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St Ignatius Church Port Tobacco in Charles County, Maryland is the nation’s oldest active parish in continuous service in the United States. It was founded in 1641 by the Reverend Andrew White, who, along with other Catholic Settlers, sailed on the Arc and the Dove to Maryland in 1634 to help form an English Colony. Jesuit priests have been in residence on this site since 1641 attending to the spiritual needs of Catholics. The church and its accompanying manor house, a residence for priests at Chapel Point for more than 300 years, is located on a 120-foot bluff overlooking the confluence of the Port Tobacco and Potomac rivers.
The cornerstone of the current church was laid in 1798. Much of the interior of both the church and the manor house and most of the original records were destroyed by fire in December 1866. By June 1868 both had been restores and rededicated. Some modifications were made during the ensuing rebuilding including the addition of the one-story wood framed vestibule on the west end.
Troops were quartered at Chapel Point in May 1865 after the escape of John Wilkes Booth.
The Church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the St Thomas Manor listing, the name of the manor house.
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