On November 22, 1633, the 358-ton “Ark” and the 26-ton “Dove” departed from the Isle of Wight carrying the founders of the Maryland colony. (The “Dove,” badly damaged in a storm, returned to England for repairs before rejoining the “Ark” several months later in the Antilles.) The two ships ultimately landed at St. Clement’s Island in southern Maryland on March 25, 1634.
The 125 passengers of the “Ark” and the “Dove” sailed at the behest of Cecil Calvert, the Catholic Lord Proprietor of Maryland, who stocked the vessels with enough food and supplies to last, hopefully, for an entire year in the wilderness. At the outset, Lord Baltimore, as the proprietor was also known, expected Maryland to become a Catholic refuge for his co-religionists. In the end, he was remarkably successful in attracting far more Protestant countrymen “by offering them free land and the customary political rights that landholders in England enjoyed. Calvert also promised real religious liberty for virtually all Christians.” In fact, it was Calvert’s Maryland–and not Roger Williams’ Rhode Island–where religious freedom and the separation of church and state first gained a foothold in the New World.
Given this heritage, nearly three centuries later, in 1910, a number of descendants of Maryland’s founding families formed The Society of The Ark and The Dove in order to perpetuate the memory of its pioneers and to promote fellowship among their descendants. Over the years, the Society has encouraged research in early Maryland history and supported a variety of commemorative institutions, such as the Historic St. Mary’s City Foundation.
The book, “The Ark and The Dove Adventurers,” published under the auspices of The Society of The Ark and The Dove, is an important contribution to Maryland genealogy and history by the organization.
Edited by noted Maryland genealogists George Ely Russell and Donna Valley Russell, “The Ark and The Dove Adventurers” furnishes “documented accounts of the first settlers of Maryland in 1634, followed by compiled genealogies of their descendants, if any, extended to the fifth generation when possible.”
The first part of the book describes the family and descendants of Sir George Calvert (Cecil’s father) the first Lord Baltimore. The remainder traces the progeny of the following passengers: James Baldridge, Major Thomas Baldridge, Anam Benum, John Briscoe, William Brown, Leonard Calvert, Thomas Cornwallis, Ann Cox, William Edwin, Cuthbert Fenwick, Captain Henry Fleete, Richard Gerard, Richard Gilbert, Thomas Greene, John Hallowes, Nicholas Harvey, Richard Lowe, John Neville, Richard Nevitt, John Price, Robert Smith, Ann Smithson, Robert Vaughan, and Robert Wiseman. “The Ark and the Dove Adventurers” concludes with a list of passengers who are known not to have had descendants and some later arrivals previously and erroneously claimed as 1634 descendants.
Complete with a name index to 6,000 individuals, “The Ark and The Dove Adventurers” is the new starting point for 17th-century Maryland genealogy.
Image Credit: MIT.edu