St. Mary's City, Maryland

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Full sized working replica of the Dove in St. Mary's City, which along with the Ark, was the first settlers ship to reach the site of the new Maryland Colony. Located in the Historic St. Mary's City living history area.
St. Mary's City Historic District,[1] July 2009

St. Mary's City, Maryland is not a city but is instead a large state run historic area and museum complex, also known as Historic St. Mary's City.

Half of the area is also the campus of the public honors college, St. Mary's College of Maryland.[2]

St. Mary's City is the historic site of the founding of the Colony of Maryland and was also the first capital of the Maryland colony[3] (then called the Province of Maryland).[4][5] The original settlement was also the fourth oldest permanent English settlement in the United States.[3][6]

St. Marys City is also considered to be the birthplace of religious freedom in America,[7][8] with the earliest North American colonial settlement ever established with the specific mandate of being a haven for both Catholic and Protestant Christian faiths.[9][10][11]

In its modern day role as "Historic St. Marys City", it is a large reconstructed colonial settlement and public center for living history[3][12] including museums,[3] reconstructed colonial buildings.[12] and year-round historic reenactments[12][13]

It is also a nationally recognized archeological research area[3] and training center for archaeologists.[3] And is home to the The Historical Archaeology Field School.[14] There have been over 200 archeological digs in St. Marys city over the last 30 years.[3][15] Archeological research continues in the city.[3][16]

It is an unincorporated community under state law, and is located in Southern St. Mary's County, Maryland, which in turn is the southernmost tip of the state of Maryland on the Western shore of the Chesapeake Bay.[17] St. Mary's City is bordered by the St. Mary's River, a short, brackish water tidal tributary of the Potomac river, near where it empties into the Chesapeake.

St. Marys City Historic District
St Marys City Historic District Catholic Church Jul 09.JPG
St. Mary's City Historic District: Reconstructed 1667 Catholic Church, built on site of the original Jesuit mission church in the St. Mary's City colonial settlement, Maryland's first colony.
HSMC, July 2009
Nearest city St. Mary's City, Maryland
Built c. 1667. Rebuilt 2009
Governing body State of Maryland
NRHP Reference # 69000310[18]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP August 4, 1969
Designated NHLD August 4, 1969[19]

Contents

St. Mary's College of Maryland[edit]

Public Honors College designation[edit]

The public honors college, St. Marys College of Maryland, is a state-funded coed undergraduate Liberal Arts College. It is only one of two "Public Honors Colleges" in the nation and one of only a handful of small public liberal arts colleges. It was specifically tasked by the state of Maryland to be modeled after far more expensive private elite Liberal Arts Colleges with the intention of offering such an education in the public sector.

Origin of name, nonreligious status[edit]

The school is secular (nonreligious), the name commemorates the original colonial settlement by that name, half of which was located where the college now stands.

National Ranking[edit]

In 2014, U.S. News and World Report, in its annual "Best College and Universities" report, ranked St. Marys College as "5th" in the nation under the category "Top Public Schools" in the "Colleges" ranking.[20]

See the Wikipedia article St. Mary's College of Maryland

Historic St. Mary's City: Reconstructed colonial town, museums and living history[edit]

The first Lord Baltimore, George Calvert, a Catholic during a time of persecution of Catholics who won the original grant for the Maryland Colony and who also envisioned it as a place of religious tolerance.
Small painted icon, dating to between circa 1615 and circa 1620, Walters Museum, Baltimore.
Leonard Calvert, George Calvert's second son and the first governor of the Maryland colony. The job of leading the new colony through various trials and tribulations fell on Leonard's shoulders.
Maryland Archives, 1914. Painted by Florence Mackubin.
Reconstructed 17th century settlers farmhouse (a "Planters House") typical of colonial St. Mary's City. Located in the Historic St. Mary's City living history area. St. Mary's City Historic District.
Full sized reconstruction of the original Schweringen's Inn that originally stood in St. Mary's City. Located in Historic St. Mary's City living history area. St. Mary's City Historic District, July 2009
"The State House", reconstruction of the original 1676 Maryland Statehouse, Maryland's first capitol and the home of the Maryland colonial assembly. Stands on the original site. Historic St. Mary's City living history area, St. Mary's City Historic District, July 2009.[21]

Historic St. Marys City is a large public access historic interpretation area with four public museums[3][12] and is a re-creation of the original colonial capitol of Maryland.[12] and also the original settlers village.[12]

It has several Living History Museums[3] and the entire complex is staffed by period dressed actors who recreate history theatrically, as well as archeologists and archeology students who provide scientific and historical interpretation,[3][12] public archeological site displays,[14] reconstructed colonial buildings,[12] including ongoing year-round outdoor historical reenactments,[12] a working colonial farm[12] and the fully working replica of The Dove sailing ship[12] which was one of the two original settlers ships that established the first Maryland colony[12] (Marylands' historical equivalent of the Mayflower).

Historic St. Mary's City also provides presentations on different aspects of colonial era woodland Indian life.[22] At special times of the year, members of the Piscataway Indian Nation also provide reenanctments and other cultural demonstrations. The Piscataway people were the original inhabitants of St. Mary's City and also befriended and helped the early colonists.

The area also hosts summer stock theater productions (with historical themes) and other special events. Historic St. Marys City is owned by the State of Maryland and runs under a registered nonprofit charter. In addition to general tourism, the organization hosts special tours for school children, handling more than 20,000 students on field trips per year.

