Oour family had come to Virginia in about 1650, perhaps to seize an opportunity offered by the exiled monarch, perhaps to escape the Puritan Roundheads (or maybe both).  The first of whom I have definite record settled just above the mouth of the Corotoman River (see the previous chapter).  He had a tough time of it and died in his early forties.  Perhaps he married the Virginia girl Mary Travers.   We know that she survived him by no more than three years, because his elder son was appointed as administrator of her estate in 1672 .  This was George.  He was able to expand the family's holdings, and served as County Justice during the 1680s and '90s. He married the daughter of a Captain John Rogers.  They had three children.

    The family had lived not entirely without luxury.  Crowe (p. 6) tells us that Nicholas's younger son, another Nicholas, played the violin.
  This youth eventually moved to Maryland.   Generations after him long continued to name a son Nicholas, so that to avoid confusion I distinguish them in these pages by region.  Although the family remained anchored in Baltimore County, Maryland for several more generations, we can call this first one to move there
Nicholas of Baltimore (1656-1729)

       This second American Nicholas registered his own mark for cattle and hogs
in Lancaster County before he had completed his tenth year.  That may be revelatory not only of priorities at a wilderness frontier, but may tell us also about the responsibilities laid upon one's shoulders at such an early age.  Nicholas had just turned eight in the year of the comet, a phenomenon generally recognized as ominous.  This one was followed first by an unprecedented infestation of pigeons, then by renewed Indian attacks.   Governor William Berkeley insisted on careful diplomacy with the Indians, vetoing any except passive resistance to their onslaughts.  To this end he had stockades built on the larger plantations.  According to some, spending tax money in this way constituted ineffectual protection, mainly for the wealthy, but paid for by the labor of the poor.   A young, newly arrived aristocratic firebrand, Nathaniel Bacon, claimed the governor was coddling the Indians to save his own investments in fur trading.  Many agreed with Bacon, so that he was able to rouse highly successful excursions against the Indians.  This gained him immense popularity among the common people, but the enmity of vindictive, unpopular old Governor Berkeley.

Nathaniel Bacon may have been saved from hanging only by his early death from disease and exposure in October, 1676.  Historians (who like to choose sides) are divided about what they call "Bacon's Rebellion."  Some call it a proper Revolution and praise the Long Assembly of 1675 for anticipating measures taken by the Continental Congress a century later.  Other historians deny Bacon credit for that, and emphasize the prudence of old Governor Berkeley.  In any case, the rapidity with which Bacon was able to raise his rabble army, the sheer size of it, and its initial successes cast a stark light on the desperate conditions still prevailing along the James River as the seventeenth century drew to an end.

Young Nicholas Haile was twenty years old during Bacon's Rebellion, scarcely ten years younger than Bacon.  One naturally wonders what such an age difference might have meant to young men in those days.  One could guess that Nicholas and his neighbors on the Corotoman were as enthusiastic about the dashing, courageous, and brilliant Bacon as were the impoverished rebels on the James River.  Both young men were royalists, but Nicholas probably shared Bacon's grievances against the royal governor--if Nicholas was still engaged in tobacco farming at all.

       But actually we do not even know that Nicholas was still in Virginia in 1675.  A
fter the death of his father (1672) it is recorded that "Nicholas Haile is gone away from his brother George Haile to his brother-in-law Henry King and estate to go to said King."  The boy's older sister, Mary, had married this Henry King in the summer of 1668.  Crowe's report that the couple moved to Augusta County (p. 5) is puzzling, since colonial settlement had not yet reached beyond the tidewater at this early date.  Assuming that Crowe were right, then the dangers encountered on the frontier could account for Henry King's early death.  And it is true that Nicholas's son and grandson did indeed settle in that remote wilderness--some eighty years later.  But I am inclined to believe that Crowe's reference to Augusta County reflects only her source for her information (i.e., later descendants of the Augusta settlers).  There is no evidence that Nicholas himself ever traveled that far, or even ventured in that direction.

       It seems likely that Nicholas together with his older sister had probably left Virginia for Maryland before Bacon's Rebellion.  In any case, they will have found similar disturbances thereA Complaint from Heaven with a Huy and Crye and a Petition out of Virginia and Maryland appeared in Baltimore in 1676.  It is a list of grievances like Bacon's down in Virginia:   a petition to the King of England, begging for royal protection against local administrative abuses. American impatience with the government bureaucracy continues to typify the family experience right on into the Carolinas at the end of the next century.

