Family Stories

Guy Finch, Early Maryland Colonial

from William Elder, Ancestors and Descendants

Guy Finch left England, in the ship “Dover” owned by Samuel Groom and Company, heading for America.  What might have been his thoughts as he, and his sixty-four companions, watched the shores of England fade on the distant horizon?  Any pangs of homesickness were quickly stiffled as talk of the “New World” started to fill the air.  Guy’s sadness of parting with his parents also echoed a note of joy.  How proud they were that their son was heading for a new life, a life where he could practice his religion in freedom and safety.

Sickness, uncertainty, and many physical hardships were part of the next three months for Guy.  Then excitement again rang in the air.  Land was sited.  It was March 17, 1674, when the “Dover” landed on the shores of Maryland.  All on board whispered prayers of gratitude for the safe journey.  A week later, Guy Finch, and his fellow travelers joined the celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the Province of Maryland.

No records exist telling how Guy spent his earliest years in America.  He did succeed in Maryland.  By July 11, 1681, he had enough saved to purchase 100 acres of land called “Good Will” from Thomas Larrimore.  Three years later, on October 15, 1684, he purchased 118 acres of additional land called “Woodbridge”.  Guy’s property was in Calvert County, Maryland.  When Prince George’s County was formed in 1696, Guy’s land fell in the boundaries of the newly formed county.

By 1684, Guy was also married.  Rebecca, the first name of his wife, is all that is known.  “Woodbridge” became their home plantation.  Life was happy and busy.  Guy built a 25 foot by 15 foot dwelling, a 30 foot tobacco house, a 10 foot milk house, planted 10 peach trees and 7 apple trees, cleared and fenced in ten acres of land.

Rebecca, too, was peaceful and content.  Their happy marriage had been blessed with two beautiful daughters, Mary and Elizabeth.  Tragedy, however, soon visited the serene household.  By January 7, 1688 Guy had died intestate.  Rebecca requested to administer his estate on November 30, 1688.

Guy Finch’s inventory showed an industrious young husband and father.  His estate amounted to over 57 pounds of sterling and 11,407 pounds of tobacco; tobacco was the legal tender of the day.  The debts of the estate were only 9 1/2 pounds sterling.  Although Guy Finch met an untimely death in the early winter of 1688, he left his young widow Rebecca and their two daughters with an ample legacy.

Rebecca remained at “Woodbridge” and cared for her two daughters.  When Elizabeth was nearing her sixth birthday, Rebecca was making plans to marry Henry Culver.

Henry Culver was a Catholic of English descent.  He left London on the ship “Globe”, and arrived in St. Mary’s City, Maryland, in 1679.  In September 1693, Henry Culver and his wife Rebecca administered the final account of Guy Finch.  Rebecca and Henry Culver were the parents of one son, Henry Culver, Jr.

On June 1, 1694 Rebecca signed over to Henry Darnall her title to 118 acres of “Woodbridge”.  Henry Darnall then signed the land over to Henry Culver.  This patent locates “Woodbridge”, their home plantation, “by a road in the freshes of Patuxent in the woods by the road that goes to Mattapuny in line of a parcel of land laid out for Thomas Hyde and in line of a parcel of land laid out for Major Fitzherbert near Mr. Roger Brook.”

Rebecca died around 1712.  Henry Culver married secondly Catherine Beavan, the sister of Charles Beavan.  Charles Beavan was the husband of Rebecca’s oldest daughter, Mary Finch, who was also Henry Culver’s oldest step-daughter.  Henry Culver and Catherine Beavan were the parents of seven children:  William Culver, b. c. 1714, Mary Culver, b.c. 1716, Sarah Culver, b.c. 1718, Margaret Culver, b.c.1720, Monica Culver, b.c. 1722, Catherine Culver, b.c.1724, and Eleanor Brooke Culver, b.c. 1726.

On February 27, 1729, Henry Culver wrote his will, which was probated on March 26, 1730.  His will shows he was a staunch Catholic, ” . . . if my said wife should marry with a Protestant then my Will is that all my said children, together with their respective parts of my estate shall be taken in charge by my son Henry Culver and my well beloved friends John Boon and Charles Beavan.”

Henry Culver, Jr., died in 1742.  In his will he named his sons Henry Culver and Thomas Culver, and his daughters, Drusilla, Ann, Rebecca, Elizabeth and Cassandra.  He stated that his land which was “in the possession of Catherine Culver, my mother-in-law” was to be sold and the money equally divided among my five daughters.”  In 1744 “Woodbridge” was patented to Matthew Day.

Catherine Culver, the widow and second wife of Henry Culver, Sr., died in 1762.  In her will she named her daughters, Margaret Pierce, Monica Culver, Eleanor Dorsett, Catherine Miles, her Truman granddaughters Elizabeth and Mary, and her Miles grandchildren Eleanor, Mary and Henry Culver Miles.  Her daughter, Sarah Culver who had married a Mr. Truman, was now deceased.

Elizabeth Finch, the daugther of Guy and Rebecca Finch, was b.c. 1687 in Calvert County, Maryland.  Elizabeth was still an infant when her father died.  When she was six years of age her mother married secondly Henry Culver, the only father Elizabeth knew.  In 1705 Elizabeth Finch married William Elder, an immigrant from Lancashire, England.

3 replies »

  1. Well-written summary of Guy Finch! He is my husband’s ancestor. Could you share your source for the detailed description of the improvements Guy made on his Woodbridge property?

    • This was one of my earliest posts and didn’t correctly site my source. As mentioned at the top of the post, William Elder, Ancestors and Descendants is a book written by Sister Mary Louise Donnelly, published in 1986. I was privileged to meet Sister Mary Louise at one of the Maryland to Kentucky conferences in the 1990’s.

  2. Great, thank you! I should have noticed the book title at the top. Appreciate your response!

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