About Susannah

Susannah has been watching over the Patuxent River from her bluff in front of the house since 1714

Susannah’s Watch, once part of Fenwick Manor, also called “part of de la brooke”, includes the gravestone of Susannah (Bennett) (Darnall) Lowe, the wife of Colonel Henry Lowe of the Maryland Militia. Susannah was the grand-daughter of Richard Bennett I, the first colonial Governor of Virginia, and credited to be the settler of two States. Susannah’s father was Richard Bennett II, and mother Henrietta (Neal) Bennett.

Born in Annapolis, MD in 1666, Susannah lived in the original house where she had 11 children, one with first husband John Darnall, and ten with second husband, Henry Lowe. Susannah’s gravestone was carved in England, and then shipped to the colonies. Although the stone’s engraving is very weathered, a picture of it taken in the 1920’s currently hangs in the home’s main foyer and shows its complete inscription.

In lyeth Interred the body of Susannah Maria Lowe, late wife of Henry, of Lowe, of the family Bennett, who departed this life the 28 th day of July 1714 in the 48th year of her age.

Susannah’s maternal grandparents, Captain James Neale and Anna (Gill) Neale’s connection to Royalty

Queen Henrietta Maria, also known as “Queen Mary” is the namesake of Colonial Province, then the State of Maryland

King Charles I

Captain James Neale, came to Maryland in 1642 where he married Anna Marie Gill August 2, 1644. The couple then traveled to Europe in 1647, where James acted as an envoy negotiating marriages in Spain for the English Royal Family. James Neale is said to have enjoyed a personal friendship of King Charles I and the Duke. of York. (source) While living in Spain, James and Anna had a daughter Henrietta Maria (Susannah’s Mother) born on March 27, 1647 in Madrid.

The Neale family returned to Maryland in 1660, and with permission from Lord Baltimore in 1666 granting his foreign born children naturalized immigration status. Capt. James Neale died in Charles County at Wolleston Manor (near Cobb Island) in 1684.

A portrait by Anthony Van Dyke of Queen Henrietta Maria’s Ladies-in-Waiting. On the right is Lady Stafford (also known as Lady Kiligrew and Mary Woodhouse), and on the left known only as “Anne” possibly Anne (Gill) Neale, Susannah’s Grandmother.

There are several written accounts of Anne Gill Neale’s time in Europe describe her as a maid of honor, or Lady in Waiting to Queen Henrietta Maria, for whom she named her first daughter. It is also documented that the Queen was godmother to Henrietta, who later became one of the most notable women in the Maryland Province, and ancestress to many of Maryland’s most distinguished sons and daughters.

Henrietta Maria Neale married first Richard Bennett, Jr., and was the mother of Richard Bennett, 3rd, the richest man in all the Colonies. For her second husband she married Colonel Philemon Lloyd, son of the first Edward Lloyd, of Maryland, and from whom descend the Lloyds of Wye House and other equally distinguished families of Maryland.

For proof of her relationship with the Royal family, Henrietta had her famous mourning ring which, according to tradition, had been given to her mother by Queen Henrietta Maria, after Charles I was beheaded by order of Oliver Cromwell. (The ring is now at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore.)

An antique ring which has descended in this family was according to family history, given by Queen Henrietta Maria, to Anne (Gill) Neale. This ring which was made to fit a very slender finger is of the same general design of the “Jacobite” rings worn by the friends and adherents of King Charles I. This has always descended in the female line. It is quaint, with a device of skull and cross bones, and has a secret spring which when pressed reveals a tiny but exquisitely painted miniature of the martyr King and dated January 30, 1648 (O. S.). A “Monstrance,” given to Anne (Gill) Neale for her devotion to the Catholic Church, has also descended in the family.

Susannah’s mother, Henrietta Maria later in life was mistress of Wye House in Talbot County Maryland, and became the most glamorous woman of her day. Her beauty, strength of will and character are legendary. So many descendants were named for her that Hulbert Footner, in his “Rivers of the Eastern Shore,” called her “the great ancestress of the Eastern Shore.”

