Maryland was a Catholic refuge in the new
world. In his book "Catholic
Families of Southern Maryland" Timothy J. O'Rourke reminds us
of the pivotal role that St. Mary's county played in the history of
Catholicism in America:
Mary's County is where it all began " the cradle of Catholicity."
There was established
the first Catholic parish, the first
Catholic school, the first community of religious men in
As O'Rourke notes, St.
Mary's County remained the nucleus of the development of the Catholic
Church in America. Catholics from St. Mary's County were later to
spearhead the westward movement. There were Johnson's in the
Catholic migration to Kentucky after the American revolution.
Among the early
Catholics of St. Mary's County were our ancestors. They were
mostly farmers. They were patriots. They were the common
folk that worked hard to make a better life in the new world. The
following passage by O'Rourke could
be a good summary description of our early Catholic Johnson ancestors:
unsung heroes are the plain people. And so it was with the
Catholics of St. Mary's County, mostly farmers whose roots in America
reached back to almost the beginning of their state."