Charles County, one of the original counties of the province, was created by an Order in Council of 1658. It is not to be confused with an earlier Charles County (1650-1653) known as Old Charles County. The county is bordered to the north by Prince George's County, the east and southeast by the Patuxent River and St. Mary's County, and the south and southwest by the Potomac River. The county was named for Charles Calvert, son and heir of Cecilius Calvert, Second Lord Baltimore.
Tobacco has long been a staple of Charles County's economy. The sing-song chant of the tobacco auctioneer is a familiar sound in towns such as Hughesville, Waldorf, and La Plata, which serve as tobacco auction centers. Charles County abounds in reminders of its colonial past. Its rich history is reflected in the numerous historic sites in the county, including Habre de Venture, the home of Thomas Stone, a signer of the Declaration of Independence; Retreat, the home of Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, member of the Continental Congress and signer of the U. S. Constitution; Mount Carmel Monastery, the first convent founded in the original United States; and St. Catherine, the home of Dr. Samuel Mudd. Two Maryland governors, John Hoskins Stone and William Smallwood, and John Hanson, president of the United States under the Articles of Confederation, have called Charles County home.
Plata is the sprawling seat of government for Charles County. The town
came into existence shortly after the arrival of the Pope's Creek railroad
in 1868. The width of Charles Street, seen here in 1936, appears to have
allowed for drivers to establish their own lanes of traffic.
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smiling, half somber, the Charles County 4H club girls exhibited their
handiwork in 1934.
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de Venture was built by Thomas Stone, a signer of the Declaration of Independence,
in the early 1770s. Unfortunately, the house burned down two centuries
later; its restoration is currently being planned.
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Wakefield stopped at Grinder's Wharf near Indian Head on Mattawoman Creek
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agents of the University of Maryland Extension Service helped demonstrate
how local farmers could fight plant and animal diseases. In 1931 the next
generation got a lesson in raising corn in a field near Waldorf.
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