When the Maryland Department of Natural Resources took title to 1,700 acres in St. Mary's in late April, the state was taking over land owned by the Jesuit Order of the Roman Catholic Clergymen for hundreds of years.
The Jesuits needed money to fund medical care for its aging members, and the state, which is aiming to protect waterfront land from development, paid $15.8 million for 910 acres at Kitts Point in St. Inigoes and $14 million for 790 acres at Newtowne Neck in Compton.The Jesuits allowed farming on the lands for generations and some houses even went up. Now that the state has ownership of the two tracts of land, what happens to those tenants? There is a house on the water at the end of a gravel road in Newtowne Neck. There are barns and six houses on the land at Kitts Point. Both properties are peninsulas. Tim Brower, Eastern region administrator for the land acquisition and planning division of Maryland Department of Natural Resources, said the farming leases there will be extended for at least five years.
The overall purchase of Jesuit properties in St. Mary's, Charles and Cecil counties was 4,473 acres for $56.9 million.The deeds for the two properties in St. Mary's date back to 1793, but the church has had ownership of them since shortly after the founding of Maryland in 1634.
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