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What's In a Name?


Maurice J. McDonough High School

Opened 1977

C. Paul Barnhart

Education was a primary concern for Maurice JamesMcDonough who was born in 1732 in Ireland. He immigrated to the United States and settled in the village of Pomfret where he operated a general store.

McDonough became increasingly aware of the vast illiteracy of the people, just after the Revolutionary War. It is said that when General Cornwallis surrendered in Yorktown, McDonough relayed the information to his fellow Charles Countians by reading to them from the local newspaper, as they were not able to read the news themselves.

Appalled at the lack of educational opportunity given to the people of the area, McDonough made it his goal to make education available to all the children living in his area of the county. In his will, McDonough left his estate to his wife Elizabeth.

McDonough stated that upon Elizabeth's death, the estate was to be sold and the money used to establish a fund to educate the poor children of the area.

Three years later in 1807, Elizabeth died and the $3,000 estate was invested. The income was used to educate needy children according to McDonough's will.

Just after 1900, the McDonough Institute was founded with money from the original estate. The school was the first high school in Charles County. When La Plata High School was founded in 1927, the McDonough Institute was sold and the money was used to provide scholarships to children attending college.

Source: The Clarion 1911, published by the Authority of the Principal, McDonough Institute, La Plata, Md.

Go to McDonough's website





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