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Nicotiana tabacumTasker Nicotiana tabacum

compiled and copyright by MJP Grundy, 2002
Nicotiana tabacum, from Chambers's Encyclopædia: A Dictionary of Universal Knowledge for the People
(Phila.: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1885), 9:462.

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 .

Possible British Roots

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.[1] 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]

Immigrant Generation

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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4]

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.[5]

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.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8]

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.[9]

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.[10] Other bequests are mentioned below.

Children of Thomas and Rebecca (Isaac) Brooke Tasker (order uncertain, may be incomplete):[11]

  1. Thomas Tasker2, d. ca. 1696 in England, while he was still a youth, presumably sent there to school.

  2. John Tasker, d. 1711, res. Calvert County; m. Elinor BROOKE, daughter of Thomas Brooke (ca. 1659-1730/1 who served in the Maryland legislature). John served on All Saints' Parish Vestry in 1705. Elinor m (2) Charles Sewall (d. 1742) of Eltonhead Manor, St. Mary's Co.[12] The fathers of both Thomas Brooke and Charles Sewall were raised Roman Catholic, although Thomas became Anglican. John inherited "The Ordinary" from his father.

  3. Benjamin Tasker, b. ca. 1690; d. 19 June 1768; m. 31 July 1711 Ann BLADEN, daughter of William (1670-1718), an Anglican with Catholic family members, whose estate was inventoried at 2,106.14.1, including 26 slaves, 9 servants, a printing press, and books. The Bladen family had connections with titled relatives back in England. Both Benjamin and his father-in-law served in the Maryland legislature. Benjamin inherited from his father 2,000 sterling and land on Battle Creek that was resurveyed as "Harwood" and "Letchworth" adjacent to "Brooke Place" on the East. Benjamin settled in Prince George's Co., with a town house in Annapolis. He became immensely wealthy from investing in iron mines. He developed mines in Anne Arundel Co. with DORSEYs and CARROLLs; founded the Baltimore Iron Works in the 1720s with Daniel DULANY, Dr. Charles Carroll, and Charles Carroll. Original shares rose in value from 700 in 1731 to 10,000 in the 1760s. He and his son Benjamin Jr. enjoyed the favor of Lord Baltimore. Benjamin imported Selima, a famous race horse, thereby introducing horse racing to Maryland and helping to found the thoroughbred industry in the colonies. Benjamin's obituary was in the Maryland Gazette of 23 June 1768. Benjamin had the "Adams alias Tasker" of London arms carved on his tomb at St. Anne's Church in Annapolis, Md.: "three cats passant gardant in pale azure."[13] Had children:
    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.

  4. Elizabeth Tasker, b. 1686; d. 1706/7; m. 1701 Thomas ADDISON (1679-1727), a member of the Maryland legislature.

Second Generation

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.

Thomas married, secondly, Elinor SMITH, daughter of Walter2 Smith, the sister of the man that would be his daughter's second husband. Thomas and Elinor had five more children.[14]

Children of Elizabeth (Tasker) Addison and her husband Thomas:

  1. Rebecca Tasker Addison3, b. 3 Jan. 1703; m(1) James BOWLES (d. ca. 1727/8), his second marriage; m(2) 10 June 1729 Hon. Col. George PLATER (1695-1755). Both these men served in the Maryland legislature. Rebecca and George res. at the elegant plantation, "Sotterly", in which she held a life interest. After her death George bought it from Rebecca's heirs. George was Governor of Maryland.[15] Sotterly Plantation is now a National Historica Landmark, open to the public.

  2. Eleanor Addison, b. 20 Mar. 1705; m (1) Bennett LOWE (d. 1722) son of Henry Lowe (d. 1717); m (2) Richard3 Smith (d. 1732) son of Walter Smith, her step grandfather; m (3) Posthumous THORNTON; m (4) Corbin LEE (d. 1774). Her first two fathers-in-law and her fourth husband served in the Maryland legislature.

To continue the story of this family, go to the Addison and Smith pages.

Nicotiana tabacum

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:
AddisonBaleBrookeBrowneDentDorseyEly,   HallHattonHollidayHowardIsaacMoltonNorwoodOwingsRandallRidgelySimSmithStoneWarfield.  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).

Go to the Paxson home page.

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This page was posted 3/20/2004, and updated most recently on 7m/4/2013.


The full bibliographical citation is given the first time a source is mentioned, but is not repeated each time that source is cited. Scroll up til you find the first mention and there you will find the complete citation.

  1. Edward C. Papenfuse, Alan F. Day, David W. Jordan, and Gregory A. Stiverson, A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 1635-1789 (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979) 2 vols., 2:802; Gust Skordas, The Early Settlers of Maryland: An Index to Names of Immigrants Compiled from Records of Land Patents, 1633-1680, in the Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1968) 452, citing Liber 18, folio 331; Newman, To Maryland from Overseas, 170; IGI.

         1a. "Adams of Longdon and Adams alias Tasker", in George Grazebrook and John Paul Rylands, eds., The Visitation of Shropshire Taken in the Year 1623 . . . , The Publications of the Harleian Society, Vol. XXVIII (London, 1889), 12-13. See also McHenry Howard, "Some Early Colonial Marylanders", MaryLand Historical Magazine Vol. 16 (1921), 179-80, on google books. My thanks to Jon Buffenbarger, e mail Oct. 24, 2009.

