This page tells the story of Thomas Tasker (d. 1700) and gives what little information I've been able to discover about his forebears and his daughter Elizabeth. I hope that readers may be able to help me fill in some information about their lives and predecessors. If you have documented sources, I would be very grateful if you would e mail me at .
Our Tasker line begins with an unusual puzzle. We know our ancestor's mother's name, Ann, but not his father's. In any event, the couple had at least one son, Thomas, our ancestor. Thomas does not appear in the London Visitations of 1633, 1634, or 1635, which is understandable as he probably was not born yet. Among the many Thomas Taskers who are listed in English records, ours may have been the Thomas Tasker, son of John and Ann, who was christened 3 October 1644 in Cheswardine, Shropshire. There were several John and Thomas Taskers who made or probated wills in Wales between 1615 and 1619, indicating where "our" family may have been living. There were two Taskers, Thomas and John, possibly brothers, who were transported to Maryland in 1674. Unfortunately, this date is one year after our Thomas Tasker had finished his indenture in Maryland. So far I have no proof which, if any, of these men was our ancestor. If any reader has some clues, please let me know!
A new possibility of English Tasker forebears has been shown to me by Jon Buffenbarger. A heraldic visitation to Shropshire in 1623 traces a line of the Adams family of Kent, then Shropshire that intermarried with Alice Forster, the daughter and heir of her mother, of "Tasker of Warr." The son of Alice and Thomas Adams (himself a second son) termed himself Thomas Adams alias Tasker. His descendants followed suit for the next two generations chronicled by the visitation report. There was an eldest son named Thomas Adams alias Tasker who settled in London, but there are no dates given, and there is no proof to suggest he was the same Thomas Tasker who emigrated to Maryland in 1668. For one thing, there is no appropriate mother named Ann. However, it does suggest that our Thomas may have had gentry roots.[1a]
Thomas Tasker1was said to have been born in England, which seems likely, and he definitely died in Calvert County, Maryland in 1700. He cleared the British port authorities on 10 October 1668, stating that he was apprenticed in Bristol to William WALKELY for four years, bound for Virginia. English understanding of the geography of the Chesapeake was minimal so his stated destination of Virginia does not necessarily mean that is where he went. In fact he ended up in Maryland. Unfortunately, the records does not state what the apprenticeship was for, meaning what occupation it presumably was preparing Thomas to undertake. He was free of his apprenticeship by 1673 when he claimed his right to fifty acres, plus the rights assigned to him by four other men. He resided in Calvert County, Maryland. About 1678 he married Rebecca ISAAC, the wealthy widow of John BROOKE (1640-1675), son of Robert Brooke (1602-1655), and half-brother of our Thomas Brooke (1632-1676). Rebecca may have had two children by her first marriage, who Thomas helped raise. If she did, I do not know their names and they must have died before they reached adulthood.
Once he was free of his apprenticeship, or indenture, and particularly after his advantageous marriage, Thomas's economic fortunes rose rapidly. He resided on "The Ordinary", near Lower Marlborough, which had originally been owned by John KINGSBURY. The name implies a tavern or hostelry. It wasn't long before Thomas was a planter on 1,800 acres in Calvert, Baltimore, and Prince George's Counties. He was also a merchant. He must have had considerable skills, because he acted as the local attorney for George GOFFRIGER, a London merchant, and as factor for Peter Pagan & Company, also London merchants. Thomas also owned ships. By 1675 he was lending money to his neighbors. The estate inventory of Richard and Elizabeth MAY listed debts due to Thomas, as well as Clement HILL, John Addison, Thomas Dent, Caleb BAKER, and Robert, Richard, and Thomas HATTON.
Thomas started his public career in 1683 when, under an Act of Assembly for Advancement of Trade, he was one of several men appointed to "lay out Ports, Towns, and other public places in Calvert County." On 30 May 1685 he was appointed a justice in Calvert County. He rose to the position of presiding judge from 1692 to 1694, at which point he retired from the local bench. Presumably in preparation for his next appointment, on 6 October 1694 Thomas signed a declaration of disbelief in transubstantiation. Eleven days later Governor Francis NICHOLSON and the Council appointed him to the Provincial Court.
When news reached Maryland of Parliament's offer of the British throne to William and Mary in 1688, and the Protestant Associators in Maryland began their revolution, Thomas seems to have reacted ambivalently. First he signed a petition against the Associators, then three months later signed a different one supporting them. Soon after that he was part of the group around Capt. John COODE of St. Mary's City who successfully plotted to seize the government of Maryland from Lord Baltimore. Because of the unrest, militia units were formed and that year Thomas was named Captain of a company of Calvert County Infantry. He held the rank until 1698 when he succeeded Henry JOWLES as Colonel of the Calvert County Militia, a rank he held for two years.
