Individual Details

Edmund BEAUCHAMP

(16 Dec 1625 - 12 Nov 1691)

Old Somerset on the Eastern Shore
Published 1935, page 332

Edmund Beauchamp was of a London branch of an ancient Northamptonshire family. He was evidently sent to the "Eastern Shore" by Governor Charles Calvert in the spring of the year 1666 as a person whom he considered well qualified to exercise the office of clerk to the court there. This local court "entertayned" the gentleman on this high recommendation with hope that he would carefully discharge the duties of so responsible an office.

Beauchamp occupied the office of clerk of court of the "Eastern Shore" from June, 1666, until August 22 following, when he was named and commissioned, first, "clark & Keeper of the records of proceedings" of the court of Somerset County, which was established by proclamation, August 22, 1666. Anyone who has had occasion to make careful study and investigation of the records of Somerset Court from its beginning throughout Beauchamp's years of service as clerk will fully realize the care and thought which this early worthy bestowed upon the duties of his office. A more splendidly kept set of records of court proceedings and deeds cannot, we believe, be found elsewhere during the early colonial period. He was a veritable master of his craft.

From his appointment as clerk of Somerset in August, 1666, Beauchamp continued to serve in this office, with the exception of a few months, or perhaps a year, until his death in 1691; a period of practically a quarter of a century.

On June 11, 1668, Edmund Beauchamp married Sarah, daughter of Ambrose and Mary Dixon, of Annemessex, and on June 30, 1668, purchased (from Edmund Dickeson) 300 acres of land called "Contention" lying at the head of the Great Annemessex River. In October, 1669, conveyed this land to his wife, "Sarah Beauchamp, alias Dixon, daughter of Ambrose and Mary Dixon," as a "joynture to her and her heirs forever." It was here on this tract called "Contention" that the Beauchamps made their home.

On January 15, 1689/90, Edmund Beauchamp, clerk of the court, "being very lame," petitioned the court that it was a very great inconvenience to him that the records were kept at Captain Coulbourne's, being at such a distance from his assistant's, John West's, and requested that the records be removed to Mr. West's house. This petition was "denyed" at the time it was presented, but on reconsideration two days later (January 17th) it was granted. A further order of court recites that Edmund Beauchamp, owing "to his age and defitiency," was allowed by the General Assembly of the province to choose an assistant, or deputy clerk, and this he did on November 5, 1689, appointing John West, who was approved by the court and was sworn as deputy clerk, and Edmund Beauchamp having died September 26, 1691, the court on September 29, 1691, named John West clerk of the county.3

Edmund Beauchamp, in making his will (dated April 10, 1691), describes himself as "Edmund Beauchamp, Mercer, of London, and at the writing hereof County Clerke of Somerset in the Province of Maryland." This item furnished the clue to Beauchamp's ancestry. Research in English record publications shows Edmund Beauchamp to have been a son of John Beauchamp, of London, Merchant, and his wife, Alicia, daughter of Edmund Freeman, of Pulberry, Sussex; and grandson of Thomas Beauchamp, of Cosgrave, Northamptonshire, and his wife, Dorothy, daughter of Edward Clarke, of Rode, Northamptonshire."

Edmund Beauchamp married Sarah Dixon, daughter of Ambrose Dixon, of "Dixon's Choice," on Annemessex River, who was one of the founders of the settlement; an ardent Quaker, and at whose house the first Quaker Meetings in the settlement were held and on whose land the first Quaker meeting house in Somerset was erected.

In the beginning the Quaker hue of Annemessex was untouched by any "shadow of conformity"; but such a shadow did at last cast itself upon this section in the persons of John Rhodes, Charles Hall, John Roach, Cornelius Ward, Thomas Tull, Richard Tull and Edmund Beauchamp. Though doubtless interested in the Quakers and George Fox and his teachings, Edmund Beauchamp evidently remained a Church of England as his house was a place at which services were (at least occasionally) held by a minister of the Church of England.. Beauchamp's wife, Sarah, and three of their children were baptized in 1671, 1674 and 1677, respectively. Certainly the Beauchamps did not become Quakers.

Events

Birth16 Dec 1625Cosgrove, North Hamptonshire, England
Marriage11 Jun 1668Annamessex, Somerset, Maryland - Sarah DIXON
Death12 Nov 1691Somerset County, Maryland

Families

SpouseSarah DIXON (1652 - 1730)
ChildThomas Beauchamp (1670 - 1716)
ChildAlice Beauchamp (1674 - )
ChildEdmund Beauchamp (1677 - 1733)
ChildTurpin Beauchamp ( - )
ChildJohn Q. BEAUCHAMP (1679 - 1725)
ChildDogget Beauchamp (1681 - 1716)
ChildEdward Beauchamp Jr. (1683 - 1750)
ChildRobert Beauchamp (1685 - 1744)
ChildWilliam Beauchamp (1687 - )
ChildPatience Beauchamp (1689 - )
FatherJohn BEAUCHAMP (1585 - 1655)
MotherAlicia FREEMAN (1601 - )
SiblingJohn Beauchamp (1613 - 1615)
SiblingThomas Beauchamp (1615 - )
SiblingAlice Beauchamp (1617 - )
SiblingMary Beauchamp (1619 - 1640)
SiblingRichard Beauchamp (1623 - )
SiblingGeorge Beauchamp (1629 - )
SiblingElizabeth Beauchamp (1630 - )

Endnotes