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Video and Audio Recordings

Historical Society Functions

Member Dinners

2024 Fall Dinner - Before the Base with Eve Love - Long-time Historical Society member Eve Love who, along with husband John Cook, recently published "Before The Base" in collaboration with the Calvert Maritime Museum. It is the story of the communities that were in the Cedar Point area before the Navy took over in 1942.

2023 Spring Dinner/Annual Meeting: Debunking Myths Concerning Surnames During the Era of Slavery - At the 2023 Annual Meeting & Spring Dinner on May 5th, archivist and librarian Kent Randell spoke on the topic "Debunking Myths Concerning Surnames During the Era of Slavery".  This presentation includes audio of Mr. Randell's remarks and his slides.

2022 Fall Dinner - The Historical Society's 2022 Fall Dinner featured Joe and David Norris with their songs and stories of the County and Southern Maryland. The dinner was held at the Old Breton Inn in Leonardtown on Friday, October 14, 2022.

2022 Spring Dinner/Annual Meeting: The DNA of History - In 2019, the University of Pennsylvania in collaboration with the Historical Society conducted an extensive DNA study looking into the genetic diversity and the role that kinship has played in shaping 17th century migration patterns to the Chesapeake colonies of Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware. The project's leader, Raquel Fleskes is well-known to those who participated in the study. Along with her Doctoral Advisor, Dr. Theodore Schurr, Raquel’s last visited us at the College of Southern Maryland in early 2020. when she and Dr. Schurr presented their early findings. Now a National Science Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Connecticut, Dr. Fleskes returns to the Historical Society to present updated findings from the project and ancient DNA research.

2021 Spring Dinner/Annual Meeting: What's In A Name?
The annual Spring Meeting and Dinner of the St Mary's County Historical Society. Held on May 21, 2021, the theme was "What's In A Name" - recalling the names - especially the nicknames - and the people who carried them in St Mary's County. Presented by Pete Himmelheber and Pat Woodburn.

2019 Spring Dinner/Annual Meeting: Taverns and Ordinaries

Those wonderful places where neighbors gathered, and still gather, to swap stories, catch up on the local news, gossip, and just be neighborly – most often over a glass of beer or – at least in the old days – a tumbler or two St Mary’s County rye.

2018 Spring Dinner/Annual Meeting: Hoofbeats Through History in St. Mary's County
From farm work to racing to polo, and delivering the National Christmas Tree to the White House, horses have played a major role in the County.  For the 2018 Annual Meeting & Spring Dinner, members and guests retell stories of these noble steeds.

2017 Spring Dinner/Annual Meeting: Stores as Community Centers
Stores have been an integral part of St. Mary's County life - those neighborhood stores where folks came not only to purchase items but to sit and chat, maybe over a beer or coffee, about the latest news and gossip. This May 2017 Spring Dinner brought those stores, people, and conversations back to life.

2016 Spring Dinner/Annual Meeting: Oysters... 1634 to Spats
At the 2016 Annual General Meeting & Spring Dinner, members and guests shared stories of Maryland's, and the County's, favorite food: oysters.

2014 Spring Dinner/Annual Meeting: Bootleggers Bash
"Bootleggers Bash" was the topic of the May 2014 Annual Spring Dinner. Several Historical Society members including Silas Hurry, Roy Dyson, George Baroniak, John Roache, Pat Woodburn, and others offered tales of bootleggers and rum-runners (or, more correctly, rye and bourbon runners) in St. Mary's County.

Other Functions & Events

Moll Dyer Day 2022 - Opening Celebration
The Legend of Moll Dyer - and the rock which is testimony to the Legend - are well known in St Mary's County and beyond. On February 26, 2021, the Moll Dyer Rock was moved to its current location adjacent to Tudor Hall, the home of the St Mary's County Historical Society. One year later, the Historical Society, along with the Town of Leonardtown, Visit St Mary's MD, and the Leonardtown Business Association came together to present the first annual celebration of the Legend of Moll Dyer. With a theme of "Be Kind!", Moll Dyer Day opened with a celebration at Tudor Hall.

Moll Dyer Rock: Relocation to Tudor Hall
On February 26, 2021, the Moll Dyer Rock was moved to and unveiled at Tudor Hall. In its new location, it will be better protected from the elements in order to preserve the Rock and the Legend of Moll Dyer for generations to come. This event was live-streamed by the Town of Leonardtown.

2019 Veteran's Day Remarks
Remarks by Executive Director Peter LaPorte at Leonardtown's 2019 Veterans Day parade and commemoration.

