1660s to 1715

Thomas Greenfield of Prince George's County
5th Generation- Thomas GreenfieldThomas' Life
6th Generation -William Greenfield 7th Generation - Micajah Greenfield
Micajah's Heirs

    What was life like 1650 to 1700?
   Harsh and austere would be good adjectives to describe how things were during this time. In the beginning the Province or Colony of Maryland in America was established and governed by the Calverts who were Roman Catholics.  Colonial Maryland had a reputation for religious freedom in its early years, and even today Maryland is known as "The Free State.”   A majority of the immigrants who ventured their lives in the tobacco colony were young and single, and they married late.  Nearly three-quarters of them arrived as indentured servants, and neither men nor women servants were free to marry until their terms were completed.
        Because male immigrants outnumbered females by as much as three to one, many men remained single; over one-quarter of the men who left estates in southern Maryland from 1650 to 1700, died unmarried.  Not only did the immigrants marry late, they also died very young.  A man who came to Maryland in his early twenties could expect to live only about twenty more years.  By age forty-five this man and many of his companions would be dead.  Thomas did live to be fifty years of age, dying in 1705, but this still left his youngest son, Micajah, under age to be placed under the guardianship of John Hall.
       The life cycle of growing up, marrying, procreating, and dying was compressed within a short span of years in 17th century Maryland.  Most marriages were of brief duration.  One-half of the unions contracted in one Maryland county in the second half of the century were broken within seven years by the death of at least one of the partners.  As a result, families were small; most couples had only two or three children.

        Babies were born in the home, usually with the help of a mid-wife.  The husband was customarily at hand.  Infants were breast-fed, and if some reason the mother could not nurse, a neighbor with milk to spare was hired to help nourish the baby.  The line between infancy and childhood was crossed at age three.  A child was likely to be weaned sometime at the beginning of the second year, and a new baby might be expected by the end of it.  One or both of these events apparently signified the transition from the-status of infant to that of "little adult."  A child's chances of surviving to maturity also improved about the third birthday.
         The education that children received was supposed to suit their station, and might be practical or academic or both.  Apprenticeship was a common method of educating children in many places but it was mainly a means for teaching trades, including planting, to orphans.  It was the widows who insured that their orphaned sons were cared for and taught how to earn a living through apprenticeship and that orphaned daughters were provided for by binding them out to learn housekeeping.
   This tradition of binding out children to apprenticeships continued well into the nineteenth century.  surviving indenture paper from 1832 that documents Joseph Black, age 16, being indentured by his father Thomas Black to Samuel Noe to learn the “art trade and mystery of Boot and Shoe Making” until the age of 21.

     Thomas Greenfield, the first immigrant, came from England to the Maryland colony in 1668 at the age of  21.  He was literate, and had attended Cambridge University. Thomas Trueman, Esquire, who had already been in the colony for three years, paid for his transportation along with that of 11 others for which he received 600 acres in return.  The Trueman and Greenfield families were allied by intermarriage before coming to America.
       He settled on Brandywine Creek south of the Patuxent River near the village of Nottingham that he named for his hometown in England.  At age 32 he married Martha Trueman, the niece of his wealthy benefactor. Their children were given the last name or middle name of Trueman.  He purchased a large estate called Magookin, near Baden, worked by numerous tenants and slaves, where he lived in fine baronial fashion and became as wealthy as a cultured country gentlemen in England.  Once in Maryland, he became a member of the Church of England (Episcopal after the Revolutionary War) and his descendants founded St. Paul's Church on their land.  He was often in the House of Burgessess and was the first High Sheriff of Prince George’s County.
       Many of his descendants moved to Kentucky and other Western states and were prominent in their communities.  The Trueman (Truman) family also migrated to Virginia and one branch went to Missouri and were the ancestors of Harry S. Truman.  At his death in 1715 he owned over 2,309 acres of land and had already given much of his land to his children before his death.  His son, Thomas Truman Greenfield was the county surveyor and plotted out the town of Upper Marlboro.
    His importance to my ancesors comes from a bequest in his will of 1715 which in Item 9  left his speculative land in Baltimore County called "Truman's Acquaintance" to the younger orphaned sons of his nephew, Thomas Greenfield of Baltimore County who did not have any inheritance from their father.

        In 1634 the first settlers set sail on the Ark and the Dove for Lord Baltimore’s new colony Maryland.  Beginning in 1658 a few souls ventured north of St. Mary’s and secured the first land grants in Baltimore County (what is now Harford County).  The land in those grants hugged the shoreline in the area around Romney Creek to Swan Creek.  Thomas Greenfield came just twenty years later in 1678.  One of the original landowners was John Collett from whom Thomas bought the Collingham property.
     Thomas Greenfield originally had four parcels of land in Baltimore County  that were in the area of what is currently Aberdeen Proving Ground.  The parcels were called

1.  Hazard – Surveyed for Thomas Greenfield in 1693 on the branches of Swan Creek,
2.  Haselwood’s Retirement(Resentment- 50 acres conveyed in 1701,
3.  Collingham -Originally survey for John Collett (one of the first land owners in what is now Harford County) on the w side of Spesutia Creek.
Adjacent to land laid out for George Goldsmith.  This was also called Greenfields at one point and also being near the Haselwood’s Retirement.
4.  Greenfield’s Purchase –near Haselwood and Collingham – Originally survey for John Collett (one of the first land owners in what is now Harford County) on the w side of Spesutia Creek.

        From these records much can be learned of the life of Thomas Greenfield my first ancestor in America.  He was married at least five years after his arrival in 1678 as his first child was born six years later.  His wife’s name was Rachael but there is no record of their marriage.
         The records show that Thomas’ first son John did not live to the age of two.  The naming of this first son John strengthens the assumption that Thomas’s father was John Greenfield.
        Rachel had children over a period of twenty years and died two years after her last child was born and then Thomas died six days after her.  Perhaps they both died of the same disease such as malaria, cholera or smallpox.
        Thomas Greenfield did leave a will, but there is no record of an inventory.   His will is shown below:

To dau. Mary Drunkford,  sau. Sarah, son Thomas and dau Jane and their hrs, equally 200 A “Hazard” on Swan Ck To son William and hrs, dwelling plantation, 50 A “Haselwood Resitements” and 100 A “Collinham” To Eliza: Lowe, personalty, as compensation for caring for young son Misajah To Aron Johnson and James Drunkford and John Hall personalty.  Dau. Jane afed to live with her aunt Mary Pickens
      Then in 1715 his younger sons received the land "Trueman's Aquaintaince" from in the will of the Uncle Thomas Greenfield.  It is this bequest that changes the history of my ancestors.  Because it is this land -called “Truman’s Acquaintance” that becomes the home of my direct Greenfield ancestors.  It was left to the younger sons Thomas Truman and Micajah.  Uncle Thomas’ influence can be seen in the fact that my ancestor Thomas named his son Thomas Truman Greenfield.  This son Thomas Truman died at the young age of twenty-three apparently with no heirs.  I have not yet found any records on Micajah’s death, however it appears he also died without heirs because the ownership of the property passed to his brother William’s son, James Greenfield, who was my direct ancestor.

Thomas Greenfield, along with the majority of his fellow settlers, was an adherent of the Church of England, it was only natural that the church which they established would be of the Anglican Protestant Episcopal faith.  The first choice organized on Harford County soil was located at a place called Gravelly now also a part of Aberdeen Proving Ground.   It was known as St. George’s Parish.  In about 1718 it moved to its present site at Perryman..
    Many Greenfield family members are found in the birth, baptism and marriage rrecords of the St. George’s Parish Registers: including Jane (8 September 1697), Mary (25 July 1684), Sarah ( December 1691), John (24 January 1695), John (24 January 1695), William (5 December 1699) and Micajah( 23 March 1703) children of Thomas and Rachel Greenfield.

           Thomas’s oldest son and heir was William Greenfield.  He remained in the Spesutie area and his records are then shown in the parish records:  William Greenfield son of William and Elizabeth his wife born 24 October 1730;.  July 24 1733 born Micajah Greenfield son of William Greenfield and Elizabeth his wife;  July 12th 1736 then was born Purity Greenfield daughter of William Greenfield and Elizabeth his wife.
         Presumably William lived about the same kind of life as his father before him.  From this will it can been seen that he had retained the land “Greenfield’s Double Purchase” and “Collingham” and had improved his holdings enough to have a few items to leave his heir.  Those items were “a little hand mill,” presumably an item which helped in farming, and a Great Bible.
        To our modern sensibilities it is interesting to note that his three daughters first names aren’t even listed, only that of their husband- John Coatnoy, John Deavers and John Watkins.  The importance of family and naming conventions continues to be shown.  His heir is named Micajah and another son William.  The repetition of these names and others throughout generations makes it easier to identify the family ties, but confusing when tracing lineage.

        Although it was Micajah’s brother, James, was my ancestor, much can be learned from this will about my ancestor’s lifestyle.  Obviously the Greenfields had managed to acquire a much better lifestyle by the third generation.  The legal language in the will indicates the extent to which the manners and laws of the colony had become more prominent.  But most interestingly was that the Greenfields had accumulated enough wealth to acquire slaves. Micajah owned three slaves, Sam, Hannah and Sall as well as another whom he had transferred to Balsheez Michael.
          In 1768 Micajah Greenfield a resident of Baltimore County in 1766, is found in petitions against the removal of the County Seat from Joppa to Baltimore.  (Archives of Maryland Vol 61 p 528.)  This would make sense as he would not want the County Seat moved further from him.  He may have even had financial interests in Joppa.

Jacob Greenfield d. 6/14/1808
    Micajah’s heir Jacob had three sons Joseph, Henry and Jacob.   My book, Hunter Sutherland’s Slave Manumissions and Sales in Harford County Maryland 1775-1865 , shows that in 1794 Jacob Greenfield freed two slaves, Joe and Hannah.  It is possible that Hannah was the same slave willed to his sister.  His son Henry is shown as freeing his three slaves in 1824.  So the Greenfields owned slaves for one or two generations from the 1770s through the 1820s.  None are shown owned after that time.
    Many other descendants who appeared in the records of the Parish including many from the marriage of  Dinah Greenfield to William Debruler and other Greenfields including:  Martha Greenfield and Thomas Waltham were married May 21, 1795,  Mary, Elizabeth, and Sarah Greenfield daughters of William and Elizabeth Greenfield, Jacob and Elizabeth children of Jocob and Elizabeth Greenfield and Henry Greenfield.
             Several of these descendants continue to appear in the census records of what had become Harford County in 1774 until the mid 1830.  Henry is the last Greenfield from that line and he died without heirs.


Origins in England -1530-1668 Settlers in Maryland - 1668-1715
Long Green Valley - 1715-1800s Samuel K. J. Greenfield -Letters
Baltimore/Harford - 1860s On Family Photos 1860s on
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