The years following the 1634 settlement were ones of extensive expansion beyond the 7th District. The first capitol of Maryland was miles to the east in St. Mary’s City. The principle economic support came from farming, tobacco cultivation, and water related endeavors.
While in 1634 the 7th District was a predominantly Catholic Community, there were Anglican settlers among them. In 1642, Sir Thomas Gerard, a Roman Catholic, constructed an Anglican Church in the 7th District for his Anglican wife as a “Chapel of Ease” that later became All Saints Episcopal Church now located on Oakley Rd. He gave a large dowry when his daughter Elizabeth married Col. Nehemiah Blackistone also an Anglican. The Blackistone family became prominent in the 7th District owning large tracks of land and properties including the Blackistone Lighthouse on St. Clément’s Island.
Subsequent generations established a wide assortment of businesses in the 7th District. Prominent are such names as Bailey and Guy from on buildings of business to the sides of trucks. Many road names are those of the original settlers.
Soon after this initial settlement, English of Anglican origin became prominent in Maryland and southern Maryland. The first Episcopal Church, Trinity Church in St. Mary’s City, stems from 1638. When the center of political power moved north to Baltimore, so did the influence wane of the Catholic community upon Maryland affairs shifting to Anglicans who were less sympathetic to the precept of religious tolerance. St. Mary's College of Maryland, established in St. Mary’s City in 1840, is four-year liberal arts college that is one of the premier colleges in the nation.
During the Civil War, southern Maryland was decidedly sympathetic to the cause of the southern states. John Wilkes Booth attempted to escape here. Many from southern Maryland ventured across the Potomac River to join up with Southern troops. However, the Union had control over southern Maryland including St. Mary’s County where it established a principal Union prison camp at Point Lookout. Union troops occupied key areas including the islands and fords of St. Mary’s County such as what now is Bushwood Wharf. Buried in 7th District cemeteries including All Saints Church are Confederate soldiers.
In the 1930-40 period, Amish and Mennonite communities settled in southern Maryland including St. Mary’s County with some in the 7th District. They came here to escape pressures upon them and their lifestyle from Pennsylvanian state and local governments. They make a large contribution to the area including the 7th in their farming and craftsmanship endeavors.
According to the recollections of long-established 7th District residents, in the aftermath of WWII, the 7th gained the reputation of being a community unto itself from the rest of the County. Back then, the County had a plethora of raucous bars including the 7th District, and with no physical County Sheriff's office and presence in the 7th, an exciting time was had by all. I am familiar with such a free-wheeling water-based community having worked my way through college in the late 1960's as a waterman on scallop boats out of New Bedford Massachusetts.
Thus, the 7th looked after itself and still does in many respects. 7th District residents have a close relationship one to one another. This is largely due to the fact many come from long established families.
The 7th District changed beginning with the massive interstate road construction and the continuing improvement of State and local roads. The recent bypass around Hughesville, thanks in large part to Congressman Steny Hoyer who lives in southern Maryland, subsequently made travel down Route 5 to St. Mary’s County much more accessible and agreeable.
The population also expanded south from the Washington DC metropolitan area enhanced by the expansion of the Patuxent Naval Base. The combined result of these two facts was the influx of affluent individuals with diverse backgrounds from the Washington DC and northern Maryland/Virginia as they discovered and accessed for their own the splendor of 7th District waterfronts and the congeniality of the people.
There is so much more extensive written history of the 7thDistrict that you may access in the great St. Mary's County Library or the internet.
When I first was driving in the 7th District on a back road near my home, passing motorists would lift their hands to me. I wondered what I had done to earn the ire of the finger. I later discovered they were waving to me.
Such is the 7th District.
Such lovely people for the most part and we do have wonderful friends here and those we greatly respect.
There are only a very few individuals in the 7th I consider decidedly disagreeable and unworthy of association as a matter of character, and unfortunately all are highly associated with the 7th District Optimist Club (Club). As a matter of betrayal of trust, I resigned as Chairman of the Blessing of the Fleet and the Club, first due to the failure of Club leadership in all its negativity acting with unrighteous dominion to follow the tenets of its own organization primary among them being Civility, that upon which the 7th District was founded, and second but more fundamentally in its Breach of Honor.