Thomas was elected as a representative from Calvert County to the Lower House of the provincial Assembly for the 1692-93 and 1694/5-97 sessions. He probably served as chairman in the latter session. One of the first acts of the Assembly was to pass, on 2 June 1692, "An Act for the Service of Almighty God and the Establishment of the Protestant Religious within this Province". Along with prohibiting virtually all amusements, sports, and pasttimes on Sunday, it decreed that the commissioners or justices in each county should divide the county into parishes, elect six vestrymen, build a church if none existed, and levy a poll tax to support the establishment of the Anglican Church. Thomas was one of the men in Calvert County to divide the county into four parishes on 7 February 1692/3.[6a]
The Assembly appointed him to the Council for the 1699-1700 session. During the 1700 session Thomas, along with Col. JOWLES, John Addison, Thomas Brooke, and John HAMMOND signed a letter from the Council refuting charges and complaints made by Friends and Roman Catholics against the injustice of being forced to support the established Church of England while being barred from participating in government because of their religious principles. Tasker and the others insisted that their gripes were without justice or merit.
Thomas was Treasurer of the Western Shore in 1694-95. In 1695 he was sent as an agent to New York. Governor FLETCHER of New York had appealed to the crown for aid against the French and Indians. In December 1694 Queen Mary wrote to the colonies north of Carolina requiring them to send quotas of men to the New York frontier. Maryland strongly opposed this, and Tasker was sent to New York with an offer of a £200 sterling loan in lieu of men.
Along with several of our other ancestors, in July 1696 Thomas was named one of the original trustees for King William's School in Annapolis. In 1785 it became St. John's College.
Thomas died between 18 July when he was recorded in attendance at a Council meeting, and 31 August, 1700, when his will was probated. He had signed his will 16 March 1699/1700. His estate inventory totalled £1,113.4.11, and included nine servants, twenty enslaved people, a share in the ship Patuxent Merchant, and £3,200.0.0 cash in the hands of London merchants that was bequeathed to his sons when they came of age. He made provision in his will for his mother, Ann. Thomas BROOKE, George LINGHAM, and Samuel CHEW were named overseers for his minor children. Other bequests are mentioned below.
Children of Thomas and Rebecca (Isaac) Brooke Tasker (order uncertain, may be incomplete):
a) Anne Tasker, b. 7 Oct. 1723; d, 14 Aug. 1817; m. 5 July 1741 Gov. Samuel OGLE II, son of Samuel Ogle and Elizabeth (DAWSON); had 5 surviving children.
b) Benjamin Tasker, Jr., b. 14 Feb. 1720; d. 17 Oct. 1760, bur. St. Ann's Church, Annapolis.
c) Rebecca Tasker, m. Daniel Dulany;
d) Elizabeth Tasker, m. Christopher Lowdnes;
e) Frances Tasker, b. Apr. 1738; d. 31 Oct. 1787 in Westmorland, Va.; m. 4 Apr. 1754 Robert Councillor CARTER, son of Robert Carter and Priscilla (CHURCHILL); had 17 children.
Elizabeth Tasker2, only surviving daughter of Thomas and Rebecca, was born in 1686, and died in 1706/7. She was called Eliza in her father's will, but I am unsure if that was her nickname or merely an abreviation. Her father bequeathed to her the 500 acre "Tasker's Camp" and personalty that had been her mother's. She married 21 April 1701 Thomas ADDISON (1679-1727). Elizabeth died 10 February 1706/7, aged around twenty years, leaving two small daughters.
Children of Elizabeth (Tasker) Addison and her husband Thomas:
If you have additions or corrections to this web page, I would be delighted to hear from you. Contact me via e mail at .
See some other colonial Maryland families that
link one way or another with these Taskers:
Addison, Bale, Brooke, Browne, Dent, Dorsey, Ely, Hall, Hatton, Holliday, Howard, Isaac, Molton, Norwood, Owings, Randall, Ridgely, Sim, Smith, Stone, Warfield. and Wilkinson.
A hard-bound book is being prepared that includes all these families embedded in a larger story of the political, religious, and cultural history of Maryland. Estimated publication late 2013.
Go to the index of Other Lines that are included in this website (not all of them have been posted yet).
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the noxious weed:
source of wealth for this family
and justification for the "necessity" to enslave fellow human beings
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