Historically Speaking

Religion in Jurisprudence and History

The St. Mary's County Historical Society in collaboration with the Center for the Study of Democracy is pleased to present Kenneth Lasson Professor of Law, Emeritus at the University of Baltimore School of Law speaking on Religion in Jurisprudence and History.  Professor Lasson received his Bachelor and Master Degrees at The Johns Hopkins University and his J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law. He is professor of law emeritus at the University of Baltimore School of Law and a member of the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court.  This presentation was held on July 19, 2023, at the Inn at Leonardtown.


Racial Identity: The Evolution of our Understanding from the 17th Century to Today

Our understanding of racial identity has changed over time. What does this change consist? How does it occur?  What are the consequences for communities and social interaction?  A distinguished panel discussed these and other questions at this Historically Speaking program on November 3, 2022 at St. Mary's College of Maryland. The panel included:

Garrey Dennie - Associate Professor of History at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. 

Philip Levy, PhD: Professor of History, University of South Florida.

Julia King, PhD - Professor of Anthropology at St Mary's College of Maryland.

Antonio Ugues, Jr. PhD: Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for the Study of Democracy, St Mary's College of Maryland, Moderator.

The Role of Children in the Colonial Chesapeake
Children are an understudied group of people historically, especially in archaeology. Where children have been studied, it is typically in relation to mortality rates. On September 7, 2022, St. Mary's College of Maryland graduate Catherine Dye offered an in-depth look into the lives of children in the Virginia and Maryland colonies through an archaeological lens. Her analysis shed important light on the experience of childhood in the colonial Chesapeake. In addition to providing an archaeological examination of childhood mortality, the study of child bodies can reflect attitudes toward children at that time. Material culture in combination with burial conditions of children indicates the emotional value these children had, complicating the notion that children were valued primarily for their economic contribution to family or community life.

People of American Indian, African, and European ancestry have been connected with Maryland’s Jesuit plantations throughout their history. Archaeological evidence of Indian missions in Maryland—however fragmented—contributes to a narrative of the Maryland missions that is at odds with prevailing nineteenth- and twentieth-century histories. Join Dr. Laura Masur, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the Catholic University of America, as she probes this often over-looked part of Maryland - and St Mary's County - history. [Due to technical difficulties, from time to time short sections of video do not appear on the screen although the audio is present. We regret this inconvenience and assure viewers that Dr. Masur's talk is in its entirety.]
Our Dear-Bought Liberty - Catholics and Religious Toleration in Early America is a book that places the Calverts and St Mary's County at the heart of American religious Liberty. Written by Michael Breidenbach of Ave Maria University and published last May, the book is about early American Catholic leaders, and in particular Cecil Calvert as well as members of the prominent Carroll family. In this lecture, Michael Breidenbach shows how Maryland's Catholics emphasized their church’s own traditions — rather than Enlightenment liberalism — to secure the religious liberty that enabled their incorporation in American life. His research encourages us to revise not only our sense of who the American founders were. This Historically Speaking lecture took place on August 10, 2021, and was co-sponsored by Chesterton Academy of St Mary's and Historic St Mary's City.
On April 26th, Dr Jamie Goodall, staff historian with the U.S. Army Center of Military History in Washington, DC, spoke on her book "Pirates of the Chesapeake Bay: From the Colonial Era to the Oyster Wars". Her tale centered on the oyster pirates, a fascinating history of intrigue, plunder and illicit commerce raiding. This program in the Historically Speaking series was a collaboration between St Mary's County Historical Society and St Mary's Ryken High School.
On September 16th, 2020, The Honorable Daniel A. Friedman of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals spoke at Anne Arundel Hall at St Mary's College of Maryland. Judge Friedman explored the evolution of legal and political rights during the Revolutionary era, how those rights were formed and which state in the Chesapeake region, including Maryland, can lay claim to having been the first to formally proclaim those rights. The event was produced in collaboration with the Center for the Study of Democracy at St Mary's College of Maryland.
Co-produced with the PAX River Naval Air Museum, this episode of Historically Speaking relates the important Naval aviation activities at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station as well as Webster Field, the Piney Point torpedo range, and other wartime Naval facilities in Southern Maryland. Developed by Bob Tourville of the Museum, this is an engrossing look at little-known activities and life during World War II.

The first in the St Mary's County Historical Society's "Historically Speaking" series of talks, this program was produced in collaboration with the PAX River Naval Air Museum. Told by Bob Tourville, "PAX River's Forgotten Cold Warriors" reveals a part of the Naval Air Station’s history about which few people know. Bob outlines the missions and challenges of PAX River operational squadrons during the Cold War. The accomplishments of these aviators, technicians, and specialists form a nearly forgotten chapter in St Mary’s County and Southern Maryland history.