Death Us Do Part”
Holt immigrated to Maryland in 1646 with his wife and four
family lived in St. Mary’s County, quietly, as far as we
know until about 1650. Edward
Hudson also immigrated in 1646.
We don’t know if Robert Holt and Edward Hudson knew
each other prior to their arrival in Maryland, but they were
living in the same house as the following entry shows.
On February 24,
1650, as the result of a judgment obtained against them,
Richard Ware, Robert Holt, and Edward Hudson, planters,
promised to pay Henry Ponntenell 1,500 lbs. tobacco at the
“now dwelling house of the said Robert Holt and Edward
Hudson” by November 10, 1650.
During the early
years of the establishment of Maryland there was a surplus of
men and a corresponding lack of women.
It was probably bad judgment on his part for Robert
Holt to have allowed Edward Hudson to live in his house,
because this is apparently when trouble began.
On the complaint of
Robert Holt, depositions were taken by Mr. John Sturman and
Lt. Nicholas Guyther, by virtue of a special commission
granted to them for that purpose,
took the following depositions between November 3 and
November 7, 1651:
Robert Holt stated
that his wife Dorothy and Edward Hudson had threatened on
numerous occasions to kill him and that he was in fear of his
life every day.
testified that about July or August, 1650 he stayed at the
home of Edward Hudson for a fortnight or so.
While there, he saw Edward Hudson and Dorothy Holt go
to bed together as if they were man and wife.
He said that they told him that Dorothy’s husband was
dead and he thought that was true until some of the neighbors
told him differently.
Rose Smith, aged 42
or thereabouts, testified that in about September, 1650 she
went to the home of Robert Holt and his wife Dorothy Holt told
her that she was going to kill her husband. When Rose responded by saying that surely she
wouldn’t, Dorothy said that she would just as well
kill him as to live as she was.
Rose then reminded her that if she did kill him, she
would be hanged. Dorothy’s
response was that would be the end of both of them then.
Rose also stated
that Dorothy Holt came to her house after she and Robert Holt
had separated and that Rose had encouraged her to return to
her husband, reminding her of her wedding vows. Dorothy told her that her heart was so hardened against him
that she would never darken his door again.
George Dolte, aged
24 or thereabouts, stated that one night he went to the house
where Edward Hudson and Robert Holt’s wife were living
together and he saw them in bed together before the fire.
stated that in June, 1650 he was going to the well for water
and he called at Edward Hudson’s house.
He said that Edward Hudson came to door in his shirt
and when he went inside, he saw the place where Edward had
lain in the same bed where Dorothy, wife of Robert Holt, lay
at that time.
Gentleman deposed that he heard Dorothy Holt curse her husband
God many times. He
said that he heard her say that she hoped he might “rot from
limb to limb” and she prayed every day that something would
happen to him. Further,
she said that she hoped her son Richard Holt would end his
days on the gallows.
Henry Cox said that
he lived in the house with Robert Holt and Edward Hudson from
about the beginning of August last until about the middle of
October following and that he never knew there was a problem
between them during that time, nor did he ever see Edward
Hudson and Dorothy Holt in bed together.
On November 6,
1651, Edward Hudson and Dorothy, the wife of Robert Holt were
apprehended by the Sheriff and brought to court for trial
based on the suit of Robert Holt brought the day before.
They were charged with lewd, incontinent, and
scandalous actions and practices based on the depositions that
had been taken. The
court found them guilty.
Edward Hudson was
sentenced to receive 30 lashes and was given until January 1
to move at least 20 miles from St. Mary’s County.
If he was found within that limit after that time, he
was to receive another 30 lashes and pay a fine of 300 lbs.
Dorothy Holt was
sentenced to receive 50 lashes.
She was given one week (under penalty of another 30
lashes) to move at least five miles from Robert Holt’s
plantation in St. Michael’s Hundred where she could live for
“one quarter of a year next ensuing if she thinks fit in
regard of her young children”.
Afterwards, she was not to live any place within St.
Mary’s County, under penalty of 30 lashes for each offense.
Further, if she attempted any injury or violence to
Robert Holt, she was to receive 30 lashes for each offense
unless the offense required a greater punishment.
All was apparently
quiet until early September, 1658 when an indictment was
issued against Robert Holt and Rev. William Wilkinson.
