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A Sin and A Secret: Mary Jones and A Mocktail

Thank you to everyone who has enjoyed the Sin and A Secret series since April. Unfortunately, this is our last story and recipe for the series. We are grateful to all of you who have followed along.

Welcome back to another "A Sin and A Secret." Mix yourself a drink based on a colonial recipe and then curl with a completely true, completely salacious story. Enjoy a new #ASinAndASecret post every week. Read more in the series here.

On February 4, 1757, a widow named Mary Jones walked into the tailor’s shop of Thomas Law and his sister Elizabeth. Mary asked Thomas “for three quarters of a yard of cheque,” but it was a busy day and Thomas had to help another customer. When he returned to help Mary, he found that she was gone, and so too was a bundle of 19 yards of linen.

Thomas spotted Mary on the street and called after her, beginning a foot chase that did not last long. She had tucked all the fabric under her petticoats, which must have made it difficult to flee.

A few weeks later, Mary Jones was tried at the Old Bailey. At the end of a very short trial - during which no witnesses came to her defense - Mary was sentenced to transportation. This meant she was sent to the colonies in America to serve as a convict servant as her punishment.

She was placed aboard the Trial with 84 convicts under Captain William Mill. (Mill replaced Captain Scott, who drowned in an unfortunate accident early in their voyage.) Mary Jones arrived in Annapolis on June 12, 1757.

She then disappears from the historical record until 1762. It is quite possible that her servitude was immediately purchased by William Brown (who built the largest eponymous building still standing at Historic London Town and Gardens). She may have begun her life in the colonies working at his tavern.

In 1762, she re-appears, showing up in several court records. In the first, Mary Jones is a co-defendant with a man named John Reresby. Unlike Mary, Reresby was not a convict servant. He was fined for the maintenance of Mary’s “bastard child” Elizabeth. By law, a convict like Mary Jones was not allowed to testify in court against anyone other than a fellow convict, and so the judgement record for “Lord Proprietor v. John Reresby, Mary Jones” does not explicitly state that he is the father, although it is the most likely scenario.

Little is known about John Reresby. He did keep at least one convict servant, who ran away in early 1762, and who Reresby said was “accustomed to wait in a Tavern” and “brought up a House Painter.”49 Whether Reresby ran a tavern, or kept his servant employed as a painter, is unknown. What we do know is that Reresby was a vestryman at St. Ann’s Church in Annapolis.

“Lord Proprieter v. John Reresby, Mary Jones,” Maryland State Archives, Anne Arundel County Court Judgment Record, November Court 1762, Liber IMB1, Folio 603.

In that same court session, William Brown sued Mary Jones for “having had two Bastard children.” Mary was his convict servant by this time, possibly earlier. Of the first child, almost certainly Elizabeth, the court said the “Father can’t be proved (she [Jones] being a convict).” Her second child was unnamed, but Jones had “sworn it to William Logan a convict servant man belonging to Andrew Buchanan.” [William Jones’ story was told in last week’s post here]

Because both she and WIlliam Logan held the same status as convict servants, she could testify against him in court. As mentioned before, she could not testify against the free John Reresby.

The court ordered Mary Jones was ordered to pay a fine to William Brown for both children, and to serve an additional two years of servitude to make up for lost time. She was also ordered to pay an additional fine, or to serve yet another year under William Brown. This prolonged her servitude to 10 years, as well as requiring her to pay fines to a man who wasn’t furnishing her with wages.

On January 3, 1765, William Logan was married by Reverend David Love at All Hallows Parish, the local Anglican church for London Town and the South River, to “Mary Tool.” We have not found any other records referring to a Mary Tool in the Annapolis or London Town area. It is possible that this was the maiden name of Mary Jones, as she was a widow before she came to America. It might also be that Mary Tool was a resident of the area and simply does not appear in any other records, only coincidentally sharing the same given name as the mother of William Logan’s child. Whether Mary Jones was jilted in love, raising two children as a single mother of little means, or gained respectability by marrying the father of one of her children who had become a relatively successful local businessman, we shall never know.

Assuming that Mary Tool, Mary Jones, and Mary Logan were indeed the same person, this is what we know happened next:

In 1771, Logan acquired land in Queen Anne’s County called Raresby. He purchased it from William Paca, a future signer of the Declaration of Independence. Raresby sounds similar to Reresby, and it is possible but uncertain whether it was named for John Reresby, the likely father of Mary’s first child Elizabeth.

In the early years of the Revolution, William Logan was not a prominent figure. He is largely absent from the historical record except for a single order given in March of 1779 asking the Auditor General to pay Mary Logan twenty-five pounds “for the Use of William Logan due him.” It could be that Logan was serving the Continental cause, and his pay was being given to Mary while he was away. Or perhaps she was just handling the ledgers on his behalf.

It’s uncertain what happened to Mary Logan after this. In 1780, soldiers damaged her husband’s warehouse. Although the state paid the family “the sum of six thousand Pounds in full for the Damages,” the currency of the brand new United States of America had been so depreciated with the war that it was virtually worthless. William Logan began selling so-called miracle medicines as a result. His “American Balsamic Ointment” was said to cure everything from gunshot wounds and tumors to sunburn and pimples. His advertisements were accompanied by quotes from prominent gentlemen across Maryland all testifying to the amazing properties of his concoction

However, the family’s attempts to stay afloat didn’t succeed. By 1788, they appealed to the County Court. Their property was sold at vendue to offset their debts. The last reference to the Logan family was in 1791 when a tanner named John Adam Bayer advertised that he would run his business out of “the house formerly occupied by Mr. William Logan.”


In honor of Mary Jones, enjoy a delicious “mocktail” called Rose.


· 4 cups of water

· ½ cup of sugar

· 2 lemons

· 2-3 medium size sprigs of rosemary (3-4 inches)

· 4 bags of Earl Grey tea (or your preferred tea)

1. Using a small knife or vegetable peeler, remove the yellow zest of the lemon. Be careful to not get too much of the white pith underneath. The pith is bitter and too much will create a not very pleasant taste.

2. In a small pot combine the lemon peel, water, and sugar. Bring the content to a boil.

3. Turn off the heat and remove. Add tea bags and rosemary to pot, cover and steep for 5-15 minutes.

4. While steeping, juice the remaining lemons and set aside.

5. Strain the mixture without pressing the bags.

6. Combine the mixture and juice and chill.

7. Serve over ice and enjoy!


Upcoming Colonial Cocktails Programs

Colonial Cocktails: Syllabub & Sangaree (Sangria)

Thursday, August 27, 2020 6:30 – 7:30pm

Colonial Cocktails: Fish House Punch & Mint Julep

Thursday, September 24, 2020 6:30 – 7:30pm From punches to bounces, syllabubs to juleps, colonists imbibed a wide variety of alcoholic beverages. At Colonial Cocktails, you’ll get to make and enjoy two historical drinks and learn about colonial tavern culture. Participants must be 21+. For the safety of participants and staff, this event will be held outside with appropriate distancing, group sizes, and cleaning in accordance with CDC and local guidance. Members: $25 Non-Members: $30 (Become one today!) Pre-Registration Required Maximum of 20 attendees REGISTER HERE for Syllabub & Sangaree (August 27)

REGISTER HERE for Fish House Punch & Mint Julep (September 24)

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