The Butler family of Southern Maryland
I am a native of Southern Maryland and a descendant of two brave individuals who risked everything in order to marry. My great great.. grandmother arrived in the British Colony of Maryland from Ireland to work as an indentured servant for the Third Lord Baltimore (Charles Calvert). The young indentured servant, named Eleanor Butteler met married a slave who worked at the estate of a good friend of Governor Calvert. Upon informing Governor Calvert of her upcoming nupitals , the Governor tried to discourage the marriage as the law at that time would enslave all children of the union. Eleanor shared her thoughts with the Governor and married Charles in a Catholic ceremony in August 1681. From what i have researched, the marriage is the first documented interracial marriage in the Colony of Maryland. My great great.. grandfather took Eleanor’s surname which was shortened to Butler. The couple had several children who were all enslaved due to the law that the children would take the status of the father. Eleanor was influential in encouraging Governor Calvert to revise the law ,but freedom was fleeting until the couple’s great granddaughter, Mary sued for her freedom in 1793. Mary won her suit enabling the family to live a life as free people of color. I am so very proud of my family and their brave struggle to love without boundaries.