy of the forebearer of the Meek families herein afterwards dealt with.

Sir George Calvert turned Roman Catholic in 1624, resigned his Office in the English Government soon thereafter. Tie was made "Lord Balti-more" by King Charles I., soon after this time.

Lord Baltimore was in Virginia in 1628, he refused to take oath of Alligence which as a Catholic he could not do, so he explored the Cheseapeake Bay area and returned to England to obtain a grant to col-onize it, but died before returning and the grant was turned over to his son Cecilius. The Charter was issued on the 20th day of June 1332 and the New Province, named in the honor of queen Heariett Marie, Named Terra Meria-Maryland,

He fitted out two vessels "The Ark" and "The Dove" and called a body of two hundred adventures togeather, nearly all of them were Catholics and gentlemen of fortune and respectability, who desired, like himself or, his father., to flee from the realm of intolerance which prevailed in England in order to establish their freedom of religious belief in a new Country. The Colonists were accompained by two Jesuit priests, Father Andrew white and Father John Althan, and were placed under the command of Leonard Calvert, the Lord proprietary and appointed governor of Maryland, he himself intending to remain' in England for the present to supervise in person, the interest of the settlement in its Infancy and send out additional people eager to join the new world movement".

"The Ark" and "Dove" after a weary and storm- trip landed at Saint Clements Island, March 25,1634, after having stayed nine days in the Virginia Colonies resting. Catholic and Protestants hand in hand, friends and brothers., equal in Civil Rights and secure alike in the free, full enjoyment of either creed, settled on March 27, 1634, at what later became St. Mary's, Maryland.

Puritanism* The Puritans were those who thought that the English Re-formation had not gone far enough in its separation from the Roman Catholic Church, but that there were many ceremonies and forms still retained in the worship which were to suggestive of papacy, At this time the Puritans had established a small colony in Virginia and as their number began to increase the Virginia Government determined to stop their influenced so in 1742, a large number were dispearsed and driven from Virginia shores.

The year 1649, saw many critical steps in the developement of Quaker-ism in both England and Maryland. In England, Charles 1st., was beheaded. Puritanism.. was on the rise for years, and was in complete control, but throughout the Northern Counties, George Fox, and his increasing number of Friends of Truth were, approaching the creative movement of Quakerism. In Maryland the General Assembly passed the now famous Act Concerning Religion in which, for the first time in the world, freedom of conscience in religion with full civil rights guaranteed. Also in 1649, Cecilious, Second Lord Baltimore, through his resident governor, William Stone, offered sanctuary to all Virginia settlers who were being forced to leave that Crown Colony because they would not obey its strigent laws compelling conformity to the established Church of England. They sought freedom, both civil and religions, in Maryland.

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The earliest settlers that were non-Catholic.0 who came into Maryland, settled on the Western Shores of the Chesapeake Bay, between Herring Creek on the South and the Magethy River on the North. This area be-came known as the Providence and at the junction of Severn River and the Cheseapeak Bay become a popular location (New Annapolis). In 1650 the General Assemble of Maryland changed the name to "Anne Arundel" County, it was the third County in the precedence in the colonies and was named for the former Lady Anne Arundel, the wife of Cecil Calvert, Second "Lord Baltimore", the founding, proprieter of the Colony. The new County was, divided into Hundreds, extending from the Bay to the Patuxent River. At the far South was Herring Creek hundred, then came the West River and the South River Hundreds respectively. Middle Neck Hundred lay between South River and Severn River, while the Bread Neck Hundred extended from the Severn River Northward. This River was named by the early settlers of the area, but Lord Baltimore's Gov-ernment favored the name of "Anne Arundel" and for many years it was refferred to as the "Anne Arundel" River, Alias the Severn.

A number of Virginia Puritans with Richard Bennett at their head, sought refuge in Maryland, they were kindly received and settled at a place which was called Providence, near the present City of Annapolis, in Anne Arundel County. They were no sooner seated in their new habita-tion, then they refused to take the oath of Fidelity to the provience, which the law required from all emigrants to obtain patents for their land, They declined this oath, "Because it was a Oath" said one of their defenders, To support a Government which upholds antichrist, that is secured freedom of conscience, to Catholices and Episcopalisna, as well as to themselves.

