Charles County, Maryland
Seal of Charles County, Maryland
Map of Maryland highlighting Charles County
Location in the state of Maryland
Map of the U.S. highlighting Maryland
Maryland's location in the U.S.
Founded 1658
Seat La Plata
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

643.22 sq mi (1,666 km²)
461.00 sq mi (1,194 km²)
182.22 sq mi (472 km²), 28.33%
 - (2010)
 - Density

318/sq mi (122.7/km²)

Charles County is a county in the south central portion of the U.S. state of Maryland.

As of 2010, the population was 146,551.[1] Its county seat is La Plata. This county was named for Charles Calvert (1637–1715), third Baron Baltimore.

Charles County is a part of the Washington Metropolitan Area.


Charles County was created in 1658 by an Order in Council. There was an earlier Charles County from 1650 to 1653, sometimes referred to in historic documents as Old Charles County.[2][3][4]

In April 1865, John Wilkes Booth made his escape through Charles County after shooting President Abraham Lincoln. He was on his way to Virginia.

On April 28, 2002, a tornado cut through the County and destroyed much of downtown La Plata.

The county has a number of properties on the National Register of Historic Places.[5]

Law and Government[]

Charles County is reliably Democratic, although not as overwhelmingly so as other parts of Maryland's Washington, D.C. suburbs.

Board of Commissioners[]

Charles County is governed by county commissioners, the traditional form of county government in Maryland. There are five commissioners. As of 2008, they were:

Position Name Affiliation District
  President Candice Quinn Kelly Democratic At-Large
  Commissioner Reuben B. Collins, II Democratic Vice President
  Commissioner Ken Robinson Democratic District 1
  Commissioner Debra M. Davis, Esq. Democratic District 2
  Commissioner Bobby Rucci Democratic District 4

Charles County is entirely located within the 5th Congressional District. The current representative is Democratic House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer.


According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 643.22 square miles (1,665.9 km2), of which 461.00 square miles (1,194.0 km2) (or 71.67%) is land and 182.22 square miles (471.9 km2) (or 28.33%) is water.[6]

In its western wing, along the southernmost bend in Maryland Route 224, Charles County contains a rare instance where the traveler is due north, east, south, and west of the same state—Virginia.[7]

Adjacent counties[]

National protected area[]

  • Thomas Stone National Historic Site


Top employers[]

According to the County's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers by number of employees in the county are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Charles County Board of Education 3,509
2 Naval Surface Warfare Center 3,021
3 Charles County Government 1,719
4 College of Southern Maryland 1,090
5 Civista Medical Center 805
6 Wal-Mart 674
7 Facchina 480
8 Target 467
9 Reliable Contracting 420
10 Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative 379
11 The Wills Group 377
12 Genesis HealthCare 320
13 Lowes 306
14 Macy's 250
15 Charles County Nursing & Rehabilitation Center 250
16 Chaney Enterprises 226
17 Sears 220
18 Keller Bus Service 206


One United States Numbered Highway runs through the county U.S. Route 301, some other notable highways are:

  • Maryland Route 5
  • Maryland Route 6
  • Maryland Route 210
  • Maryland Route 224
  • Maryland Route 228
  • Maryland Route 925

Hunters Brooke Arson[]

On December 4, 2004 an arson took place in the development of Hunters Brooke which is located a few miles southeast of Indian Head. It later became the largest residential arson[8] in the history of the state of Maryland.[9][10][11]


Historical populations
of Charles County
Year Population
1790 20,613
1800 19,172
1810 20,245
1820 16,500
1830 17,769
1840 16,023
1850 16,162
1860 16,517
1870 15,738
1880 18,548
1890 15,191
Year Population
1900 17,662
1910 16,386
1920 17,705
1930 16,166
1940 17,612
1950 23,415
1960 32,572
1970 47,678
1980 72,751
1990 101,154
2000 120,546
2010 146,551

The county is experiencing a dramatic growth in African-American population, which began in 1990. Census figures below are from 2000:

As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 120,546 people, 41,668 households, and 32,292 families residing in the county. The population density was 262 people per square mile (101/km²). There were 43,903 housing units at an average density of 95 per square mile (37/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 68.51% White, 26.06% Black or African American, 0.75% Native American, 1.82% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.72% from other races, and 2.08% from two or more races. 2.26% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 11.6% were of German, 10.8% Irish, 10.2% English, 9.3% American and 5.3% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 41,668 households out of which 41.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.00% were married couples living together, 14.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.50% were non-families. 17.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.86 and the average family size was 3.21.

In the county the population was spread out with 28.70% under the age of 18, 7.60% from 18 to 24, 33.20% from 25 to 44, 22.70% from 45 to 64, and 7.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 95.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $62,199, and the median income for a family was $67,602 (these figures had risen to $80,573 and $89,358 respectively as of a 2007 estimate[13]). Males had a median income of $43,371 versus $34,231 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,285. About 3.70% of families and 5.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.70% of those under age 18 and 8.60% of those age 65 or over.