Historic St. Mary's is under the administration of the "Historic St. Mary's City Commission"[23] which is a government agency of the State of Maryland.[24]

History of St. Mary's City[edit]

Beginnings[edit]

1630: George Calvert's dream of escaping religious persecution[edit]

Colonial St. Mary's City was first envisioned by a British Lord, George Calvert, who was Catholic in a time of religious persecution of Catholics in England. Out of his personal struggles and also out of a desire to profit from owning a colony in the New World, he envisioned a new colony where people of all faiths could live in freedom, tolerance and safety.

What followed was the establishment of St. Mary's City the first Maryland colony, which resulted in a historic struggle for religious freedom and which eventually led to the first law protecting religious freedom in America, as well as the founding of what is now the State of Maryland.

1631: Colonial Grant[edit]

Originally the Grant to the colony was given to George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore (1579-1632), the first Lord Baltimore by his patron and grateful friend King Charles I in thanks for his services to King and Country, before he declared himself a Roman Catholic, making his political position in government untenable for those times of religious rivalry and hatred. It had been a dream of George Calvert to establish a Colony in North America and to also make it a haven for persecuted Catholics.[25]

Grant passes to son Cecil, who becomes bogged down in Royal court politics[edit]

The senior Calvert died before the claim to the Maryland colonial grant was executed, signed and sealed, however the King continued the grant to his eldest son and heir, Cecil.[25] Cecil however became bogged down in Royal court politics, because of growing anti-Catholic tensions in England and also because the Colony of Virginia was lobbying the King to have the Maryland Colonial grant abolished.

This meant Cecil had to remain involved in court politics constantly, in order to continually protect the charter of the Maryland colony from Virginia Colony lobbyists and anti-Catholic lobbyists. So it fell to Cecil's younger brother, Leonard Calvert, to lead the settlers to Maryland and become the governor of the new colony.

1633: Younger Brother, Leonard, leads first settlers to Maryland[edit]

Consequently, Cecil never set foot in Maryland, but Leonard spent the rest of his life there, leading the settlers through many trials and tribulations, as well as to great successes in the farming and selling of tobacco back to Britain. Leonard, more than anyone else in his family, became the actual founder of colonial Maryland.

Voyage of first settlers, establishment of first settlement[edit]

Accompanied and led by Leonard Calvert, in 1633, two ships called the "The Ark".[26][27] and the "The Dove",[26][27] set sail together[27][28] loaded with settlers,[27] Jesuit missionaries and indentured servants. After a long, rough sea voyage with a stopover to resupply in Barbados, they arrived in what is now Maryland in March of 1634.[27][29] They made their first permanent settlement in what is now St. Mary's County, Maryland choosing to settle on a bluff overlooking the St. Mary's river, a relatively calm, tidal tributary to the mouth of the Potomac river where it empties into the Chesapeake Bay. The site was already a Native American village when they arrived, occupied by members of the Yaocomico[22] branch of the Piscataway Indian Nation, but the settlers had with them a former Virginia colonist who was fluent in their language and they met quickly with the paramount chief of the region.[30] The chief sold 30 acres of land there to the new colonists.[27]

Prior Native American settlement[edit]

Yaocomico village had formerly occupied the location,[30] but the "Tayac" "Kittimundiq", paramount chief of the Piscataway Indian Nation, ordered the village cleared[30] and sold it to the English newcomers.[12][30][31] He wanted to develop them as allies[30] and trading partners (especially because of their advanced technology - farming implements, metal-working, gunpowder and weapons, types of food and liquor, etc...).[31] For some time, the Piscataway, their tributary tribes, and the English Marylanders coexisted peacefully.[30]

Naming of "St. Mary's City"[edit]

"St. Mary's City" was officially named and founded on the site of the new settlement on March 27, 1634.[3] There is not complete agreement on the etymology of the name, but a larger percentage of historians believe that the name of the settlement was supposed to be in honor of "Mary the Mother of Jesus". The original group of settlers numbered 300, mostly English but also some Irish. There may also have been at least one mixed race (African and European heritage) indentured servant who had been picked up on the way over in Barbados. There were also other indentured servants from England and Ireland.

The group was a mix of Catholic and Protestants during a time of religious persecution of Catholics in the British Isles.[32] Leonard Calvert, (1606-1647), a Roman Catholic himself, became the governor of the new colony and continued to lead the settlers.[32] St. Mary's City became the capital of the new Maryland colony,[3][33] and remained so for sixty one years until 1694.[3][34]

1634-1635: First Maryland legislative assembly[edit]

The first Maryland assembly, the first session of a non-native legislative body in Maryland, convened in 1634 and met periodically through 1635.[35] The assembly quickly began to challenge a number of Cecil Calvert's edicts (sent in a letter along with the settlers), although they did not challenge his proprietorship over the new colony or his requirement for religious tolerance. Nevertheless they pushed successfully for more personal freedoms and to adapt Calvert's edicts to the realities on the ground in the colony, which were not always the same as his expectations. For example, he wanted them to live in regimented fashion within the newly constructed fort in St. Mary's City but the greatest need perceived by the assembly was to allow for more spread-out farming. Leonard Calvert diplomatically lent support to the assembly's wishes in letters to his brother, and Cecil Calvert largely acceded,

Early Mandates for Religious Tolerance[edit]

