This weekend, I went to Old Saint Mary's City, Maryland. This was the Capital before Annapolis, and the 4th United States colony settlement. For those of you who don't know, Maryland was created as a colony to be a haven for the Catholics. But even though it was a haven, it was still under British rule, which wasn't very tolerant of religion back then. Catholics could not own land and I've read they were even sometimes taxed higher than Protestants. I saw the oldest Catholic church in America. The very first built, was wooden, and burned down during political unrest. The second was built on the same site, this church, in 1667. The amazing thing was, during political unrest, they were ordered to take down the church and not practice Catholicism, because Church of England/Episcopalian was the official religion then. The church was buried. This was before the separation of church and state, which started with the United States new government. Archeological digs and a lot of work happened to restore the church. I saw pictures of the church being unearthed and rebuilt about 300 years later. By the time Catholics and Jews immigrated in large numbers about the year 1900, religious freedom was much better established in the United States. (And England as well.) I think this particular Catholic church has a fascinating history! Three lead coffins were discovered and studied! Part of the founding Calvert family. I am thankful for so many founding fathers (men and women) who paved the way for religious freedom in our country today. And for military today that help keep our freedoms. Hope you enjoy these pictures. Check out the church's history here. It shows step by step pictures of reconstruction: https://www.stmaryscity.org/research/archaeology/the-chapel-log/
You can also read more about the city on the web site. This city was Catholic. The other settlements near the same time like Jamestown and Plymouth were Protestant.
Here's some of my pictures (click on pictures to view full screen):