Henrietta Maria (Susannah’s mother) died on 21 May 1697 and was buried at Wye House Cemetery in Easton, Talbot County, Maryland. [3] [4] Her son, Richard Bennett, III (by her first husband) erected a gravestone with the following inscription … “Henrietta Maria Lloyd, she that now takes her rest within’t, had Rachel’s face and Leah’s truth, Abigail’s wisdom, Lidia’s faith, with Martha’s care and Mary’s, who died the 21st day of May, Anno Domini 1697, aged 50 years and months 2.’? days, to whose memory Richard dedicated this tomb”

Richard Bennett I

In 1666, Richard Bennett I (Susannah’s Grandfather, image on the left) was made Major-General of Militia. He was a friend to the Quakers, and made provision for many needy families. Richard Bennett I died in 1675, and the bulk of his estate was passed down to his grandson, Richard Bennett III, son of Richard Bennett II.

Richard Bennett II & Richard Bennett III

Richard Bennett II lived for a time upon the Severn when he was in the Assembly of 1666, and was a Commissioner of Kent County. Richard Bennett II drowned at sea, his only son Richard III, succeeded to an estate which made him “the richest man of his majesty’s dominion.” He died a bachelor, leaving his property, to his sister, Susannah Lowe, and to his step-father.

Col. Henry Darnall, and his brother John Darnall

In 1665 Col Henry Darnall, brother-in-law of Lord Baltimore, held several estates in Southern Maryland. One known as “The Woodyard.” The estate was a large brick house surrounded by a park with English shrubbery and known to be one of the most beautiful of the colonial homes. Henry’s brother, John Darnall, was Susannah’s first husband. Susannah and John had one child together, Henrietta Darnall born in Annapolis, MD in 1684. John Darnall died in 1684, no known record of where he is buried, although it is probable, John Darnall is buried alongside Susannah.

Cuthbert & Richard Fenwick & Fenwick Manor

A great number of Maryland’s earliest settlers were with very few worldly possessions. Many of them were unable to meet the cost of the voyage across the Atlantic. In the hope of finding a home in America, this class of colonists voluntarily bound themselves to the more fortunate settlers whom they were thus obliged, by contract, to serve for a stipulated period in payment for their transportation. Later, such immigrants pledged their services to merchants or masters of the ships, who often sold the labor due to them to the wealthy. Those who traveled in this capacity were known as “redemptioners” or indentured servants. Those who emigrated at their own expense were called freemen. The term of servitude ran from two to five years. When their contracts expired, they also became freemen immediately enjoying equal civic rights and privileges with the colonists, and were entitled to a certain portion of the land for themselves, their wives and their children.

Many who arrived indentured for their passage money soon rose to prominence after obtaining their freedom. Some of the most honored names in Maryland history were either redemptioners or the descendants of redemptioners. One such Marylander was Cuthbert Fenwick, who became one of the most striking figures in early Maryland and one of the most influential builders of the colony.

In 1651 Lord Baltimore had presented Cuthbert Fenwick a grant of 2,000 acres of land lying on the Patuxent River, adjoining the historic De La Brooke Manor, which belonged to Robert Brooke. Fenwick gave the name of Saint Cuthbert’s, in honor of his patron saint, although it was commonly called Fenwick Manor. Cuthbert Fenwick devoted his talents largely to the cultivation of his property and to beautifying his home. Cuthbert Fenwick died before the construction was finished. He died in a house constructed on another part of his plantation on Saint Cuthbert’s Creek.

A portion of Fenwick Manor, approximately 400 acres, was probated from Cuthbert Fenwick to his brother Richard Fenwick. Richard Fenwick conveyed the land to John Darnell. In John Darnell’s will dated December 11, 1864, John recorded the following, “I give unto my dear and well beloved wife Mrs. Susan Darnall two small parcels of land adjoining her land of plantation in Sassafras, and four hundred acres by agreement from my good friend Philimon Lloyd (Susannah’s Stepfather).”