Instructions from George Calvert, the First Lord Baltimore, and the holder of the grant to the new Maryland Colony colony specified in 1633 that the new governor and all settlers were to practice religious tolerance.[10] Upon the death of George Calvert, additional instructions written by his son Cecil Calvert, the new Lord Baltimore, also requiring religious tolerance in the new colony.[11] They were sent along with his younger brother Leonard Calvert who accompanied the first settlers to Maryland in 1634 and who was appointed the first governor of the Maryland Colony,[11] although they also encouraged Catholics to be reserved about expressions of their faith in order not to antagonize Protestants. These instructions became the first laws of Maryland.[11]

This intent was carried forward and expanded upon by the majority of early settlers of the time, who upon forming their first legislative assembly, called "The Assembly of the Province of Maryland", passed the Maryland Toleration Act in 1649, further codifying the protection of religious freedom.[36]

Maryland Assembly[edit]

First Assembly[edit]

The first Maryland assembly met in 1635 or 1635.

Mathias de Sousa[edit]

Mathias da Sousa was a settler in the colony who was described in historical records by one witness as being "mulatto" (mixed African and European heritage, although sometimes this could mean anyone who is dark skinned). He originally arrived in the new colony as an indentured servant working for the Jesuit missionaries who had come with the settlers. But he later gained his freedom and went on to become an assemblyman, making him (possibly) the first person of African heritage to participate in a legislative body in North America.

First colonial town[edit]

Period dressed living history actor playing the role of Leonard Calvert in the reconstructed colonial State House in Historic St. Mary's City.
Photo by Kathleen Tyler Conklin.

The original St. Mary's settlement was laid out according to a Baroque town plan,[37] with the settlers living closely in a town with church, stores and homes close by and outlying farms, fields, woods and orchards laid out in a grid or strips of land.[4] But most residents of St. Mary's City later preferred to live on their tobacco plantations in the surrounding countryside.[12] The settlement was meant to be the capital of the new Maryland Colony and Province of Maryland.[4][12]

Expansion[edit]

Tobacco successes and the expansion of slavery[edit]

St. Mary's City experienced an economic boom due to successful tobacco farming,[12] which was the most important export commodity.[12] Tobacco became an extremely valuable cash crop in the colony.[12] This also drove the expansion of African chattel slavery. Older practices of allowing chattel slaves to gain freedom by converting to Catholicism or by eventually grandfathering indentured rights to them after many years of servitude were abolished. The character of the colony began to change more and more to a slave-based economy and slavery began to embed itself into the culture.

Population increase[edit]

An increasing town population contributed to the desire for constructing public buildings, some of which were a state house, a Jesuit chapel, a jail, and an inn.[4][38]

Growing religious tensions[edit]

During and after the English Civil War, fights between Protestants and Catholics developed in the colony.[12] Often this tension went in long cycles, with extended periods where the tension was more repressed followed by acute periods where religious divisions would flare up, sometimes driving change in St. Marys City and Maryland in the process.

Margaret Brent[edit]

Margaret Brent making her case to the Maryland Assembly in 1648.
1934 Black and White painting.
Margaret Brent was a business-savvy and quite successful Catholic settler in St. Mary's City[39] who, contrary to the mores of the time that discouraged women from managing their own estates, although it was legal, insisted on managing her own business affairs. She had also traveled to the colony as a single, unmarried woman which was also contrary to expectations of the time.

The law, in writing, had always been on Brent's side, but the common practices and beliefs of the day did not always guarantee enforcement, especially in the male-dominated frontier environment of the colonies, far away from the courts of England. So as a woman she had to defend her legal rights in order to be sure they were respected.

Brent defended her right to run her own estate in common law court before the assembly in St. Marys City, making a spirited case, and won, making her the first woman in English North America to stand for herself in a court of law and before an assembly. She also demanded the right to vote in the assembly.[40]

Brent also served as an attorney before the colonial court,[41] mostly representing women of the colony.[42] She is considered to have been very legally astute.[43] Surviving records indicate that she pleaded at least 134 cases.[44] Although she did not explicitly campaign for women's rights in general, she is credited for having done so implicitly.

"The Plundering Time" (the English Civil War comes to the colony)[edit]

1644: St. Mary's City attacked, seized by anti-Catholic raiders[edit]

The violence stemming from the English civil war eventually spread to the colonies[45] and a Protestant raiding party attacked St. Marys City, driving off many settlers and burning several structures. After the attack there were only about 100 people still living in the town. The raiders took control of the city and added further fortifications.

Plundering of Catholic homes[edit]

The raiders plundered the homes of all the Catholic residents of the city who refused to renounce their faith and anyone who professed friendship to a Catholic. This would later be called the "Plundering Time" by the colonists.[46]

1647: Leonard Calvert raises a militia, leads attack to retake St. Mary's City[edit]

Leonard Calvert had spent a few years in exile from St. Mary's City but remained in the colonies. During this time he married Margaret Brent's sister which also brought Margaret Brent into the Calvert family as an in-law, advancing her in some ways to her advantage and in other ways to her detriment. Nearly two years later, Leonard Calvert managed to raise a militia[47] and led an attack to retake St. Marys City.[48] They succeeded in driving off the Protestant Militia and regained control of the town.[49]

Then Calvert and his men carried out successful raids on Kent Island in the Chesapeake, which had become a stronghold of his foes, defeating the force there. At this point Calvert had the upper hand, although the threat still remained. But within a year, Leonard Calvert became sick and died, creating a temporary power vacuum in the colony and also worryingly for the residents of St. Marys City, leaving Calvert's militia, which had been protecting the city, unpaid.

