George Calvert was a member of a family that dates back to 1366 in Yorkshire, England. George was born in 1580, in England, at Kipling, in the chapelry of Bolton. His father was Leonard Calvert, a country gentleman, and his mother, Grace Crossland. These two families' coat-of-arms, the Calvert's and Crossland's, are used in the design of the Maryland State flag.
At the young age of fourteen, in 1594, George entered Trinity College, Oxford. It was here that he became proficient in Latin, and earned a bachelor's degree in 1597, and an honorary degree of Master of Arts in 1604. In this year on November 22, he married Anne Mynne in St. Peter's, Cornhill, London. Anne was the daughter of George Mynne and Elizabeth Wroth, of Hertingfordbury, Hertfordshire, England. Together George and Anne had eleven children.
Cecil Calvert, second Lord
Baltimore, born August 8, 1605 and died November 30, 1675.
Ann Calvert, born 1607, married William Peasley in 1627, and died in 1672.
Dorothy Calvert, born 1608, and died
January 13, 1624.
Elizabeth Calvert, born 1609. Death
Leonard Calvert, Maryland first
governor, born 1610, and died June 9, 1647.
Henry Calvert, born 1611, and died in November 1635.
Francis Calvert, born 1612, and died
George Calvert, born 1613, and died in 1634 at sea.
Grace Calvert, born 1615, married Robert Talbot in 1630 at Keldare County,
Ireland, and died on August 15, 1672.
John Calvert, born 1618, and died February 1618.
Helen Calvert, born 1619, married James Talbot, Esq. Death date unknown.
George and Anne divorced about 1622.
In the summer of 1597, upon earning his degree, he traveled throughout the continent, and in doing so, learned the French, Spanish and Italian languages. In 1606, Calvert became the primary secretary to Sir Robert Cecil. Cecil, was the secretary of state and controller of the policy of King James I, (Ruled 1603-1625) and served in this capacity until his death in 1612. Through Sir Robert's influence, Calvert advanced quickly and soon earned the confidence of the king.
Over the years Calvert held many important positions. In 1606, he was made the clerk of the crown of assize and peace in County Clare, Ireland. In 1609, he was made a member of Parliament for Bossiney, in Cornwall; was sent on a special mission for the king to France in 1610; and assisted the king in a theological dispute with Vorstius, a Dutch theologian.
In 1613, Calvert was appointed a clerk of the Privy Council where he also served on a commission to look into religious grievances in Ireland. In 1617, George Calvert was knighted, and two years later, the king, in direct opposition to the desires of the Duke of Buckingham, appointed him the principal secretary of state. In this position, he would serve as a companion to Sir Robert Naunton. By virtue of this position, he was automatically made a member of the Privy Council. In his position as principal secretary of state, he steadfastly discharged vital diplomatic functions. He was a zealous defender in Parliament of the unpopular policies of King James I, especially the negotiations for an alliance with Catholic Spain. In 1624, when these negotiations failed, Calvert lost his seat in Parliament; a position he had held for Yorkshire since 1621. Upon losing his Parliament seat, he was then returned to Parliament without delay as one of the members for the University of Oxford. Upon his return to Parliament, one of the issues facing him was a measure for the persecution of Catholics. Being a Catholic, and having announced his conversion to that faith, he resigned his secretaryship. In February 1625, King James I retained him as a member of the Privy Council and created him Baron of Baltimore, First Lord Baltimore, in the Kingdom of Ireland.
Calvert always had an interest in the colonization of America. This became apparent by his membership in the Virginia Company from 1606 to 1620 and through his admission as one of the council of the New England Company in 1622. In 1620, King James I granted Calvert an increased duty on silk that enabled him to purchase part of the peninsula of Avalon, in the southeastern section of Newfoundland. Two years later he received a grant from the King for the entire country of Newfoundland. In March 1623, a re-grant was issued, restricting his territory to the original peninsula of Avalon. On April 7, 1623, by virtue of a royal charter, was erected into the province of Avalon, the powers of whose lord were regal in kind and inferior only in degree to those of a king. Meanwhile, a small colony had been established there in Ferryland in 1620. Although some buildings were erected, and some planting was done, the colony did not flourish.
In the summer of 1627, Calvert made a short visit to the colony. He returned in 1628 with his second wife, Joanne, whom he married sometime after 1622, and some of his children from his first wife, except his son Cecilius. During the summer of 1628, the colony was attacked by three French ships, whereby several engagements ensued. Because of this, Lord Baltimore appealed to the King for protection.
On March 20, 1628, George and his second wife, Joanne, had one son, Philip. He would go on to marry Anne Wolseley (see page 264). Together, Philip and Anne arrived in Maryland in 1657. They were sent by Cecil Calvert, Second Lord Baltimore to oversee the reestablishment of Lord Baltimore's government which the radical Protestants, with the support of Virginia, had taken over in 1654.
George Calvert disliked the cold, harsh winters. During the period from October to about May, his house was used as a hospital. For these reasons, Calvert appealed to the King for a grant of land in Virginia, where the weather was warmer. Although the King denied this request, Calvert had left for Jamestown where his wife, Lady Baltimore had gone in the fall of 1628, before the King's reply had reached him. The Virginians, who objected to Catholics, treated him badly. To hasten his departure for England, they tendered him the oaths of supremacy and allegiance. In 1632, King Charles I granted the Lord Baltimore the territory extending southward from the James River to the Roanoke River and west to the mountains, as the province of Carolina. However, members of the Virginia Company, resentful of this, opposed such a grant. The King, responding to this opposition, substituted the land. This new territory was between the fortieth degree of north latitude and the Potomac River extending west from the Atlantic Ocean to the longitude of the first source of the river, as the province of Maryland. King Charles I, who ruled from 1625 to 1649, was married to Queen Henrietta Marie, for whom Maryland was named.
On April 13, 1632, George Calvert, first Lord Baltimore died, before the charter had passed the great seal, or was issued. This charter, which was copied from that of Avalon, had the date of June 20, 1632, and thus was issued to George's son, Cecilius.
George Calvert, was very diligent and a most trustworthy public servant, who maintained an earnest intent for the welfare of England. With the charter of Maryland, he laid the foundation for one of the most successful governments in the American colonies. George Calvert was buried April 15, 1632, at St. Dunstan's Church, England.
Cecil or Cecilius Calvert, succeeded to the title of second Lord Baltimore upon his father, George's death. Cecil Calvert married the Catholic Anne Arundell, the daughter of Thomas Arundell in 1629. Anne Arundel County, Maryland is so named after Lady Anne Arundell. Cecil and Anne had two children, one son, and one daughter.
Cecil Calvert was raised a Catholic and attended Trinity College, Oxford, England. Upon his father's death, Cecil inherited the title, the Irish estates, and about twelve million acres of land, in what would become Maryland. He served as the first designer and Lord Proprietor of the Maryland colony from 1632 to 1675.
Although he never visited America, he proficiently preserved his charter rights from adversaries over the course of several decades. He established Maryland on a sturdy and wealthy footing, to the depletion of his personal fortune. Additionally, he consistently promoted religious toleration for all Christians living in his colony.
Cecil Calvert died on November 30, 1675. His only son, Charles, served as governor of Maryland from 1661 to 1676, and the third Lord Baltimore from 1675 to 1715.
For information on the other Lords Baltimore, Henry Harford and Leonard Calvert, Maryland's first governor, please see the links below.