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All Saints Episcopal Church Oakley outside the town of Avenue in St. Mary’s County, is a rural church with many years of history and tradition.
The church began in 1642 when Dr. Thomas Gerard, a Catholic, built a “Chapel of Ease” on his several thousand acre land grant, St. Clements Manor, where his Anglican wife, Susanna Snow Gerard, her friends, and her servants could worship. The existence of this and subsequent chapels, sometimes called St. Clements Chapel and later, Tomakoken Chapel, have been documented but the actual sites have not been located except for the last one on Tomakoken Creek.
History records the existence of at least two church buildings on this site near the Tomakoken Creek prior to the erection of the current structure in 1846. Archives also show the changing of the name from Tomakoken to All Saints Chapel in 1824. This small frame chapel is the oldest frame Episcopal church in St. Mary’s County.
Over the next few posts we will visit some of the historic churches in Southern Maryland, which are some of the oldest in the nation, dating back, in some cases, to the middle of the seventeenth century.
Click here for some more images of historic St. Mary’s County.