Margaret Brent intervenes at a personal cost[edit]

Margaret Brent had been named by Leonard Calvert as the executor of his last will and testament,[50] a very unusual designation for a woman of her time.[51] She therefore handled the liquidation of Leonard Calvert's estate.[52] However at the same time, Calverts still-unpaid militia had become a security issue for St. Mary's City.[53] Even if the militia simply disbanded due to the soldiers remaining unpaid, the City would then be vulnerable again to attack. And so Brent successfully petitioned the Maryland Assembly to grant her power of attorney over the holdings of Cecil Calvert, the Lord Baltimore, who was Leonard's brother living in England.[54] She then used proceeds from liquidating some of these holdings to pay the militiamen.[55]

Although her actions were later defended by the Maryland assembly[56] as necessary in an emergency, a strain emerged between the Calvert family in England and Brent. Even though the assembly stated that Brent's actions may have in fact, helped to save the colony,[57] the Calvert's did not approve of Brent making a decision to spend money raised from Cecil Calvert's assets.[58]

In defense of Brent, the Maryland Assembly issued the following proclamation about her:

...the Colony was safer in her hands than any man's in the Province,
and she rather deserves favor and thanks for her so much concerning
[herself] for the public safety.[59]

However this did not sway Cecil Calvert.[60]

This dispute also set off racial tensions between the Brent family and Cecil Calvert in England, because Brent's brother, who had also been in St. Mary's City, had married a Native American princess. In the same letter accusing Margaret Brent of mishandling Leonard Calvert's estate, Cecil Calvert also disparaged her brother, Giles Brent, for having married a Native American Woman. At the end of the letter, Cecil Calvert ordered Brent and her brother and sisters to leave the Maryland Colony.

1648: Brent becomes first Woman in North America to petition for the right to vote[edit]

Although the assembly was largely supportive of Brent and largely took her side in the dispute with the surviving Calvert family in England,[61] during this time she also petitioned for the right to vote in the assembly.[62] However the assembly denied her that right[63][64] because she was a women. This was the first known attempt by a woman in English North America to gain the right to vote.

Brent leaves the Maryland colony[edit]

Despite appeals on her behalf by the Maryland assembly, Cecil Calvert had demanded by letter that she and her brother and sisters leave the Maryland colony and did not relent on this order. Consequently Brent left the colony with her sister.[65] They lived for a year on an island in the Potomac river and then moved to the Virginia colony. Other relatives moved directly to Virginia. Brent established a new estate there which she called "Peace".[66] She eventually became very successful and stayed in Virginia for the rest of her life.

Aftermath of the Plundering time[edit]

1649: Maryland assembly ratifies the "Maryland Toleration Act", first law requiring religious tolerance[edit]

The Maryland Toleration Act, crafted and passed by the reinstated Maryland assembly in St. Marys City, was the first law codified to mandate religious tolerance among Christians of various sects (especially Catholics and Protestants).[67] It was approved not only to carry out the wishes of George Calvert and his son and Cecil Calvert that the colony be a place of religious toleration between Catholics and Protestants. But more urgently, the act, which applied to all of the Maryland Colony, sought to settle once and for all the religious divisions that had triggered the recent fighting. The assembly at the time was majority Protestant, and the aristocratic leadership, including the governorship of the colony was Catholic.

The act remained in effect for 40 years, and contributed to relative peace in the colony during that time.

Photo of the beginning text of original Maryland Toleration Act, passed in 1649 by the Maryland Assembly in St. Marys City. Author: Maryland Assembly, 1649. Maryland Archives.

Stagnation[edit]

1660s: Problems in the tobacco economy[edit]

In the 1660s tobacco, which had long been a lucrative boom crop, began to experience price declines. This was likely due to increased production and competition in other colonies. The problem was then aggravated by Maryland planters cutting their tobacco product with other leaves in order to make up for the decrease in the price of a tobacco barrel. Although helpful in the very short run, in the longer run this cutting practice hurt the reputation of Maryland tobacco in England and further devalued the yearly tobacco crops. All of this began, in stages, to have a destabilizing effect on the Maryland Colony, which then further aggravated latent religious tensions between the majority Protestant planters and the Catholic aristocratic leadership.

All of this further intensified reliance on slavery in St. Mary's City, as plantation owners sought to eliminate the cost of paid labor in producing tobacco.

1676: Original brick Maryland Statehouse constructed[edit]

In 1676, the original Maryland Statehouse, the home of the Maryland colonial assembly, was finished. The reconstructed Maryland Statehouse stands on this site today.[68]

1678: First printing house in southern colonies opens in St. Mary's City[edit]

Working reproduction of the William Nuthead printing press, which was used in the first printing house in the Southern Colonies. This fully functional printing press, located in the Print Shop in the Historic St. Mary's City living history area, is used to demonstrate the steps printers when through to produce just one sheet of printed paper. Examples can be seen on the right side of the image.
Photo by J. Pitts, courtesy of the Southern Maryland Heritage Area Consortium

Moving to St. Mary's City in 1678, William and Dinah Nuthead became the first printers in Maryland.[69] While Dinah Nuthead was illiterate, she would often help her husband in operating the printing press.[70] By copying the letters and the processes of her husband, Dinah was able to continue the printing business following her husband's death in 1695.[70] After gaining a license to print from the colonial government, Dinah became the first female printer in the colony.[70] When Dinah moved to Annapolis, Maryland in 1695, she was able to continue their printing business in the new location.[70]

Decline[edit]

1689: Watershed eruption of religious conflict[edit]

In 1698, about forty years after the passage of the Maryland Toleration Act, sectarian tensions between Protestants and Catholics became so great that Protestant settlers revolted against the Lords Baltimore in the Protestant uprising in Maryland.[71][72][73] The English Crown took over the Maryland colony and appointed royal governors, replacing the Calverts.[72][73]

Legally mandated religious tolerance was abolished, first by Royal decree and then later by a law passed by a now majority-Protestant state assembly, in the new capital in Annapolis.

