Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Mt Airy Calvert's of Prince George's County, Maryland & Madame Surratt

Mary E Surratt
The Mt Airy Calvert's 
The impact of the U.S. Civil War

Madame Surratt, has the sad distinction of being the first woman hung by the U.S. federal Government - for her participation in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. It's possible that she was used as a proxy by the government for her son John Surratt to satisfy the public "howl" after Lincoln's assassination. 

There has even been a movie made about the trial of Mary E Surratt. The title of the movie "The Conspirator" released in 2010 and was directed by Robert Redford, it starred Robin Wright as Mary E Surratt, and James McAvoy as her defense lawyer Union Army Capt Frederick Aitken. You can read a review of the movie, The Conspirator HERE.

George Henry Calvert Jr., was called to testify in the trial of Mary E Surratt by Captain Aitken.

Contributed by Calvert researcher, and administrator Sandra Frohock.  In order to determine and identify exactly which George H Calvert was involved in the testimony, it was necessary to narrow down the possibilities. We know that the letter to Madame Surratt was being sent by George H Calvert Jr.

A letter dated April 12, 1865 from George H Calvert Jr., to Mrs M E Surratt, stated he was a resident of Bladensburg, Prince George's county MD., and had Riversdale under the date. The letter was in regard to her paying the remaining balance due on the land purchased by her late husband, contributed by Connie Calvert, Calvert genealogy researcher and administrator of Calvert Genealogy facebook group. Source: the above mentioned letter was included in the book "The Death of Lincoln: The Story of Booths's Plot, His Deed and the Penalty". 

The census for 1860 narrowed the possibilities down to three George Calvert's living in Prince George's county, Maryland. George Calvert born 1798 son of Edward Henry Calvert, son of George Calvert and Rosalie Stier. George H Calvert born 1841 son of Charles Benedict Calvert, and George Calvert born 1850. Given that the date of the letter is 1865 we discounted the youngest George Calvert born 1850 he would be only 15 years old, and under age in 1865. Further research by Connie Calvert, reveals that George H Calvert Jr was writing to Mrs M.E. Surratt because he was trying to settle his father Charles B Calvert's estate.

George Henry Calvert Jr was born 29 November 1841 son of Charles Benedict Calvert and Charlotte Augusta Norris. Charles Benedict Calvert son of George Calvert and Rosalie Eugenia Stier. George Calvert son of Benedict Swingate Calvert and Elizabeth Calvert progenitors of the Mt Airy Calvert's. 

But this isn't the only property of the Mt Airy Calvert's that was impacted by the Civil War.

The history of Arlington Cemetery, How Arlington Cemetery came to be, by Robert M Poole, Smithsonian magazine. 

The history of Arlington property is fascinating.  If the Union Army thought it was punishing Robert E Lee, by turning his property into a Civil War burying ground, they missed their mark. Who they really impacted were the descendants of Benedict Swingate Calvert and his grandson George Washington Custis, step grandson of President George A Washington, he was raised by George and Martha Washington after his father John Parke Custis death. Benedict Swingate Calvert's daughter Eleanor "Nelly" Calvert married John Parke Custis, and it was their son George Washington Custis that purchased "Arlington." 

There are many different Calvert families who are woven deeply into the fabric of the United States of America. The above are just a couple of examples. From the founding of the Maryland Palatinate. The Maryland signer's of the Declaration of Independence - Thomas Stone is traced back to Governor William Stone of Maryland, who's daughter Elizabeth Stone married William Calvert. The friendship between President George A Washington and Benedict Swingate Calvert. And all the many Calvert's who fought in our nation's wars, including both sides of the Civil War. There are many Calvert's buried at Arlington National Cemetery you can search for them HERE on Find A Grave's database for Arlington National Cemetery.  All gave some, some gave all. 

The Calvert Genealogy Group, can be found here Calvert Family Genealogy on Facebook, and FTDNA The Calvert Surname Project, various spellings. Our main website can be found here, Calvert Genealogy on rootsweb. Our Calvert Genealogy Group has ongoing recruitment for YDNA participants for Calvert surname and all spelling deviations.