They formed themselves into a community government by their own con-gregation, a Church System, occupied the 'land without grants, and had no recongnized connection with the Colony, until In July 1650, when their settlement was erected into a County and a commander and "Justice of the Peace" was appointed, as was in Kent and St. Mary's Counties.

In July, 1650, Governor William Stone, visited the County and appointed Edward Lloyd as commander and James Homewood, Thomas Marsh, George Puddinton, Matthew Hawkins, James Merryman and Henry Catlyn as Comm-issioners. Commander Lloyd was empowered to issue warrants for land to which new settlers were entitled and which later could be converted into patents from Lord Baltimore, however, this right was withdrawn, December 18, 1652.

Richard Bennettl a Virginia Puritan who came to Anne Arundel County is aredited as having came into Maryland about the time that Anne Ar-undel County wLs formed in 1650. In 1651, he claimed about 250 acres of land on Towne Neckel, at the Mouth of Severn River., for himself and ton of his followers. This is the bases for the belief that the first settlement in the Severn River area was on Towne Necke., later Green-bury Point. Bennett was named a Parliamentary Commissioner end in 1652.4 he and William Clarborne first sized tne 1.1aryland Government,

William Clarborne a Puritan Opportunist and a known enemy of Lord Bal-timore, and Richard Bennett sezied the Maryland Government again in 1654 and created a Government appointed several men as its governing body and then they returned to Virginia. Among these men were, William Fuller, Richard Preston and William Durand, who virtually control-ed the resident Puritan Government of Maryland from 1654 until its restoration to Lord Baltimore in 1658.

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Captain William Fuller, had the added authority of being commander of the Military forces and often referred to as "Governor". All three soon became convinced Quakers, and ironically, Richard Bennett himself also...was convinced by William Edmundson in 1672.

In March.1655, Maryland forces from St, Mary's sailed up the Chesa-peake Bay to confer with the resident Virginia-dominated government forces of Fuller, Durand and Preston. Instead of a conference the meeting resulted in the so-called bottle of the Severn, fought on Sunday, March 25, 1655. Contemporary accounts of the affair obviously are biased and contriductory. The Fuller forces aided by a large armed merchant vessel were victorious, loosing but two men killed on the battle field, while the Marylanders of St, Mary's lost about fifty men slain or wounded and only four or five escaped. The dis-parity in casualities leaves room for speculation as to what actual-ly happened on that bloody Sunday. It is not know how many of the local settlers, who only a few years before had sought refuge and had been welcomed to Maryland, fought with the Puritans,

The generally accepted creative moment of Quakerism from a morning in May 1652, when George Fox, after Tears of forceful searching, stood on Pendle Hill in the Yorkshire moors and saw his future course out-lined sharply. Only three years later, in 1655, Publishers of Truth, went forth to plant the Quaker way of life in the New World,

The exact date of the arrival of Elizabeth Harris a great fried (quaker in Maryland is not known., but most Historians set the year as 1656, She labored in the Providence, for about a year before returning to England. It is said that perhaps one or two hundred families were settled about the area extending from Herring Bay on the South to the Magothy River on the north, Captain William Fuller and William Durand, two of the leading resident Puritan Officials, were seated in the Severn River Area. There were no towns or villages, although Herring-ton Bay, Londontowne at South River and Arundelton, later Annapolis, on the Severn River, all had their beginning with the coming of the settlers from Virginia in 1649 and 1650.

Elizabeth Harris was received in the Puritan-controlled section of the Province without religious or governmontril opposition and within a few months had convinced a number of the leading people in Anne Arundel -then Providence County, Among the first commissioners who governed Anne Arundel County was Henry Catlyn(Caplin) and Thomas Mears who soon became a Friend. Other members of the Puritan govern-ment for the Province, she convinced both Captain William Fuller, Re-sident Governor and William Durand, secretary of State. Directly or indirectly she caused Richard Preston, later called the "Great Quaker to join the movement.

Elizabeth Harris's travels covered all of Anne Arundel County, prob-ably some of Calvert County, and possibly part of the Eastern Shore, She planted Quakerism so firmly that by 1671, and probably,- much earl-ier, there were settled meetings in Anne Arundel County at West River and Herring Creek. Other meetings for the Western Shore were at The Cliffs and Patuxent River, in Calvert County. She returned to Eng-land before July 1757, but her influence kept on growing.