1690s: Catholics lose right to vote, other anti-Catholic policies implemented[edit]

In 1692 Catholics in the Maryland Colony lost the right to vote.[73][74] Catholics were also no longer allowed to worship in public[74] and could only worship in their private homes.[73][74] Laws were also passed limiting new Roman Catholic immigration to the colony.

Although a Catholic persons right to vote in Maryland would be reinstated by the state assembly some decades later, other forms of discrimination against Catholics would continue through most of the next century[74] and would leave lasting religious tensions in Maryland felt all the way through to the election of John F. Kennedy just past the mid-20th century.[75]

Relocation of Maryland Capital[edit]

The new Protestant Maryland governor Sir Francis Nicholson relocated the capital from St. Mary's City to the more central Annapolis[3] (then called "Anne Arundel Town")[76] in 1695.[3][4][77][78] The colonial statehouse in St. Mary's was turned into a Protestant church the same year.[2]

In 1695 St. Peters freehold, the former home of Maryland governors in St. Marys City, was destroyed in an explosion. Whether this was an intentional act or an accident is not known,[79] as a large a gunpowder magazine had been stored in its basement.[79] The freehold had briefly been the home of the new Protestant Governor Francis Nicholson[79] until he ordered the colonial capital moved to Annapolis.[79] Prior to this the freehold had been the home of Philip Calvert, the former Catholic Governor of the Maryland colony and Cecil Calvert's half-brother[79] until his death in 1682.[79]

Anti-Catholic policies and discrimination in the 1700s[edit]

During the 1700s Catholics became a persecuted minority group in Maryland,[74] including St. Marys county.[74] Catholics were denied the right to serve in the militia,[74] taxed double when money had to be raised for the military, and continued to be discouraged from immigrating. Wealthy Catholics often became crypto-Catholics (practicing their religion in secret and sending their children abroad to get Catholic educations), but poor Catholics could not afford this and were more vulnerable to discrimination practices. Consequently, over the generations, many converted to Protestantism in order to avoid discrimination. By the late 1700s the Catholic population had dropped to 9%.

Abandonment of the City[edit]

With the seat of government gone, the town lost its reason to exist.[3][4][12] Remaining inhabitants were mostly farmers.[3][12] The former town center was converted to agricultural land,[3] and archaeological remains from the colonial town were undisturbed in the ground.[3][80][81]

1700-1865: Antebellum Slave Plantation Era[edit]

Early 1700s: Consolidation of farms[edit]

The small remaining farms in St. Mary's City were consolidated into a large antebellum-style slave plantation by the Brome-Howard family, which operated through a majority of the 19th century.[82] The main plantation house was built over the ruins of one of the Calvert residences.

Civil War[edit]

The plantation records at the Brome-Howard Plantation in St. Mary's City show that by the time of the American Civil War, there were 66 slaves on the property. The owner of the plantation of the later reported that one quarter of his slaves had joined the Union Army, which allowed slaves in Maryland to gain their freedom if they signed up.

One escaped slave from the Brome-Howard Plantation in St. Mary's City served in the famed 38th U.S. Colored Infantry, which received unit citations for service in the Battle of Chaffin's Farm. He survived the war and settled in Baltimore. Another African American soldier in this same unit, also from St. Mary's County, although not St. Mary's City, received the Medal of Honor for his actions during this battle.

Post-Civil War farming[edit]

The Civil War ended slavery on the plantation and the area remained mostly under a large farm[3] owned by descendents of the original owners until the 20th Century.[citation needed] By the mid-20th century, few 17th-century buildings still stood.[4] The town center site appeared to be farmland[3] with the exception of a few
private residences, and also after 1840, a slowly expanding female seminary school that began with just a small part of the total area.

Writings About The Decline of St. Marys City[edit]

In 1838 the novel Rob of the Bowl was published;[83] it was a story about the struggle for religious tolerance in Maryland and was written by John Pendleton Kennedy, and was set in St. Mary's City and also neighboring St. Inigoes, Maryland.[84] The book opens with a poem that Kennedy selected as a re-attribution to describe St. Mary's City long after its abandonment as the capitol of Maryland.[84]

This also refers to part of the 19th Century history and mythology of St. Marys City (in the State of Maryland) as a place where great things happened (such as the founding of the Colonial Government of Maryland and the birthplace of religious freedom in the United States) but which then later eventually became a ghost town,[85]

John Pendleton Kennedy, author of the 1838 novel,
"Rob of the Bowl".[86] Circa 1800s.

