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Margaret Brent, her sister Mary, and their brothers Giles and Fulke arrived in Maryland in 1638. Like many women of gentle birth; she had enjoyed a basic education in England. But, as a single woman of property in Maryland, she had appeared frequently before the Provincial Court to file suits against her debtors. In addition, she had occasionally acted as an attorney, pleading the cases of her brother Giles and various women before the court.
In 1647, there was an uprising in Maryland by Protestants, and Governor Leonard Calvert hired mercenaries from Virginia to put down the rebellion, pledging his estates as security. Then he died, but his will named Margaret Brent as his executor.
In January 1648 she demanded two votes in the assembly, one for herself as a freeholder and one in her role as the proprietor’s attorney. The Provincial Court opposed her claim: it "denyed that the said Mrs. Brent should have any vote in the house."
Margaret Brent is often hailed as an early feminist and woman lawyer, but viewed in the context of the time, her actions and achievements were essentially those of an "adventurer" and an assertive woman of property.
The Middle School in Morganza is named for Margaret Brent. My husband taught here for a couple of years. The school is currently under construction. An artist's rendering of the new school is on the website.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Across the road from the church is the cemetery. Down on the corner of Busy Corner Road though, is the Old St. Joseph's Cemetery. This cemetery was started in 1759. It was basically overgrown and lost until 1988 when volunteers cleared and restored the cemetery.
The group of stones clustered in one location are those stones where the original gravesite couldn't be found by the volunteers.
There is a small parking place, and a signboard which gives the names and locations of the graves (photo 5) for people buried here.
Updated Aug 5, 2009