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The Brent Family

One of the genetic cousins to the HOLMES and HOMESLEY families was the BRENT family of Charles, Maryland and its environs. The colonization of colonial America was a multipurpose tangle of religious, economic and social relationships that often overlapped. The colony of Maryland was no exception. The Brent families were facilitators of all the relationships of Maryland’s settlement and future.

The story of the BRENT family begins in England with Lord of Lark Stoke and Admington Sir Richard BRENT (1573-1662) and Elizabeth REED (1578-1631) when they married in 1594 in Warwickshire, England. The couple had nine children, but the focus of this story is on their youngest son, Giles BRENT (1606-1671) who became the Deputy Governor of Maryland.
Giles BRENT was born in Gloucestershire, England and migrated to the English colony probably because of his second son status and the laws of primogeniture of England. He arrived with his more famous sister Margaret BRENT and a retinue of servants. The future deputy governor continues his flamboyant, entitled lifestyle in the colonies with at least two marriages that set the stage for colorful conflict and drama. He had familial ties with the CALVERT family who owned Maryland during these tumultuous times that shaped the face of the future United States of America.

Giles BRENT developed a successfully large plantation on Kent Island where he positioned himself to become the Counselor, Treasurer, Deputy Governor, judge and burgess of the Colony of Maryland much to the dismay of the stayed CALVERT family. Politicians are no different today than in the 1600’s in that they will only share so much of the “limelight”.

Giles BRENT (46) was a man of his own destiny when he refused to destroy the Native American culture on Kent Island and in the CALVERT'S eyes the audacity to marry Mary KITTYAMAQUAND (1643), the sixteen-year-old daughter of the tyack or emperor of the PISCATAWAY TRIBE. The CALVERTS believed that this was a direct threat to their authority in that they believed that Giles BRENT sought the inheritance of the lands of the tribe. This is one of the ironies of colonial history; the lack of cultural understanding between the Native American cultural beliefs contrasted English Common Law theories of land ownership in that the lands belonged to the tribe rather than the Emperor. The final episode for Giles BRENT in Maryland was when he began to speak out against the CALVERTS and he migrated to the Colony of Virginia. 

Giles BRENT and Mary KITTYAMAQUAND had seven children:
Giles BRENT, JR. (1652-1679); Mary BRENT FITZHERBERT (1632-?); Richard BRENT; Katherine BRENT MARSHAM (1649-1690); Henry BRENT: Margaret BRENT PLOWDEN; William BRENT (1677-1709).

Giles BRENT, JR (05 Apr 1652-1679) was born at the family plantation in Stafford, Virginia named “Retirement”. Giles, Jr had at least two marriages: Mary Brent (his first cousin) 1671 and perhaps Frances Hammersley.

Giles BRENT, JR. and his first wife Mary BRENT BRENT evidently had a stormy relationship because by 1677 she obtained a legal separation on grounds of extreme cruelty. Some records state that a first divorce of its kind in the colonies was recorded; however, he died and she administered his estate. Giles, Jr died at the age of twenty-seven at Potomac, Middlesex, Virginia. In his short life span, he left an indelible mark for the future of the burgeoning English Colonies by participating in the iconic Bacon’s Rebellion (1676-1677).
Giles BRENT, JR led a thousand men to join Nathaniel BACON rebel forces near Jamestown, Virginia.  Due to the indiscriminate racist killings of Native Americans, BRENT changed sides and joined the forces of Governor William BERKLEY. The rebellion resulted in the burning of Jamestown, Virginia thus moving the capitol to Williamsburg, Virginia.

In 1679, young Giles BRENT, JR. converts from Catholicism to Anglicanism because his death is recorded at Christ Church in Middlesex County, Virginia where he is interred.


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