No more thy glassy brook reflects the day,

But choked with sedges, works its weedy way;
Along thy glades a solitary guest,
The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest;
Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies,
And tires their echoes with unvaried cries.
Sunk are thy bowers in shapeless ruin all,
And the long grass o'ertops the mould'ring wall[84]

THE DESERTED VILLAGE[84]

St. Marys City's Resurgence[edit]

1840: Establishment of St. Mary's Female Seminary as a "Living Monument" to Religious Freedom[edit]

The book "Rob of the Bowl" tells a somewhat fictionalized story of the original St. Marys city. The author, after the book became popular, publicly lamented that there was no monument to memorialize the original St. Marys City and what happened there.[2]

A few years later, in 1840, a Women's nondenominational seminary high school was established[87] on the grounds of old St. Marys City in response to Kennedy's call for a monument.[2] Its founders described it as a "living monument" to the beginnings of religious tolerance and also established it to meet the educational needs of young women in the county and the state.[2] The school was called "St. Mary's Seminary".[88]

The school was intentionally made nondenominational both to honor, promote and memorialize religious tolerance and also to help heal Protestant / Catholic tensions that still haunted St. Marys County at the time.[2]

1845: Name Change to "St. Mary's Female Seminary"[edit]

The name was changed to "St. Mary's Female seminary" in this year[89] to clarify the schools already existing female student-only mission.

1926: Conversion of Seminary to "St. Marys Female Seminary Junior College"[edit]

In 1926 St. Marys City the former St. Marys Women's Catholic seminary school (a boarding high school within the proper of old St. Marys City that was originally founded in 1840) was expanded to a two year Seminary Female Junior College combined with a the last two years of High school (four years total); this was seen as a natural outgrowth of its former role as a now elite, state-funded Women's high school.[2]

1949: College made into a coeducational Institution. female gender specification removed from name of college[edit]

Through an act of the Maryland Legislature St. Marys Female Gender limitation was removed and the word "Female" was consequently dropped from the schools name.[90][91][92] However, although males may enroll, they are not offered housing.[2] The name of the school was changed to "St. Mary's Seminary Junior College".[2][93][94]

1966: Chartering of St. Marys City Commission: The Seeds of "Historic St. Marys City" museum and living history complex[edit]

The St. Marys City Commission was chartered in 1966[95][96] by the State Assembly of Maryland and the Governor, Millard Tawes.[2] The charter created the Commission as "a new, independent state agency" reporting directly to the Governor of Maryland “to preserve, develop and maintain” St. Mary’s City as a state “monument”.[2] And also to oversee ongoing archeological work.[3][2]

1966-67: Conversion of Junior College to a Four Year Liberal Arts College (St. Marys College of Maryland) with a Public Service Mission[edit]

The Junior College was ordered expanded to a four-year institution in 1966[97] (effective in 1968)[97] and renamed "St. Marys College of Maryland".[2][97][98][99] It was chartered as a four-year public Liberal Arts College.[2][97][100] Its mission was to provide a liberal arts college in the public sector to students who could not afford to attend elite private colleges. Reorganization was completed in 1967.[101]

1969: Declaration of St. Marys City as a National Historic Landmark[edit]

St. Mary's was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1969.[3][102]

1970: St. Marys City Commission Completes Master Plan for Reconstruction of Historic Areas of City[edit]

The Plan "recommends acquisition of 1200 acres" and it suggests a museum, visitor center, working tobacco farm, public transportation, and reconstruction of the Ark and Dove as first steps in reconstruction of the historic city.[2]

1981: Archeological Digs Accelerate[edit]

After years of exploratory test digs and historical detective work, and with the possible original key town locations having been narrowed down, archeological dig activity was increased significantly in a determined effort to finish uncovering the original layout of the Colonial settlement.[4]

1984: Lord Baltimores World[edit]

Lord Baltimore's World was a large-scale, months-long colonial reenactment that was staffed by professional actors and also included live Shakespearean theater, that occurred within St. Marys City proper and which celebrated the 350th anniversary of the arrival of Maryland's first colonists.[2][103]

1985: Most of Original Baroque Town Layout Uncovered[edit]

After four years of intensified archeological digging, most of the original town layout had been discovered.[4] It had been originally expected that the layout would be chaotic, but instead it was revealed that the town was actually carefully planned in a Baroque style,[104] similar to Williamsburg, Virginia and Annapolis Maryland.[4] Old St. Marys City, Annapolis and Williamsburg are the only three towns in North America planned and built in a Baroque layout.[4]

1980s: Recognition of St. Marys College as a Prominent Public Liberal Arts College[edit]

In the 1980s both US and News and Word Report magazine and Barrons began to recognize St. Marys College as a prominent and unique Liberal Arts College in the public sector that was seeking to emulate far more expensive Ivy League Colleges while providing such education at far lower public college prices.[citation needed]

1991: Conversion of St. Mary's City Commission to "Historic St. Mary's City Commission"[edit]

The St. Mary's City Commission, which had evolved through a variety of roles and slight name variations[105] assigned to its historical research, reconstruction and preservation charter charter was assigned a new name in 1991 by the State of Maryland: the "Historic St. Mary's Commission".[106] This commission still has administrative authority over about half of St. Mary's City.[107]

1992: Bestowal of Rare Public Honors College Status To St. Marys College[edit]

The school was designated by the state of Maryland as a Public Honors College in 1992,[108][109] making it one of only two such colleges in the nation at the time.[citation needed] At the same time, the State Legislature also charged the schools board of trustees and its executive leadership with a mission to remain affordable to public education sector students[109] while offering a Liberal Arts education normally only available at private liberal arts colleges.[109]

Present[edit]

Historic St. Marys City is now a significant tourist attraction in the state of Maryland, visited by approximately 20,000 students per year,[13] in addition to approximately 25,000 other tourists per year[13] (a rough yearly total of 45,000 people).[13] Expansion and development of the historic area continues, including reconstruction and replica creation of additional period sites.

