Bohemia Manor

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An important early Jesuit school in Maryland. Around 1741 the growth of religious intolerance in the Maryland colony induced the Jesuits to move the center of their activities, at least for a time, to a remote location in Cecil County, not far from the Pennsylvania border. Here at Bohemia Manor (or Bohemian Manor) they opened a boarding school for boys. Although there is no record of the opening date, among the more likely ones are 1742 and 1745. Thomas Poulton, SJ, under whose jurisdiction the school was established, is mentioned as being at Bohemia Manor in 1742. Other indications make 1745 the more probable opening year. For example, it is believed that one of the school's most outstanding pupils, "Jacky" Carroll, later Abp. John Carroll, was about 11 years old when he came to Bohemia Manor, which would be in 1745 or 1746.

The organization and curriculum of the school at Bohemia Manor was quite simple but no doubt similar to that of its European predecessors. The duration of the school is uncertain; it was probably discontinued shortly after Poulton's death in 1749. According to the financial account of Mr. T. Wayt, the schoolmaster, there were apparently two courses available: a classical course for which he received 40 shillings as tuition, and an English course, probably a type of commercial course, for which he received 30 shillings. On the other hand, there may have been two programs: college preparatory and elementary. The scantiness of the records, however, gives us no complete answer to their exact nature. It would seem that the program was not limited to the three "Rs," for it certainly prepared students to be admitted to St. Omer's College in Flanders on completion of their studies at Bohemia Manor. Besides Carroll, among the early students were the three Neale brothers, Benedict, Edward, and Leonard, founder of the georgetown visi tation Convent; James Heath; George Boyes; and Robert Brent.

Whatever the courses offered at Bohemia, the school, like Newtown Manor in St. Mary's County, was of great importance in the early educational endeavors of Maryland. Both schools were of significance to the future of the Church in the U.S., for they were to prepare many students for entrance into European colleges, whence these young men would return to be leaders of the Church in Maryland and the U.S.

Bibliography: t. a. hughes, The History of the Society of Jesus in North America: Colonial and Federal, 4 v. (New York 190717) v.2. j. m. daley, Georgetown University: Origin and Early Years (Washington 1957).

[j. m. daley]