Meet at the Visitor Center Auditorium.
One of the earliest Irish immigrants to Maryland became a very significant person in the 17th-century colony, and yet he is almost totally forgotten by history. This began to change in 1990, when golf course construction near Kent Island caused a frantic rescue archaeology project in which Historic St. Mary’s City (HSMC) archaeologists assisted. The site was the plantation of this early settler named Henry Coursey. He came to Maryland in 1649 and quickly rose to prominence, serving on the Governor’s council; as a chief judge; and as Maryland’s main negotiator with Native Americans. Although a Protestant, Coursey became a close personal friend of Chancellor Philip Calvert, and almost certainly attended Calvert’s burial in his lead coffin at the Chapel. In this talk, HSMC’s Maryland Heritage Scholar, Dr. Henry Miller, presents a summary of Henry Coursey’s story, and reviews some of the many discoveries made during the rescue excavations. Particular emphasis is given to the unusual architecture we found, and its possible unanticipated influence upon Maryland’s oldest standing building.