St. Clement’s Island


On our first morning in Maryland, we headed over to St. Clement’s Island. This is where the colonists landed and the first Mass was said in the British colonies. Catholics were not popular in England, and giving them some land to settle in the colonies was a big deal. The idea (according to the Catholics) was to keep Church and State separate.

Fr. White befriended the Natives, and, for awhile, avoided the problems that the settlers had had in Jamestown.


I doubt that Fr. White looked much like this. For one thing, he was older (54 years old), but he may have had a cool hat like that. The display reads:

As the coast of England faded on the horizon the story of Maryland now was envisioned through the eyes of Fr. Andrew White, S.J. A former professor of theology and classical studies in Europe, Fr. Andrew White became the historian of the founding of Maryland. His relationship with the Calvert family as a spiritual adviser placed him in the inner circle when the plans for Maryland were first discussed. Confidence in the 54 year old Jesuit may have influenced the Calverts in appointing him as a senior advisor to Leonard Calvert, Maryland’s first governor. Found and inexperienced, Governor Leonard Calvert would come to depend on the wisdom of the worldly Fr. Andrew White.

Fr. White learned the language and ways of the native people, gained the confidence of their leader, Tayac Kittamaquund, converted Kittamaquund and his wife to Catholicism, and then officiated at the marriage of their daughter, “Mary”, and Giles Brent – my 8th Great Grandfather and Grandmother.

Sheesh. Who knew? I tend toward being inspired (supported and encouraged) by the great wave of humanity that came before us – their struggles, journeys, and stories.

Here are some photos of St. Clement’s Island, 1/2 mile offshore. Visits to the island are not routine – you have to hire a boat if it’s not a special occasion. The morning was refreshing and cool and we enjoyed being on the water, but didn’t think a visit to the island was necessary. Here are some photos of the island and our walk around the area.

There is a little museum there with history about the First Landing of colonists in Maryland.

This is their depiction of my 8th Great Grandfather, Tayac Kittamaquund.


The plaque reads:

Kittamaquund was the brother of Wannas who reluctantly gave his permission for the Maryland Colonists to settle in the area. After the death of Wannas under suspicious circumstances, Kittamaquund became the leader of the Piscataways. A meeting of Kittamaquund and Governor Leonard Calvert resulted in the encouragement for the establishment of a permanent settlement of St. Mary City although he continued to remain suspicious of the English.

Legend states that Kittamaquund had a dream in which he saw the English priest, Father Andrew White SJ, accompanied by a mysterious god-like figure. The priest and god-like figure beckoned Kittamaquund to join them. Soon after, Kittamaquund became seriously ill with a high fever. As the local shaman, or medicine man, was unable to cure him, Kittamaquund turned to Fr. Andrew White for help. Administering “a certain powder of known efficiency with Holy Water”, Kittamaquund soon recovered and invited the English priests to establish a mission at the Piscataway town. On July 5, 1640, Kittamaquund and his wife were baptized and later during the day were married by Fr. Andrew White. Kittamaquund and his wife also adopted the English names of Charles (after Charles I) and Mary (after Henrietta Maria). As a token of friendship and trust, Kittamaquund, renamed “Charles” sent his only daughter, Mary Brent Kittamaquund (my 7th great grandmother) to St. Mary City. Here she became the ward of Mistress Margaret Brent and Governor Leonard Calvert and was taught the ways of the English.

More photos from the little museum at St. Clement’s Island, click to read or see better:
 We didn’t go over to St. Clement’s Island, but the museum had some depictions of the lighthouse on the island:

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