Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


American Studies


Ronald Hoffman


The history of the Lloyd family at Wye Plantation in Talbot County, Maryland, from the 1650s to the early 1770s refines and complicates the dominant historical narrative of the rise of a native-born Protestant planter elite in colonial Chesapeake scholarship. First, the Lloyds were a wealthy and politically prominent Protestant family that benefited from close ties to Catholics up to the end of the colonial period. Second, in contrast to traditional histories of the colonial Chesapeake that emphasize the raising and marketing of tobacco, Wye Plantation's history attests to the importance of grain and livestock farming on a commercial scale, in addition to tobacco production, on the upper Eastern Shore since the seventeenth century.;This study examines the strategies of the Lloyd family to build their wealth and influence in Maryland in the context of the colony's political, economic, and social development. In the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, the Lloyds forged kinship ties to Maryland's Catholic gentry, to Quakers, and to the Bennetts of Virginia and Maryland. With these connections, the plantation's trade with London and the West Indies expanded. In the mid- eighteenth century, Edward Lloyd III used his status as a trusted client within Lord Baltimore's patronage network to develop Wye Plantation as a locus of power. Upon his death in 1770, his son moved aggressively to preserve assets that would be the basis of his own independence.;This dissertation uses an interdisciplinary approach to document Wye Plantation's history. Sources include probate records, government proceedings, the Lloyd Papers and the Calvert Papers at the Maryland Historical Society, the Cadwalader Collection at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and portraits by Charles Willson Peale.;While plantation ownership remained the basis of social and political authority in the colony, each generation of the Lloyd family made use of the home plantation in context- specific ways. This thesis examines change in the uses of a Chesapeake plantation, and the meanings attached to plantation ownership, from the point of view of each generation of the Lloyd family during the colonial period.



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