An American Family History

Penelope Theobald Morris Land

Theobald is also spelled: Theobaldes, Theobaldo, Theobalds, Theoball, Theoballs, Theobals, Theobold, Theobolds, Theboult. (Pronounced Tibbals)
Arms-Gules, six crosses, crosslet fitchée or.
Crest-A phoenix with wings expanded sable in flames proper.
A society's legal system reveals much about it. A broad spectrum of behavior was considered criminal in Colonial Maryland and punishment was harsh.

Penelope Theobald Morris Land was born about 1650 in Virginia. Her parents were Clement and Mary Theobald.

She married Richard Morris. Richard was born about 1637 in Charles County, Maryland.

Penelope and Richard's children included:
Richard Morris, Jr. (married Dinah Rowland),
Mary Morris Story (December 22, 1680, married Walter Story),
Christopher Morris,
Penelope Morris Douglas (November 13, 1684, married Joseph Douglas).
John Morris, and
Susannah Morris Smoot Maud (married Smoot and John Maud).

In 1682 her 23 year old brother, Clement, Jr. was killed in a horse accident. Penelope Morris and husband Richard were administrators of his estate.

In 1686 cattle marks were registered in Charles County for their children: Mary, Richard, Penelope, Christopher, and Mary (?).

Richard Morris died in 1686. He left personal property to his wife and young children.

She married Richard Land. Their children and life together are described in detal in the section on Richard and Penelope Land.

She became a widow when Richard died on March 22, 1695.

In 1693, 1698 and 1700 her servant, Mary Fountain was presented to the court for having illegitimate, mixed race children. Penelope bought the child born in May, 1698, Thomas Fountain, from the William and Mary vestry. She gave him to Joseph and Penelope Douglas and he was bound to Joseph in 1703/04.

In 1699/1700 the orphan, John Scroggin, son of George Scroggin, was indentured to her until he was 21.

Penelope died on October 29, 1701 in Charles County when she was about 47 years old. She left her personal property to her children; Penelope, Mary, John, Susannah and Eliza. John Scroggin and godson, George Scroggin, also received personal property. Her son John and daughter Eliza were to live with son-in-law, Walter Story, during their minority and to be under his care and that of their brother John Theobald. Susanna was to live with her daughter Penelope and Joseph Douglas until she was sixteen. Walter Story and Joseph Douglas were the executors of the estate and received the residue for maintenance of the minor children.

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.
Children of Clement and Mary Theobald:
  • Penelope Theobald Morris Land
  • Thomas Theobald
  • Clement Theobald, Jr.
  • John Theobald
  • Elizabeth Theobald Corker Wheeler
  • Bound children were indentured servants whose master provided training in a craft, board, lodging, and clothes for seven years or until the child came of age.



    Charles County Court (Land Records), Liber P, Folio 212
    22 Dec 1680; Mary Morris, d/o Richard & Penelope of Cedar Point was born

    13 Nov 1684; Penelope Morris, d/o Richard & Penelope was born.

    Charles County Court (Land Records), Liber M, Folio 45
    Apr/May 1686 Cattle Marks: Ignatius Wheeler, Tho. Riggs, Mary Morrise, Richard Morrise, Penelope Morrise, Christopher Morrise, Mary Morrise


    Court and Land Record 1692(3)-94, 242; Court Record 1696-1701/2, 373, 397; 1698(9)-1699/1700, 176

    Mary Fountain, born say 1675, the servant of Emanuel Ratclife, was presented by the Charles County court on 13 March 1693/4 for having an illegitimate child. She was living at Penelope Land's on 14 June 1698 when she was presented for the same offense. And she was the servant of Penelope Land on 14 January 1700/1 when she was presented for having a "Mollatto" child. She confessed to the fact on 11 March 1700/1

    To be presented to the court meant to be charged or indited.

    Court Record 1701-4, 327; 1727-31, 231

    Thomas Fountain, born in May 1698, a "Mallattoe," was almost six years old on 14 March 1703/4 when the Charles County court bound him to Joseph Douglass until the age of thirty-one. He had been purchased from the William and Mary Vestry by Mrs. Land and given to her daughter Penelope Douglass, wife of Joseph Douglass. Thomas was the "Mallatto Servant" of Captain Joseph Douglass on 11 March 1728/9 when the Charles County court ordered that he serve his master an additional ten days for each of the thirty days he had absented himself from his master's service.

    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.
    Testis (Test) is latin for witness. Testes is the plural.
    In contracts and pleadings usually people and things mentioned before are designated by the term said (sd ) for clarity. Aforesaid (afd, afsd, aforesd ) means it was already mentioned.

    Maryland Calendar of Wills, Volume 3 by J.B. Cotton, page 5.

    Land, Penelope, Chas. Co.,10th May, 1702; 20th Oct., 1702. To eld. dau. Mary, son John and dau. Eliza:, personalty.
    Son John and dau. Eliza: to live with son-in-law Walter Storey during their minority and to be under his care and that of brother John Theobald.
    To dau. Susanna, personalty; sd dau. to live with dau. Penelope and her husband, Joseph Douglase, until she is 16 yrs. of age.
    To dau. Penelope, John Scroggin and godson George Scroggin, personalty.
    To sons-in-law Walter Storey and Joseph Douglase, exs., residue of estate for maintenance of minor child. afsd
    Test: Wm. Harbert, Mary [Fendall] Theobalds, Diana [Roland] Morris.
    11. 299.

    Personal property can be called personalty (personality), goods, chattels, articles, or movable property. It includes both animate or inanimate property.
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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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