Maryland's first English settlers encountered a more variable climate than in England, and a land teeming with plants and animals not found in their mother country.
Yaocomaco Indians taught the colonists much about farming, hunting, and . . . — — Map (db m138722) HM
From the mid-1630s until about 1730, "the Chapel Land" served as the final resting place for the remains of many of the colony's settlers and some of its most important historical figures, including Governor Leonard Calvert. It is likely that a . . . — — Map (db m138742) HM
In 1632, King Charles I granted proprietorship of the Maryland colony to Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore. As Proprietor, Calvert was the sole owner. The carter gave him the powers necessary to defend, develop, administer and fully govern . . . — — Map (db m138926) HM
St. Mary's City was Maryland's capital from 1634 until 1695. Lord Baltimore wanted a typical European-style town with closely placed dwellings. During its early years, however, St. Mary's was a mere cluster of houses and taverns. The first . . . — — Map (db m138676) HM
Over the span of many generations, Native Americans relied upon the plants and animals of the Chesapeake Bay region to provide food, medicines, clothing, and building materials. Their hunting and fishing skills were matched by a thorough knowledge . . . — — Map (db m138826) HM
When English investors and colonists first glimpsed Maryland's abundance of natural resources, they hoped for easy profits. Unlike Native Americans who relied on nature for subsistence, Maryland's founders sought opportunities for wealth.
The . . . — — Map (db m138831) HM
Archaeological evidence and written documents from later periods show humans have been present along both sides of this river for thousands of years. For American Indians and European colonists, the river and creeks were part of a transportation . . . — — Map (db m138912) HM
Garrett Van Sweringen enclosed this lot with a stout palisade fence and planted a vegetable garden. We know this from both archaeology and documents. The Van Sweringens grew a variety of vegetables in the garden for the Council Chamber patrons and . . . — — Map (db m138889) HM
In his will, Garrett Van Sweringen left the Council Chamber and "and Coffee house" to his wife and children. It is one of the earliest references to a coffee house in English America. Although built as a brew and bake house, archaeological . . . — — Map (db m138845) HM
This building is a reconstruction of the colony of Maryland's State House finished in 1676.
The original brick State House was located just north of here on a bluff that is now the cemetery of Trinity Episcopal Church. In that building the . . . — — Map (db m81583) HM
One of the unique offerings of Garrett Van Sweringen's lodging house was an arbor. It is the only known arbor in 17th-century Maryland or Virginia. Van Sweringen was probably following a popular Dutch practice when he built it. As a shaded . . . — — Map (db m138884) HM
This painting shows how the site may have appeared on the morning of May 10, 1692. On that day, the new royal governor, Sir Lionel Copley, met the legislature for the first time in the Council Chamber, and officially took control of Maryland from . . . — — Map (db m138891) HM
The kitchen may have looked like this in May 1692. It is based on archaeological information, artifacts, and clues about the furnishings and the room's inhabitants found in an inventory of Van Sweringen's property made in 1700. The painting depicts . . . — — Map (db m138854) HM
As an aftershock of the "Glorious Revolution" in England, a bloodless rebellion occurred in 1689 against Lord Baltimore in Maryland. It temporarily ended rule by the Calvert family. The Protestant King William and Queen Mary took over the colony and . . . — — Map (db m138849) HM
Most immigrants to early Maryland came as indentured servants. In return for the cost of their voyage, men and women promised to work for four or more years for the person buying their contract or indenture. After completing their promised term, . . . — — Map (db m138692) HM
Tobacco-prizes were designed to tightly compress the cured tobacco into hogsheads. Two basic types of prizes exist. The earlier version, dating back to colonial times, was a vertical prize which was less costly to build. These were similar to the . . . — — Map (db m138702) HM
Garrett Van Sweringen ran a unique establishment. In Maryland, public inns were known as ordinaries. They had their prices for lodging, food, and drink fixed by law. They were open to all customers, and ordinary keepers could not choose who stayed . . . — — Map (db m138851) HM
Civil war raged in England during the 1640s between King Charles I and his opponents in Parliament. Maryland's proprietary government, led by Lord Baltimore and other Catholics, sided with the King. Many of the first colonists in Maryland, however, . . . — — Map (db m138837) HM
Pro Deo. Pro Patria. This tablet erected in honor of Hon. Albert C. Ritchie, Governor of Maryland, members of the General Assembly 1924 and other public spirited citizens in recognition of their co-operation in restoring this historic . . . — — Map (db m973) HM
During the 1600s and early 1700s, planters in Maryland cultivated their land the simplest of tools—the hoe. Corn and tobacco were the major crops and hoes worked well for tilling the soil between the stumps and roots of what had been a . . . — — Map (db m138719) HM
In 1668, Cecil Calvert, the proprietor of Maryland, incorporated St. Mary's as the first true city in his colony. It gained its own government led by a mayor and aldermen. As the capital, St. Mary's City was home to the Assembly, the courts, and the . . . — — Map (db m138919) HM
When Maryland's governor ordered the chapel door locked in 1704 and the legislature passed the Act to Prevent the Growth of Popery, a new chapter in religion began in the colony. Catholics were barred from holding office and voting, were . . . — — Map (db m138756) HM
Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, England and all of Europe were fraught with religious prejudices. These pitted Protestants against Catholics and let to wars, executions, and torture. England would fight a civil war, in part, over religious . . . — — Map (db m138727) HM
Garrett Van Sweringen was an innovator. He tried new approaches to meet the needs of the small colonial "city" with bravado and skill. Unlike most Marylanders who focused on growing tobacco, Van Sweringen had many economic ventures. His business . . . — — Map (db m138901) HM
In November 1633, two ships called, Ark and Dove set sail from England. After a voyage of four months, they arrived in Maryland.