  2. Peter Wilson Coldham, The Complete Book of Emigrants, 4 vols. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1987), 2:129; Harry Wright Newman, To Maryland From Overseas: A Complete Digest of Jacobite Loyalists Sold into White Slavery in Maryland, and the British and Continental Background of Approximately 1400 Maryland Settlers from 1634 to the Early Federal Period with Source Documentation (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1985), 170; A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 2:802; Skordas, The Early Settlers of Maryland, 452, citing Lib. 17, fol. 538. See also McHenry Howard, "Some Early Colonial Marylanders", MaryLand Historical Magazine Vol. 16, 179, on google books. Another reference to a Thomas Tasker, that might be the man who was transported in 1674, records that "his time of service completed by 1679." Peter Wilson Coldham, Settlers of Maryland, 5 vols. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1995-96), 1:168.

  3. Papenfuse, et al, A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, on 1:171 says there was no issue, but on 2:802 it says John's two orphans were raised by Rebecca's second husband, Thomas Tasker. George Norbury MacKenzie, Colonial Families of the United States of America: in which is given the history, genealogy and armorial bearings of colonial families who settled in the American colonies from the time of the settlement of Jamestown, 13th May, 1607, to the Battle of Lexington, 19th April, 1775, 6 vols. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1996; originally pub. 1912), 1:42, says there was no known issue.

  4. Papenfuse, et al, A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 2:802; Charles Francis Stein, A History of Calvert County Maryland, 3rd. ed. (Balt.: published by the author in cooperation with the Calvert County Historical Society, 1976), 325; V. L. Skinner, Jr., comp., Abstracts of the Inventories and Accounts of the Prerogative Court of Maryland, 23 vols. (Westminster, Md.: Family Line Publications, 1992), 1:78.

  5. Papenfuse, et al, A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 2:802, citing Md. Arch., 27:379; 8:145; 20:137. Howard, "Some Early Colonial Marylanders", MaryLand Historical Magazine 16:180, 183.

  6. Papenfuse, et al, A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 2:802, citing Md. Arch., 8:110; 13:242; Stein, A History of Calvert County Maryland, 325.

    6a. Howard, "Some Early Colonial Marylanders", MaryLand Historical Magazine 16:182.

  7. Papenfuse, et al, A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 2:802, citing Md. Arch., 13:351; 19:355; 25:55; 20:274; Percy G. Skirven, The First Parishes of Maryland (Baltimore: The Norman Remington Company, 1923), 166-67.

  8. Papenfuse, et al, A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 2:802, citing Md. Arch., 13:351; 19:355; 25:55; 20:274. On 28 May 1692 the Lower House requested that the name of Capt. Tasker be inserted into a proposed revenue bill. Howard, "Some Early Colonial Marylanders", MaryLand Historical Magazine 16:183, 184. Perhaps the bill was not finally enacted with this clause.

  9. J. D. Warfield, The Founders of Anne Arundel and Howard Counties, Maryland (Baltimore: Regional Publishing Company, 1980, orig. 1905), 219; Howard, "Some Early Colonial Marylanders", 187.

  10. Jane Baldwin, comp. and ed., The Maryland Calendar of Wills, (Baltimore: Kohn & Pollock, Publishers, 1904), 2:226; Papenfuse, et al, A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 2:802; Christopher Johnston, "Tasker Family", in Maryland Genealogies from the Maryland Historical Magazine: A Consolidation of Articles from the Maryland Historical Magazine, indexed by Thomas L. Hollowick, 2 vols. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1980), 2:425.

  11. Papenfuse, et al, A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 2:802.

  12. Papenfuse, et al, A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 2:724-25. For more on John, see Johnston, "Tasker Family", in Maryland Genealogies from the Maryland Historical Magazine, 2:425-26.

  13. Papenfuse, et al, A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 1:135-36. For more on Benjamin, see Johnston, "Tasker Family", in Maryland Genealogies from the Maryland Historical Magazine, 2:426; Celia M. Holland, Old Homes and Families of Howard County, Maryland (Privately printed, 1987), 73; Stein, A History of Calvert County Maryland, 325; and Paul Wilstach, Tidewater Maryland (New York: Tudor Publishing Co., 1945, orig. 1931), 93, 95. For the arms, see Howard, "Some Early Colonial Marylanders", MaryLand Historical Magazine 16:179-80. Children's names and dates from Ogle Family of Maryland and Allied Families.

  14. Baldwin, The Maryland Calendar of Wills, 2:226; A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 2:802; Johnston, "Tasker Family", 2:425.

  15. Papenfuse, et al, A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 2:802. For more on James Bowles, see Ibid., 1:54-55; for more on George Plater, see Ibid., 2:649-50. Hester Dorsey Richardson, Side-Lights on Maryland History with Sketches of Early Maryland Families (Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins Company, 1913) 2 vols., 2:2-3. For a description of "Sotterly", see Wilstach, Tidewater Maryland 292-93.

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If you have additions or corrections to this web page, I would be delighted to hear from you. Contact me via e mail at .

Nicotiana tabacum
the noxious weed:
source of wealth for this family
and justification for the "necessity" to enslave fellow human beings