Margaret Brent (ca. 1601-1671), a Catholic gentlewoman, lived in Maryland from 1638 to 1650. In June 1647 the dying governor, Leonard Calvert, made her executrix of his estate with power to pay the soldiers he had hired to put down a Protestant rebellion. Margaret Brent's skill in carrying out this mission preserved Lord Baltimore's authority and his policy of religious toleration. During this crisis she unsuccessfully requested two votes in the Assembly, one for herself and one as Lord Baltimore's agent. This is the first known effort of a woman in America to vote in a legislative assembly.
"Came Mrs. Margaret Brent and requested to have vote in the House for herself and voice also...as His Lordship's attorney. The Governor denied that the said Mrs. Brent should have any vote in the house, and the said Mrs. Brent protested against all proceedings in this present Assembly, unless she may be present and have vote as aforesaid." —Assembly Proceedings, Friday, January 21, 1648.
"Your Lordship's estate...was better for the colony's safety at that time in her hands that in any man's else in the whole Province after your brother's death, for the soldiers would never have treated any other with...civility and respect." —Assembly to Lord Baltimore, April 21, 1649.