       In the same court records from which we learn that the sixteen-year-old had brought along his share in the estate to his brother-in-law (Lancaster Court records, 12 Nov. 1672), the estate again turns up ten years later showing that Mary, by this time widowed, has married a Corotoman wheelwright named Charles Merryman (1682).  Within a few years the couple left Virginia for Maryland, and young Nicholas came along with them.  It was the beginning of a close family and business relationship which endured for more than a century.  In Baltimore County, a son of Charles and Mary wed Jane Long from a family established there.  Jane's sister Ann married Mary's nephew.  I treat him, the nephew, below as the next in our line, Nicholas of Bedford.   But  the Merryman connection also grew closer during subsequent generations in Baltimore County.  As the families spread out geographically, they must have looked back on Merryman's Lott and Haile's Fellowship (the site of Johns Hopkins University today) as their mutual family seat.  During the war with England, young Hailes returned to Baltimore from Tenneseee.  It was from Baltimore that Richard, Nathan, and Amon joined the Continental Army (choosing Pulaski's Legion, a cavalry unit).   And it was to this "country estate" that Federal officers came to arrest John Merryman for treason At 2:00 a.m. on May 25, 1861.


          The map is taken from A Character of the Province of Maryland by George Alsop, one of those scoundrels who had been sent to Maryland as punishment.  After serving his four years' sentence, Alsop promptly returned to England.  Nevertheless, he wrote in lavish praise of Maryland, and his book was published as propaganda in 1666 by the Calverts, whose grandsire had received the royal grant to Maryland.

       The earliest document for Nicholas's presence in 
Baltimore County does not turn up until 1702, attesting to the birth of a child there.  But by this time Nicholas is an established citizen.  In a land deed from 1707, he declares himself to be 50 years old.  Crowe focuses on the marriage he has made to Frances Garrett, daughter of Dennis Garrett and Barbara Stone Garrett.  She discusses the Stone family (pp. 10-13), prominent because they were related to the Calverts (the Lords Baltimore).  Such good connections might seem to attest Nicholas's eligibility when he arrived in Maryland at a marriageable time of life (that is to say, rather earlier than later in the last quarter of the 17th century).

        The site of the future busy port of Baltimore still appeared idyllic at the time when the families of Nicholas Haile and Charles Merryman settled near there.

     Crowe reports (p. 13) that Nicholas
and his wife Frances  had a "'plantation dwelling' known as Part of Merryman's Lot and Haile’s Addition."  She identifies the location as (in 1978) the site of the President's home at Johns Hopkins University.  The neighborhood was advertised in the early 21st century as an upscale part of town.   The colonial term "plantation" need have meant no more in those days than its literal "planting."  Nicholas and Frances's house was most likely of hewn logs, but the century did see some very respectable dwellings.  It might have had two stories, four rooms above and below, perhaps a fireplace in each, but no closets and certainly no water closet.  A "mansion" would have several outbuildings for tools, feed, perhaps a kitchen, one or more privies.   Alsop's description of Maryland, published to encourage Englishmen to immigrate, is written from the point of view of a bonded laborer on just such a tobacco producing farm.  Alsop claims that though field labor is hard, the master's son works by the servants' side.

            At about this time, Negroes began to appear as "indentured," and before long there were laws regulating their permanently indentured status.  As to the slaves now invariably mentioned in the Maryland wills, I lived at a time which still forbade equanimity in handling the issue. We do well to repeat that bound servitude--mostly white--was fundamental to the economy of colonial Virginia, where labor was crucial and always at a premium.  Cotton, on the other hand, had not yet become the profitable crop whose vast labor requirements were to make black slavery so widespread--and so ugly.  Nonetheless, although bondage in seventeenth-century Maryland may have been radically different from that in nineteenth-century cotton fields, the institution does constitute a distinctive feature of colonial society all the way from the Carribean to New England.  The Negroes who begin to show up in wills toward the end of the 17th century may appear something like pets in the household, usually assigned to a particular family member.  Rarely, a Negro close to the testator is set free if means can be provided to care for him.

