An American Family History

Ralph Smith

Rent rolls were lists of landowners showing whether they had paid their annual quit-rents to the Crown. A quick-rent was a feudal remnant and was paid by a freeholder in lieu of services that might otherwise have been required.

Ralph Smith was born about 1640.

Carson Gibb wrote in A Supplement to The Early Settlers of Maryland that John Foxhall also entered the name Ralph Smith when he immigrated in 1665.

He married Sarah Bonner about 1679 in Charles County, Maryland. He was the third of her four husbands.

Ralph Smith owned Smith's Adventure on Oxen Run half mile above None-Such. It was originally patented in 1686. It was sold by Joseph Douglas in 1733. In 1680 Ralph had 25 acres of Smith's Fortune surveyed. It adjoined the Bowles land.

They also owned Bowles Plantation which she had inherited from her first husband, William Bowles. It was surveyed in 1680 for Ralph Smith.

In 1680, Sarah and Ralph exchanged land with Thomas Harris.

In 1691, Ralph was made guardian of John Platt.

Ralph died on February 10, 1698/99 in Charles County, Maryland when he was about 59 years old. His will was probated on March 10, 1698. Sarah was his administratrix and only heir.

Bowles Plantation (Bowls, Bowlesley) was a plantation on the Potomac River near Pickawaxon Creek in Charles County, Maryland.
Sarah Bonner inherited it from
William Bowles who had inherited it from his father
Edward Bowles. Sarah left it to her son,
Joseph Douglas.
Old Style Calendar
Before 1752 the year began on Lady Day, March 25th,. Dates between January 1st and March 24th were at the end of the year. Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are used to indicate whether the year has been adjusted. Often both dates are used.

Guardianship is when a court gives an adult custody of a child and/or the responsibility of managing the child's property. Before women could own property, guardians were appointed for their minor children if their husband died.



Charles County Circuit Court Liber H, Page 290
3 Apr 1680;

Indenture from Thomas Harris, planter, to Ralph Smith and Sarah his wife, the relict of Col. John Duglas;
exchange of land; a parcel of land at the head of Petit's Creek part of land now in possession of Thomas Harris;
bound by Pope's Hollow and land of Thomas Petits; containing 20 acres;
signed Thomas Haris;
wit. Henry Bonner, Rando. Brandt;
acknowledged by Mary Haris, wife of Thomas [future wife of Richard Land]

An indenture is a legal contract for labor or land. Two copies on the same sheet were separated with a jagged edge so that the two parts could be refitted to confirm authenticity. An indentured servant worked without wages for a specified time to pay a debt and was bound to the employer. In the 17th century, nearly two-thirds of settlers came as indentured servants to pay for their passage.

The Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay and is about 405 miles long.


Charles County Circuit Court Liber H, Page 291
3 Apr 1680;

Indenture from Ralph Smith and Sarah his wife, relict of Col. John Duglas, to Thomas Harris, planter;
exchange of land; a parcel adjoining Thomas Harris; containing 20 acres;
signed Ralph Smith (mark), Sarah Smith

When a mark is used for a signature, the person was probably illiterate, but may not have been able to sign because of age or infirmity.


1642-1753 Rent Rolls Charles County, Maryland Hundred - Piccawaxen or William & Mary: Rent Roll
page/Sequence: 291-26

Smiths Fortune: 25 acres;
Possession of - 25 Acres - Herbert, William:
Surveyed 12 April 1680 for Ralph Smith near Pykawaxon adjoining to the land formerly surveyed for Edward Bowles at a marked oak on Hungerford branch:
Other notes - Capt Wm Herbert who married R. Smiths widow who says it is surveyed away in his other land, Disclaimed

Planter is an archaic term for a settler. Plantation was a method of colonization where settlers were "planted" abroad. A plantation is also the kind of large farm that was the economical basis of many American Colonies and owners of these farms were also called planters.


fromPrince George's County, Maryland - Land Owners at Time Prince George's County Was Formed - 1696:

Tract Name: Smiths Adventure;
Owner: Smith, Ralph:
Orig County: Charles;
Patent Date: Aug 3, 1686:
Ref: Liber 22 f 239:
Map Location: Q-11


1642-1753 Rent Rolls Charles County, Maryland Hundred - Piccawaxen or William & Mary: Rent Roll

Bowles: 208 acres;
Possession of - 208 Acres - Herbert, William:
Surveyed 20 Jan 1652 for Mathias and John Bowles lying upon Potomack River. Resurveyed 1 May 1680 for Ralph Smith near Pyxawaxon Creek at a bounded Red Oak at the head of Hungerford's branch for 208 Acres:
other notes -This land is Disclaimed, noted as Capt Wm Herbert,


Stafford County, Virginia Deed and Will Book 1689 - 1693, The Antient Press, p. 229

. . .this Sixteenth day of November 1691

I Ralph Platt of Stafford County Planter. . .I give and bequeath to my Sonne John Platt one hundred acres of lande lyinge on Potomack River to him & his heires for ever

& it is my Will that my Sone John Platt shall be brought up by Ralph Smith till he comes to ye age of one & twenty yeares. . .all ye Rest of my psonall Estate to be divided between my Son John Platt and William Longe.


Maryland Calendar of Wills 6. 217
at the Maryland State Archives

Smith, Ralph, Chas. County, 26th Dec., 1698; 10th Feb., 1698-9.
Wife Sarah, extx. and sole legatee of estate, real and personal.
Test: Philip Briscoe., Jno. Compton, Thos. Hanson, Walter Storey.


Ralph Smith 18.154 1 Charles County £334,6,9
Mar 10 1698

Appraisers: Cleborne Lomax, Walter Storey,
Executrix: Sarah Smith (relict),


Ra. Smith 19-1/2B.89 A
Charles County
£334.6.9 £22.3.8
Feb 24 1699
Payments to: Mrs Richard Boughton, John Doughlass, Joseph Cole, Mrs Philip Briscoe [Susannah Swan].
Mentions: no orphans.
Executrix: Mrs. Sarah Smith (widow)


Smith, Richard, Chas. County,
14th June, 1694; 18th July, 1694,
To Sarah Douglas, to dau. Eliza: and unborn child, personalty. sons Richard and Arthur and hrs., all real estate equally.
wife Ann, estate during minority of children.
Ex; Wife and son Rich'd afsd
Test: Jno. Harrison,, Robt. Barrett.


Richard Smith (about 1662-1694) 
in Charles County, Maryland  was granted  to Richard Smith on August 13, 1658.

He married Anne Turner. Their children included:
Richard Smith, b. 1688
Elizabeth Smith, b. 1690
Arthur Smith, b. 1692
James Smith, b. 1694

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©Roberta Tuller 2020
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