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John Burnyest arranged a General Meeting for all Friends in the Pro-vince in 1672, settled Meeting already existed at West River and Her-ring Creek, in Anne Arundel County, and at The Cliffs and Patuxent in Calvert County. More impressive than the number of Meetings, perhaps was the standing of the Quaker leaders in the Province and the number of people who had been convinced. Burnyest and his predecessors had planted well. Now George Fox, was to visit the Provience.

George Fox, had been released from prison on September 1., 1666, in compliance with an order issued by Charles II* George Fox.attended the First General Meeting at 'Nest River., just outside of irrhat is now Galesville,, where the Old Quaker Burial grounds are now located, in late April of 1672, after haveing come ashore at Patuxent only the day before, and although weary, upon being advised of the Meeting, hurried to participate.

This meeting marked the beginning of organized Quakerism in Maryland. It lasted about five days, during which there were Meetings of Discip-lin, as well as for worship and business. The work of the early Mess-engers, beginning with Elizabeth Harris had borne fruit. Quakerism was accepted and respected. This was the First General Meeting of Friends in Maryland and the first such Meeting attended by George Fox on the mainland of the New World.

Late In 1672, after much traveling on both sides of the Chesapeake Bay, he came and attended a large public Meeting at "Severn River" in Anne Arundel County. A gathering described as "More than the Meeting place could hold" came to hear him preach. "There were three Justice of the Peace., and, the Speaker of the assembly, his wife and many people(-were much satisfied."

August Hermann's Map of Maryland was published in London, Clearly, it shows a settlement called Arundelton on the south side of the Severn River, on the site of the present Citv of Annapolis, and marked with a symbol belived meant to designate some type of Meeting house or church. Possible this is where George Fox preached, thought it was not a Quaker Meeting House. Perhaps it was built and used for both civic and reglious purposes by the Separatists or Independents, living in and about the settlement. No record exist of a Church of England edifice in the area at this time.

George Fox, James Lancaster and Robert Widders, had engaged passage for England and on March 21, 1673, they boarded the shin "Society of Bristol" riding in the Patuxent., but not until the, 24th did the vessel clear the Patxuent on its journey to England. after a stormy passage of about a month, it reached Bristol and a joyful reunion was held with Margaret, wife of George Fox, Thomas Lowel,, William Penn, and his wife and Gerard Roberts. Fox had been abroad almost two years, most of which had been spent in Maryland. It must have been with great satisfaction that he reviewed his-labors in America and especially in Maryland. There he had left Quakerism, first brought to the Prov-ince by Elizabeth Harris, firmly planted, with settled Meetings being hold on both shores of the Chesapeake. His trip and travels were free from persecution or governmental interference.

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Quakerism had an open field in the upper Chesapeake Area, for several years., but in 1699 and 1700, just before the ratification of an accep-table law establishing the Church of England in the Province, Quaker-ism reached its greatest strenght in Anne Arundel County. The grad-ual decline of Quaker strenght in the County soon began to decline.

Beginning in 1692, when attempts were made to establish the Church of England in Provience, Quakers bitterly opposed the public' tax of forty pounds of tabacco per poll for the maintanence and support of that Church. In fact Dr. Thomas Bray, the most obstructive force against the enactment and enforcement of such a law.

On July 30,1694, a report to Governor Nicholson, showed that four Church of England parishes had been laid out in Anne Arundel County, Herring Crook, South River, Middle Nock and Broad Neck. No church had been built and there wore no ministers.

In 1698 in a religious census made of all Quakers and other Protestant dissenters, the report for the County showed that while there wore no Priests or Lay Brothers., six Quaker Meeting Places existed. This was more then in any other County in the Provience and, since the Meeting Places were all in the southern part of the county, the concentration of Quakers strength in that area is apparent.

Due to the chaos in government and Religious beliefs, the refusal to take the Oath of Allegiance., delayed the granting of land to the fami-lies that lived upon it in many instances. It is not certain when many of the settlers came into the Provience or Anne Arundel County, do to this confussion, but one thing we are sure of., is that they were there when a land grant was issued to them., but how long they had boon there is uncertain, or when they migrated from,

Records in the Hall of Records, Annapolis, show that one Guy Meeke, was in Anne Arundol prior to December 1662.