St. Marys College of Maryland is now a nationally recognized elite educational institution in the public sector. In 2014, U.S. News and World Report, in its annual report, ranked St. Marys College as "5th" in the Nation under the category "Top Public Schools" in the "Colleges" category.[20]

Numerous archeological digs and research projects continue in St. Marys City.[3][110]

Archaeological research in St. Marys City[edit]

The National Park Service has described St. Mary's City as "probably the most intact 17th-century English town surviving in our nation represented entirely by archaeological resources."[14]

Number of sites[edit]

In the last 30 years, there have been more than 200 archeological digs in the city.[3][15]

First Excavations[edit]

After explorations by Henry Chandlee Forman in the 1940s, excavations began in 1971[111] with the creation of the St. Mary's City Historic Commission, a state institution tasked with discovering and preserving archaeological remains in St. Mary's City,[3] establishing a museum on the site,[3] and conducting related historical research.[3] Since then, much of the original colonial St. Mary's City has been found.[4] The Historic St. Mary's City Commission continues to excavate the area today.[3][110]

The Historical Archaeology Field School[edit]

In conjunction with St. Mary's College of Maryland, the Historic St. Mary's Commission (formerly the "St. Mary's City Commission") runs the Historic Archeological Field School every summer[3][14] that is attended by students from all over the united States and other countries as well.[3][14] Many of its graduates now hold prominent positions in the field.[14] The students not only study, but also work in many of the active archeological dig sites in St. Mary's City.[3] Providing extensive hands-on experience, the school teaches all aspects of professional archeological work, including working in real archeological digs, analyzing and conserving artifacts,[3] as well as cataloging, archiving and related historical research. The school has been in existence for more than 40 years.[3][14]

Current work[edit]

St. Marys City has numerous active archeological dig sites,[3][14] focusing on precolonial, colonial and antebellum (slavery era) history.[112]

Notable discoveries[edit]

Some important archeological discoveries in St. Mary's City include:

  • Façon de Venise glassware;[117]
  • A set of Kutahya ceramics, one of only two known examples found in the United States;[118]
  • 19th-century slave quarters from St. Mary's City's later plantation period.[119]
  • Three 17th-century lead coffins;[120][121] One of these is suspected of being the coffin of the former colonial chancellor and also judge, Philip Calvert.[121][122][123]
  • Discovery of site of St. Peters Freehold, the former home of Maryland Chancellor Philip Calvert .[3][79] St. Peters freehold was destroyed in a violent explosion in 1695 when 900 pounds of gunpowder stored in its cellar were set off.[79] Whether the explosion was intentional or an accident is unknown.[79] The discovery was made by a team of visiting British scientists.[79] The discovery was also featured in a British Time Team documentary that aired on "The Learning Channel".[79]
  • Garret Van Sweringen's Inn,[22][126] a 17th-century inn founded by Garret Van Sweringen an Innkeeper[22] and a leader in St. Mary's City's development.[126][127]
  • The 18th-century house of merchant and planter John Hicks,[129][130] with an extensive ceramic assemblage.

These findings come along with thousands of artifacts and bone fragments[131] that have been cataloged and processed into St. Marys City Historical Museums and storage archives,[3][131] these artifacts continue to be analyzed[3] and continue, up to the present, to further period research in various fields.[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Andrews, Matthew Page, History of Maryland, Doubleday, New York (1929)

