Margaret Brent

Brent, Margaret, 1600?–1671?, early American feminist, b. Gloucester, England. With her two brothers and a sister, she left England to settle (1638) in St. Marys City, Md., where she acquired an extensive estate; she was the first woman in Maryland to hold land in her own right. Under the will of Gov. Leonard Calvert, Margaret Brent was made executor of his estates. She also acted as attorney (i.e., agent) for Lord Baltimore. As an important woman of affairs in the colony, she demanded (1648) a place in the colonial assembly. Her claim was refused while the heirs contested her handling of the Calvert estates. Shortly thereafter she moved to Virginia but kept her Maryland property.

See M. E. W. Ramey, Chronicles of Mistress Margaret Brent (1915); E. A. Dexter, Colonial Women of Affairs (1924, repr. 1972).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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