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A River Affair honors John Hanson Briscoe

For the fourth year in a row a celebration of the St. Mary’s River was held at a venue overlooking the historic estuary. Called “A River Affair,” the event is sponsored by the St. Mary’s River Watershed Association (SMRWA). This year it was held Sunday under a big tent on the grounds of the Inn at Brome Howard in St. Mary’s City.

“We are celebrating the river and one of the great men of St. Mary’s County,” said SMRWA President Joe Anderson. He was referring to John Hanson Briscoe, who passed away on January 1sit of this year. The man who was named after the President of the Continental Congress, served a distinguished public career as Speaker of the House of Delegates and a circuit court judge.

But Anderson remembered Briscoe’s environmental advocacy, as one who spearheaded expansion of Point Lookout State Park and the saving of St. Clement’s Island, site of Maryland’s founding. As chairman of the House Natural Resources and Environmental Matter Committee, he was an early champion of saving the Chesapeake Bay.

“He was a man of the land, he was a man of the water, he was a man of his community,” Anderson observed.

Anderson announced at the event that the association is establishing a unique memorial in Briscoe’s honor. A reef ball, with his name inscribed on it, will be lowered into the river. With that action, Anderson said, Briscoe “will continue to help clean this river up.”

Briscoe’s widow, Bonnie was also presented with a photo album of pictures of the river taken by Richard Holden, one of the association board members who pioneered the River Affair event.

Music at the River Affair was provided by Gretchen Richie’s Jazz Cabaret, consisting of herself, her husband Randy and Frank Holligan.

The event also featured a silent auction and a live auction conducted by former county commissioner Dan Raley.

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