Lord Baltimore, the founder and proprietor of Maryland, was a Catholic who hoped to increase his . . . — — Map (db m138822) HM
Fathers Andrew White and John Althum, Jesuit priests, arrived in Maryland in 1634 with the first Maryland colonists. A Briefe Relation of the Voyage unto Maryland, authored by Father White, is the earliest account of the founding of the . . . — — Map (db m138733) HM
Garrett Van Sweringen constructed this building in the late 1600s for brewing and baking. He hoped to meet a growing demand for these products in the city and from passing ships. His inventory lists two large "coppers" and other . . . — — Map (db m138843) HM
We do not know the names of the carpenters who built this barn in 1785. Some of them were probably enslaved workers. But evidence surviving on the building tells us they were trained in an ancient craft tradition. Since medieval times and probably . . . — — Map (db m138705) HM
When archaeologists discovered this cellar, it was filled with garbage, oyster shells, and bricks. Excavations revealed walls and a floor made of small imported Dutch bricks. When the building collapsed in the late 1720s, people began using the . . . — — Map (db m138858) HM
Although this barn was built at the end of the American Revolution, carpenters used much older ideas in its construction. Its builders employed a ten-foot interval between structural posts, a measure which became widely used in the 17th-century . . . — — Map (db m138703) HM
Old buildings often show many changes but when did these occur? To find out, you need to become a "building detective" searching for subtle clues. This barn had many alterations over its life. Important clues are found in the wood and nails because . . . — — Map (db m138717) HM
The Mill Dam Road that extended from Leonard Calvert's house in the town center to the mill dam served as a causeway over Mill Creek. From there, the road joined Mattapany Road, which grew from an Indian trail along the Patuxent River. Most overland . . . — — Map (db m138671) HM
American Indians have lived in the Chesapeake Bay area for at least 12,000 years and were the first inhabitants of what is now St. Mary's City.
When English colonists arrived in 1634, the local Yaocomaco Indians made an agreement with them. The . . . — — Map (db m138766) HM
In memory of Nicholas Young of St. Mary’s Co. Maryland, elected to the House of Burgesses Nov 30, 1665.
Boxwood dedicated June 13, 1932, and tablet placed through Maj. William Thomas Chapter, D.A.R. by Delia Harris Maddox, Ann Delia Power . . . — — Map (db m1006) HM
In Memory of
Who with his Wife, Anne,
Settled on Grant called Land of Harris
In Charles Co. MD, Aug, 30, 1650
Founder of the
Harris Family of Southern Maryland
Some of Whom Served the State
with Distinction in . . . — — Map (db m80353) HM
In the late 1650s, Simon Overzee built an unheated storage building in this location. Charles Calvert added a wattle and daub chimney around 1662, and housed or "quartered" guests and servants here. The quarter stood for another 30 years. This . . . — — Map (db m140613) HM
The story of St. John's and its residents is only dimly reflected in the historical records. Archaeology was essential to understand this site, its buildings, and the lives of its people. Excavations began here in 1972 and continued for five years . . . — — Map (db m140617) HM
When Maryland's first Settlers arrived in 1634 they expected to encounter trouble, both from local American Indians and from rival English Colonists across the Potomac River in Virginia.
