St. Thomas Manor
St. Thomas Manor (1741) is a historic home and church complex located near Port Tobacco, Charles County, Maryland. It is a two story, seven-bay, brick structure of Georgian architecture, of Flemish bond construction. Connected to the manor house stands a two-story brick wing that incorporates a former chapel built in 1798, now called St. Ignatius Church. Outbuildings include a small, mid-19th century wood-frame slaves' quarter. A cemetery lies to the west of the manor house and church. The manor house was built in 1741 as the headquarters of the Maryland Mission of the Society of Jesus. It served as the Superior's and later the Provincial's official residence. Today, the manor house complex is recognized as the oldest Jesuit residence continuously occupied by that order in the world. The mission settlement of Chapel Point was started by Father Andrew White, S.J., in 1641. He administered to the Potapoco Native Americans, some of whom he converted to Catholicism. Established in 1662, this is the oldest continuously active Roman Catholic parish in what were the 13 English-speaking colonies of North America founded by Great Britain. In 1794 it was at St. Thomas Manor that John Carroll was invested in his robes as the first Catholic bishop of the United States of America, after the successful Revolutionary War. (He later traveled to London for official consecration as a bishop by the Vicar Apostolic.) This investiture established St. Thomas as the first Roman Catholic see in the United States. The mansion is the oldest surviving example of the Georgian style in Maryland. During the years of slavery and after the American Civil War, when much of the South classified people as only black or white, St. Ignatius was among the Catholic parishes that continued to record their Native congregational members as Indian, regardless of whether they were of mixed race. In colonial and United States records, by contrast, some Native Americans lost their identities through being classified as free people of color, "colored" or white. Research in Catholic records has helped some tribes document their continuous history and gain state and federal recognition since the 20th century. St. Thomas Manor was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.