The parish system was created in 1692 when the general assembly provided a tax of 40 pounds of tobacco annually for the support of the Church of England, to pay for the building of churches, such as All Saints, and support for its minister. This log cabin church is what the original church might have looked like.
Originally, there were no separation of church and state laws in place. The parish vestry and the rector played an important role in regulating life in the colonial community. When people broke the law, swift and often public punishments were given. While many of these punishments seem odd or harsh to us today, we see some of the same crimes today, including murder, theft, and disturbing the peace. Certain crimes that are not considered that threatening today were taken very seriously in colonial times. Many crimes, including some that are not taken so seriously today, were give harsh punishment, such as blasphemy, slander and public drunkenness. Treason was a major crime because the king wanted to keep tight control in the colonies. The picture below shows some common tools of punishment used in colonial times; stocks, the pillory and the whipping post were often found in the yard outside of many churches and later - outside of most courtrooms. Some of these punishment devices may have even been present on the All Saints campus, perhaps where the labyrinth resides today.
The original log church, built in the depression of the "tear-drop shaped" property, was situated between the north brick entrance of today's church campus and across Route 2 from our Rectory building/Oxford House. Two grave markers, both fallen, remain on that original part of the property. Due to their location, they are thought to be the oldest identified gravesites on the All Saints' campus. One gravemarker is illegible, but the other one reads as follows: Here lies the Body of JAMES POORE Who Departed this Life the 12th Day of January 1765 Aged 55 Years 1 month And 3 Days
The stone Baptismal Font, used in the church today, was purchased from England by the vestry in 1734. It was delivered at Easter in 1735 and used in the original log church until it was moved to our current brick building in 1777. In fact, it may pre-date 1735. The design, material and craftsmanship suggest that this may have been in use in England prior to its being sent on to the colonies to continue the work of the Church there.
For many years, the Sunday School Annual Christmas Pageant was an event to look forward to - a rite of passage of sorts. All the Sunday school students participated. According to Martha H., it was a thrill to be picked to be one of the wise men or Mary and Joseph. Throughout her childhood, the same beautiful costumes were used year after year. There were costumes for the angels, shepherds, the wise men and Mary and Joseph. There were even extra, smaller angel and shepherd costumes for the youngest Sunday school students - EVERYONE always had a part. Does anyone have more pictures of Christmas pageants past or remember who made those costumes? Can you identify any of the Sunday school students in these pictures?
Martha Grahame Hyde unveiled the Maryland Historical Society Marker in 1963. According to the Maryland's National Register website: The history of the present All Saints' Church building is unusual because it is so well documented. Due to All Saints' being a "state church," the published volumes of the Archives of Maryland contain pertinent documented source material on the building. Special reference is given to the establishment of All Saints' Parish in 1692 and to the erection of the present church building between 1774 and 1777. The original vestry books refer to additions made in 1703 to the first church structure (1695), which is no longer extant. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) compiled the Inventory of the Church Archives of Maryland, which dates the construction of the extant building between 1774 and 1777. It also names Cleland and Heathman as the builders. This building was built with county taxes while Thomas Claggett (1743-1816) was the Rector. He later became the first Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal faith to be consecrated in America.
Mrs. Verda Turner created the recipe used to make the always delicious "Summer Supper" crab cakes. According to stories passed down through the years, only she knew the recipe and would not share it! Rumor has it that when she wrote down this recipe, she purposely left out an ingredient.
The first "Summer Supper" (originally called the Cemetery Supper) was organized by the All Saints Ladies Guild on August 13, 1938. A profit of $49 was realized from that initial event. The final Summer Supper was held in 2015. Through the years, the menu remained very similar. Many in the community looked forward to Mrs. Verda Turner's Southern Maryland Crab Cakes each year!
The sundial, located a short distance from the front of the church, was presented to All Saints by Rev. Thomas John Claggett in 1792. He gave the sundial in thanksgiving for being called as the first Bishop consecrated on American soil. According to All Saints lore, the sundial was missing for a period of time at some point in the past. Apparently, the base needed to be repaired and the actual sundial was taken down. A lengthy period of time went by and the sundial was later found in storage at the home of two older ladies who thought is was a piece of junk. During the mid to late 1980s, the sundial was stolen from the church grounds. A quick-thinking parishioner got word out to every antique store within 100 miles and several days later it was recovered. A replica was created soon after and now sits outside the church on a pedestal. The original sundial is now under lock and key!