Benjamin Fowler Life Sketch

(1705 - abt 1762)

Benjamin Fowler was born on May 30, 1705, in Prince George’s County, British Colonial Maryland. Benjamin married (1) Rachel Selby on December 4, 1729, in Anne Arundel County, British Colonial Maryland, and (2) Hellen Brigdell on September 20, 1732, in Anne Arundel County, British Colonial Maryland. Benjamin Fowler died around 1762 in Anne Arundel County, British Colonial Maryland.


Benjamin Fowler was born May 30, 1705, in Prince George’s County, British Colonial Maryland, the 4th son and 6th child of Thomas Fowler and Susannah Iiams. Benjamin grew up on his father’s 400 acre plantation “Ridgley’s and Tyler’s Chance, located between Whitemarsh and the Patuxent River. Benjamin was 10 years of age when his father died intestate. Without an inheritance, Benjamin was likely bound in servitude to learn a trade. It appears that Benjamin and several of his other siblings were sent to the Broadneck area of Anne Arundel County.

On December 4, 1729, Benjamin married Rachel Selby in Anne Arundel County. There are no known children from this marriage. Rachel died sometime before September of 1732.

On September 20, 1732, Benjamin married Hellen Brigdell, the daughter of Daniel and Margaret Wootton and the widow of Edward Mortimer, in Anne Arundel County. Hellen had 4 children from her first marriage, Margaret, Thomas, Hellen and William Mortimer.

Benjamin and Hellen had the following known children:

  1. John Fowler
  2. Jubb Fowler
  3. Benjamin Fowler
  4. Helen Fowler
  5. Samuel Fowler
  6. Elizabeth Fowler

Hellen’s mother and father were deceased and Hellen and her two siblings lived with their grandmother Ellinor “Hellen” MNU who owned a large amount of land. Hellen’s grandmother Ellinor married first Simon Wootton, second Jonathon Neale, third Robert Jubb, fourth John Campbell, and fifth James Jackson. Through these marriages and deaths of heirs Ellinor acquired the land tracts “Leavy Neck”, “Neale’s Purchase”, “Mascall’s Haven”, “Locust Thickett”, “Heir’s Purchase”, “Jubb’s Discovery”, “Jubb’s Purchase”, “Lusby”, and “Campbell’s Purchase”.

Hellen’s grandmother Ellinor took measures to ensure her grandchildren were provided for and prior to her fourth and fifth marriage established trusts and legacies. On December 5, 1730, “Helen” Jubb, “widow”, deeded to John Beale “Heir’s Purchase”, 90 acres on the north side of the Severn to be held in trust for her granddaughter Hellen Mortimer. At the time of Benjamin’s marriage to Hellen in 1732, Ellinor was married to her fourth husband John Campbell. In 1735 John Campbell was sick and dying. Benjamin witnessed his will dated March 30, 1735. By April 4 John was dead.

The Fowler family likely lived on one of the properties owned by Hellen’s grandmother on the north side of the Severn River, across from present day Annapolis. Benjamin’s second son Jubb was named after her grandmother’s second husband Robert Jubb who was already deceased when Jubb Fowler was born.

After John Campbell’s death Benjamin assumed John’s overseer role for the section of Anne Arundel county referred to as Town Neck. By 1736 Benjamin received the license to operate the Severn Ferry connecting Broadneck to Annapolis. Both Robert Jubb and John Campbell held the license prior to Benjamin. A ferry license was potentially lucrative since holding the license also allowed the license holder to operate an ordinary (inn) and a tavern, which Benjamin did. Benjamin continued to operate the ferry until 1746.

In 1737 Hellen’s grandmother married her fifth husband, James Jackson. Sometime after the marriage and prior to November 1739, Hellen’s grandmother died and Benjamin and Hellen received “Heir’s Purchase”, “Jubb’s Discovery” and “Campbell’s Purchase”. “Campbell’s Purchase” had been resurveyed and contained part of “Lusby”.

On November 7, 1739, Benjamin and Hellen conveyed to Charles Hammond for£16 a 16 acre part of “Heir’s Purchase” and “Jubb’s Discovery”. “Heir’s Purchase” contained 90 acres and and “Jubb’s Discovery” contained 33 ½ acres. Benjamin and Hellen sold a 16 acre part, a little from both tracts, which adjoined Homewood’s plantation. The 16 acre part was named “Homewood’s Parcel”.

