|US Route 50 (Ocean Gateway) at Manadier Road|
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
Old White Marsh Cemetery and the ruins of Old White Marsh Church are significant as tangible remains of the early history of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Maryland. This church and cemetery existed prior to any other on the Eastern Shore save Christ Church, Kent Island, which long ago entirely disappeared.
The church is believed to have been erected between 1662 and 1665. The first date mentioned in the Parish records is 1690, when Joseph Leech was acting minister. There is a courthouse record in Talbot County for June 21, 1687, authorizing repairs to the road "from Cooleys' gate to the Church at White Marsh." When the Maryland Assembly made the Church of England the state church of Maryland in 1692, it outlined St. Peter's Parish where White Marsh Church is located as one of the thirty original parishes in the colony.
The location of Old White Marsh Church was chosen in the 17th century because of its accessibility to the trade and commerce of that day. It was a focal point on the main public road, lying midway between the Town of Oxford and the now extinct Town of Dover, Maryland, which was originally the county seat of Talbot County, on the upper Choptank River.
The Rev. Daniel Maynadier, a Huguenot, was Rector from 1711 to 1745; and according to historical records both he and his wife are buried under the chancel of the Church. The church was rebuilt during his office, and new Communion silver service was ordered from England in 1736. All things of this nature taking a great deal of time to complete, it was not until 1738 that the silver arrived, as noted in the Vestry minutes. The silver patent, four inches in diameter, two silver chalices and a flagon are still in use at St. Paul's Church in nearby Trappe.
Following Dr. Maynadier, who was much beloved by the Parishioners, was the Rev. Thomas Bacon in 1746. From the Isle of Great Britain, he was ordained and licensed by the Bishop of London for Maryland. He lived at Oxford, and enlarged both the Church and congregation, being a very forceful and eloquent preacher. He was one of the first champions of the minority groups he found here, the indentured servants, black people and slaves. He was a lawyer, as well, and in 1770 coded the laws of the Territory, particularly those applicable to Church matters, into "Bacons' Laws of Maryland." He instituted the building of a Charity Working School for poor boys, under the patronage of both Lord and Lady Baltimore, who gave financial support to the effort. The inmates were known as "Baltimore Boys," and the school was a mile or two down the road to Oxford from
the church. This was the first vocational school to be established on the Eastern Shore.
The church having fallen again into disrepair, it was enlarged to nearly double its previous capacity in 1751. Dr. Bacon moved from Oxford to Dover, Maryland, which was still at that time the county seat, and being plagued by ill health, accepted a Parish at Federalsburg, where he continued to write and publish his sermons.
After 1795 services were alternated between White Marsh and Easton, which had by then become the county seat and the center of industry in the area. By 1847 fewer services were held at Old White Marsh and the rector lived in Easton, where Christ Church was being built. The old Bible and Communion Service, as well as
the wooden alms box were moved to St. Paul's Church, Trappe, where they remain today. In 1851 Holy Trinity became the Parish at Oxford, leaving White Marsh Church almost abandoned except for occasional services. In January 1897 the Church was being prepared for a service when the building caught fire from brush that was being cleared and burned in the yard. This completely destroyed the old church except for the brick walls still standing today.
Courtesy of National Park Service, National Register of Historic Place