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Saturday, July 11, 2015

John Pye and Henrietta Maria Pye

There is so much confusion surrounding this man. Not only does he have a very common first name but several of his relatives share other common names. Separating them into the proper families has been a hair puller. 

I haven’t been able to document where John was born but it would seem he was probably born in France or England. Rather than being banished as a legend in my family suggests, it appears John’s father Charles made a conscious decision to go into exile in support of the Stuart claim to the English throne. There are no records in Maryland to indicate that Charles was there to personally take care of his affairs, for over 20 years. Charles’ brother, Walter, acted as his attorney for all things legal. Charles and Walter were both still called ‘of the Mynde’ indicating they still had ownership of that Herefordshire property.

                  The Mynde, Much Dewchurch,                        Herefordshire, England

Walter had married Margaret Tant and had a family of 8 children. Charles had married Mary Booth, in France, and also had 8 children. Their son, John, married Walter and Margaret’s daughter, Henrietta Marie, first cousins. This was not so uncommon 300 years ago when large families were so inter-related with other large families. Needless to say, this close relationship of two families has been an additional headache in sorting out each person’s place in which family.

From 1752-1770, John Pye’s name is frequently recorded in the land records, where he established certain acres to be leased, who it was to be leased to, and what was expected in annual rent, either in money or harvest. In 1756, it was stated that he owned 5000 acres in Charles Co., 1500 of which were to be used in payment to Edward, the Duke of Norfolk, over a ten year span. This was Edward Howard, 9th Duke of Norfolk, a relative of Queen Elizabeth I.

Charles and Mary Booth Pye’s son, Charles, came to Maryland, stayed a few years and returned to England where he died unmarried. He left all his property at Cornwallis Neck to his brother, John.

Indian Head is the wide area at the top left. Cornwallis Neck is in the foreground. Potomac River is to the left.

In Henry Rozer’s deposition of 1801:

“Charles Pye the Son came to Maryland and resided some years therein upon his Estate in Charles County called Cornwallis Neck but returned to England where he died unmarried leaving his mother still alive and also his Brother John Pye to whom he devised his Estate or the principal part thereof that John Pye resided many Years and died upon the Estate Called Cornwallis neck in Maryland devised to him by his Brother Charles Pye as above Stated that John Pye above named married Henrietta Pye the Daughter of Walter Pye Esquire of Charles County aforesaid that the Said John Pye died in the year Seventeen hundred and Seventy two leaving Six Children to wit Charles Pye his Eldest Son and heir at Law whom resides on the Estate above mentioned Called Cornwallis neck in Charles County and State of Maryland Edward Joseph Pye Mary Pye Margaret Pye Ann Pye and Elizabeth Pye. That Charles Pye the Grandson was Sent by this Deponant about the year Seventeen hundred and Seventy two to England to the care of his Grand Uncle Counsellor James Booth who undertook to Superintend his education that Charles Pye the Grandson returned from England in the year Seventeen hundred and eighty three and has resided upon the estate Called Conrwallis neck in Charles County and State of Maryland ever since except that in the year Seventeen hundred and ninety seven he made a trip to england and further the deponant saith not.”
{Provided as written with no changes to spelling or punctuation.}

John Pye’s will, proved June 25, 1772, bequeathed property to his wife, Henrietta, and five children, Mary Clare, Anne, Margaret, Charles and Edward. In Henrietta Pye’s will of March 4 1775, she leaves property to her youngest daughter, Elizabeth Pye, thus proving there was a child born after the death of her husband John. Their children were:

Mary Clare (1756-?)
Margaret Theresa (1758-1802)
Charles (1760-1809) m. 1781 Sarah Edelen – 7 children
Anne (1765-?)
Edward Joseph (1767-1801) m. Mary Jenkins – 4 children
Elizabeth (1772-?)

In the 1790 census, there is a Walter, Joseph and Charles Pye all with land holdings. Since this was a nominal census, only the heads of household were given and then the number of persons living in the home. Walter, in this case, is most likely a cousin, descended from Edward Pye (Sr.), who would have been his grandfather. Since there is no Edward listed on this census, it seems likely that Joseph is that person, using his middle name.

After the American Revolution, people began to move to the west. By the mid-1800’s there were very few Pyes left in Maryland who were descendants of Col. Edward Pye, at least the ones who had the surname.  Some records seem to point to the families moving to Virginia, Tennessee or to the south in Georgia.  If anyone reading this knows of a family connection to this group of Pyes, I would be delighted to hear from you.

The Maryland Calendar of Wills 1720-1726

Maryland land records vol 1

Maryland land records vol 2

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