        It has in any case become entirely proper to take offense at the past.  A still highly respected book on Virginia history, Edmund S. Morgan's American Slavery, American Freedom (1975), judges early America in the light of twentieth-century Civil Rights, then devotes many pages to upbraiding the colonials for their "racism," "race hatred," etc.  Thus
the writer (b. Minnesota, 1916) draws on concepts not yet formulated in his own school days and certainly not verbalized until his young manhood, in order to interpret a culture which emerged over 300 years before he was born--and which had then vanished a full century before his writing about it.  Certainly none would quarrel with Professor Morgan's conclusion that Thomas Jefferson's thinking (as representative of America's founders) is "inconsistent" with his twentieth-century premises.   In Professor Morgan's own day, this logic had recently again been dismissed (as "presentism," by the historian David Hackett Fischer in Historians' Fallacies, 1970). 

        Nicholas of Baltimore, born in Virginia during Cromwell's Protectorate, lived to see the Restoration of Charles II and that king's death, the coronation of James II, and the Glorious Revolution followed by the benign rule of William and Mary.  He lived on as subject of the last of the Stuarts, Queen Anne, and before Nicholas died the Hanoverian George I had ascended to the throne of England.

        Nicholas's will, dated 1729 and printed in Crowe, has become popular on the
internet for the light it sheds on a typical first generation Maryland settler.  It cannot be well assessed in current money.
   Maryland's governors did from time to time issue "proclamation" currency (which was heavily discounted), but the colonies did not yet have a cash economy.  Wealth consisted in one's station, in real estate, and in one's personal property, including servants.  Nicholas left a respectable, but by no means a large estate:  a few hundred acres, some livestock, and apparently three Negroes, whom he calls "old" even while making provision for any children the "Negro women" might yet bear.  At his advanced age the testator may have been resident with one of the seven children named in the will.  Crowe assembles two or three Haile wills from these years, for the light they shed on the life of the times.  She also includes some wills from families who intermarried with the Haile children--the Merrymans, Longs, Chenowiths, e.g., were close.   Such documents can reveal a perhaps unaccustomed diversity of thought.  For example, the last testament of Nicholas of Baltimore (1656-1729) makes disposition for his slaves, as does also the will of of his grandson Nicholas of Watauga (1724-1818).  The son, on the other hand, was a Quaker.  He moved first to that Society's seat in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  When he followed to their settlement in Bedford, Virginia,  he brought along bonded Irishmen.  Quakers abjured slavery.

Nicholas of Bedford County (1702-1760)

        About Nicholas on the Corotoman and his son who established himself in Baltimore County I have been able to say little beyond alluding to the larger historical circumstances.  Now a third Nicholas emerges more as a personality.  Unsurprisingly, that makes his life only more enigmatic.  He was born into an established Baltimore County family (at present-day Towson).  He made a good marriage to Ann Long on Christmas Day in 1723, and was a main contributor to St. Paul's Episcopal Church.  Today it is an imposing edifice, said still to contain a plaque naming Nicholas  (Crowe, p. 14).  It replaced this much more modest building:

         As best I can understand Crowe, the edifice above may mark the site of Nicholas's "Chapel of Ease," a contemporary designation for "church." While Crowe seems to have accumulated extensive notes on him (pp. 13-15), she does not speculate why the scion of a prosperous merchant planter would, in his forties and together with his entire family, forsake a comfortable tidewater home and move to a dangerous frontier.  First, his family traveled a hundred miles up the Delaware River to the Quaker settlement in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  Then a few years later, together with others from there and from his home in Baltimore County, the family migrated three hundred miles down the Blue Ridge into Virginia.  What kind of man, distinguished in his middle years for support of the establishment religion, to which he made contributions beyond the compulsory taxes, would seek out  a religion despised by the better sort in his day?  This is a drama we are not likely to be able to explain on the basis of our meager information.  Part of the answer may arise from the date of Nicholas's birth.  Men born at the turn of the century produced one of America's great spiritual movements.

The Great Awakening

        Maryland's founders had been Catholic, and were somewhat more tolerant than their Protestant neighbors.  Especially the Maryland Act Concerning Religion (1649)
attracted colonists from numerous denominationsSince 1692, The establishment religion in the colonies had been the Church of England.  The Hailes' church, founded in 1729 in Baltimore Town, was Church of EnglandJonathan Edwards' Boston pulpit was Church of England.  John Wesley, born in the same year as Jonathan Edwards (1703), had been christened in the Church of England, of course.  John had visited Georgia together with his younger brother Charles just at the time when the latter was beginning to compose such profoundly emotional songs as "Jesus Lover of my Soul," "Depth of Mercy," "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," and many others.  The Wesley "Method" inspired staid high-church congregations in England.  Their hymns  spread well beyond any church.

