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The Port Tobacco Alliance


A Maryland Mosaic

On this ground, two cultures — Indian and European — confronted one another. Here a commercial town and government center grew, declined, grew again, and declined again. Residents raised supplies for the Continental Army and, during the depression after the American Revolution, closed the courts to prevent foreclosures. A great US President's kidnapping was plotted, a scheme that ended in his murder. Twenty years earlier two free Africans were tried and convicted in the courthouse for leading a peaceful slave insurrection. This is Port Tobacco.

Potobacs, one of the ancestral groups of today's Piscataway Indians and other native groups, had a village in this area in the 1600s. By the end of that century or early in the next Europeans built a scatter of houses and warehouses called Chandler's Town. Renamed Charles Town in 1727, but known locally throughout its history as Port Tobacco, the town became, and remained, the seat of Charles County government until 1896.

The only surviving map of the town dates to 1888, 200 years after initial European settlement. Over those years the town's inhabitants and neighbors shared in the nation's major experiences:
• conflicts with Native Americans;
• the Revolutionary War;
• growing number and diversity of religious groups;
• slavery;
• the Civil War; and
• segregation, to name a few.

The people of Port Tobacco helped forge the nation's character. Ongoing research examines those people and the nation they helped create.

The Port Tobacco Alliance is an informal group of individuals and organizations committed to sustainable conservation, heritage, archaeology, and recreation in the Port Tobacco Valley.

Members include:
• Society for the Restoration of Port Tobacco, Inc.
• Thomas Stone National Historic Site, National Park Service
• Southern Maryland Resource Conservation & Development
• Friends of Ellerslie, Inc.
• Charles County Archaeological Society of Maryland, Inc., and
• Charles County Department of Planning & Growth Management.