Hugh Merriken Life Sketch

(abt 1656 - 1698)

Hugh Merriken was born about 1656 likely in England. Hugh married (1) unknown wife, (2) unknown wife who was heir to Mathew Clarke, and (3) Anne Hill on October 38, 1697 in Stepney, Middlesex, England. Hugh Merriken died in 1698 in Stepney, Middlesex, England.


Hugh Merriken was born about 1656, likely in England, the second oldest son of John and Christian Merriken. Hugh was a young child when in 1659 his mother transported him and his family to Anne Arundel County in the Province of Maryland.

Hugh grew up on the 100 acre part of the 600 acre plantation “Scotland” his father had purchased in the Broadneck of Anne Arundel County. Following the death of his father in 1663, Hugh lived with his older brother John on “Scotland”. Hugh’s brother John died before 1679, apparently without heirs. Currently no records have been found that disclose John’s intention for the tract “Scotland”. If John died intestate, “Scotland” would descend to the next heir, second oldest son Hugh. What is known is that both Hugh and his brother Joshua continued to live on “Scotland” following John’s death.

In 1679 Hugh petitioned the Chancery court to take possession of the plantation “Merrikin”. “Merriken” had been patented by his mother and descended to Hugh’s brother John following the death of their father. John sold “Merriken” to their mother’s second husband William Drury. Hugh’s petition stated that Hugh’s brother John never received payment from William Drury. The court proceedings noted that the land had fallen into disrepair, the description of “Merrikin”: “two tobacco houses and one old dwelling house and a small hog house which are very much decayed and out of repair and also the fences to be of no value, and a small quantity of apple trees which lay open”. The court commissioners’ judgment was to proceed with Hugh’s petition unless James Rigby, William Drury’s executor, could give the commissioners a reason otherwise. Records confirm that Hugh Merriken gained possession of “Merrikin”.

Hugh married around 1685, his wife’s identity unknown, and Hugh and his wife moved to one side of “Scotland”, the side west of Scotcher’s Creek, today’s Meredith Creek. Hugh and his wife had one known son:

  1. Joshua Merriken

Hugh was a ship builder, and likely ship building was the family’s profession.

On November 6, 1686, Hugh Merriken “Boatwright” purchased from Thomas Lightwood of Baltimore county a parcel of land called “Best Success” which became known as “Merriken’s Purchase”, 100 acres at the time in Baltimore county on the south side of the Patapsco River and on Curtis Creek.

Hugh’s first wife appears to have died and Hugh married again around 1690, an unknown wife who was heir to Mathew Clarke. Hugh and his second wife had one known child:

  1. Ann Merriken

In 1695 Hugh patented “Point Look Out”, a 40 ½ acre tract of land in Anne Arundel County on the Patapsco River.

Sometime around 1697 Hugh’s second wife died.

In 1697 Hugh and at least son Joshua sailed for England. Hugh left his brother Joshua in possession of his personal estate and all his papers and deeds.

On October 28, 1697, Hugh married Ann Hill at Saint Dunstan, parish of Stepney, Middlesex County.

Hugh Merriken died before February 8, 1698, in Stepney, England.

Following Hugh’s death, Ann gave birth to a daughter in Stepney, Hugh’s third known child:

  1. Elizabeth Merriken

On February 8, 1698, Hugh’s widow Ann received Letters of Authority from the Archbishop of Canterbury granting her Power of Attorney and petitioning the Prerogative Court of Maryland to void brother Joshua Merriken’s Letters of Authority. The Letters and Petition were presented before the Maryland Provincial Court on June 28, 1698 by Mr. Giles Bond on behalf of Ann who was still in England. The papers also mentioned 2 orphans, unnamed, presumably Joshua and Anne, since Ann was pregnant with Elizabeth at the time.

At the time of his death Hugh possessed the following tracts of land:

“Scotland” - 50 acre part

“Merrikin” - 50 acres

“Merriken’s Purchase” - 100 acres

“Point Look Out” - 40 ½ acres

The first administration of Hugh’s estate occurred on May 3, 1699. Joshua Merriken, Hugh’s brother, was the administrator and made a distribution to Hugh’s widow and 2 orphans. Two possibilities as to why only 2 orphans were noted: The distribution was for Hugh’s widow and two children in England, Joshua and Elizabeth, while Hugh’s other child Anne did not make the voyage to England and was being cared for by her uncle Joshua, or the news had not reached Joshua of the birth of a 3rd child.

In the spring of 1701, Hugh’s son Joshua sailed back to the Province of Maryland, his uncle Joshua Merriken making a payment out of Hugh’s estate to Capt. John Hide for Joshua’s passage. Joshua Merriken made another payment out of Hugh’s estate in 1703 to Mr. Giles Bond, attorney, for Hugh’s widow Ann.

In 1707, Joshua Merriken along with John Brice and Thomas Homewood entered into a bond on behalf of Anne Merriken and Elizabeth Merriken, orphans of Hugh Merriken. While Anne was in the Province of Maryland, Elizabeth’s location was uncertain.

The last account of Hugh Merriken’s estate was recorded in June of 1717. A payment was made to Mr. Bordley, attorney for Elizabeth Merriken daughter of Hugh Merriken, implying that Elizabeth did not live in the Province of Maryland since she was of the age of majority and did not receive the payment directly.

Genealogical Research and Life Sketch Completed: September 2020


Sources:

Maryland State Archives. “The New Early Settlers of Maryland”. Compiled by Dr. Carson Gibb. MSA SC 4341.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Anne Arundel. Liber IT 5, Folios 46-50.

Maryland State Archives. Proceedings of the Court of Chancery. Liber CD Folio 277.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Anne Arundel. Liber WH 4 Folio 125.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Anne Arundel. Patents. Liber C Folio 117.

Maryland State Archives. Probate Records. Accounts. Liber 18 Folio 118.

Maryland State Archives. Probate Records. Accounts Liber 29 Folio 206.

Maryland State Archives. Probate Records. Accounts. Liber 23 Folio 21.

Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records. Anne Arundel. Liber WT 2 Folio 524.

Maryland State Archives. Probate Records. Accounts Liber 38A Folio 75.

"England Marriages, 1538–1973 ", database, FamilySearch, Hugh Mariken, 1697.

"England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975", database, FamilySearch, Hugh Merikin in entry for Elizabeth Merikin, 1698.

Hugh Merriken genealogy research