4.9 Newtown and Leonardtown (St. Mary's County, Md.), 1794 - 1982
Scope and Contents
The records in this subseries pertain to the Jesuit House in St. Mary’s County, Maryland that was first known as Newtown (founded in 1662) and then as Leonardtown (when it was relocated to the town of the same name in 1868). This subseries includes Litterae Annuae and Historia Domus; Newtown House financial records, Newtown House sacramental records, Newtown House correspondence; Saint Joseph’s Church minute book, pew rent book, and treasurer’s accounts; Sacred Heart Church Board of Trustees minutes; St. Aloysius Church subscription book for church improvements; St. Joseph’s and Immaculate Conception receipts and expense journal; St. Aloysius Church Announcement Books; St. John’s and St. Mary’s Chapel Announcement Books; Our Lady’s of Medley’s Neck Announcement Books; St. Francis Xavier Announcement books; newsclippings; photographs; archaeological survey; historical manuscripts. In addition, there are two marriage permits (April 27, 1854, and June 26, 1854) sanctioning the marriages of enslaved people at St. Aloysius Church.
Between 1662 and 1964, the Newtown House and Leonardtown House served as a center of pastoral activity for the northern and western portions of St. Mary’s County, Maryland. Located on the neck of land bounded by the Potomac River on the south, Bretton’s Bay on the east, and St. Clement’s Bay, the Newtown residence originated in 1662 with the establishment of St. Francis Xavier Church. Only six years later, the Maryland missionaries purchased a nearby estate of 850 acres upon which they built the manor house. Their ministry included the Anglo-Irish merchant-planters, indentured servants, tenant farmers, and those enslaved by the Jesuits and their neighbors. In 1868, the Jesuits moved their residence to St. Aloysius Church in Leonardtown, the capital of St. Mary’s County. From that location, the Jesuits continued their ministry among both white and Black residents. The area was known for its rural poverty, and segregated parishes emerged, separating white and Black parishioners. Between 1958 and 1968, the Jesuits turned over their ministry of the churches served by the Leonardtown community to the Archdiocese of Washington.
For more information, see Background on the Houses at Newtown and Leonardtown and Superiors of Newtown-Leonardtown.
The following churches were served by the Jesuits at Newtown and Leonardtown:
- St. Francis Xavier Church (Compton, Md.), 1662-1967 (Seat of Newtown residence, 1662-1868)
- St. Aloysius Church (Leonardtown, Md.), 1766-1964 (Seat of Leonardtown residence, 1868-1964)
- Sacred Heart Church (Bushwood, Md.), 1755-1964 (Served from Chaptico residence, 1914-1964)
- St. Joseph’s Church (Morganza, Md.), 1759-1966 (Served from Chaptico residence, 1914-1966)
- Our Lady’s Medley’s Neck (Leonardtown, Md.), 1765-1964
- St. John’s Church (Hollywood, Md.), 1818-1961 (Alternate Name: Church of St. John Francis Regis, served from Great Mills residence, 1927-1961)
- Immaculate Conception Church (Mechanicsville, Md.), 1878-1966 (Served from Chaptico residence, 1914-1966)
- Church of the Holy Angels (Bedlam Neck, Md.), 1902-1958 (Served from Chaptico residence, 1914-1958)
- Chapel of Saint Mary’s (California, Md.), 1912-1955 (Served from Great Mills residence, 1927-1955)
If these churches are active, sacramental records may be available to genealogists by consulting the churches or their successors directly. Researchers also should consult the Archdiocese of Washington.
**Please note: the finding aid contains Scope and Contents notes for each folder. This folder-level description has been imported from an older finding aid. Researchers may encounter outdated or potentially offensive terminology and occasional inaccuracies. If you would like to notify Special Collections of any issues that need correcting, please contact us.**
Some folders in this series contain references to slavery, slaveholding, and enslaved individuals. Relevant folders are noted in the finding aid.
Most materials dated 1900 and later have not been digitized. Materials dating 1900-1939 are available for research use at the Booth Family Center for Special Collections. All materials dated 1940 and later are restricted.
Materials are arranged alphabetically by subject. Materials in this subseries are from the original MPA placed on deposit at Georgetown in the 1970s, the MPA Addenda, and the Maryland Province Collection.
- 1794 - 1982
From the Collection: 292 boxes (292 total boxes, plus 14 card catalog drawers (201 regular boxes, 25 oversized boxes, 53 restricted regular boxes, 13 restricted oversized boxes, 14 card catalog drawers))
Language of Materials
From the Collection: Multiple languages
Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository