HISTORICAL, HEREDITARY AND RESEARCH ORGANIZATIONS OF CHARLES COUNTY
The African American Heritage Society of Charles County
The African American Heritage Society of Charles County, Inc. is a non-profit organization with a dedicated mission to foster public awareness and understanding of the African American way of life; the cultural and historical contributions of African Americans to the growth and development of Southern Maryland and the nation. The Society’s “Heritage House,” purchased by the society in 1999, is an educational facility for children, community members as well as a regular tourist attraction for the Southern Maryland region.
The Charles County Archeological Society
The Charles County Genealogical Society
The Charles County Genealogical Society was established in 2005 to promote the collection, preservation and dissemination of genealogical information and to educate and assist those interested in researching their family history. The society is actively involved in a cemetery transcription and preservation project of Charles County cemeteries.
The Charles County Heritage Commission
In 1982, the Maryland Assembly passed legislation that established the Charles County Heritage Commission to disseminate information about the history of Charles County and to promote an interest in local history. Members of the Commission include three County Commissioners’ appointees and one member each from the following organizations: the African American Heritage Society, Dr. Samuel Mudd Society, Historical Society of Charles County, Society for the Restoration of Port Tobacco, Maryland Indian Heritage Society, and the College of Southern Maryland.
The Charles County Historic Trust
The Charles County Historic Trust was created for the purpose of preserving and maintaining the historical, aesthetic and cultural properties and heritage, building, fixtures, furnishings and appurtenances pertaining to the historical significance of Charles County from its earliest times. It encourages others to study such matters. They are an arm of the Maryland Historical trust and the inspectors of all historical easements in the county.
The Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Society
The Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Home is located on a 197 acre tract of land consisting of the house museum, exhibit building, farm museums, tombstone building, tobacco museum, Civil War display museum and gift shop. Dr. Mudd set the broken leg of John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln April 14, 1865. Subsequently, Dr. Mudd spent three years and eight months in federal prison at Fort Jefferson on the Dry Tortugas off the Florida Keys. Dr. Mudd died at his home on January 10, 1883. The grounds are open every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from the last weekend of March through mid-November and then reopens the first weekend of December for a Victorian Christmas.
The Ella Virginia Houck Holloway Chapter, United States Daughters of 1812
The purposes of the Ella Virginia Houck Holloway Chapter, United States Daughters of 1812 are to promote patriotism and to preserve and increase the knowledge of the history of the American people. This is accomplished by the preservation of documents and relics, the marking of historic spots, the recording of family histories and traditions, the celebration of patriotic anniversaries and the teaching of the heroic deeds of those who molded this government between the close of the American Revolution and the close of the war of 1812.
The Port Tobacco Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution
The DAR, founded in 1890, is a volunteer women's service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America's future through better education for children. Its members are descendants of patriots of the American Revolution. The DAR boasts 165,000 members in 3,000 chapters across the United States and internationally. The Port Tobacco Chapter was founded in 1965.
The Society for the Restoration of Port Tobacco
Formed in 1948 by a group of concerned citizens, the Society for the Restoration of Port Tobacco is celebrating its 60th year of preserving the history of Charles County. It was their desire to keep alive the county’s rich heritage, especially the county seat of Port Tobacco. Today, the Society maintains the 1819 reconstructed Courthouse as well as the Catslide House, both in the historic town square of Port Tobacco.
The Southern Maryland Studies Center, La Plata Campus, College of Southern Maryland
The College of Southern Maryland established the Southern Maryland Studies Center (SMSC) in 1976 to provide a central location for research on the historically important region of Southern Maryland. Today, the Center houses state and federal census records, newspapers, colonial records, church records, and local and state records on microfilm. The manuscript collections contain records of organizations, individuals, and families from the 18th century to the present, providing insights into the economic, social, and political currents that shaped this region. The collection of print materials includes books, newspapers, photographs, slides, and maps. And there are over 300 interviews with people from all walks of life contained in the oral history collection. The collections are utilized by students, faculty and staff, historians, genealogists, and the general public. The collection is increasingly utilized by families throughout the nation for research into their ancestry.
The Thomas Stone Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution
The Sons of the American Revolution is a patriotic, historical, and educational organization whose objective is to perpetuate the memory of the patriots, who, by their services or sacrifices during the war of the American Revolution, achieved the independence of the American people. Its members are lineal descendants of an ancestor who was loyal to, or rendered active service in the cause of American Independence. The Thomas Stone Chapter represents Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s Counties.
The Smallwood Foundation
William Smallwood, Southern Maryland planter, Officer of the Maryland Battalion during the American Revolution and Governor of Maryland died in 1792. Without direct heirs his property fell into disrepair. In the 1930’s a group of concerned Charles County citizens formed the Smallwood Foundation for the purpose of restoring Smallwood’s house. In 1958 the reconstructed house and surrounding ten acres of land was deeded to the State of Maryland to establish Smallwood State Park. Today, the Smallwood Foundation and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources work to preserve this property not only as a historic site but as an educational tool as well.