As of 2010 the county population's racial makeup was 48.38% Non-Hispanic whites, 40.96% blacks, 0.65% Native Americans, 2.98% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islanders, 0.17% Non-Hispanics of some other race, 3.20% Non-Hispanics reporting more than one race and 4.27% Hispanic.

Cities and towns[]

This county contains the following incorporated municipalities:

  1. Indian Head (incorporated 1920)
  2. La Plata (incorporated 1888)
  3. Port Tobacco Village (incorporated 1888) (Note that, despite its name, Port Tobacco Village is a town, not a village.)

All three are classified as towns under Maryland law. About half the County population lives around the large unincorporated community of Waldorf, Maryland.

Unincorporated areas are also considered as towns by many people and listed in many collections of towns, but they lack local government. Various organizations, such as the United States Census Bureau, the United States Postal Service, and local chambers of commerce, define the communities they wish to recognize differently, and since they are not incorporated, their boundaries have no official status outside the organizations in question. The Census Bureau recognizes the following census-designated places in the county:

  1. Bennsville
  2. Bryans Road
  3. Hughesville
  4. Potomac Heights
  5. Saint Charles
  6. Waldorf

Other unincorporated places not listed as Census-Designated Places but known in the area include:

  1. Bel Alton
  2. Benedict
  3. Bryantown
  4. Cobb Island
  5. Dentsville
  6. Faulkner
  7. Grayton
  8. Ironsides
  9. Issue
  10. Malcolm
  11. Marbury
  12. Morgantown
  13. Mount Victoria
  14. Nanjemoy
  15. Newburg
  16. Pisgah
  17. Pomfret
  18. Popes Creek
  19. Pomonkey
  20. Ripley
  21. Rison
  22. Rock Point
  23. Swan Point
  24. Welcome
  25. White Plains


Colleges and universities[]

  • College of Southern Maryland, in La Plata.

Public school system[]

Notable residents[]

  • Jane Herbert Wilkinson Long (1798–1880) is considered to be the “Mother of Texas.”
  • Benjamin Stoddert (1751–1813), first United States Secretary of the Navy
  • Samuel Alexander Mudd (1833–1883)- Born in Charles County, Mudd is the Maryland doctor implicated and imprisoned for aiding John Wilkes Booth in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
  • George Cary (1811–1850), born near Allens Fresh in Charles County, United States Congressman from Georgia[14]
  • James Neale (1615–1684) Born Drury Lane, London, England immigrated 1634, founded Wollaston Manor plantation and Cobb Island.
  • Prominent American Revolutionary War statesmen John Hanson, Thomas Stone, Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, and General William Smallwood
  • Barnes Compton, US Congressman
  • James Craik Physician General during the American Revolution, and Gustavus Richard Brown were George Washington's physicians.
  • Josiah Henson (1789–1883) former slave and author.
  • Co-discoverer of the North Pole Matthew Henson (African-American) and Captain Raphael Semmes of the Confederate ship "Alabama" were born near Nanjemoy.
  • Chuck Brown, hip-hop musician, lives in Waldorf
  • Christina Milian, musician, lived in Waldorf
  • Joel and Benji Madden from the band Good Charlotte grew up in Waldorf
  • Robert Stethem, noted terror hijacking victim, grew up in Pinefield, Waldorf
  • Danny Gatton (1945–1994), legendary guitarist, lived in Newburg
  • Larry Johnson, running back for the Washington Redskins is from Pomfret, Maryland.
  • Randy Starks, defensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins is from Waldorf.


Club League Venue Established Championships
Southern Maryland Blue Crabs ALPB, Baseball Regency Furniture Stadium 2008 0

See also[]

  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Charles County, Maryland


  1. ^ "{{{title}}}". 
  2. ^ "The Counties of Maryland" 630: 122–124. Retrieved on November 16, 2007. 
  3. ^ Maryland Geological Survey (1911). "Prince Georges County": 21–22. Retrieved on November 16, 2007. 
  4. ^ Maryland Geological Survey (1906). "Maryland Geological Survey: General Reports": 474–477. Retrieved on April 5, 2008. 
  5. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  6. ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  7. ^ This oddity of political geography happens in other places in Maryland, the sole state with points where travel as the crow flies due north, east, south, and west goes into the same state (Virginia).
  8. ^ United States Attorney for the District of Maryland (March 1, 2006). "Violent Crime Program 2005 Annual Report". United States Department of Justice. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  9. ^ Courson, Paul; Joanthan Wild (December 21, 2004). "Two more arrested in Maryland fires". Washington, Dc: CNN. p. 1. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  10. ^ Witte, Brian (January 3, 2005). "Maryland Hunts for Motives Behind State's Largest Residential Arson". Insurance Journal. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  11. ^ Hancock, David (Dec. 18, 2004). "3 More Charged In Maryland Arson". LA PLATA, Md: CBS NEWS. p. 1. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  12. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  13. ^ Charles County, Maryland - Fact Sheet - American FactFinder
  14. ^ (1963) "Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607–1896". 

External links[]

Coordinates: 38°29′N 77°01′W / 38.48, -77.01

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