Reminded by seeing some colonial history mentioned, with Maryland getting split off from Virginia. Oddly enough there’s a Maryland not too far from us where the naming went the opposite way from what you might expect.
From Wikipedia (not even trying to add all the links on mobile):
Maryland’s earliest known recorded appearance is on a map of Essex published by J. Oliver in 1696, where it is marked as ‘Maryland Point’. The name originated with a rich local merchant who bought land and built in the area having returned from the American colony of Maryland (itself named for Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I). London’s Maryland is therefore an unusual example of a place in Britain named after an American location, rather than vice versa.
Various attempts have been made to identify the merchant. The most likely candidate seems to be Richard Lee (1617-1664, great-great-grandfather of Confederate General Robert E. Lee), who emigrated to Virginia around 1640. His estate there included land on the Maryland side of the Potomac River, near a place known as Maryland Point (later to be the site of the Maryland Point Light). On returning to England in 1658, Lee bought land in Stratford, and in 1662 was recorded as owning a large house there.
Somewhat interesting connection, but yeah. Can’t say it’s that surprising that the descendant of someone who apparently made a fortune as a fairly early planter ended up a Confederate general 200+ years later.
As for great-great Grandpa who most likely brought Maryland Point back to England:
Lee was a lawyer, planter, soldier, politician, and Member of the Virginia House of Burgesses.
By the time of his death, Lee was the largest landholder in Virginia, with 13,000 acres and perhaps the richest man in Virginia.
That was after he decided to move to London, of course. Obviously not all of his family went with him, more’s the pity.
(Also, the London one is pronounced “Mary-land”, like Disneyland but with a very Catholic theme. Still a bit disconcerting, no matter how many times I hear it. Which would be more than a few, with Maryland on the train line between us and London proper.)
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