Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Some lessons from a visit to St. Mary's City, MD
Yesterday, I did make a “re-visit” to St. Mary’s City, in the southern part of the peninsula between the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River, in Maryland. It takes a long time to get there from northern Va., and seems to be about 70 miles from Arlington, farther than I had thought.
There is an eight-minute short film “The Story of St. Mary’s City” which explains how this colony , settled in 1634, provided an early experiment in both religious toleration (between Protestants and Catholics) and race relations, as a black person was elected to the assembly. But the Capitol moved to Annapolis in 1690. It gets relatively forgotten compared to Colonial Williamsburg.
The settlers actually learned survival skills from the natives, who wanted the settlers to help them build alliances to protect them from other tribes.
The outdoor area provides an idea of the kinds of skills one would have needed to live in this world. People did not bathe, for example, and dealt with BO. Much of the economy centered around tobacco, a no-no today, but there was also corn. A lot of the hardware skills involved seamanship.
All of this matters to one of my screenplays.
There is a major Episcopal Church on site, with art work demanding wage fairness, as if by Barbara Ehrenreich or maybe Elizabeth Warren.
Nearby, there is Point Lookout, with the ruins of a Civil War POW camp.