Dec 11, 2009

Mathias de Sousa

(HMDB) Mathias de Sousa was the first black Marylander. Of African and Portuguese descent, he was one of nine indentured servants brought to Maryland by Jesuit missionaries and was on The Ark when Lord Baltimore’s expedition arrived in the St. Mary’s River in 1634. His indenture finished by 1638 and he became a mariner and fur trader. In 1641 he commanded a trading voyage north to the Susquehannock Indians and, in 1642, sailed as master of a ketch belonging to the Provincial Secretary John Lewger. De Sousa departed and returned to this river many times. He anchored near here and walked to Lewger’s Manor House at St. John’s. While living there he served in the 1642 legislative assembly of freemen. No record remains of de Sousa’s activities after 1642 but his legacy of courage and success is regarded with great pride by all the citizens of St. Mary’s County and Maryland. Continued

Photo: HMDB