The indictment stated that Robert Holt, cooper, of
“Green’s Point”, St. George’s Hundred, on January 28th
last at the house of William Wilkinson, Clerk of St.
George’s Hundred “not having the fear of God before his
eyes and against the peace of his being married to Dorothy
Holt, did feloniously marry Christina Bonnefield, the said
Dorothy his lawful wife being then living.”
Rev. Wilkinson was charged as being an accessory to the
said felony, in continuing and counseling the said marriage,
after he had divorced the said Robert Holt and Dorothy, his
At this time,
Robert Holt, who had been in the local jail, had escaped.
An inquest was held before the Coroner of St. Mary’s
County regarding the escape of Robert Holt, a felon, who
escaped on September 11, 1658.
The evidence taken indicated that he had fled for fear
of coming to trial. The
record is unclear as to whether he was captured or returned on
his own, but he was back by the time he gave a deposition on
the case on September 17.
depositions were taken between September and October, to wit:
Wilkinson stated that he had joined Robert Holt and Christina
Bonnefield in marriage, but denied that he did anything by way
of divorce between Robert Holt and his former wife, Dorothy.
He did admit that he had written and witnessed a paper
that Robert Holt had offered into evidence dated in December
that contained a release of all claims of marriage between
Robert and Dorothy Holt.
He said that he drew up the paper at the request of
Robert and Dorothy after Dorothy stated that she had two
bastards by Edward Hudson and that she refused to be
reconciled to Robert Holt.
stated that he was present when Rev. Wilkinson joined Robert
Holt and Christina Bonnefield in marriage some time in January
last. Mr. Haynes
was required to post bond to ensure his appearance at
Provincial Court to be held at St. Leonard’s on October 5 to
give evidence against Robert Holt, Christina Bonnefield, and
James Hall made
oath that he was present when William Wilkinson joined Robert
Holt and Christina Bonnefield in marriage.
He was also ordered to post bond to ensure his
appearance at Provincial Court.
Robert Holt stated
that he had been married to Christina Bonnefield sometime the
previous January by William Wilkinson who told him that he was
free to marry anybody by reason of mutual discharges from the
bonds of matrimony (as they conceived) given between him and
Dorothy, his former wife, dated December 4, 1654.
He said that William Haynes, James Hall and his wife,
and Benjamin Hammond and his wife were present at the time he
Bonnefield testified that she remembered that she was married
to Robert Holt the Thursday before Candlemas day last by Rev.
William Wilkinson. She
stated that she would never have married Robert Holt if Rev.
Wilkinson had not assured her that Holt could lawfully marry.
She said she had asked Rev. Wilkinson’s opinion on a
number of occasions, telling him of her former husband and
Robert Holt’s former wife.
The case was heard
on October 5, 1658 and the jury brought in a verdict endorsed
on a writ bill a vera for the whole.
Not being an attorney, I’m not sure that what that
means, but from the record below, it would appear they were
Court proceedings of 1661 show that
Robert Holt of “Green’s Point”, St. George’s
Hundred, was hauled back into court again.
The record states that “Robert Holt, who being
formerly presented for marrying one Christian Holt et al
Bonnefield (his own lawful wife Dorothy being still living)
and being graciously pardoned for that offense at that time,
yet the said Robert Holt continues to live with Christina
At the same time,
Christina Holt demanded a subpoena to be issued for William
Wilkinson, Elizabeth Hatton, and James Hall.
Holt died before this case came to trial, as there is no
record of one being held.
Early in 1662,
David Holt, son of Robert and Dorothy Holt, demanded a writ be
issued to arrest
Christina Bonnefield for assault and battery.
alias Bonnefield, then petitioned Charles Calvert, Lt. General
of Maryland stating that she it had been well known that she
brought considerable estate with her when she came to Maryland
and that she had lived in a full and plentiful manner until
her “unfortunate” marriage to Robert Holt, now deceased.
She stated that Robert Holt had given all of his worldy
goods, which were much less than what she already owned, to
her prior to his death. At this time she stated that although she had a deed of gift
in her possession from Robert Holt dated March 1661, and that
she was being molested and threatened to be turned out of
doors into the woods by David Holt, the son of Robert Holt.
petition was granted, but she was ordered to give the
Secretary of the Province sufficient security to ensure that
none of the estate be embezzled before the Court had
determined to whom the estate belonged.
