Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Ark and The Dove

The Marbury family has kept me busy the last few weeks. There are a lot of men named Francis and Leonard and they all served in the Revolutionary War so it’s tough keeping them all straight. Because they were so desperate to protect their new country from the Indians and the Tories, everyone from age 10 to 100 grabbed a musket and fought.

Some families, like the Marburys, had three generations of soldiers, men and women, sometimes fighting in the same battles. I’ll soon be uploading what I’ve been able to find so far but, in the meantime, one set of ancestors seems interesting enough to spend a little more time with.

Watercolor of The Ark and The Dove by John Moll

My 10th great grandparents were Thomas Greene and Ann Gerard who arrived in Maryland on The Ark and The Dove Expedition of 1633 and helped settle the new colony of Maryland. They boarded the ship as a single man and possibly a widow and, a short time after they arrived in the new colony, had the first Christian marriage in Maryland. Their wedding took place on the banks of the St. George River.

Thomas was a son of Sir Thomas Greene and Lady Margaret Webb. Sir Thomas had been made a “knight bachelor” by James I in 1622 at Windsor Castle.
Ann is thought to have been the sister of another passenger, Sir Richard K.B. Gerard, and was one of the few "gentlewomen" on the initial voyage. She was likely a widow of someone with the last name of Cox.

Like Thomas Greene, many of those setting out for the new land on this expedition were Catholics who saw this as a way to experience religious tolerance. Consisting of two small vessels, the "Ark" and the "Dove," with about 200 people, left England in mid-October 1633. Shortly after heading down the Thames, it was discovered everyone on board had "not taken the oath of allegiance to the Crown." It seems the king was afraid they would get to the new world and revolt. After a detour that allowed everyone on board to take the oath they then had to wait for favorable weather conditions and final approval to leave. On November 22, 1633 they finally began their voyage.

During the journey, they encountered a storm, the two ships were separated and The Dove was thought to be lost at sea. However, shortly after The Ark docked in Barbados, The Dove pulled into port and the two ships were reunited. Together, they reached Point Comfort, Virginia on February 24, 1634, and then on March 25 landed on an island in the Potomac, which they named St. Clement's.

A Mass was led by the two Jesuit priests that accompanied the expedition. Two days later they founded a city they called St. Mary's in honor of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Here is an account of the landing of the Ark and the Dove:
"It was March 25, 1634, the initial day of Spring and the first day of the Julian Calendar, as well as the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin, all of which were propitious for joyous and solemn celebration and a memorial day for each adventurer, who had survived the voyage of 123 days or slightly over four months from the sailing from Cowes to their destination. They selected the larger of three islands lying near the shore of the Potomac not too far distant from the mainland to disembark. To the island they gave the name of St. Clement after the fourth Bishop of Rome. Father White directed several of his retainers to construct a huge cross from one of the native trees. It was hastily hewn together and, on that virgin day of Spring in 1634, led by Father White who was assisted by Father Altham, all the Roman Catholics, and not a few of the Anglicans, gathered for the first sacrifice of the Roman Mass ever to have been celebrated in one of the Original Thirteen English Colonies."
“Flowering of the Maryland Palatinate” by Harry Wright Newman, pg. 38
Also on board the ship was Leonard Calvert who would become the colony’s first governor and was Thomas’ godfather and lifelong friend. In 1647, Thomas was appointed governor of the colony by Leonard, as an emergency measure only hours before Leonard's death due to a sudden illness.

Leonard served several years in various leadership positions in the colony but his Catholic faith and loyalty to England proved problematic. In 1650 he was “discharged from all offices for usurping authority.”

Ann died in 1643 and Leonard married a widow, Winifred Seybourne. Leonard died on January 20, 1651.

Memorials for The Ark and The Dove and Leonard Calvert in Maryland.

Ann and Leonard, being super-Catholics, named their daughter Mary. Mary Greene married Francis Marbury sometime before 1698 and they had a son named Leonard Marbury who named his son Francis Marbury who then named his son Leonard Marbury. Leonard is the Marbury who first moved to Haywood Co., TN around 1829. Leonard had a son named John who named his son Robert Green Marbury. At this time, could John have known about his “Greene” connection? Robert Green Marbury must have been very patriotic because he named his son Benjamin Franklin Marbury. Ben married Maggie Yelverton and both of them are buried at Zion Baptist Church Cemetery in Haywood Co., TN. Ben and Maggie’s son Hardy Joyner Marbury married Evelena “Lena” Booth and they had a daughter, my great grandmother, Allie Marbury.

The Society of The Ark and The Dove
The Ark and the Dove Adventurers
Wikipedia: Thomas Greene
Wikipedia: The Ark and The Dove
Maryland Online Encyclopedia
Historic St. Mary's City


  1. This is great. I have done a lot of Marbury research and never picked it up.

  2. This line is REALLY bothering me. I can't confirm anything beyond Sir Thomas Greene and Margaret Webb. I thought for sure I had a book online that had the lineage going back to an illegitimate son of a Norton in Kent, Sir Thomas Norton Green(e). I'm a little stuck right now as I have been up all night after some idiots put [citation needed] up on Wikipedia in the ancestry part. Everything about Sir Thomas Greene is correct, about him being knighted -- that's even in the Maryland archives. Need some help here.

  3. Correction: Replace Leonard with Thomas in three instances after "death due to a sudden illness."