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4.10 St. Inigoes and Ridge (St. Mary's County, Md.), 1767 - 1985


Scope and Contents

The records in this subseries include announcement books; Annuae Litterae and Historia Domus; diaries; a book of memorials, a census of families, and a scrapbook; correspondence; manuscript histories (including archeological surveys); legal documents; newsclippings; photographs (including glass-plate negatives compiled by Horace McKenna, S.J. around 1933; published materials; financial records; sacramental records; and spiritual writings. Please note that a fire at the St. Inigoes Manor House in 1872 destroyed a significant portion of the House records, including sacramental records. Records from the late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-centuries are comparatively robust.

The Houses at St. Inigoes and Ridge in St. Mary’s County, Maryland served the churches of St. Mary’s City, Ridge, Patuxent River, and Great Mills. From the foundation of the Jesuit missions in Maryland in 1632, the priests of the St. Inigoes residence established their seat at St. Ignatius Church (St. Inigoes, Maryland), managed two large tobacco plantations, and ministered the sacraments to the diverse population of the area, including planter-merchants, indentured servants, tenant farmers, and enslaved and free African Americans.

After emancipation, the Jesuits of St. Inigoes helped shape segregated sodalities, schools, and parish activities, in which white and Black congregants were separated. In 1905, the Black parishioners of St. Michael’s Church in Ridge separated to form St. Peter Claver’s Church, also in Ridge, a parish that remains the only African American parish in St. Mary’s County today.

In 1917, the Jesuit community moved its residence from the dilapidated manor House at St. Inigoes to St. Michael’s Church in Ridge. During the twentieth century, the St. Inigoes-Ridge residence attracted Jesuits who were strong advocates for the region’s African American community. These priests included Abraham Emerick, S.J. (who served from 1911-1919); John LaFarge, S.J. (serving from 1911-1926); and Horace McKenna, S.J. (serving from 1932-1954). In 1924, LaFarge founded the Cardinal Gibbons Institute, a school for Black parishioners that operated in Ridge until 1967.

In 1942, the Maryland Province sold St. Inigoes to the U.S. Navy. From 1961 and 1963, the Province transferred their missions within this region to the Archdiocese of Washington.

For more information, see Background on the Houses at St. Inigoes and Ridge and Superiors of St. Inigoes.

The following churches were served by the Jesuits of St. Inigoes and Ridge:

- St. Ignatius Church (St. Inigoes, Md.), 1634-1946 (Seat of St. Inigoes residence, 1634-1918)

- St. Michael’s Church (Ridge, Md.), 1824-1963 (Seat of Ridge residence, 1918-1963)

- St. Nicholas Church (Patuxent River, Md.), 1795-1942

- St. George’s Church (Valley Lee, Md.), 1851-1961 (Served from Great Mills residence after 1927)

- Church of the Holy Face (Great Mills, Md.), 1887-1961 (Served from Great Mills residence after 1927)

- St. Francis Xavier Church (St. George’s Island, Md.), 1893-1962 (Served from Great Mills residence after 1927)

- St. Peter Claver’s Church (Ridge, Md.), 1902-1963 (the only African American parish in St. Mary’s County)

- Church of St. James (St. Mary’s City, Md.), 1915-1963

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.**

Materials on Slavery

Some folders in this series contain references to slavery, slaveholding, and enslaved individuals. Relevant folders are noted in the finding aid.

Conditions Governing Access

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.


  • 1767 - 1985

Conditions Governing Access

The Maryland Province Archives is on deposit at Georgetown University and is the property of the USA East Province of the Society of Jesus. As stewards of the Archives, the Georgetown University Library’s Booth Family Center for Special Collections is responsible for managing access to the material based on policies set forth by the USA East Province. Researchers may view these materials in the Reading Room of the Booth Family Center for Special Collections. General policies for using Special Collections can be found here.

Access to the Archives is governed by the USA East Province and is subject to all Library and Special Collections policies and procedures in addition to the specific guidelines below. These guidelines are a summary of access policies; the Archives may include materials that fall outside the scope of these general guidelines. For information on access to specific materials, please contact the Special Collections staff.


1. All Archives materials dated or bearing solely on events occurring before January 1, 1940, shall be open for review unless otherwise restricted, subject to Library policies and procedures.

2. All unpublished Archives materials dated or bearing solely on events occurring on or after January 1, 1940, shall be open for review upon request subject to a decision by the Provincial or someone designated by the Provincial.

3. Researchers may quote from the materials.

4. Researchers may take their own photographs of the material for scholarly and research purposes. Allowing photographs is not an authorization to publish or to deposit the material in another library or archive.

5. Written permission from the USA East Province is required for the publication of substantive portions of any material or publication-quality reproductions of any material.

6. Material not yet processed is not available to researchers; permission will not be granted to access any unprocessed material.

7. Audiovisual, microfilm and other material in the Archives, the original of which is held in another archive, may be consulted and transcribed only. Written permission from the archive holding the original material is required for any duplication, reproduction, or publication of that material.

8. Use the Permission Request Form to request permission (i) to access any restricted processed material or (ii) to publish reproductions or quote substantive portions of the material. Send the completed form by email to the Booth Family Center for Special Collections (


From the Collection: 308 boxes (212 regular boxes, 25 oversized boxes, 58 restricted regular boxes, 13 restricted oversized boxes, plus 14 card catalog drawers )

Language of Materials

From the Collection: Multiple languages

Additional Resources


Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057