Saint Mary's County, Maryland
Seal of Saint Mary's County, Maryland
Map of Maryland highlighting Saint Mary's County
Location in the state of Maryland
Map of the U.S. highlighting Maryland
Maryland's location in the U.S.
Founded 1637
Seat Leonardtown
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

764 sq mi (1,979 km²)
361 sq mi (935 km²)
403 sq mi (1,044 km²), 52.8%
 - (2000)
 - Density

75/sq mi (29/km²)

Saint Mary's County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maryland.

As of 2000, the population was 86,211. Its county seat is Leonardtown. The name is in honor of Mary, the mother of Jesus.[1]

The county is one of the several Maryland counties that make up the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. It is also a part of the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History[edit | edit source]

The settlement of Lord Baltimore's Maryland began with the arrival of passengers from England at St. Clement's Island in the Potomac River in what is now southwestern St. Mary's County on March 25, 1634 (the anniversary of this landing being annually celebrated as Maryland Day). The passengers arrived in two vessels, the Ark and the Dove, which had set sail from the Isle of Wight on November 22, 1633. The county is also home to the first Catholic Mass celebrated in the original thirteen colonies.

St. Mary's County was the first county established in Maryland, in 1637, probably by an order of the Governor.

The county seat and state capital was St. Mary's City.

St. Mary's County is where Francis Scott Key, the author of a poem which became The Star Spangled Banner, and professional wrestler Scott Hall grew up. St. Mary's County was the birthplace of Dashiell Hammett, and Orlando "Tubby" Smith, head basketball coach at the University of Minnesota. The largest employer is Patuxent River Naval Air Station and its related aerospace contract firms. There are both Amish and Mennonite communities who follow traditional ways. Tobacco, once dominant crop, has declined in recent years. Maryland International Raceway (Budd's Creek) attracts many auto racing enthusiasts.

Notable residents[edit | edit source]

Law and government[edit | edit source]

St. Mary's County is governed by county commissioners, the traditional form of county government in Maryland.

Board of Commissioners[edit | edit source]

  • Francis Jack Russell, President
  • Kenneth R. Dement, District 1
  • Thomas A. Mattingly, Sr., District 2
  • Lawrence D. Jarboe, District 3
  • Daniel H. Raley, District 4

County executive[edit | edit source]

The county commissioners exercise such executive powers as exist in the government of the county.

Circuit Court judges[edit | edit source]

  • Hon. C. Clarke Raley, senior judge
  • Hon. Karen H. Abrams, Administrative judge
  • Hon. Michael J. Stamm

Law enforcement[edit | edit source]

St. Mary's County has the oldest documented sheriff's office in the United States. In 1637 James Baldridge was appointed sheriff. Beginning in 1776, sheriffs in St. Mary's County are determined by election. Tim Cameron is the current sheriff.

Geography[edit | edit source]

The county has a total area of 1,980 km² (764.5 sq mi). 935 km² (361 sq mi) of it is land and 1,045 km² (403 sq mi) of it (52.78%) is water.

The county is largely bordered by water: the Patuxent River, the Chesapeake Bay, the Potomac River, and the Wicomico River.

Adjacent counties[edit | edit source]

Demographics[edit | edit source]

As of 2000, there were 86,211 people, 8,361 households, and 5,443 families residing in the county. The population density was 29/km² (76/sq mi). There were 10,092 housing units at an average density of 12 persons/km² (31 persons/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 81.6% White, 13.9% African American, 0.37% Native American, 1.8% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.48% from other races, and 1.20% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.35% of the population. 14.8% were of American, 13.9% German, 13.3% English and 12.1% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 8,361 households out of which 25.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.10% were married couples living together, 15.10% have a woman whose husband does not live with her, and 34.90% were non-families. 29.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.92.

In the county the population was spread out with 18.50% under the age of 18, 15.70% from 18 to 24, 29.50% from 25 to 44, 22.20% from 45 to 64, and 14.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 114.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 119.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $29,903, and the median income for a family was $37,643. Males had a median income of $27,496 versus $23,035 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,965. 20.10% of the population and 15.00% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 28.40% are under the age of 18 and 19.10% are 65 or older.

Cities and towns[edit | edit source]

Saint Mary's County includes one municipality, classified as a town under Maryland law: Leonardtown, the county seat (incorporated 1858).

Unincorporated areas are also considered as towns by many people and listed in many collections of towns, but they lack local government. Various organizations, such as the United States Census Bureau, the United States Postal Service, and local chambers of commerce, define the communities they wish to recognize differently, and since they are not incorporated, their boundaries have no official status outside the organizations in question. The Census Bureau recognizes the following census-designated places in the county:

  1. California
  2. Charlotte Hall
  3. Golden Beach
  4. Lexington Park

Other unincorporated areas include:

  1. Abell
  2. Beachville-St. Inigoes
  3. Bushwood
  4. Callaway
  5. Chaptico-Maddox
  6. Clements
  7. Coltons Point
  8. Compton
  9. Dameron
  10. Drayden
  11. Great Mills
  12. Helen
  13. Hollywood
  14. Loveville
  15. Mechanicsville
  16. Morganza
  17. Park Hall
  18. Piney Point
  19. Ridge
  20. St. Inigoes
  21. St. Mary's City
  22. Scotland
  23. Tall Timbers
  24. Valley Lee

Colleges and universities[edit | edit source]

Military bases[edit | edit source]

The county houses the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, which plays a significant role in the local economy. The Naval Air Station also has an annex at Webster Field in Saint Inigoes, MD.

Notable sites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Saint Mary's County, Maryland. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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