Quakers first arrived in Southern Maryland after being expelled from Virginia.
They include Elizabeth Harris who convinces Puritans like Richard Preston of the "Inward Truth".
Richard Preston had his home at Preston-on-Patuxent, which was the seat of the Maryland government for a period until
1658. Another Preston home, called Charles Gift was located on the Chesapeake Bay, where the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear
Power Plant now stands. Meetings began to be established in Calvert County at the Upper and Lower Cliffs.
The Provincial Council of Maryland referred to the "insolent behavior of
Quakers". The latter were told they had to take oaths and remove their hats. They were called "vagabonds and idle persons".
They were whipped from constable to constable, until they were tossed from the Province.
Despite persecution, Quaker meetings were spreading in Maryland (except
in St. Marys County. They existed on the Severn River, the South River, the West River, Herring Creek, the
Cliffs, and the Patuxent.
A history records several established meetings, including one called
"Patuxent". George Fox writes of meeting with Indian chieftains and of staying at the home of James Preston, son
of Richard Preston, who died in 1669. On one occasion, after returning from a trip on horseback with James Preston,
Fox found the Preston home burnt down and his chest destroyed.
Fox returned to England, having taken passage from St. Leonards Creek on
the Society of Bristol, which was held up for days at Patuxent Point due to unfavorable winds.
The Cliffs meeting house was built upon a tract near the Chesapeake Bay
in Calvert County, called "Garys Chance". Among the Friends involved were the Sharpe family of the Quaker physician
of Calvert County and Richard Johns (whose descendents became the founders of Johns Hopkins Hospital; one of the Johns
family was disowned by Baltimore Yearly Meeting for selling whiskey). Some of these early Quakers were buried in a cemetery
close to Scientists Cliffs in Calvert County.
The existence of Pickawaxen Meeting in Charles County was reported.
Friends were no longer persecuted in Maryland
Our family Friends - The daughter of Thomas Preston marries John
Stevens, a Friend of Calvert County. These lines descend to us through the Woolfords. The Denwoods were Virginia Friends
who also are part of our Woolford ancestry. While George Fox visited Calvert County, he also visited the Eastern Shore of
Virginia where Levin Denwood became one of the first Friends in Virginia. from A History of Quakers In Southern Maryland by Peter Rabenold. Preston,
Richard, Calvert County, 16 Sep 1669; 8 Jan 1669. w/p
To Thomas Preston, Upon the Clifts.
To Isaac Hunt and grandchild.
William and James Berry, personalty.
To son James Preston, if living, use of home plantation until grandson Samuel Preston
attains age of 21 yrs.; daughter-in-law Margaret Preston to have charge of her son, sd. Samuel, during minority.
James, Barren Island, on Eastern Shore.
To daus. Rebecca and Sarah Preston, equally, 600 A. by patent. In event of death
of both daus. without issue, sd. patent to pass to son James, if living. In event of his death to pass to 2 kinsmen James
and John Dorsey, or Darsey.
To 3 child. of testator, James, Rebecca and Sarah Preston, residue of estate equally. Ex.
not named. Test: Enoch Coomes, Geo. Deulin, Thos. Peake
Preston, Thomas, Calvert County. 8 Nov 1674.
To wife Eliza:
and hrs., 1/3 estate, real and personal.
To 3 child., viz., 1 boy and 2 girls, residue of estate equally; sd. child. to
be of age at 21 yrs.
Exs.: Jno. Stevens, Wm. Stevens, Jr., Howell Powell.
Test: Henry Jowles, Richard Benger, Susanna
MARYLAND CALENDAR OF WILLS: Volume 1