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An American Family History

The Robert Clarke Family

The first European settlements in Maryland were made in 1634 when English settlers created a permanent colony.

Robert Clarke (Clark) (b. 1610-1664) of Charles County, Maryland was comissioned as Surveyor General in 1638 and chosen as the spokesman for the Jesuits.

He married Eleanor about 1640. Eleanor and Robert's children may have included:

Neal Clarke (about 1640, married Rachel Beard)

John Clarke (1640-1686).

John Clarke (1670)
Robert Clarke (1673)
Benjamin Clarke (1676-1708, m. Judith)
Franklin (Francis) Clarke (1678)
Ann Clarke (1679)

Mary Clarke Compton (about 1644, married John Compton)

In 1651 Robert married Winifred Seybourne Greene. Winifred was the widow of Thomas Green.

Robert Clarke (1652)
Thomas Clarke (1654, married Anne Barber and Julian Mudd)

Robert married Jane Hicks Cockshoot Causine. The widow of John Cockshoot and Nicholas Causine.

Clarke's Inheritance was surveyed on January 30, 1663 for Robert Clarke. It on the north side of the Main Fresh Run at the head of Mattawoman (Creek) called Nuteing.

In 1681 Lord Baltimore granted Clarke's Purchase to John Clarke who immediately signed it over to his brother Thomas.

In 1699, John, Robert, Benjamin, and Francis Clarke sold 100 acres of Clarke's Purchase to William Harbart.

Maryland was established with religious freedom for Catholics. The colonial economy was based on tobacco cultivated by Africans who had been enslaved.
 

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Lord Baltimore, Cecil Calvert (1605 -1675), 2nd Baron Baltimore was the first governor of Maryland.
Phillip Calvert (1626–1682), was the 5th governor from 1660 to1665.
Charles Calvert (1637 – 1715), 3rd Baron Baltimore inherited the colony in 1675.

Charles County Land Records
Folio 178 Indenture, 2 Jan 1706
From: Philip Lynes of Charles County, Gent., and his wife Ann
to: William Harbert of Charles County, Gent.

the Right Honorable Cecillius, Lord Baron of Baltimore granted at the City of St. Mary's on 22 Sept. 1665 unto John Clarke a tract of Land called Clarke's Purchase lying in Charles County on the North side of the Main Fresh run at the head of Mattawoman and Thomas's Creek; commonly known as Nattingee containing 500 Acres; 9 Jan. 1681

John Clarke signed over this original grant to his brother, Thomas Clarke; 10 Jan. 1681

Thomas Clark in open court in Charles County sold the land to John Godshall of Charles County; 8 Jun. 1683

John Godshall sold the land to Philip Lynes
recorded in Charles County records;

for 120£ Philip and Ann Lynes now sell the 500 Acres of Clarke's Inheritance now lying in Prince George's County.
Signed Philip Lynes.
Witnessed: John Connlee and Charles James

Memorandum: 2 Jan 1706/7 Ann Lynes examined in Charles County by above witnesses Certification: the two mentioned gentleman subscribers to this endorsement on this deed are two of her Magesties Justices of Charles County;
signed by E. Howard, Clerk
Vide ye alienation in folio 226

A gentleman had no title, but descended from an aristocratic family, was of the landed gentry, and had a coat of arms.
 
 
 

from the Morse Papers at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore is the following bibliography of the Hon. Robert Clarke:

The Hon. Robert Clarke arrived within four years of the settlement of St. Mary's with a shipment of goods for the Indians. He was a friend of Father Copley, a Jesuit priest. In 1639, he represented a Roman Catholic Missionary. Since there was such persecution of the Catholics in early years, Father Copley took several names. Robert Clarke was prominent in the colony and sat as a freeman in the legislature.

On Aug 11, 1648, he was appointed Surveyor-General of all singular castles, lordships, manors and forests and to enjoy all rights and privileges of that office.

Robert Clarke was described as a Gentleman of high caliber, integrity and ability. He was a member of the Assembly when the Toleration Act was passed in 1649; in 1651, he occupied the post of Steward with power to hold Court Baron for Calverton, a manor of ten thousand acres for the secure habitation of six nations of Indians who desired to put themselves under government protection.

During the Puritan ascendancy, he openly confessed his faith in the Catholic church. He surrendered at the Battle Severn, 1655, and was taken prisoner by the Puritans. He was treated as a rebel and sentenced to be hanged. He was saved by petition, fined 10,000 pds. of tobacco. Unable to pay, he surrendered his plantation having refused to renounce his church. A year later, when Clarke was found to be in dire distress, the Protestant court reduced his fine & restored his plantations.