Historic St. Paul's Kent Parish
Certainly I do not remember experiencing any morbid mood swings, these words will become obvious at the end of this post I hope, the day I pulled off that bumpy county road and into the church parking lot. Ah yes that narrow twisting piece of rural asphalt I found myself traveling after getting on it a few miles back at one of those points of interest road signs in the hope of taking a few photographs.
While driving along on what most would consider a country road I proceeded slowly so as to take in the scenery composed of thickets of trees, an occasional house, small farms, and numerous meandering streams. It was quiet and peaceful that day as I found myself anxious to find out what the historic church setting would turn out to be as I navigated the twists and turns in the road. It was at the point when I spied a small pond in the depression of a field directly in front of me that I realized just how fortunate I was to have made the turn at that road sign 10 minutes ago.
For there on a slight rise above the pond, and to my left, were a couple of older looking brick buildings, one obviously being that of a church, set behind group of very mature trees. The scene itself seemed worthy of an artist rendering that was for sure and behind them were grave stones spreading out into the adjacent churchyard. Yes I had arrived at my destination and could already feel the ambiance from the scenery descend upon me as I approached the entranceway of this historic Kent County Maryland parish church.
* Note: the above pictured building has been referred to as the original church rectory
Maryland Bicentennial Tree Marker • A 400 Year Old Swamp Chestnut Oak At St. Paul's Kent Parish
I took a moment or two in order to stand outside my car and take in the tranquil surroundings afforded me at that moment. It was so quiet there as it felt like I was the only person in the vicinity for miles. Directly above me towered a 100' plus high designated Maryland Bicentennial Tree, a swamp chestnut oak, that some believe is more than 400 years old. I do so look forward to my upcoming visit in the spring in order to see it's huge canopy filled with leaves shading the churchyard.
Walking in the direction of the church I looked out across the nearby grounds taking note of the different styles of tombstones and grave markers that spanned a period of over three centuries. In the distance I could see the pond I had passed earlier set out in the middle of what appeared to be a small farmers field adjacent to the parish property as the morning sunlight shimmered off the water's surface. There were so many other types of trees scattered throughout the churchyard that I had difficulty identifying certain ones. There was no doubt at that very moment how I could spend the better part of the day taking numerous photographs around this property.
Late 17th Century Grave Marker In The Churchyard • St. Paul's Kent Parish
As I approached the church I noticed the grave marker of a colonial planter named Michael Miller buried here in the St. Paul’s Kent Parish churchyard. Mr. Miller donated the land that the church was built on in 1696, the present building was constructed in 1713. For over 300 years St. Paul’s parishioners have walked past Mr. Miller’s grave on their way to services being that it is located close to the entrance door of the church
* Note: since my visit to the St. Paul's Kent Parish cemetery Mr. Miller's original grave marker has been removed and replaced with a more modern looking granite stone. As to the reason for this I am not sure. (October 2014)
Driving home after my brief visit to this Eastern Shore historic church I thought about one of the dilemmas faced by scenic photographers out on location which is how can one seem more focused on their next visit then they are during the one they are currently on. In this case was it the time of day, position of the sun or composition of the foliage that had me thinking this way? Perhaps, no it certainly was because I recognized how much more picturesque those images will appear what with the background of Spring being a part of each photograph that I would be taking here in the future.
G J Gibson
Gallery Note: currently the photographs featured on this post are not on display in the main gallery
Images and Article Copyright ©2014 G J Gibson Photography LLC