On July 14, 1740, Benjamin purchased from John Conoway “Low Neck” for 5 shillings, lying at the head of the southeastern branch of Swan Creek containing 100 acres. Two days later, on July 16, Benjamin sold the land for the same price to Thomas Joyce. James Jackson witnessed both transactions. Prior to the transactions, on May 13, 1740, James Jackson gave Benjamin Fowler what we would call today Power of Attorney. Benjamin appears to have acted on behalf of James Jackson in this transfer of property and the nominal amount, 5 shillings for 100 acres of land, likely indicates the intention was to clear the title to the land.

On February 25, 1741, Benjamin and Hellen conveyed to John Brice for £51 “all that tract or parcel of land originally taken by Robert Lusby, late of county, called ‘Lusby’ containing 50 acres of land more or less and by a patent granted to a certain John Campbell on a resurvey made by a certain Robert Jubb, late of said county, this aforesaid tract of Land by including surplus contains 149 acres of land and is now called ‘Campbell’s Purchase’ ”.

On May 14, 1743, Benjamin and Samuel Howard, Benjamin’s nephew, were sureties for Richard Fowler, Benjamin’s brother, and Richard’s wife Elizabeth on the estate of Stephen Stewart. In 1746 Benjamin and Joshua Jones were bondsmen for Ray Jones on the administration of George Venum’s estate. George’s daughter Sarah Venum was bound to Benjamin’s wife Hellen in servitude until the age of 16.

In August of 1743, Hellen’s nephew Daniel Brigdell, about 16 years old, was bound in servitude to Benjamin.

By December of 1743 Benjamin was financially struggling. He mortgaged to his step-son-in-law John Burley for 305 pounds 19 shillings 4 pence, 2 negro men, 5 horses, 9 head of cattle, 17 sheep, 19 hogs, dozens of plates and cookware, as well as household furniture.

On February 9, 1744, Benjamin and his siblings each received 3 pounds 2 shillings 10 ¾ pence from the final distribution of his father’s estate. Likely the distribution was made after the death of their mother Susannah.

In August of 1746 Benjamin was in court with his servant Jane who was presented for bastardy. By November 1746 Benjamin released the Severn Ferry license to John Burley although Benjamin still ran an Inn. On November 19, 1746, “willing and desirous to keep harmless … John Burley”, Benjamin conveyed to John Burley “one servant man named Edward Snowden and one servant woman named Jane Webb … each having at the time about 4 ½ years to serve”.

On December 1, 1747, Benjamin and Hellen sold “Heir’s Purchase” and “Jubb’s Discovery” to George Page for 150 pounds, with the exceptions of 16 acres previously conveyed to Charles Hammond, their pew in Westminster Church, and the burying place of their ancestors.

By March of 1749, John Burley was deceased. Margaret, John Burley’s wife and Benjamin’s step daughter moved back in with Benjamin and Hellen, Margaret’s mother. William Govaine administered John Burley’s estate and began a romantic liaison with Margaret. William however was a married man.

On April 16, 1749, Benjamin Fowler mortgaged to Nicholas Maccubbin, a merchant of Annapolis, for 58 pounds 16 shillings, 2 negro men, 3 horses, 3 mares, 14 heads of cattle, 25 hogs, and various household personalty. The mortgage plus interest was due the following April. When John Burley’s accounts were settled in 1750, payments to the indebted Benjamin Fowler were assigned directly to Nicholas Maccubbin.

In 1750 Benjamin appeared in Provincial Court for debts owed to John Bullen. Also in 1750, the father of William Govaine’s wife brought various charges against William Govaine which included abuse and wasting his wife’s dowry. Many depositions were given, some regarding the relationship between William Govaine and Benjamin’s step-daughter Margaret. Included in the depositions was one from Elizabeth Fowler, age 22 (born around 1728), “spinster”, too old to be Benjamin’s daughter and also not a relative of either William Govaine or Margaret Mortimer Burley. Elizabeth may be the daughter of Benjamin’s brother Thomas Fowler, who married Elizabeth Day in 1726 and who died in 1746. Around the time the case began, Benjamin’s step-daughter Margaret died.

In 1751 Benjamin’s step-son Thomas Mortimer had a bastard child with Elizabeth Fowler. Benjamin’s brother’s John and Richard Fowler provided Thomas’ security.

In 1753 Benjamin’s wife Hellen was granted the Severn ferry license. Usually a license is granted after the husband’s death. In this case however, Benjamin does not appear to be deceased, just in debt.

In November of 1758, Benjamin and his son Jubb sold a slave to John Brice. In May of 1759, Benjamin sold 3 young slaves to his son Jubb.

In 1759 Benjamin’s daughter Hellen had a bastard child. Benjamin provided the security for the maintenance of the child.

On May 19, 1760, Benjamin and Hellen’s son Benjamin who had married Hammutal Stinchcomb, widow of Richard Boone, petitioned the Orphan's Court of Anne Arundel County to turn over the administration of Richard Boone’s estate to Philip Pettibone. The petition was witnessed and signed by Benjamin and Benjamin’s oldest son John.

In October of 1765, Benjamin’s son Samuel died. Mrs. Hellen Fowler administered the estate implying that Benjamin was no longer alive.

Sometime between May of 1760 and October of 1765, Benjamin Fowler died in Anne Arundel County, British Colonial Maryland, around the age of 53.

Genealogical Research and Life Sketch Updated: May 2022


Sources:

"Maryland Births and Christenings, 1650-1995", database, FamilySearch, Benjamin Fowler, 1705.

"Maryland Marriages, 1666-1970", database, FamilySearch, Benjamin Fowler, 1729.

"Maryland Marriages, 1666-1970", database, FamilySearch, Benjamin Fouler, 1732.

"Maryland Births and Christenings, 1650-1995", database, FamilySearch, Benjamin Fouler in entry for John Fouler, 1733.

"Maryland Births and Christenings, 1650-1995", database, FamilySearch, Benjamin Fouler in entry for Jubb Fouler, 1735.

"Maryland Births and Christenings, 1650-1995", database, FamilySearch, Benjamin Fouler in entry for Benjamin Fouler, 1737.

"Maryland Births and Christenings, 1650-1995", database, FamilySearch, Benjamin Fouler in entry for Hellen Fouler, 1740.

"Maryland Births and Christenings, 1650-1995", database, FamilySearch, Benjamin Fouler in entry for Samuel Fouler, 1742.

"Maryland Births and Christenings, 1650-1995", database, FamilySearch, Benjamin Fouler in entry for Elizabeth Fouler, 1744.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Anne Arundel County. Liber IHTI 1 Folio 62.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Anne Arundel County. Liber RD 2 Folio 464.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Anne Arundel County. Liber RD 3 Folio 213.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Anne Arundel County. Liber Liber RB 1 Folio 2, 9, 10, 40, & 345.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Anne Arundel County. Liber RB 2 295, 457, & 529.

Maryland State Archives. Probate Records. Accounts. Liber 28, Folio 13.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Anne Arundel County. Liber RB 3 Folio 106.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Anne Arundel County. Liber BB 2 Folio 180 & 240.

Maryland State Archives. Probate Records. Inventory. Liber 88, Folio 240.

Maryland State Archives. Probate Records. Testamentary Proceedings. Liber 31 Folio 446.

Maryland State Archives. Probate Records. Wills. Liber 31 Folio 95.

Maryland State Archives. Proceedings of the Provincial Court. Judgment Record. Nov 1735, pg 357.

Maryland State Archives. Proceedings of the Provincial Court. Judgment Record. Nov 1736, pg 69.

Maryland State Archives. Proceedings of the Provincial Court. Judgment Record. Aug 1738, pg 349.

Maryland State Archives. Proceedings of the Provincial Court. Judgment Record. Nov 1740, pg 79.

Maryland State Archives. Proceedings of the Provincial Court. Judgment Record. Nov 1741, pg 325.

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Maryland State Archives. Proceedings of the Provincial Court. Judgment Record. Nov 1744, pg 121, 124 - 126.

Maryland State Archives. Proceedings of the Provincial Court. Judgment Record. Jun 1745, pg 320.

Maryland State Archives. Proceedings of the Provincial Court. Judgment Record. Nov 1745, pg 512.

Maryland State Archives. Proceedings of the Provincial Court. Judgment Record. Aug 1746, pg 212.

Maryland State Archives. Proceedings of the Provincial Court. Judgment Record. Nov 1746, pg 290 & 294.

Maryland State Archives. Proceedings of the Provincial Court. Judgment Record. Nov 1748, pg 40.

Maryland State Archives. Proceedings of the Provincial Court. Judgment Record. Nov 1749, pg 310 & 418.

Maryland State Archives. Proceedings of the Provincial Court. Judgment Record. Mar 1750, pg 454.

Maryland State Archives. Proceedings of the Provincial Court. Judgment Record. Mar 1759, pg 440.

Maryland State Archives. Anne Arundel Provincial Court Judgment Record. Mar 1751, pg 166.

Maryland State Archives. Anne Arundel Provincial Court Judgment Record. Jun 1751, pg 6.

Benjamin Fowler genealogy research