A Small History


Calvert County's first residents were an Algonquin tribe known as the Patuxent Indians, who built their villages along the Patuxent river. It was these Native Americans that Captain John Smith and his crew met while exploring the northernmost part of the Chesapeake Bay around 1608.

The Act of Toleration was passed in 1649, which encouraged the settlement of "Non-Conformists" in Maryland. Calvert County as well as Charles and St. Mary's was the settlement of choice for Catholics. In 1689, however, the Anglican Church was established as the State Church of Maryland and the capitol was moved to Annapolis. In 1681, Catholics in Maryland were disenfranchised and forbidden to hold public office. Laws were passed prohibiting priest from celebrating Mass or performing the sacraments; yet the Jesuit fathers continued to quietly serve their growing congregations in Calvert county.

The first English settlement was established in the county sometime between 1637-1642. Calvert County itself was established in 1654 by Cecelius Calvert, second Lord Baltimore. It was called Patuxent County until 1658.

Lord Baltimore appointed his brother Leonard Calvert as the governor of the Maryland Colony. The first Europeans to settle in Southern Maryland were colonists who arrived onboard two ships with the names Ark and Dove. These colonist built the first settlement, St. Marys City, which is located in the neighboring county of St. Mary's. Several of these colonists later migrated to Calvert. Many of their relatives still live in and around the county.

In 1695, Calvert County was partitioned into St. Mary's, Charles and Prince George's, and its boundaries became substantially what they are today. Immigrants to Calvert County included English gentry; they were followed by the Puritans, Huguenots, Quakers and Scots.

Calvertown (Calvert Town, Calvert Towne) was the original county seat. Located on the Patuxent River, it proved to be inconvenient. In 1722, the county seat was moved, by an Act of Assembly to "Williams' Old Field", which was designated as the site of the new courthouse. The town created by this Act was named Prince Frederick. The courthouse was completed in 1732.

Calvert County was invaded by the British twice. Once in 1780, during the Revolutionary War and a second time during the War of 1812. On August 14, 1814, the British landed at Benedict, Maryland, having chased Commodore Joshua Barney's flotilla up the Patuxent. The British goal - Washington D.C. To read an account of the Burning of Washington, in which Barney's flotilla played a prominent part) check the Library of Congress "Today in History - Burning of Washington" page.

During the 1800's, Calvert County's main industry was the growing of tobacco. This made Calvert County reliant on slave labor. When the Civil War began, Calvert Countians were torn: officially, Maryland was aligned with the North, but the tobacco growers in Calvert were most likely very sympathetic with the Southern cause. A prison camp for captured southerners was built at the mouth of Battle Creek, near the site of Calvertown.

Following the Civil War, Calvert County needed to change its major industry. In 1867, Captain Isaac Solomon established a commercial fishery in the southernmost part of the county, which became known as Solomon's Island. Boat building, a cannery and a fishery contributed to the county's economy.

Most records were destroyed when the courthouse burned in 1882, but some deeds dating back to 1840 were re-recorded. Abstracts of deeds sent to Annapolis beginning in 1784 and provincial court deeds/land office records also make up for some of the destroyed records.

Little changed in the county until World War II, during which Solmon's Island became a training ground for Navy and Marine personnel. The Amphibious Training Base was established at Dowell. The invasion of Normandy (D-Day) was simulated at the Lower Cliffs of Calvert. The increase in population from the Armed Services greatly improved the economy of the county.


County Seat: Prince Frederick, located 35 miles southeast of Washington, D.C., and 55 miles south of Baltimore

CENSUS BUREAU QUICK FACTS

Calvert County Population, 2001 estimate: 78,307

Calvert County Census Population, 2000: 74,563

Population percent change, April 1, 2000-July 1, 2001 5.0%

Population, percent change, 1990 to 2000 45.1%

Land area, 2000 (square miles) 215

Persons per square mile, 2000 346.8


RELATED LINKS:

http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/maryland04.htm

U.S. Census Bureau: Calvert County Quick Facts

 


Calvert County Homepage

Copyright Notice: The information on this page is not copyrighted, but the design of this page is. It may not be reproduced in part or in it's entirety without express permission of the County Coordinator, Kathi Jones-Hudson, with the exception of use on personal computers for individual use only. (2008)