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A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature 1635-1789 by Edward C. Papenfuse, et. al.
Volume 426, Page 2   View pdf image (33K)
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INTRODUCTION

preliminary task was to group legislators on the master list into regional categories: (1) St. Mary's,
Calvert, and Charles counties; (2) Anne Arundel, Baltimore, and Harford counties; (3) Prince
George's, Frederick, Montgomery, and Washington counties; (4) Kent and Cecil counties; (5)
Caroline, Talbot, Queen Anne's, and Dorchester counties; and (6) Somerset and Worcester
counties. Investigating the careers of legislators who lived in contiguous counties, rather than
proceeding alphabetically, chronologically, or in some other sequence, simplified collection of
data and made it easier to perceive the ample synchronic and diachronic connections between
legislators living in the same or adjoining counties.

After these preparatory steps, the arduous labor of constructing profiles of the political,
public, social, and economic careers of legislators began. Information collected by David Jordan
and Russell Menard on those men who served before 1715 was restructured to conform with the
final element and category arrangement devised for all biographies. Researchers entered their
findings for the 903 post-1715 legislators on worksheets following a carefully devised methodol-
ogy explained more fully in the section on biographies below. Their first goal was to identify posi-
tively the legislators whose names appear in the journals of the General Assembly from 1635
through 1789. Highly visible leaders like William Paca, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, and
Samuel Chase are readily recognizable, as is the legislator who had no other contemporary with
the same name. On occasion, too, a newspaper obituary would mention a man's legislative
service, thereby distinguishing him from other candidates. Prominence, uniqueness of name, or
indisputable linkage, however, were atypical. The incidence of two or more men of the same name
living in the same county and serving in the legislature occurred with depressing regularity. The
predilection of eighteenth-century Maryland families for perpetuating a particular Christian
name, generation after generation, or for indiscriminately using differentiating appellations
compounded the frustration.

The cases of the two Henry Ennalls and the seven Samuel Hansons exemplify the dilemmas
posed by the intricacies of identification. A Henry Ennalls sat in the House of Delegates in 1785.
Two men emerged from the records as distinct possibilities of being that legislator. The first was
born about 1741 and had died by 1788. Known as "Sr." after 1777, this Henry was a substantial
Dorchester County landowner and justice of the peace. His mother was the daughter of a legis-
lator, his brother was a member of the provincial conventions from Dorchester County, and his
nephew, Henry Waggaman (1753-1809), also sat in the 1785 session. The other candidate was
born about 1757 and died in debt in 1803. This latter Henry Ennalls, known as "Jr.," owned more
land than the first, and was the scion of a wealthy, but not politically prominent, branch of the
Ennalls family. In 1785, however, the year of the legislative service in question, Henry Ennalls,
Jr., married Sarah, daughter of Robert Goldsborough (1733-1788), a prominent lawyer and
member of the Maryland Senate. The House Journal of 1785 uses no distinguishing titles for
Henry Ennalls, and no probate records survive for Dorchester County from 1777 until 1851.
Given the more or less equal claim of both candidates to be designated as the Lower House
member, it was reluctantly decided that the legislator, Henry Ennalls, could not be positively
identified. Therefore, biographies of both men are included.

Perhaps even more enigmatic was the allocation of legislative service among the multitude of
Samuel Hansons. A Samuel Hanson represented Charles County in the second, fourth, and fifth

Russell Menard were responsible for the basic work in assembling the list of pre-1715 legislators. For the qualifications for
voting and holding office before 1776, see Newton D. Mereness, Maryland as a Proprietary Province (New York:
Macmillan, 1901), pp. 195-202, and Charles Albro Barker, The Background of the Revolution in Maryland (Hamden,
Coun.: Archon, 1967), pp. 171-83. For the period 1776 through 1789, see Edward C. Papenfuse and Gregory A.
Stiverson, The Decisive Blow is Struck: A facsimile edition of The Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of
1776 and the First Maryland Constitution (Annapolis: Hall of Records Commission, 1977),


 

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A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature 1635-1789 by Edward C. Papenfuse, et. al.
Volume 426, Page 2   View pdf image (33K)
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