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Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 25. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), chapter 1.38 (search)
a judge of the Court of Appeals in Maryland, discovered among some old colonial papers the record showing that Joseph Semmes, of Normandy, France, was, by order of the council, naturalized, to enable him to hold land. The date of the paper was 1640, and was the first paper of naturalization ever granted in America. There is in connection with this a singular coincidence. On the Virginia side of the Potomac river, opposite the Semmes property, are some high cliffs, which are called to this riting the name of Joseph Semmes within, and, pasted in, a steel engraved coat of arms of George Neville, of England, with the motto, Ne ville vellis on it. Mr. Semmes had married a Miss Neville, and beneath the marriage date was painted in black, 1640. Mr. T. J. Semmes' mother was a woman of remarkable intelligence. She was a member of a prominent and wealthy family of Maryland, who had come over with Lord Baltimore, and settled in St. Mary's county, Maryland. His father was Raphael Semmes,