To assure a place of safety they built a fort at St. Mary's . . . — — Map (db m94429) HM
Over the several years it took to construct a brick building like the chapel, mortar spills left many unsightly white streaks on the brick walls. Modern builders use acid and a power washer to remove these, but what did a 17th-century mason do. . . . — — Map (db m138760) HM
As a colonial capital, St. Mary's City once boasted several hundred structures. It welcomed trading visiting traders, trappers, planters, and lawmakers who did business with the city's innkeepers, lawyers, merchants, and printer.
Here you can . . . — — Map (db m138690) HM
Maryland was an English colony but people from many different places settled here. While the majority came from England, others were from various parts of Europe and some came from Africa. Eventually, many more were brought from Africa. All those . . . — — Map (db m138906) HM
From 1840 to 1864, more than 50 enslaved African American men, women, and children raised tobacco and wheat for Dr. John Mackall Brome an his 1,800 acre plantation. You are standing where these people lived. Life without freedom was difficult. . . . — — Map (db m138836) HM
Here lyeth the body of Lionel Copley of Wadworth, County York, England, born 1648, died Sept. 27, 1693. And of Anne Boteler, his wife, of Watton, Woodhull, County Herts, England, died March 5, 1692.
He was sometime Lieutenant Governour of . . . — — Map (db m1005) HM
Welcome to Historic St. Mary's City, the site of Maryland's first capital. English settlers established the colony in 1634, not long after the founding of Jamestown and Plymouth. It flourished until the capital was removed to Annapolis in 1695. . . . — — Map (db m138824) HM
Fences were a necessary feature of the 17th-century landscape. Laws often mandated the standards for fence design and maintenance. Construction [unreadable] depended on the intended use.
Paling fences (picket fences) [unreadable] . . . — — Map (db m138673) HM
There are three basic ways to date old buildings. First, documents can tell us when a structure was built or modified. Second, physical evidence, such as the way it was constructed, the materials used, and its shape and decoration, give valuable . . . — — Map (db m138707) HM
Margaret Brent (ca. 1601–1671), a Catholic gentlewoman, lived in Maryland from 1638 to 1650. In June 1647 the dying governor, Leonard Calvert, made her executrix of his estate with power to pay the soldiers he had hired to put down a . . . — — Map (db m950) HM
First register of the Colonial Land Office, Clerk of the Assembly 1682, Chief Clerk to the Secretary of the Province 1692, member of the committee signing protest against the removal of the Capital from St. Mary’s City to Annapolis 1694. His home . . . — — Map (db m962) HM
What did the Van Sweringens do with their garbage? The city provided no trash collection. Archaeologists can answer this by carefully mapping where artifacts are found. To the right you can see the places where excavators found large amounts of . . . — — Map (db m138886) HM
The National Society, Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America placed this tablet in honor of our National President 1952–1955 Laura Maryland Carpenter Blinn, born in St. Mary’s County and whose ancestors landed here with the Lord . . . — — Map (db m951) HM
This area demonstrates that there are many layers of the past at St. Mary's City. Artifacts have come out of the ground here from a span of nearly nine thousand years, starting with prehistoric Native American sites and continuing through recent . . . — — Map (db m80293) HM
(west face) To the memory of Leonard Calvert, First Governor of Maryland this monument is erected by the State of Maryland.
(north face) Leonard Calvert, second son of George Calvert, first Baron of Baltimore and Anne, his wife, . . . — — Map (db m968) HM
Following the example of the "Army of the Hudson," whose members marched over 200 miles from New York to Washington in early 1913 to gain support for women's suffrage, in the summer of 1915 Maryland suffragists journeyed by covered wagon from . . . — — Map (db m138928) HM
In the early 1880s, Marylanders began to commemorate the “lost city” of St. Mary’s as a place of special significance. The 300th anniversary of Maryland’s founding in 1934 brought renewed attention and enthusiasm. The State House replica . . . — — Map (db m959) HM
In 1634, Governor Leonard Calvert and a group of about 140 English settlers established their colony's capital here on the site of an American Indian village.
Archaeologists and historians are recovering traces of the colonial settlement. Many . . . — — Map (db m138670) HM
Mathias de Sousa was the first black Marylander. Of African and Portuguese descent, he was one of nine indentured servants brought to Maryland by Jesuit missionaries and was on The Ark when Lord Baltimore’s expedition arrived in the St. . . . — — Map (db m5626) HM
One of the most intriguing residents of Maryland's first capital was Garrett Van Sweringen. Originally a leader of the Dutch colony of New Amstel in Delaware, he lost most of his property when the English captured that settlement in 1664. Afterward, . . . — — Map (db m138903) HM
Cleanliness was not next to godliness in 17th-century Maryland. Most people considered bathing unhealthy and they rarely washed their clothing. Head lice were a common affliction. The early settlers used "sweet bags" of fragrant herbs to mask their . . . — — Map (db m138923) HM
In 1990, a project began that would provide clues about Maryland's early settlers and some of its most important historical figures, many of whom lie buried in what is known as Chapel Field.
