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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Alexandria, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

First Catholic Church in Virginia

A. D. 1795

 
 
First Catholic Church in Virginia Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 21, 2008
1. First Catholic Church in Virginia Marker
Inscription. This stone taken from the canal of the Potomac Company of which Washington and Fitzgerald were Directors commemorates the erection of the First Catholic Church in Virginia, A. D. 1795, which stood until 1839 about twenty feet behind this marker.

In grateful acknowledgement of their aid in establishing this church the three trees to the north of this stone have been dedicated as follows to General George Washington as subscriber to the building, Colonel John Fitzerald, his favorite Aide de Camp, as the collector of the building fund, Colonel Robert Hooe, Major of Alexandria, as the donor of the acre of land.

In commemoration of the bicentennial of the birth of George Washington this tablet was donated by the Holy Name Society of Sacred Heart Church (Vailsburg), Newark, N.J. on the 133rd anniversary of the funeral of Colonel John Fitzgerald, December 4, 1932.
 
Erected 1932 by Holy Name Society of Sacred Heart Church (Vailsburg), Newark, N.J.
 
Location. 38° 47.678′ N, 77° 2.945′ W. Marker is in Alexandria, Virginia. Marker is on South Washington Street (Virginia Route 400) south of Church Street, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. It is in front
First Catholic Church in Virginia Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 21, 2008
2. First Catholic Church in Virginia Marker
The marker states that the church stood 20 feet behind the marker. No signs of the foundation can be found among the gravestones.
of St. Mary’s Cemetery, outside the fence facing the sidewalk. Marker is in this post office area: Alexandria VA 22314, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Freedmen’s Cemetery (within shouting distance of this marker); Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Former USCT Burial Ground (within shouting distance of this marker); The Original Saint Mary's Church (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Jones Point (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Lost Village of Cameron at Great Hunting Creek (approx. 0.3 miles away); Battery Rodgers (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Alexandria.
 
Also see . . .
1. About Saint Mary’s. “St. Mary’s was established in 1795, and is the oldest Catholic parish in the Commonwealth of Virginia. To fund the church, Colonel John Fitzgerald, friend of George Washington and an early mayor of Alexandria, took up a collection. According to local tradition, Washington himself made the first donation. A chapel was built at the south end of the city, on land still used today as St. Mary’s Cemetery.”
First Catholic Church in Virginia Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 21, 2008
3. First Catholic Church in Virginia Marker
There is no sign of three 76 year old trees to the the north.
(Submitted on June 21, 2008.) 

2. Fitzgerald Warehouse, 6 King Street. Excerpt from Robert Madison’s book, Walking with Washington. “George Washington’s diary shows that he and [John] Fitzgerald met together frequently. Fitzgerald’s home was on the southeast corner of King and Fairfax Streets where the Burke & Herbert Bank is today. Since there was no Catholic church in Alexandria at that time, services were sometimes held in Fitzgerald’s home. According to tradition, while dining there on Saint Patrick’s Day in 1788, George Washington contributed to a fund to build Alexandria’s first Catholic Church.” (Submitted on June 21, 2008.) 

3. Sacred Heart (of Vailsburg) Roman Catholic Church. The Holy Name Society from this Newark New Jersey church erected this marker in Alexandria Virginia. (Submitted on June 21, 2008.) 
 
Categories. Churches, Etc.
 
The Goods Monument and Gravesites image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 21, 2008
4. The Goods Monument and Gravesites
The monument and Goods gravesites are at the entrance to St. Mary's Cemetery, which is to the right of the marker. Gravestones date from the 1910s–1930s.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 5,042 times since then and 14 times this year. Last updated on . Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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