Thursday, October 4, 2007


The beginnings of Port Tobacco can be traced back to the mid-1600s. Job Chandler and his brother Simon Oversee were granted rights to a tract of land on the east bank of the Port Tobacco River. Job constructed a two-room cabin on a hill overlooking the river, a property now known as Chandler's Hope. Soon afterwards, the settlement of Chandlerstown began on the bank of the river.

Upon his death, Job Chandler was buried a short distance from the cabin. The land of Chandler's Hope was patented in 1674 by William Chandler, who held the property until 1725. At this time the property passed to his nephew, William Neale. W. Neale and his wife raised five sons at Chandler's Hope. The Neale boys all became priests. Father Leonard Neale was the second Archbishop of Baltimore and president of Georgetown University. Father Francis Neale late took Leonard's post at the University. Father Charles Neale helped found the first women's convent in the United States, the Discalced Carmelite Monastery.

The property of Chandler's Hope remained in the hands of the Neale family until 1836. A sequence of events lead to the division of the property from 760 acres in 1782 to 450 acres in 1867. Those who came into posession of sections of Chandler's Hope are familiar to anyone who has studied the Barbour map of Port Tobacco; the Brawners, Matthews, and Boswells.

Before Chandlerstown became Port Tobacco it was known as Charlestown. But that is a story for another day.


P.S. For a recent news article about the Carmelite Nuns, click here.

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