Thomas Bladen

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Thomas Bladen
8th Governor of Restored Proprietary Government
In office
Preceded by Samuel Ogle
Succeeded by Samuel Ogle
Personal details
Born 1698
Died 1780
Profession politician and colonial governor

Thomas Bladen (1698–1780) was a politician and colonial governor. He served as the 19th Proprietary Governor of Maryland from 1742 to 1747.

Early life and marriage[edit]

Bladen was born in Maryland in 1698, the eldest son of William Bladen (1672–1718),[1] who came to Maryland in 1690, and Anne Van Swearingen.[2][3] Thomas was the grandson of Nathaniel Bladen[4] and Isabella Fairfax (daughter of Sir William Fairfax of Steeton). He was the nephew of Colonel Martin Bladen, Commissioner of the Board of Trade and Plantations.[5]

He travelled early to England in 1712, where he was educated and where in 1731 he married Barbara Janssen (daughter of Sir Theodore Janssen, 1st Baronet, and Williamza Henley), who was also the sister-in-law of Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore and Proprietor of the Province.[6] and aunt to Caroline Calvert Eden wife of Governor Sir Robert Eden, 1st Baronet, of Maryland

In England, he was a Member of Parliament (MP) for Steyning from 1727 to 1734,[7] and for Ashburton from 1735 to 1741.[8] He also saw military service as a colonel.

Life in Maryland[edit]

In 1742, he returned to Maryland as provincial Governor, the first governor to be born in the Province.[2] He also served as surveyor general, Western Shore, 1742–1746, and chancellor, 1742–1746/47. While governor, he concluded a peace with the Six Nations.[9] He negotiated with Pennsylvania authorities for the settlement of the Maryland–Pennsylvania boundary.

Upon his arrival in Maryland, the Legislature awarded him £4,000 to build himself a residence, which was £1,000 more than his predecessor.[2] In 1744, he bought 4 acres (16,000 m2) of land in Annapolis from Stephen Bordley and commenced construction of a building,[6] now McDowell Hall, St. John's College, as a governor's residence.[9] He quickly disagreed with the Legislature about its architecture[6] and became involved in a lawsuit with Bordley, the previous owner, and construction halted.[6]

While as governor in Maryland in 1744, Thomas organized the first ice cream social in the United States. The social was organized while at a dinner party.[10]

He quickly became an unpopular Governor[6] and was dismissed from office by October 1746 because he was "tactless and quarrelsome". He returned to England in 1746, when he was succeeded by Samuel Ogle - husband of his niece Anne Tasker. Ogle had been Governor prior to Bladen's arrival in Maryland.

Bladen died in England in 1780.[9]


The Governor's residence sat uncompleted until 1766 when the roof collapsed. The building now serves as the central hall of St. John's College and is named McDowell Hall.[6]

The town of Bladensburg, Maryland, which was incorporated in the first year of his governorship as Garrison's Landing, was renamed after him.


He had two daughters:

  • Barbara Bladen (1733-1821) m. The Hon. Henry St John (1738–1818), a brother of Frederick St John, 2nd Viscount Bolingbroke, 3rd Viscount St John
  • Harriet Bladen (1735-1821), m. William Capell, 4th Earl of Essex (1732–1799), becoming the Countess of Essex and the ancestress of the 6th and subsequent earls.



  1. ^ Life of Robert Fairfax of Steeton by Clements R Markham
  2. ^ a b c Mereness, Newton Dennison (1901). Maryland as a Proprietary Province (Thesis). London: The MacMillan Company. p. 350. OCLC 11223445. 
  3. ^ "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". 2007. 
  4. ^ 'Early Yorkshire Bladens' by Karen Proudler ISBN 978-0-9566831-6-8
  5. ^ 'Martin Bladen: A Biography' by Karen Proudler ISBN 978-0-9566831-5-1
  6. ^ a b c d e f Warfield, Joshua Dorsey (July 1905). The Founders of Anne Arundel And Howard Counties, Maryland. Baltimore, Maryland: Kohn & Pollock. p. 208. ISBN 0-8063-7971-5. 
  7. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "S" (part 5)
  8. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "A" (part 3)
  9. ^ a b c A history of Anne Arundel County in Maryland: adapted for use in the schools of the county, by Elihu Samuel Riley, C.G. Feldmeyer, 1905.
  10. ^ "History of Ice Cream Socials". Scoops2u. Retrieved 6 July 2016. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
John Gumley
William Stanhope
Member of Parliament for Steyning
With: The Viscount Vane
Succeeded by
Marquess of Carnarvon
Sir Robert Fagg, Bt
Preceded by
Sir William Yonge
Roger Tuckfield
Member of Parliament for Ashburton
With: Roger Tuckfield to 1739
Joseph Taylor 1739–1741
Succeeded by
John Harris
John Arscott
Political offices
Preceded by
Samuel Ogle
Governor of Maryland
Succeeded by
Samuel Ogle