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Kayakers on Port Tobacco Creek, in Charles County, Maryland, recently found a pair of very old coffins floating downstream.  It seems the coffins – which contained a mother and her child – surfaced after a major rainstorm further damaged the now-submerged Christ Church cemetery that used to lie on the bank of the creek.

The Christ Church parish formed before 1692 and has met in at least three churches.  The first of these was located just northwest of the once-thriving town of Port Tobacco, along the creek.  Following the destruction of the first, the congregation rebuilt its church on the Port Tobacco town square, and later moved to LaPlata as Port Tobacco withered economically.  But the original Christ Church cemetery interments (now underwater) were never moved from the site northwest of Port Tobacco.

One Maddox researcher believes that our Cornelius Maddox (1651-1705) and Benjamin Maddox (I) (1690-1773) were buried in the original Christ Church cemetery, but has provided no evidence.  We tend to believe the assertion, since Christ Church would have been the closest Anglican church to Cornelius’ and Benjamin’s lands and would be the logical place for burial.  But nobody has been able to produce a list of interments.

During a visit to the Port Tobacco Courthouse today, local historian Anita Barbour Gordon relayed her father’s account of hunting ducks while perching atop semi-submerged gravestones in the Christ Church cemetery.  Those stones are now fully submerged, and nothing remains of the place.

christ-church-sign

A sign near the current Port Tobacco Courthouse points toward the location of the second Christ Church location.  The original (Old Old Christ Church) location is in the opposite direction.

jlb-collection_port-tobacco-1895_photo-by-samuel-c-worsley

An 1895 photo shows Christ Church as it stood in Port Tobacco in the 19th century.  This stone church replaced the 17th-century original, which had stood to the northwest across Port Tobacco Creek.