Charles Benedict Calvert

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other people named Charles Calvert, see Charles Calvert (disambiguation).
Charles Benedict Calvert
Charles Benedict Calvert - photo portrait seated.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 6th district
In office
March 4, 1861 – March 3, 1863
Preceded by George Wurtz Hughes
Succeeded by District abolished
Personal details
Born August 23, 1808 (1808-08-23)
Riversdale, Maryland
Died May 12, 1864(1864-05-12) (aged 55)
Riverdale Park, Maryland
Spouse(s) Charlotte Augusta Norris (1816–1876)
Occupation Banking

Charles Benedict Calvert (August 23/24, 1808 – May 12, 1864) was a U.S. Congressman from the sixth district of Maryland, serving one term from 1861–1863. He was an early backer of the inventors of the telegraph, and in 1856 he founded the Maryland Agricultural College, the first agricultural research college in America, now known as the University of Maryland. He was a direct descendant of the Lords Baltimore, proprietary governors of the Province of Maryland.

Early life[edit]

Calvert was born in 1808 at his family's estate at Riversdale, Maryland. His mother was Rosalie Eugenia Stier (1778–1821), the daughter of a wealthy Belgian aristocrat, Baron Henri Joseph Stier (1743–1821) and his wife Marie Louise Peeters. The Stiers had fled to America in the early Nineteenth Century as Napoleon's armies occupied their home town of Antwerp. Calvert's father, the wealthy planter George Calvert (1768–1838), was the son of the Loyalist politician Benedict Swingate Calvert (c.1730–1788) - a natural son of the penultimate Proprietary Governor of Maryland, Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore - and his wife Elizabeth Calvert (1731 – 1788).


Calvert completed his preparatory studies at Bladensburg Academy of Maryland. Later, he received a certificate of completion from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville in 1827, even though he attended the university spuriously, and engaged in agricultural pursuits and stock breeding.

Science and agriculture[edit]

Calvert was a strong backer of the inventors of the telegraph, Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail. On April 9, 1844, Morse and Vail successfully tested their device by transmitting a message from the nation's capital to the Calvert home, Riversdale.[1] This test came 45 days before the more celebrated event when Morse sent the message "What hath God wrought?" from Washington to Baltimore, along telegraph lines that ran above the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad line near Riversdale.

Calvert became president of the Prince Georges County, Maryland, Agricultural Society and the Maryland State Agricultural Society, and served as vice president of the United States Pomological Society.[2] He founded the first agricultural research college in America (later known as the Maryland Agricultural College at College Park, and presently known as the University of Maryland, College Park) which was chartered in 1856. Calvert was also one of the early advocates for the establishment of the United States Department of Agriculture.


Calvert served as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates in 1839, 1843, and 1844.[3] In 1860, Calvert was elected as a Unionist to the Thirty-seventh Congress, serving from March 4, 1861 until March 3, 1863, but was not a candidate for renomination in 1862. He resumed agricultural pursuits until his death at Riversdale, and is interred in Calvert Cemetery.

Marriage and children[edit]

Charles Calvert married Charlotte Augusta Norris (1816–1876) in Baltimore on June 6, 1839. They had six children:[4]

  • Ella Calvert (1840–1902). Ella married Duncan George Campbell on September 3, 1861.
  • George Henry Calvert II (1841–1919), married Frances Seybolt on December 26, 1872.
  • Charles Baltimore Calvert (1843–1906), married Eleanor Mackubin (1840–1932) in Baltimore on June 14, 1866.
  • William Norris Calvert (1845–1889), married Laura Mathilda Hunt (1855–1921) on March 12, 1888.
  • Eugene Stier Calvert (1846–1894)
  • Jules van Havre Calvert (1848–1849), died in infancy.


  1. ^ "Riversdale Mansion".  Retrieved November 2010
  2. ^ Daily National Republican. "Respect to the Memory of the Late Hon. Charles B. Calvert." May 18, 1864: 1 (Second Edition).
  3. ^ United States. Congress. Office of the Historian. Biographical Directory of the United States 1774 - Present. Office of the Historian. (accessed December 7, 2012).
  4. ^ "Retrieved November 2010". Retrieved 2012-05-14. 

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Benjamin Hallowell (educator)
President of the Maryland Agricultural College
1860 (acting)
Succeeded by
John Work Scott
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
George Wurtz Hughes
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 6th congressional district

March 4, 1861 – March 3, 1863
Succeeded by
seat abolished