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Charles County, MD


Charles County, MD

Whether you've crossed STATES or just SUBURBAN boundaries, enjoy Charles County, the hidden gem of Southern Maryland for 350 years. Once visitors begin turning the uncovered stones, they discover a rich abundance of HISTORY, CULTURE, OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES and fabulous SEAFOOD!

Charles County is located in Southern Maryland, just south of Washington D.C., along the banks of the Potomac River. La Plata, established in 1895, is the county seat of Charles County. The town was named by Colonel Chapman, after the La Plata river. Waldorf originally was a rural crossroads called Beantown, and many Waldorf residents commute to work in Washington, D.C. and Andrews Air Force Base. Port Tobacco Village is the smallest incorporated town in Maryland, and it is one of the oldest towns on the East Coast. Indian Head was established in 1920, and is home to Indian Head Naval Surface Weapons Center. Potomac Heights residents formed a co-operative and purchased the community from the government in 1947. St. Charles is located south of Waldorf, and is planned community started in 1965 with many sections still in development.

Charles County is located in Southern Maryland, just south of Washington D.C., along the banks of the Potomac River. La Plata, established in 1895, is the county seat of Charles County. The town was named by Colonel Chapman, after the La Plata river. Waldorf originally was a rural crossroads called Beantown, and many Waldorf residents commute to work in Washington, D.C. and Andrews Air Force Base. Port Tobacco Village is the smallest incorporated town in Maryland, and it is one of the oldest towns on the East Coast. Indian Head was established in 1920, and is home to Indian Head Naval Surface Weapons Center. Potomac Heights residents formed a co-operative and purchased the community from the government in 1947. St. Charles is located south of Waldorf, and is planned community started in 1965 with many sections still in development.

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Demographics

The county is experiencing a dramatic growth in African-American population, which began in 1990. Census figures below are from 2000:

As of the census of 2000, there were 120,546 people, 41,668 households, and 32,292 families residing in the county. The population density was 262 people per square mile (101/km²). There were 43,903 housing units at an average density of 95 per square mile (37/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 68.51% White, 26.06% Black or African American, 0.75% Native American, 1.82% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.72% from other races, and 2.08% from two or more races. 2.26% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 11.6% were of German, 10.8% Irish, 10.2% English, 9.3% American and 5.3% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 41,668 households out of which 41.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.00% were married couples living together, 14.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.50% were non-families. 17.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.86 and the average family size was 3.21.

In the county the population was spread out with 28.70% under the age of 18, 7.60% from 18 to 24, 33.20% from 25 to 44, 22.70% from 45 to 64, and 7.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 95.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $62,199, and the median income for a family was $67,602 (these figures had risen to $80,573 and $89,358 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $43,371 versus $34,231 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,285. About 3.70% of families and 5.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.70% of those under age 18 and 8.60% of those age 65 or over.
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St. Ignatius Church

St. Thomas Manor (1741) is a historic home and church complex located near Port Tobacco, Charles County, Maryland. It is a two story, seven-bay, brick structure of Georgian architecture, of Flemish bond construction. Connected to the manor house stands a two-story brick wing that incorporates a former chapel built in 1798, now called St. Ignatius Church. Outbuildings include a small, mid-19th century wood-frame slaves' quarter. A cemetery lies to the west of the manor house and church. The manor house was built in 1741 as the headquarters of the Maryland Mission of the Society of Jesus. It served as the Superior's and later the Provincial's official residence.

Today, the manor house complex is recognized as the oldest Jesuit residence continuously occupied by that order in the world. The mission settlement of Chapel Point was started by Father Andrew White, S.J., in 1641. He administered to the Potapoco Native Americans, some of whom he converted to Catholicism. Established in 1662, this is the oldest continuously active Roman Catholic parish in what were the 13 English-speaking colonies of North America founded by Great Britain. In 1794 it was at St. Thomas Manor that John Carroll was invested in his robes as the first Catholic bishop of the United States of America, after the successful Revolutionary War. (He later traveled to London for official consecration as a bishop by the Vicar Apostolic.) This investiture established St. Thomas as the first Roman Catholic see in the United States. The mansion is the oldest surviving example of the Georgian style in Maryland.

During the years of slavery and after the American Civil War, when much of the South classified people as only black or white, St. Ignatius was among the Catholic parishes that continued to record their Native congregational members as Indian, regardless of whether they were of mixed race. In colonial and United States records, by contrast, some Native Americans lost their identities through being classified as free people of color, "colored" or white. Research in Catholic records has helped some tribes document their continuous history and gain state and federal recognition since the 20th century.

St. Thomas Manor was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. Due to its history and scenic waterfront setting, the manor grounds, church and cemetery attract visitors from distant places and are also a favorite rest-stop for many bicycle tour groups.

 

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