Before continuing onto the darker side of the Puritan movement, I would like to remark on my “Southern” roots. The colony called “Maryland” after the Princess Henrietta Maria, who married the ill-fated Charles I, was to become the home to colonists of many different Christian religious denominations. My family roots go back to many of the sects, including the Puritans, Richard Ewen and his family being the first of my Maryland Puritans.
Richard Ewen was born about 1605 in England.
Married Sophia Ewell
Died after 1665 in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland
1. Elizabeth Ewen born 06 June 1630 West River, Anne Arundel, MD married Richard Talbott
2. Richard Ewen died 12 January 1674/75 The Clifts, Calvert Co., MD
3. John Ewen died 06 April 1664 Anne Arundel Co., Maryland
4. Susanna Ewen married John Billingsley and died 09 February 1662/63 Anne Arundel Co.,
5. Anne Ewen died 07 December 1663 Anne Arundel Co., Maryland
6. Sophia Ewen died 09 February 1674/75 Anne Arundel Co., Maryland
While most Puritans followed Winthrop and his fleet to New England, a few brave souls ventured to Virginia and then Maryland to settle in the swamps and forests of a warmer climate. Richard Ewen and his family were among the Puritans who sought freedom to worship by coming to the New World. Why they went south instead of to the Puritan haven of Massachusetts is unknown. But there was opportunity in Maryland and Puritans were going “south” as well.
Richard Ewen was probably born in England. The family name also spelled Ewens, Owens, Owings. He married a young woman named Sophia, whose surname is in debate but Ewell seems to be the most common suggestion. A Richard Ewen was given 150 in Upper Norfolk Co., VA in the mid-1640s and it very well may have been my Richard Ewen.
The first Baron Baltimore visited what would become the colony of Maryland in 1628. He had converted to Roman Catholicism shortly before the death of King James I for whom he had been the principal secretary. James I’s son, Charles I, married the French princess who gave her name to Maryland. Their marriage was a loving and faithful marriage but in his love for Henrietta Maria, Charles converted to her Catholic faith much to the distain of the growing Puritan movement in England. In 1628, the Catholic Baron Baltimore visited what would become the colony of Maryland. On his return to England, he asked Charles I for a land grant in this area to settle persecuted English Roman Catholics so they could freely worship. This grant was given to Cecilius Calvert, son and heir of Baron Baltimore after the latter’s death in 1632. In 1634, Cecilius’ brother Leonard brought over colonists who were made up of Catholic gentry as well as Protestants. All seemed well in Maryland, except for William Claiborne, who lost Kent Island to the greedy Baltimore boys.
Meanwhile, back in England, the English Civil War began. Despite an ocean separating Maryland from England, the Civil War between the Royalists and Parliament had a direct influence on Maryland. The Catholic Lord of Maryland, of course, sided with the doomed Catholic King Charles. Leonard Calvert hurried home to England to consult with Cecilius leaving Giles Brent as acting governor. Captain Richard Ingle was arrested sometime later for his adamant and loud support of Parliament. He escaped and joined forces with William Claiborne, still bitter about losing Kent Island.
Leonard Calvert returned to Maryland as Claiborne and Ingle created the “Plundering Time” by causing trouble throughout the colony of Maryland. This finally ended in 1646 when Leonard Calvert returned from exile in Virginia. Leonard died the next year and William Stone was named governor of Maryland. While England had declared the Commonwealth, Virginia remained loyal to the King. This in turn led to persecution of the Puritans in that colony. Governor Stone allowed some of these Puritans to settle in Providence located at the present-day Annapolis, Maryland.
Richard, his wife Sophia, their five children and three servants were among the Virginia Puritans who settled in “Providence”. He received 1000 acres of land. Their nearest neighbors were Edward Lloyd (just opposite present day Annapolis), Richard Bennett and Richard Talbott, a Quaker, who married Ewen’s daughter, Elizabeth. But life in the New World was often full of unsettling experiences and the unrest between the Royalists and the Parliament continued to affect the peace between the Catholics and the Puritans in Maryland.
Captain Roger Heamans, by the power given to him by the Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, came to Maryland in 1655 and stripped Stone of his governorship. Stone didn’t take this very well. He challenged Heamans’ authority, taking records, rallying his troops, and relocating north of Providence where he plotted to attack the Puritan settlement of Providence. The short battle that followed became known as the Battle of the Severn. The Puritans in less then an hour took control and Stone and his troops were taken prisoner.
Richard Ewen was among those who sat on the council of war following the Battle of the Severn that condemned Governor Stone, along with other Royalist to death for their treason against the English Commonwealth. Only four Royalists were executed. Stone and Josias Fendall, who became governor in 1656 after Lord Baltimore regained control of Maryland, were allowed to live. Richard Ewen was among the Provincial Council who had arrested Fendall and sentenced him "to go to the place from whence he came a prisoner, and there abide in safe custody untilt his matters of government in the Province of Maryland be further settled by his Highness Lord protector." Fendall was allowed to take an oath to obey the present government. He later became governor of Maryland at which time, ironically, the very same Richard Ewen who tried him after the Battle of the Severn, was appointed Commissioner and Justice of the Peace and held his first court date on July 23, 1656. He joined the assembly the following year and later was a justice representing Anne Arundel County. Richard was a busy man, farming his land, serving in the house of Burgess, being sheriff of Anne Arundel County in 1664 and 1665 and as an officer of the militia for five years, as well as being a husband, father and faithful church attendee.
It is unknown when Richard died but it was probably sometime after 1665 when his name was last recorded. Maryland didn’t have the Puritan fascination with records and there were few records kept of births and deaths.
1. Ancestry.com World Tree Project "Willis - Black"
2. "Early Families of Southern Maryland, Vol 2" The Lawrence Family
1. Anne Arundel Gentry, Vol 1; Burgess Family
5. Battle of the Severn, Wikipedia, http://en.wilipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Severn
My Ewen line:
Richard Ewen married Sophia Ewell
Elizabeth Ewen married Richard Talbott
Elizabeth Talbott married Benjamin Lawrence
Elizabeth Lawrence married John Gassaway
Nicholas Gassaway married Elizabeth Hawkins
Elizabeth Gassaway married Charles Sellman
Margaret Sellman married Joshua Hobbs
Anne “Nancy” Hobbs married George Burkheart
Polly Burkheart married William Hopkins
Cynthia Hopkins married Samuel Thomas Miller
Eliza Miller married Josiah Maltby
Caroline Bell Maltby married Otis T. Chubb