Select Maynard Miscellany

Here are some Maynard stories and accounts over the years:

Sir Henry Maynard at Little Easton in Essex

Sir Henry Maynard was secretary to Lord Burghley during Elizabethan times and became, through a judicious marriage and steady accumulation, a substantial landowner.  He died in 1610 and was buried in Little Easton church in Essex.

His epitaph there reads:

"Here resteth, in assured hope to rise in Christ, Henry Maynard, knight, descended from the ancient family of Maynard in the county of Devon, and Dame Susan his wife, daughter and one of the co-heirs of Thomas Pierson esq. to whom she bore eight sons and two daughters.  He ended this life on May 11, 1610, his lady, six sons and two daughters still living." 

It was apparently his father John who left Devon for St. Albans in Hertfordshire.  He represented this borough as an MP in the 1550's.  Sir Henry's eldest son William became the first Lord Maynard.

Robert Maynard, The Slayer of Blackbeard

Robert Maynard was the captain in the Royal Navy who caught up with the pirate Blackbeard at Ocracoke inlet off the coast of North Carolina on November 22, 1718.  During the skirmish Blackbeard boarded Maynard's ship but was ambushed.  He and Maynard ended up in a duel and Blackbeard was killed and beheaded by Maynard.  The city of Hampton in Virginia still celebrates this event every June in its Tall Ships festival.     

Maynard himself is believed to be buried back in England in St. Martin's church at Great Mongeham near Deal in Kent.  The plaque there reads as follows:

"To the memory of Captain Robert Maynard,
Faithful and experienced Commander in the Royal Navy,
who after he had distinguished himself by many brave and gallant acts
in the service of his King and country
????? to this place where he died ????? 1750, aged 67."

Others think that Maynard may have stayed in America.  There is an oral tradition that he was the father of the four Maynard brothers who grew up in North Carolina in the late 1700's.

Another story says that Robert Maynard had been a pirate himself and later reverted to piracy again.  Here he lived in the Caribbean until the British caught him and hung him from the gallows for piracy. 

The Maynards as Cattle-Breeders

Maynard's farm (now the Grange) was at Eryholme in north Yorkshire by the river Tees.  They were cattle-breeders and would send out eight bullocks to the Darlington market every March.  According to the following account, these Maynards were instrumental in the development of the short-horn breed of cattle.

"It is generally considered that the foundation of the pure-bred Short-horn breed dates from an eventful day in 1785 when Mr. and Mrs. Charles Colling, together with Charles' brother Robert, journeyed to Eryholme to visit their friends the Maynards.  John Maynard had firmly refused to part with the grand cow Old Favourite and her heifer calf Young Strawberry, but was later persuaded by his wife to sell both to Mrs. Colling.

The cow, later renamed Lady Maynard, was bred to Foljambe and produced the heifer Phoenix.  The dam of the closely inbred bull Favourite sired the still more closely inbred Comet, this last-named sire securing a permanent place in the history of cattle-breeding when he became the breed's first one thousand guineas bull.  Today the Short-horn Society has in its possession one of this noted bull's ribs."    

Maynard, Massachusetts

The town was named after Amory Maynard, a sixth generation descendant of John Maynard the immigrant.  He had bought the water rights to the Assabet river, installed a dam, and erected a large carpet mill there in 1847.  Amory was in charge of the mill until 1885 when, because of illness, he handed over responsibility to his son Lorenzo. 

There was an attempt in 1902 to change the town's name from Maynard to Assabet.  Some townspeople were upset that Amory Maynard had not left the town a gift before he died in 1890.  More were upset that Lorenzo had withdrawn his own money from the mill before it went bankrupt in 1898.  But the state of Massachusetts decided to keep the name as Maynard.

After the woolen mill finally shut down in 1950, local businessmen bought the property and began leasing it as office or manufacturing space.  Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) moved into the complex in 1957, later making Maynard its worldwide headquarters.  Maynard got the nickname of "mini-computer capital of the world." 

There are no Maynards living in Maynard today.  However, the Maynard crypt is a prominent feature of the local Glenwood cemetery.

Reader Feedback - Maynards in North Carolina

I am a serious researcher of the Maynard surname, and I am especially focused on connecting YDNA of closely related Maynard men who were in North Carolina at the time of the Revolutionary War.  Technical results can be found at the following URL Family Tree DNA - Maynard North Carolina. 

Closely related Maynard men populated the North Carolina colony before the Revolutionary War, especially in Wake County and Wilkes County.  Five lines of Maynard have been linked via YDNA tests of multiple lines of descendants.  James, Gibson, and Christopher Maynard attended the Old Roaring River Baptist Church and they show up on the same tax lists before 1800.  They are probably brothers.  Very closely related to them by YDNA were William Maynard of Wake County, North Carolina and William Maynard of Pike County, Kentucky.

Ward Maynard (

Edward Maynard, Dentist and Firearms Innovator

Edward Maynard from Madison county in New York was a renowned American dentist of his day.  He was probably the first to fill the nerve cavity of the tooth with gold.  In 1845, he was offered the position of court dentist by Emperor Nicholas I of Russia, which he declined; and from 1857 until his death in 1891, he was the professor of the theory and practice of dentistry at the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery.

However, that was not the only string to his bow.  Edward Maynard had wanted to be a soldier, but could for health reasons.  He became instead a leading firearms innovator.  Over the course of his life, Maynard was awarded 23 firearms related patents.  He is best known for his first invention, the Maynard tape primer which was fitted to US model 1855 muskets.

Maynard's rifle patent of 1851 would, in the end, prove far more long lasting than his priming system.  His simple and effective single shot rifle was operated by a lever which, when depressed, opened the breech for loading by raising the barrel.  After insertion of a cartridge, raising the lever closed the gun's breech.  The loaded rifle was then cocked and primed by placing a cap on its nipple or simply cocked so that its Maynard priming system advanced a primer atop the nipple.  Many of the features of this early rifle were adaptable and incorporated into the later model 1873 rifle.

Early Maynard Wills in Barbados

Charles Maynard
will proven
Nicholas Maynard
will proven (St. Michael's parish)
Samuel Maynard
will proven (St. Michael's parish)

Clement T. Maynard in Nassau

Clement Maynard was a building contractor who had migrated to the Bahamas from Barbados after having worked in Panama and Cuba.  He wanted an easier life than the hard work of building construction.  As he grew older, he used his savings to open two small dry goods stores in Nassau, one on the wharf close to cruise ships arriving from around the world and another on Mackey Street not far from where he lived.  The next step was to attract customers to his stores.  He decided upon a way to do so.

Clement had a gift for choosing store names.  He called the store at Mackey Street Jehovah Jireh, meaning "God provides" and the one on the wharf was emblazoned with the sign Pro Nobis painted on the roof which could be seen from the cruise ships as they docked.  Pro Nobis was the shortened form of the expression Sic Deus pro nobis, quis contra nos? - meaning "if God is for us, who can be against us?" 

Countless people, their curiosity piqued, would enter one or other of the stores and ask what its strange name meant.  They would often buy something in order to induce a full and willing answer which he was quite happy to oblige.

Clement's son Clement was one of the founding fathers of independent Bahamas.  

James Maynard and Napoleon's Gates

In 1841 the remains of Napoleon were exhumed from his grave at St. Helena and moved to Les Invalides in Paris.  James Maynard then bought the gates that guarded the St. Helena tomb and had them shipped to Cape Town to be placed on the driveway to his estate.  The willow grove at Maynardville was cultivated from cuttings taken from trees surrounding the tomb.

The gates remained at Maynardville for a hundred years, after which time they were returned to Helena to be restored to the original site.

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