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Aquia Creek

AQUIA CREEK (Ind., bush nut), near which Giles Brent and his sisters, Margaret and Mary, built homes after disputes with Lord Baltimore caused them to move from Maryland. The Brents arrived in Maryland in 1638 and for many years were prom- inently identified with affairs there. In 1650 Giles Brent first patented land in Virginia. His other patents and those of his sisters followed in quick succession.Mistress Margaret Brent, who appears in Maryland records as "Margaret Brent, Gentleman," was one of the most remarkable women in Colonial history. She appears frequently in the records of her two States, negotiating transactions of her own and acting as attorney for her brother, her sister, and neighbors who needed her help. She was the first woman in America to ask for "voyce & vote allso." Because Leonard Calvert, Governor of Maryland, made her his sole executrix in an oral will that tersely instructed her "to take all and pay all," and because the Maryland Council made her ad- ministratrix of Lord Baltimore's revenues, she argued before the Assembly that she should be given full rights of citizenship. When the request was denied by Governor Greene, she declared that she would protest all action taken by the Assembly if she were not present and granted "as aforesaid voyce & vote allso." Her brother's difficulties with Lord Baltimore, arising from Giles Brent's claims to land he considered due him because of his marriage to the daughter of the Piscataway chief, and Margaret Brent's indignation that Lord Baltimore should resent her having paid hired soldiers out of his revenues were responsible for the Brents' moving to Virginia and for the speedy colonization of the vast territory known then as Northumberland County. The Brents, however, were not the first settlers on Aquia Creek. Much earlier eight Spaniards of the Society ofJesus came from Mexico and attempted to found a mission at Aquia. They were killed by the Indians a few months later. A monument in memory of the priests and the early Brents has recently been unveiled beside the highway. It is near the site of Brenton, which was planned as a sanctuary for peoples of all religious faiths and which was made possible by the Charter of Religious Liberty granted in 1686 by James II of England. Aquia Creek was for ten years after the Indian war of 1676 the northern frontier of Virginia. On it was the supply base of the Army of the Potomac for the Fredericksburg campaign (1862) and the Chancellorsville campaign (1863).