Colonel William Brent, 1775-1848

William Brent, 1775-1848

William Brent was born in 1775 at Aquia, Stafford County, Virginia, home of the Brent family who settled in Stafford County, Virginia in the 1600s. He married Catherine Walker Johnson 6 January 1805 in Washington D.C.1 Catherine Walker Johnson was the daughter of Thomas Johnson Jr. Catherine died in 1822 and William remarried in 1825 to Elizabeth Neale. William had twelve children, six by each wife.

In 1807 he received a commission to serve as Captain of the Cavalry in the First Legion of the Militia of the District of Columbia.2 He later rose to the rank of Colonel. For many years he was a Clerk of the Court in the District of Columbia3 and he also served as temporary Secretary to Thomas Jefferson, but declined a permanent position.4

He died 16 December 1848 and was buried in St. John the Evangelist Cemetery, also known as the Carroll Chapel cemetery, in Forest Glen, Montgomery County, Maryland.

His mother was Ann Carroll, sister to Archbishop John Carroll, 1735-1815, first bishop and first archbishop in the United States, and Daniel Carroll II, , 1730-1796, signer of both the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. Two of his brothers were Robert Brent, ca. 1763-1819, the first mayor of Washington D.C., and Daniel Carroll Brent, ca. 1770-1841, who served in the Treasury Department, was chief clerk, Department of State, and was in Paris as the U.S. Consul to France. Daniel Carroll Brent also collected a lot of information on the Brent family and passed it on to his nephew, John Carroll Brent, 1814-1876, who continued this work by compiling a Brent genealogy and who wrote a biography of Archbishop John Carroll.

Related links:

Descent chart for William Brent
Notice of marriage for William Brent and Catherine Walker Johnson, 1805
Copy of Commission as Captain in the Cavalry, First Legion of the Militia, District of Columbia
Obituary: Catherine Walker Johnson Brent, 1805
Col. William Brent, notice of death, 1848
Col. William Brent, will, 1848
Resolutions, on the Death of William Brent, at the Circuit and Criminal Courts, District of Columbia, 15 December 1848
Letters to and from William Brent concerning the position of personal secretary to President Thomas Jefferson
Gravestone of William and his second wife, Elizabeth Neale, Forest Glen, Maryland
Gravestone of William's first wife, Catherine Walker Johnson, d.1822, Forest Glen, Maryland
Thomas William Brent, 1808-1875, eldest son of William Brent and Catherine Walker Johnson
Henry Johnson Brent, 1811-1880, second child of William Brent and Catherine Walker Johnson
Robert and Ann Carroll Brent, parents of William Brent

Copy of a photograph of an original portrait of Colonel William Brent. At one time the portrait was displayed in the living room of Robert I. Brent, of Pensacola. It is now in the possession of his daughter, Mary Brent Lough. Copy courtesy of Larry and Dreda Grimes.

1Announcement of marriage of William Brent and Catherine Johnson. National Intelligencer, Washington D.C.

2Military Commission to serve in Washington D.C. Militia, 3 August 1807. Commissioned as Captain of the Cavalry, First Legion of the Militia of the District of Columbia. Document signed by President Jefferson and by James Madison, Secretary of State.

3 Geiger, Sister M. Virgina, Daniel Carroll II, One Man and His Descendants, 1730-1798. College of Notre Dame of Maryland, 1979.

French, David M., The Brent Family, The Carroll Families of Colonial Maryland, Alexandria, VA, David M. French, 1981, p.63.

4 Geiger. Daniel Carroll II, One Man and His Descendants, 1730-1798.

Anne Healy's Genealogy, Created October 2002
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July 2005
Updated 16 May 2020