Ground penetrating radar (GPR) was . . . — — Map (db m138743) HM
A team of historians, architects, builders, chemists, specialized craftsmen, and archaeologists was selected to develop a plan to reconstruct the 1667 Brick Chapel over its original original foundation. Their goal was to erect a building that was a . . . — — Map (db m138745) HM
There are no plans and few references to the Brick Chapel, nor information about its construction. How long did it take to build, what quantities of materials were needed, and how was it actually built? Architect John Mesick suggested that we make . . . — — Map (db m138758) HM
Soon after the capital moved to Annapolis in 1695, St. Mary's City ceased to exist as a city. Local people scavenged bricks and wood from its decaying buildings and farmers began to plow the land where the city once stood
Most written records . . . — — Map (db m138842) HM
While colonists kept the front yard relatively clean, archaeologists found tobacco pipe and drinking vessel fragments clustered in this area. A large tree perhaps stood here, and St. John's residents and visitors sat under it to relax, drink and . . . — — Map (db m140615) HM
"their houses are built in an halfe ovall forme...with a place open in the top...whereby they...let forth the smoake...in one of these houses we now doe celebrate, haveing it dressed a little better then by the Indians, till we get a better, . . . — — Map (db m138730) HM
Established by act of Assembly, 1839. A monument to the birth of the State, 1634. “Where the mothers of future generations may receive their education at a place so well calculated to inspire affection and attachment for their native . . . — — Map (db m972) HM
This ancient corner of St. Mary's City includes lands held by St. Mary's Parish (Trinity Episcopal Church), and the Historic St. Mary's City Commission. They have a long intertwined history.
After Maryland's capital was moved to Annapolis in . . . — — Map (db m80417) HM
The Society of Jesus was founded on August 15th, 1534 in Paris, France, by Ignatius Loyola and a band of six other students at the University of Paris. In 1541, Pope Paul III officially recognized the Jesuits. The Jesuits are missionaries and . . . — — Map (db m138739) HM
The St. John's site went through many changes over the past 400 years. These scenes depict how the location may have appeared at different moments in time.
Archaeologists found that . . . — — Map (db m140630) HM
The 1600s were a dynamic period in the development of the New World and England's growing empire. English colonies became firmly established in America, a civil ware led to the beheading of England's king, and race-based slavery developed in . . . — — Map (db m140632) HM
Here, for the first time in America, men and women of differing faiths lived in peace and goodwill, practicing freedom of conscience, according to Lord Baltimore’s “Instructions to Colonists,” 1633. “Freemen Assembled,” of . . . — — Map (db m961) HM
Welcome to Teddy Turner Waterfront at St. Mary's College of Maryland. Founded in 1634, St. Mary's City is the fourth oldest permanent English colony in North America, and was the capital of Maryland until 1695. A city whose remains were largely . . . — — Map (db m138932) HM
Founded on the site of Maryland's first capital the College stands as a living legacy to the ideals of freedom and inclusiveness. Our beautiful residential campus on the banks of the St. Mary's River inspires our work, our play and our commitment to . . . — — Map (db m140603) HM
On November 22, 1633, the Ark and the Dove set sail from Cowes on the Isle of Wright in England. Four months later, on March 25, 1634, both ships and approximately 140 passengers sailed up the Potomac River to begin the settlement of a . . . — — Map (db m138916) HM
The "Priests' House" was so named by architectural historian Henry Chandlee Forman in 1938 after his discovery of the cross-shaped foundation of the nearby chapel. Until then, previous investigators had assumed this structure to be the . . . — — Map (db m138755) HM
On May 10, 1692, Maryland's new governor, Sir Lionel Copley, met with the colony's legislature for the first time. This meeting marked the beginning of royal control of Maryland and it occurred at Garrett Van Sweringen's Council Chamber. The . . . — — Map (db m80278) HM
Only after Lord Baltimore regained control over Maryland in 1658, could work on a permanent chapel at St. Mary's City begin. Evidence indicates the Jesuits completed the brick chapel before 1670. This church could not have been built anywhere . . . — — Map (db m138728) HM
Maryland was the first successful English proprietary colony in North America. It was the personal property of the Lords Baltimore, who were members of the prominent Calvert family. In issuing the 1632 Charter of Maryland, King Charles I gave . . . — — Map (db m138762) HM
