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Portraits by John Wesley Jarvis

John Wesley Jarvis was an American painter. Examples of his painting are in the collections of the New York Historical Society, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Portrait


Thomas John Claggett was born October 2, 1743, near Nottingham, Prince George county. He was the son of the Rev. Thomas Claggett, who died rector of William and Mary parish, Charles county, in August, 1756. His mother died soon after his birth. Left thus early an orphan, he was placed under the care of the Rev. Mr. Eversfield, his uncle, rector of the parish where he was born.

After having been prepared therefor at the Lower Marlboro' Academy, in Calvert county, he entered Princeton College, New Jersey, where he graduated in September, 1764. Having pursued a course of theological study under Mr. Eversfield, he repaired to England, and was ordained there as deacon by the bishop of London, September 20, 1767, and as priest, October 11, 1767.

Bishop Claggett's ancestor Thomas Claggett had come over from England and settled in Calvert county in 1671. He was the son of Colonel Edward Claggett, of London, a maternal ancestor of whom had been lord mayor of London, and a paternal ancestor lord mayor of Canterbury. Finding descendants of his ancient relatives in England, Mr. Claggett prolonged his stay there nearly a year, with great pleasure and advantage to himself.

On his return to Maryland, in the spring of 1768, he was placed in charge of St. Ann's church, Annapolis, during a vacancy in the rectorship, and in March, 1769, he became rector of All Saints parish, Calvert county.  There very early in his ministry he succeeded in building a large new church, which still remains. Soon after this he married Miss Gantt, the daughter of one of his parishioners. 

Mr. Claggett had entered the ministry in the troublous and exciting times preceding the Revolution; and when it began, he was found on the side of American liberty, and was placed on the county committee of correspondence. When, however, the convention wished to absolve the clergy from their canonical oaths, he refused to comply, and for some time performed the usual services at the point of the bayonet, but soon removed to his estate in Prince George county. On the death of the old rector, he took charge of the parish, though he had been invited to the charge of Queen Caroline parish, in Anne Arundel, and to that also of St. Thomas, Baltimore county.

The result of the contest with Great Britain he hailed as a "glorious revolution." In 1786 he became rector of St. James parish, Anne Arundel county, andwhile there, in 1792, was made bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Maryland. Soon after this he removed to his estate in Prince George, where he was also again rector of the parish. He suffered in his later years from frequent attacks of illness, but continued in his episcopate till his death, which took place in 1816, at the age of seventy-three.

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Posted By: Ray Gurganus


Updated: 12-9-2015