The first “English” family to own the property on which River Farm is seated, was not the Washingtons. It was the Catholic Brents from Maryland. Captain Giles Brent landed in Jamestown, Virginia in 1638, accompanied by his sisters, Margaret and Mary, on their way to settle Saint Mary’s City in Maryland. The Brent family was related to Lord Baltimore, the King’s proprietor in Maryland, and during their stay in the colony they associated closely with Lord Baltimore’s brother, the resident governor, Leonard Calvert.
By 1647, the Brents had become weary of political battles with the Calverts and religious battles with the Maryland Protestants and left the colony to settle along the Aquia in Virginia. The wife of Giles Brent was a young Indian princess of the Piscataway tribe who had been entrusted to Margaret Brent as a child by her father, a convert to Christianity. She was raised in the Brent household and at the age of 16 was married to Margaret’s brother, Giles. Although Giles Brent initially claimed most of the colony of Virginia because of his marriage to the Piscataway king’s daughter, he was assuaged by the Virginians to accept a grant of patent totaling 1,800 acres from Thomas, Lord Culpeper for his year-old son, Giles, Jr. This land was Piscataway Neck and included the land which is now River Farm.
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