Friday, February 24, 2012

Celebrate Black History in St. Mary's County

What’s Featured, What’s Fun – Discover wonderful reasons to visit St. Mary’s County! 
Mathias de Sousa – From Servant to Merchant to the Maryland Assembly
    Visit Historic St. Mary’s City where Mathias de Sousa, the first free person of African decent in Maryland, rose from being an indentured servant to voting in the Maryland Assembly. Discover more about de Sousa and others who founded Maryland by visiting the St. John’s Site Museum. The museum features exhibits on de Sousa and the history of St. Mary’s City.  Winter hours for the St. John’s Site Museum and more information can be found at
     While his exact origins are unknown, it is thought that de Sousa was of Portuguese and African ancestry. Mathias de Sousa came to Maryland with Father Andrew White as an indentured servant on the first voyage to settle Maryland in 1634. De Sousa was a free man by 1639. He lived in St. Mary’s City, where he worked as a fur trader and lead an expedition up the Chesapeake to trade with the Susquehannocks. In March of 1641, de Sousa took part in the Maryland General Assembly. The St. John’s Site Museum in Historic St. Mary’s City is a replica of that building where the assembly met and is built on the foundations of the original building. 

Savor the Season, Savor St. Mary’s Taste the flavors of St. Mary’s County!
St. Mary’s County Stuffed Ham is a Southern Maryland institution. Come on down to St. Mary’s, and taste some of this county treat for yourself. Stuffed ham can be found at several country markets and restaurants, such as Chaptico Market (301-884-3308), St. Mary’s Landing Restaurant in Charlotte Hall (301-884-3287), and McKay’s (301-475-2531).  At Lenny’s Restaurant, a local landmark, Chef Dan offers stuffed ham cooking classes. Visit for more information. 
While it is traditionally served for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, Stuffed Ham can be enjoyed anytime. The ham, stuffed with greens, onions, and spices, can be found at most county festivals and fairs throughout the year. It is eaten with eggs for breakfast and as a sandwich for lunch and makes an excellent main course for dinner. There are several local legends about the origins of this St. Mary’s original. One version is that slaves working on plantations in St. Mary’s used greens and onions from their gardens to add some flavor to the parts of the hog they were given. Others believe a cook for the Jesuit Priest at St. Inigoes Manor made the first stuffed ham as a special treat to celebrate Easter and the end of Lenten fasting. Another theory is that an English farmwife was the first to use cabbage, onions, and watercress to dress up her Easter ham. Regardless of its origin, St. Mary’s is proud of its stuffed ham!
What’s New and of Note – Keep up-to-date on what’s up-and-coming in St. Mary’s!
Lancaster Park on Willows Road in Lexington Park will soon be home to new monument honoring the United States Colored Troops (USCT) who fought in the Civil War. This monument will be unveiled and dedicated at this year’s Juneteenth Celebration on June 16 and will feature a sculpture by nationally recognized sculptor Gary Casteel. The monument will specifically honor three Civil War Medal of Honor recipients from St. Mary’s County: Sgt. James H. Harris (USCT), Pvt. William H. Barnes (USCT), and Joseph Hayden (USS Ticonderoga). This monument, only the fourth in the country dedicated to the USCT, is the result of years of hard work by the United Committee for Afro-American Contributions (UCAC), a local volunteer group who’s mission is to make known the role African Americans play in shaping St. Mary’s County. Groundbreaking Ceremony for the St. Mary’s County USCT Memorial Monument will be 2pm on March 4 at Lancaster Park. For more information, visit
Upcoming Events Be a part of what’s happening in St. Mary’s County!
Wine and Food Pairings
Port of Leonardtown Winery 
Thursday, Feb. 23, 5:00pm to 8:00pm          
Enjoy wine tasting and food pairings by local chefs. Learn about pairing food and great local wines. Cost is $12 at the door. Port of Leonardtown Winery will also be offering all their wines 10% on Saturday, Feb. 25. For more information, visit or call 301-690-2192.
Jazz After-Hours at Café des Artistes
Saturday, Feb. 25, 7:30pm-10:30pm
Dance and Dine the Night Away! The Café will lay out their dance floor, and the Gretchen Richie Jazz Cabaret will perform danceable tunes, including jazz, swing, pop, rhythm & blues, plus those dreamy slow songs. Reservations recommended. No cover. The kitchen will remain open until 9:30 pm. For more information, visit
The Free StateEnjoy St. Mary’s without spending a dime!
Interpreting Slavery Lecture
Thursday, March 1, 7:00pm
Historic St. Mary’s City Visitor Center Auditorium
Consider the many ways the enslaved experience has been interpreted through exhibits and by costumed interpreters. Historian Nicole Moore, from Historic Brattonsville, S.C., will discuss her experience portraying slave life on a South Carolina plantation and offer a behind-the-scenes look at the research, politics and presentations involved with bringing an electrifying subject to the public. Visit for more information. 
Jazz Concert
Friday, Feb. 24, 8:00pm
St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Montgomery Hall, Room 25
The St. Mary’s College of Maryland Jazz Band and Combo present an annual salute to the Golden Era of the Big Band. The concert, titled “Thank You, Uncle Ted,” will feature the music of the great Duke Ellington. The concert will also feature the vocal skills of Camilla Rangel with the big band and Leah Klump with the combo.  Because seating is limited for this free event, early arrival is recommended. For more information, call 240-895-4498 or visit
Dr. Seuss Birthday Celebration
Leonardtown Library
Saturday, Feb. 25, 10:30am
Celebrate Dr. Seuss’s Birthday with the Leonardtown Library! Dr. Seuss stories, crafts and fun for children of all ages. Registration required. 301-475-2846 or
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