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This Day In Founding Fathers History – 21 January 2013

On this day in 1648, Margaret Brent was denied her demand for the right to vote, the first recorded account of such for a woman in an English colony. Brent immigrated to the Maryland Colony with her sister and two brothers in 1638. Brent was unique in that she was an unmarried, female landowner, as she brought with her a land grant. Brent later received an additional thousand acres from her brother. Brent never married, therefore she retained certain rights a woman typically lost upon marriage, one being she could represent herself in court, which she did several times when filing suit against her debtors. Brent was a distant relative to the Calverts, the ruling family of Maryland. Just before his death, Governor Calvert named Brent the executrix of his will, as well as inherited the power of attorney for Lord Baltimore which Governor Calvert previously held. On this day in 1648, Brent stood before the Maryland Assembly and demanded two votes: one as a freeholder of land, one as Lord Baltimore’s legal representative, although she was denied her request. 1

One notable birthday on this day in history in 1813, that of John Charles Fremont. Fremont was educated in sciences at the College of Charleston and shortly after was a mathematics instructor in the U.S. Navy. He went on to survey a number of territories, many for various railroads, and was appointed second lieutenant of Topographical Engineers for the U.S Army. His reports and maps were valuable during the western expansion of the U.S. Fremont married the daughter of Thomas Hart Benton, which proved very valuable for furthering his career in politics. He was ordered to act as Governor of California by Commodore Stockton; however, he the order was revoked and he was arrested for mutiny, court martialed, found guilty, but then pardoned by President Polk. When California became a state in 1850, Fremont served very briefly as a U.S. senator, and then he unsuccessfully ran as the Republican Party’s first candidate for president in 1856. President Lincoln gave Fremont command of the Union Army’s Western Department, but he was shortly removed after ordering property being held by Missouri rebels to be confiscated and their slaves freed. Fremont made another unsuccessful run for the presidency in 1864, and he later served as governor of the Arizona Territory for three years. 2

1 “Margaret Brent,” National Women’s History Museum, www.nwhm.org/education-resources/biography/biographies/margaret-brent/

2 “Fremont, John Charles,” Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=f000374; “John Charles Fremont,” Utah History to Go, historytogo.utah.gov/people/johncharlesfremont.html

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