St. Clement's Island State Park

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Description

St. Clement's Island State Park is a publicly owned historic preservation and recreational area that encompasses St. Clement's Island, an uninhabited Potomac River island lying one-half mile southeast of Colton's Point, St. Mary's County, Maryland. The state park features a 40-foot stone cross dedicated to the beginnings of freedom of religion in the United States as well as a reconstruction of the historic Blakistone Island Light. It is the central feature of the St. Clement's Island Historic District that was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.HistoryThe park preserves the site of the March 25, 1634, landing of Maryland's first colonists, who had sailed from Cowes on the Isle of Wight in England four months earlier. The date is commemorated annually as Maryland Day. The island was a convenient, temporary base of operations for the 150 settlers as they negotiated with the Yaocomico Native Americans for land for a permanent settlement. They named the island in honor of Pope Saint Clement I, patron of mariners. It was the site of the first Roman Catholic Mass celebrated in the British-American colonies, said by Jesuit Father Andrew White. It is widely believed that the Mass took place on the day of the landing.

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