Odd Names on the Map
Anne Arundel Calvert course, Baltimore is our largest city. Interestingly, our capital, Annapolis, was originally named for Anne Arundel Calvert, the wife of the second Lord Baltimore, but it was changed in favor of Anna Stuart, who would later be Queen Anne. Yet the county is still named for Anne Arundel, so a city named for a Protestant Queen is in a county named for a Catholic Lady. But Maryland always had religious freedom and, despite some early tension, everyone gets along just fine now. That was not the only name that f lipped from Catholic to Protestant.
There is a river in Talbot County that was named the St. Michaels River, then had it’s name shortened first to the Michaels River, and finally to the Miles River because, it is assumed, local Quakers didn’t care much for Catholic saints dotting their landscape. However, on the western shore there are the towns of St. Leonards, St. Helena, St. Charles and a few more. Also, St. Clements Island. Actually, the first European name for the Chesapeake Bay dates from Spanish days, but la Bahia de Santa Maria, or St. Mary’s Bay, didn’t stick. The Chesapeake Bay was Chesepiooc sinus on John White’s map of 1590, but is spelled Chesapeake on Capt. John Smith’s 1612 map. Phonetically, these names sound very much alike, and Chesapeake is said to be the Native American word for Great Shellfish Bay, which aptly describes it. Or used to.