St. Clements Island
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Photo: The west side of the island as seen from a boat that is heading back to Colton's Point. The photo was taken during the annual Blessing of the Fleet. You can see the Maryland Dove docked at the island.

In 1633, a group of adventurers traveled from their homes in England in pursuit of a new land; a land in which they would be free from oppression. The colonists took possession of their newfound colony and celebrated the first Roman Catholic Mass in the original thirteen colonies when they came ashore on St. Clement's Island, March 25, 1634. This island was the premiere site in the saga of Maryland history.

In 1639, St. Clements Island was included in an 11,400-acre grant to Dr. Thomas Gerard. In 1669, his daughter Elizabeth married Nehemiah Blackistone and the island was given to her as part of her dowry. For the next 193 years and until 1962, the island was known as Blackistone Island.

Today, the island is a state park in its natural setting and offers visitors hiking trails, exhibit panels and picnic facilities. A historic 40-foot cross on the island was built in 1934 to commemorate the first landing of the Maryland colonists. The island is only accessible by boat. Transportation is provided during the Blessing of the Fleet event that occurs on the first full weekend in October.

As one ventures from home and travels through the peaceful countryside of St. Mary's County, we invite you to visit our museum, located on the shore of the Potomac River in Colton's Point. One can relax on the grounds and enjoy the scenic beauty or just drift back in time and imagine the first Maryland colonists as they sailed up the Potomac River, nestled between the Maryland and Virginia shorelines.
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