It was ordered that
whatever Christina could prove was hers before the
“pretended” marriage with Robert Holt and whatever was
purchased after that time with her own resources, was to be
restored to her, with the exception of the land.
She was to continue to live in the house until further
order of the court. David
Holt was to have letters of administration granted to him on
the estate of Robert Holt.
In early 1662,
David Holt and Christina Bonnefield, the reputed wife of
Robert Holt, agreed that David was to have the land that
belonged to Robert Holt.
All other goods, chattels, and movables were to be
equally divided between them except the carpenter tools and
cooper tools; one new bed ticking and hammock; and a
maidservant named Jane, which were to be David’s. Christina was to have her half of the estate as indicated,
all of her clothes and jewelry, and she was to live in the
house until April 10. They
were to each pay half of the court costs.
This is the end of
the legal troubles involving the Holt family, at least those
reported in the Archives of Maryland.
Robert Holt and
Dorothy, his wife, had four children:
Richard, who died 1693 in Essex Co., VA; David who
married Elizabeth____and died in St. Mary’s County by August
28, 1679; Dorothy; and Elizabeth.
No further record
was found for Christina Bonnifield.
Edward Hudson and
Dorothy Holt moved to Virginia by 1661/1662 and were married
after the death of Robert Holt.
mentioned in the documents:
immigrated to Maryland prior to 1653.
immigrated to Maryland in 1647.
He married Blanche___ between 1647-1648, the widow of
first, John Harrison and then of Roger Oliver.
immigrated prior to 1635.
He was Sheriff in St. Mary’s County in 1653.
Henry Cox moved to
Calvert County and was living there by 1672.
moved to Kent Co. where he was living in 1710.
immigrated to Maryland in 1639 as an indentured servant to
Thomas Cornwallis. He
served as Sheriff of St. Mary’s County and later as Sheriff
of Charles County. He
died in St. Mary’s County in 1665.
The Sturman family
originally settled in St. Mary’s County.
Thomas Sturman immigrated in 1640 and brought with him
his wife, daughters Ann and Elizabeth, his son, John, and two
John Sturman was transported by Thomas Sturman in 1648.
John Sturman lived
here until about 1653 when he and his father were ordered to
pay damages to Lord Cornwallis who accused them of being
leaders in Ingle’s Rebellion.
They left Maryland and resettled in Westmoreland Co.,
Virginia where John Sturman was living as late as 1698.
immigrated to Maryland in 1645.
Her maiden name is not known.
She was married first to Richard Gilbert who was
transported to Maryland by Leonard Calvert in 1633.
Richard Gilbert died by 1638.
Rose married second, Robert Smith on November 23, 1638.
Robert Smith and John Langford were the first tenants
of Trinity Manor.
Wilkinson, 1612-1663, was the first Protestant minister in
Maryland. He came
here in 1650 and settled in St. George’s Hundred.
By his first wife, said to be Naomi Shercliffe, he was
the father of Rebecca Wilkinson who married first, Thomas Dent
and secondly, John Addison.
He was also the father of Elizabeth Wilkinson who
married William Hatton by 1662.
James Hall married
Mary Edwin, the daughter of William Edwin who was a passenger
on “The Ark”, and his wife, Mary Whitehead.
The marriage of William Edwin to Mary Whitehead is said
to be the first marriage performed in Maryland.
was transported as a servant in 1650.
immigrated in 1650.
Flowering of the
Maryland Palentine by Harry Wright Newman
History of St.
Mary’s County by Regina Combs Hammett
Early Settlers of
Maryland by Gust Skordas
Colonial Maryland by James Thomas
you know that...
Frank Brown, the father of Helen
Hayes, owned property in St. Mary’s County, and that
he was one of the last persons buried at St. Nicholas
RCC just prior to the Navy taking over the property
now known as the Patuxent Naval Air Station.
Helen Hayes sold the property in 1942.
Charles Somerset Smith, son of
Charles Somerset Smith (of Charles Co.) and Ann
Sothoron (of St. Mary’s Co.) was killed at the
is a street named for him in San Antonio, Texas.
Dolph Briscoe, Jr., a descendant
of Philip Briscoe and Susanna Swann of Charles Co. was
the Governor of Texas from 1973 to 1979 and that
“The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” is based
partly on his life?