External links[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "HISTORIC ST. MARY'S CITY COMMISSION: HISTORICAL EVOLUTION", Maryland Manual Online, Maryland State Archives, Government of the State of Maryland, http://msa.maryland.gov/msa/mdmanual/25ind/html/43hsmh.html
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "St. Marys: A When-Did Timeline", pages 6 through 27, By Janet Butler Haugaard, Executive Editor and Writer, St. Mary’s College of Maryland with Susan G. Wilkinson, Director of Marketing and Communications, Historic St. Mary’s City Commission and Julia A. King, Associate Professor of Anthropology, St. Mary’s College of Maryland St. Marys College Archives http://www.smcm.edu/archives/documents/StMarysWhenDidTimeline.pdf
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am Kenneth K. Lam, "Unearthing early American life in St. Mary’s City: St. Mary’s City is an archaeological jewel on Maryland’s Western Shore", Baltimore Sun, Aug 30, 2013, http://darkroom.baltimoresun.com/2013/08/unearthing-early-american-life-in-st-marys-city/#1
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Vanished Colonial Town Yields Baroque Surprise", New York Times, online Archives, By JOHN HARTSOCK, Special to the New York Times Published: February 5, 1989 http://www.nytimes.com/1989/02/05/us/vanished-colonial-town-yields-baroque-surprise.html
  5. ^ Frank D. Roylance, Evening Sun, "They're unearthing more than a chapel at St. Mary's site BURIED PAST", November 13, 1990 http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1990-11-13/news/1990317111_1_chapel-mary-city-brick
  6. ^ "Fodor's Virginia And Maryland", edited by John D. Rambow, page 313, Random House LLC
  7. ^ "Religious Freedom Byway Would Recognize Maryland's Historic Role", Megan Greenwell, Washington Post, Thursday, August 21, 2008 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/15/AR2008081504104.html
  8. ^ "Reconstructing the Brick Chapel of 1667" Page 1, See section entitled "The Birthplace of Religious Freedom" http://stmaryscity.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Chapel-Reconstruction.pdf
  9. ^ "Religious Freedom Byway Would Recognize Maryland's Historic Role", Megan Greenwell, Washington Post, Thursday, August 21, 2008 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/15/AR2008081504104.html
  10. ^ a b "Two Acts of Toleration: 1649 and 1826", Maryland State Archives (online) http://msa.maryland.gov/msa/speccol/sc2200/sc2221/000025/html/intro.html
  11. ^ a b c d Cecilius Calvert, "Instructions to the Colonists by Lord Baltimore, (1633)" in Clayton Coleman Hall, ed., Narratives of Early Maryland, 1633-1684 (NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1910), 11-23.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "Interpreters help visitors bring Historic St. Mary’s City back to life", Bay Journal, Lara Lutz on October 01, 2006, http://www.bayjournal.com/article/interpreters_help_visitors_bring_historic_st_marys_city_back_to_life
  13. ^ a b c d "Exhibit 1 Visitors to Historic St. Mary’s City" in the section called "D17B0151 – Historic St. Mary’s City Commission", in the "Analysis of the FY 2015 Maryland Executive Budget, 2014", Page 6, Fiscal 2009-2015 Est.http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/Pubs/BudgetFiscal/2015fy-budget-docs-operating-D17B0151-Historic-St-Marys-City-Commission.pdf
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Historic St. Mary's City Wins Archaeology Award", Baynet, Baltimore, MD - 1/23/2012, http://www.thebaynet.com/news/index.cfm/fa/viewstory/story_ID/25944
  15. ^ a b "An Archeological Landscape", Historic St. Marys City Museum website, article on history of archeological digs in St. Marys City, (Online PDF), https://stmaryscity.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Once-Metropolis.pdf
  16. ^ "Discovering the Past", See History section HSMC (Historic St. Marys City) Official website, http://stmaryscity.org/research/
  17. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: St. Mary's City, Maryland
  18. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  19. ^ "St. Mary's City Historic District". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-06-12. 
  20. ^ a b "National Liberal Arts Colleges Summary: St. Mary's College of Maryland" U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges and Universities Ranking, 2014 http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/st-mary-s-college-of-maryland-163912/overall-rankings
  21. ^ "ST. MARY'S COUNTY, MARYLAND: HISTORICAL CHRONOLOGY", Maryland Manual Online, Maryland State Archives, Government of the State of Maryland, http://msa.maryland.gov/msa/mdmanual/36loc/sm/chron/html/smchron.html
  22. ^ a b c d "Uncovering a Slice of Life In Historic St. Mary's City", Washington Post, Thursday, August 11, 2005, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/09/AR2005080901669.html
  23. ^ "HISTORIC ST. MARY'S CITY COMMISSION: HISTORICAL EVOLUTION", Maryland Manual Online, Maryland State Archives, Government of the State of Maryland, http://msa.maryland.gov/msa/mdmanual/25ind/html/43hsmh.html
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  25. ^ a b "The Southern Colonies", Section 5a, "Maryland-- The Catholic Experiment", Independence Hall Association in Philadelphia, founded 1942, USHISTORY.ORG, See about page at http://www.ushistory.org/iha/ushistory.htm See citation at http://www.ushistory.org/us/5a.asp
  26. ^ a b "George Calvert and Cecilius Calvert: Barons Baltimore of Baltimore", Browne, William Hand (1890). Page 40, New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company.
  27. ^ a b c d e f "The Waterfront at St. Mary’s City", Historic St. Mary's City, Historic St. Mary's City Commission, State of Maryland, https://www.hsmcdigshistory.org/research/blogs-and-podcasts/maryland-beginning/ark-and-dove/
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  30. ^ a b c d e f "The Founding of St. Mary’s City: The Colonists and the Yaocomaco", Historic St. Mary's City, http://hsmcwitchottproject.blogspot.com/2011_06_01_archive.html
  31. ^ a b c "Founding of Maryland - Educational Project for Elementary and Middle School Students", Maryland State Archives Website, Maryland Public Television and Maryland State Archives (January–February 2003), Archives of Maryland, (Biographical Series) Leonard Calvert (ca. 1606-1647), MSA SC 3520-198, written by Maria A. Day, MSA Archival Intern http://msa.maryland.gov/megafile/msa/speccol/sc3500/sc3520/000100/000198/html/lcalvbio.html
  32. ^ a b "MD History Q&A: When was the Maryland colony founded and by whom?", Maryland Historical Society website, See section entitled "Was it a Catholic Colony?", Tropea, Joe; Digital Projects Coordinator (responsible party for this page), http://www.mdhs.org/education/md-history-qa See also this page on the site about the Maryland Historical Society http://www.mdhs.org/about/mdhs-history
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  36. ^ Finkelman, Paul (2006). "Maryland Toleration Act". The Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties. New York: CRC Press. ISBN 0-415-94342-6.
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  130. ^ "Impermanent Architecture in the Southern American Colonies", Cary Carson, Norman F. Barka, William M. Kelso, Garry Wheeler Stone, Dell Upton Source: Winterthur Portfolio, Vol. 16, No. 2/3, (Summer - Autumn, 1981), pp. 135-196 Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, Inc., citation from UCLA Art History website, http://www.arthistory.ucla.edu/people/faculty/dupton/ImpermanentArchR.pdf
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Coordinates: 38°11′21″N 76°25′56″W / 38.18917°N 76.43222°W / 38.18917; -76.43222