John Darnall and Susannah Bennett were married in 1682. Susannah and John Darnell had one daughter, Henrietta Darnell, in 1684 at age 20. John Darnell died in December 1684 at age 35.

Col Henry Lowe

Col. Henry Lowe, planter, merchant, younger son, a nephew of the Lady of Baltimore, baptized at Denby, Derbyshire 1652. He immigrated in 1674 to Maryland where he settled in St. Mary’s County. He married by contract dated 18 May 1686 Susannah Maria Bennett, widow of John Darnell. He served as a naval officer for Patuxent District in 1684, Justice of Provincial Court, member of Provincial Assembly, Sheriff, Justice and Clerk of St. Mary’s County.

Henry & Susannah had eleven children

  • Susannah Marie born 1687 – 1720 married William Charles Digges, and their daughter married the second State Governor of Maryland, Thomas Sim Lee, who signed Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union on February 2, 1781
  • Henry born 1688 – 1722
  • Ann born 1691 – 1718
  • Bennett born 1693 – 1722
  • Thomas born 1697 – 1717
  • Nicholas born 1698 – 1729 Became a lawyer in Saint Mary’s County
  • Jane born 1700 – 1718 married James Bowles
  • Elizabeth born 1702 – 1741 married Col. Henry Darnall, of Portland Manor
  • Dorothy born 1704 – 1803 married Francis Hall
  • Mary born 1708 – 1760 married Edward D. Neale

Susannah Lowe died in 1714 at age 48, Henry Lowe died in 1717 at age 65. The Lowe Family Coat of Arms to the right.

Gov. Thomas Brooke

Governor Thomas Brooke (of De La Brooke Manor) and his second wife, Anne Brooke, (widow of Col Henry Darnall) granted a land and dwelling deed to Col. Henry Lowe and his wife Susannah (late relict of John Darnall) and to Clement Hill part of De La Brooke Manor. Gov. Thomas Brooke’s will dated 1676. 

Thomas Sim Lee

Thomas Sim Lee was the second State Governor of Maryland who signed Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union on February 2, 1781. As Maryland was the 13th and final state to ratify the Articles, the act established the requisite unanimous consent for the formation of a Perpetual Union of the states.

Additional related to Susannah: 5 governors of Maryland (Gen. Edward Lloyd II; Edward Lloyd V; Henry Lloyd; Lloyd Lowndes; and Charles Goldsborough); two of Maryland’s Confederate Generals (Lloyd Tilghman and Charles Sidney Winder); U.S. Senators Edward Lloyd V, General James Lloyd, and William Duhurst Merric; Roger Brooke Taney, Attorney General and Chief Justice of the U.S.; Leonard Neale, second Archbishop of Baltimore; Charles Carroll, the Barrister (author of the Maryland Declaration of Rights); and the wives of William Paca, Francis Scott Key, Admiral Franklin Buchanan, and Sen. Stephen Arnold Douglas

How is Susannah Connected to the Current Inn-Keepers?

Begin with Susannah’s Daughter Henrietta, who married Edward Digges Neale. They had a son, Bennett Neale 1709 – 1771. Bennett married Marie Eldon, they had 9 children. One of their children was Elizabeth Neal, who married Kenelm Cheseldine. They had a child, Cyrenius Cheseldine 1765 – 1812. Cyrenius had a child, Gerard V. Cheseldine 1810-1842 who married Rebecca Ellis 1824-1878. They had a child, Joseph Cheseldine 1860-1930 who married Mary Norris 1872-1935. Their child was Carrie Cheseldine 1893 – 1930 who married Edward Dixon 1896 – 1971 who was my husband’s grandfather’s brother!

More on the history of our farm here

Research References