        By this time dissenters were arriving in the port at Baltimore, and Puritans were settling in nearby Annapolis.  Among the many new immigrants to Baltimore County were members of the Society of Friends, derisively called Quakers, presumably because they were shaken by the intimate presence of Christ, who went beyond the church and saturated their everyday affairs.  The Quakers' founder, William Penn, was of the same generation with Nicholas of Baltimore.  His son John, who made the Bucks County estate in Pennsylvania into a center of Quakerism, was born in the same year as  Nicholas of Baltimore's son, the Quaker who moved to Bedford, Virgina via Bucks County.  

       The family's route from the mouth of the Delaware River up to Bucks County in Pennsylvania and then back down the Blue Ridge can be traced on this map: 


The map is taken from Robert Ramsey (Carolina Cradle.  Settlement of the Northwest Carolina Frontier 1747-1762 [1964]), who describes

 a broad, fertile, grassy unsettled belt stretching from the Delaware westward and southward along both sides of the Blue Ridge and into the Yadkin-Catawba basin of western North Carolina.  John Lederer, in August, 1670, passed through Manassas Gap in the Blue Ridge and "descended into broad savannas, flowery meads, where herds of red deer were feeding.  The grass which sprang from the limestone soil was so high they could tie it across their saddles.  Since the Indians burned their land over every autumn to make their game preserve, it was only lightly wooded with occasional groves of oak or maple"

It was this southern expanse which was to attract the Quakers from Pennsylvania.

When Nicholas's daughter Ann (1732-69) married a Bucks County carpenter, the record names her father as a resident of that Pennsylvania district.  The bridegroom, William Mead, was named after his grandfather, who had been a prominent  high churchman in England at about the same time when Nicholas's grandfather was settling on the Corotoman.  Old Mead had been ejected from the clergy for his very liberal opinions, and imprisoned.  His children were among the Quakers who settled Bucks County.  Now the family's new destination was another Quaker settlement in Bedford County, Virginia.  The Hailes accompanied the Meads.  The circumstances suggest that Nicholas, in his youth a pillar in the Church of England, had now become a Quaker.  So long as he and his family remained in Baltimore County they would have been required to pay taxes for support of the Church of England, and also to take communion in that church.  There was no such law in Pennsylvania, and it may not have been observed on the Virginia frontier.  In any case, the marriage between Ann Haile and young William Mead was joined among the Quakers.

         But religion need not be the sole reason for Nicholas's move.  Exhaustion of the tidewater soil by tobacco farming had stirred general migration toward the piedmont with its more healthful "air" in which malaria was far less prevalent. At the same time, vast land grants to families like the Carters, the Byrds, etc., increased the number and size of plantations,
and introduced extensive use of slaves.  Quakers vehemently objected to this practice.  Nicholas may have had business reasons as well.  While in Baltimore he had taken on as partner a fellow member of St. Paul's Church who was about his own age, Matthew Talbot, born 1699.  The two had begun to explore overseas trade in tobacco.  This era of hostility between France and England became notorious for its privateering on the high seas. Many ships were lost; many were victims of piracy.  Family tradition suggests that Haile and Talbot took some heavy losses. 

        The Hailes, the Talbots, and the Meads became typical Virginia families of the eighteenth century.  The former had come to the New World as tobacco growers, the Meads as high church dissenters.  They were a literate, pious people whose ties to one another had become stronger than their bonds to England or even to the Church of England. The Hailes continued
for two or three more generations to look back on Baltimore County as home, but they had never  been urban people, and Baltimore was now growing into a population center.   Maryland's capitol, Annapolis, was still its major settlement, but Baltimore Town was experiencing some urbanization already before the  time of American Independence.

   As a burgeoning port, it was the first stop for refugees from the oppressive slums in England.  Workers could find quick employment in its iron foundry (George Washington's father owned an interest).  The liberal policy of the Calverts had made Maryland attractive to zealots persecuted in England, the Quakers being just one example.

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