The Brick Chapel was a unique building in the 17th-century Chesapeake. The combination of a Latin Cross plan, massive brick foundation, special window bricks, soaring walls, tiled roof, and imported stone floor is exceptional for this early date. . . . — — Map (db m138747) HM
Garrett Van Sweringen built this small structure around 1690. It provided a cool place to store his wine, beer, cider, and perishable foods. The walls of the cellar and its floors are original but the wooden parts of the building are all . . . — — Map (db m138857) HM
The Council Chamber building initially had an unheated room for meetings. Later, this "roome" became Garrett Van Sweringen's principal entertainment space, where guests would meet, relax, eat, and drink. When Van Sweringen renovated the . . . — — Map (db m138852) HM
On this site was erected in 1676 the first State House of Maryland. Previous to this date the Assembly met in various places subsequent to the Planting of the Province at St. Mary’s City, March 27, 1634. The twelve stone markers forming a cross . . . — — Map (db m967) HM
The Gift of the
The Ark and the Dove
is composed of the
who sailed from
Cowes, Isle of Wight
November 22, 1633
and planted the
Province . . . — — Map (db m140601) HM
In this area, archaeologists found remains of a brick foundation. Some of the brick fragments had mortar displaying impressions of wooden clapboard. Only if the bricks were laid tightly against an existing clapboard covered wall would "fossils" of . . . — — Map (db m138846) HM
You are looking at a careful reconstruction of the kitchen Garrett Van Sweringen built around 1690. It replaced an earlier kitchen he constructed in this same spot. The brick floor and chimney foundation are original. The kitchen was an earthfast . . . — — Map (db m138856) HM
Simon Overzee probably built this structure as an unheated storehouse in the late 1650s. Charles Calvert added a chimney so he could lodge or "quarter" members of his large household in the building. Innkeepers later used the structure which stood . . . — — Map (db m140631) HM
For most of the 17th century, indentured servants provided the labor in Maryland. Enslaved Africans became a major part of the labor force in the colony during the late 1600s. The dutch dominated the West African slave trade for much of the 17th . . . — — Map (db m138855) HM
The St. Mary’s Chapel, built about 1667, was Maryland’s first major brick building. The structure was built in the form of a cross, 55 feet long and 57 feet wide at the arms of the cross. In frontier Maryland, where most settlers lived in humble . . . — — Map (db m94324) HM
Coming to a New World
Born in the Netherlands in 1636, Garrett Van Sweringen began a family that has long endured in American history. He and his first wife, Barbara, possibly had five children. After her death, he married Mary Smith in 1676. . . . — — Map (db m138902) HM
Nothing survives above ground at this site. We have learned about what was here from archaeological excavations and historical documents, especially an inventory taken in 1700.
William Smith built a two-room structure for . . . — — Map (db m138893) HM
In memory of Thomas Allen Senior, a passenger of the Ark and Dove expedition, member of Assembly of Maryland 1648, Justice of the Peace of Isle of Kent, found shot on the sands of Point Lookout, St. Mary’s County Maryland August 11, 1648. Placed by . . . — — Map (db m949) HM
One of the greatest challenges in farming is getting the crops to market. Tobacco produced large profits but only if it could be sold. In the 17th and 18th centuries, tobacco was packed into wooden barrels called hogsheads for direct shipment to . . . — — Map (db m138701) HM
Tobacco was the backbone of Maryland's early economy. Planters sold tobacco in Europe in return for manufactured goods. The trade was very profitable but subject to cyclical booms and busts. In good times, tobacco brought prosperity. When crops were . . . — — Map (db m138907) HM
This is a slice of tree trunk that had its last growth year in 2005 before it was felled. See how the growth rings vary in thickness from year to year? We have marked the year 2000 and each decade before. Can you find the ring for the year in which . . . — — Map (db m138709) HM
Built 1642 on Smith’s Creek, Saint Mary’s County. Removed to lot near present rectory, Saint Mary’s City.
In 1695 the Capital was removed from Saint Mary’s City to Annapolis and the State House came to be a place of Church of England worship.
. . . — — Map (db m910) HM
On Saturday, June 23, 1984
The Honorable Harry Hughes,
Governor of Maryland
His Royal Highness,
Edward, Duke of Kent
dedicated this place, site of our State's first Settlement and first Capital to the memory of the first colonists . . . — — Map (db m80445) HM
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