In the page section entitled Descriptions & Ratings of 7th District Community Service Organizations and Businesses, in Speaking Truth to Power, given my disappointment in, disenchantment with, and disenfranchisement from the Club, you shall find a PDF attachment entitled Update On The Decline of the 7th District Optimist Club and The 2020 7th District Optimist Club with a Tough but Fair detailed explanations of the reasons I separated myself from the Club should you desire a more fuller explanation, and another PDF attachment that provides descriptions and ratings of 7th District Community Service Organizations.
I also include a Critique of the Planned 2019 Blessing of the Fleet citing its shortfalls and pitfalls.
I provide these as attachments rather than webpage sections that you may access this information as an option rather than compulsory reading.
I hesitate to criticize Club leadership no matter how egregious its untoward behavior. However, based on rumor and innuendo, I have heard the most outrageous depictions for the reason(s) behind my Club departure including of all things being a member of an ISIS drug cartel. Being on the right side of this, acting to protect and defend the Blessing of the Fleet, these false misrepresentations assailing my character require a public response. Thus, I am using a small bit of this webpage space to provide my side of the matter to set the record straight. In so doing, I hold Club leadership to account for its wrongful and harmful actions against the Blessing of the Fleet, its Chairman, and the Club. I also trust this counsel may move the Club towards a reversal of the culture of Club leadership embedded in negativity acting with authoritarian arrogance.
It appears the beginning of my downfall was when I became of some notoriety in the County when I appeared on the cover of the County Times as the Chairman of the Blessing of the Fleet.
It appears Club leadership has had some difficulty adjusting to my high standards of personal conduct.
I have great respect for the Club and its many fine members for the grand things they do for our community. This is not to besmirch the Club and its membership, but to defend myself, and inspire the Club to rededicate itself to the Optimist Creed. I shall modify this post once new leadership shortly takes office as I respect the incoming president and expect better from him hopefully with the assurance of a change in Club Culture and disposition towards rectitude.
God speed the 7th District Optimist Club.
St. Mary’s County and the 7th District have changed in the twenty plus years I have been coming here, and since spouse Nancy’s parents with her father a prominent medical doctor in Alexandria VA purchased their waterfront property in the 1970’s as a place from which to sail and live also later retiring here and farming apples. The main change is the buildup of the Patuxent Naval Base with an increase of personnel and contractors increasing travel congestion and changing County politics where it has flipped primarily from solidly Democratic to Republican. The other big change is the influx of retirees and the affluent bringing in more people of expansive educational backgrounds, work and life experience, and financial means. The combined effect of the buildup of the Base and the influx of retirees and the affluent is an increase in area wealth with the encompassing enhancement of 7th District property values and shopping & service choices.
However, this also has been a challenge for some in the 7th interacting with the influx or people of differing backgrounds and vice versa as noted above. Historically, those living in the 7th District were connected to one another by family ties, employment, and/or business interests. Thus, they were beholding to one another such that they were cognizant of their interactions with one another within their spheres of influence. Those now coming into the 7th to live are no-nonsense self-sufficient retirees, those with considerable financial means, or connected to the Patuxent Naval Base such that they are not beholding to anyone and thus are independent of those concerns. Therein lies the challenge in assimilation.
As you shall see in the business section of this website, there is an extensive business presence in the 7th District. Almost everything one may need is available in the 7th District with the exception of building materials, household appliances, clothing, medical service offices, and legal assistance. These are available close by in Leonardtown and beyond.
To place Community Service and in Memorial notices, business notice, and paid business advertisements, all with pictures, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. or call at 301-769-3125.
Expect an expansion of the population especially at waterfront areas. Expansion of community service endeavors shall accompany this population growth. Expect continued road improvements such as we just had with the Clément's Circle. I trust this shall include road improvements with extensive bike & jogging road designations. I also expect continued business expansion.
It's all good.