James W. Meek, Columbus Ohio, in his small genealogy states that Guy Meeke, was of Welsh descent and emigrated to this County from Shrews-bury, England, and became a Quaker. It has never boon established wheter his wife and son John, accompanied him to America or came at a later date.

Libor A.B. Folio 429, shows that on December 29, 1662, a certain Guy Meeke, demanded 50 acres of land from the Lord's Property, and a land warrant was issend accordingly.

Calvert Rent Rolls, Book #1.Page 68.,"Salmon Hill" 100 acres, surveyed, October 26, 1663, for Ralph Solmon at the head of Plumb Crook on ye South side of Severn River. 50 acres to Hugh Howard - 50 acres to Guy Meeke.

Page 79."Roso", 136 acres, surveyed January 16,1668, for Guy Meek on ye south side of Severn River. Possr: John Meek.

Page 75: "Guy's Rest". 100 acres, surveyed June 14,1669, for Guy Meeke on ye south side of Severn River. Possr:, John Meek.

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Page 76: "Guy's Will". 100ares June 28., 1671, for Guy Meeke between heads of South River and the Severn, at' a bounded White Oak of "Guy's Rest."

Book#2,page 81 - "Meek's Rost". 210- acres re-surveyed, October 1., 1681 for Guy Meeke, on ye south side of Severn River. The records say his re-survey was made by "Assingmen of 140 acres from Henry Hanslap, but 'meacons' not how ye rest made complement of 210 acres, because, only I concluded that quantity" Possr; John Meek.

Page 81: "Weston". 130 ares, surveyed Octotor 1., 1681, for Guy Meeke, on ye South side of Severn River, on ye branch of Plumb Crook, Possr: John Meek.

Ref: Investory and Accounts Book#8., Page 6, n1so Liber 13, Folio 17 and 18.

"Guy Meeke, of said County, died interstate and ye Widow of Deceased prays for a letter of Administration of the Estate. A Commission was issued to take the bond of Administratrix" "On March 28,1682/3, came Captain Richard Hill, and made his return that he had sworn Rachel Meek Admtrx. of the Estate of Guy Meeke, and also taken bond for her Admin-istration., with Thomas Brown and Charles Stevens as Securities." (1) Guy Meek, died in 1682, interstate, and the inventory was filled by Adam Shipley and Henry Pierpont.

(note - Henry Pierpont is mentioned as being a Quaker and attended Meetings.) (1-1)
John Meek son of Guy the immigrant, believed to have been born about 1649.

Early settlers, Libor 5, Page 252 & 606, "John Meeke, Clirurgeon, immi-grated, prior to 1663, was the son of Guy Meeke, who was given possession of the early grants to Guy Meeks'.

Note - The above statement is hardly true regarding John, being a chirurgoon,(Surgeon) as he would have been only about 14 years of ago in 1663. if our age calculation is correct., also when his will was written he signed it with his mark.

Early Settlers, Liber 9, Pago 448. Guy Meek, was transportod into the Provience in 1666. On May 30, 1666, the following entry is recorded in the Land Office: "Then came John Howard who married Susan, the relic of Charles Stevens late of Anne Arundel, deceased, and demanded land for transportation of several persons into the Provience by said So-vens. Among them, Guy Meek, and John Minter,

Note - This can hardly be correct as it is evident that Guy Meeke was in the Provience before 1662., according to his land grants dates. But is also known that John Minnter and Guy Meek, were close friends and Minter Will, dated, January 25,1669 and Probated May 28, 1670, named Guy Meek., to receive some personal property,

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It is thought that John Meek, was born about 1649, and that his first wife was Elizabeth Heaton., but his will was probated he named, Mary Meek, as his beloved wife. In her will, dated 1726, she states that she was about 58 years old, making her born about 1668, or nearly 20 years younger than her husband John Meek This seems to indicate that she was the second wife. She (Mary Meek married, James Boyce, in 1713, for her second husband.

Records of Saint Ann's Protestant Episcopal Church, Anne Arundel County Maryland, shows that three of his children were baptised: Samuel and Christopher, on September 24, 1719, and Ruth on September 30, 1719, and gives their birth dates as herein shown.

See Copy of John Meek Will.

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Created 28 Jun 1999 by Christopher A. Meek