Saturday, January 10, 2009
Around mid-morning, we spoke to a journalist who works for The Tester, the Patuxent River Naval Air Station's newspaper. We explained to her that African Americans in Southern Maryland often made their own grave markers from concrete...an inexpensive, and often highly expressive, form of mortuary art that freed them from dealing with suspect European American retailers and tradesmen. Not long after she left, Scott and I turned up a headstone that looked very much like a marble tablet set on a marble base; but instead of two pieces, there was only one. It was in fact a homemade marker cast as a single piece of concrete. We also found a matching footstone made the same way.
Such do-it-yourself markers contribute to the difficulty in finding African American cemeteries. Apart from the many unmarked graves and graves marked with fieldstones, even inscribed markers--especially if broken--can pass notice of the inexperienced.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Today and next week are going to be tests to my handyman skills as all of our screens need to be repaired. Either new screens needed to be put in, handles made, or adjustments to "ricketiness" have to be done. Now, for those of you who don't know me, I am not exactly "Mr. Handy". Actually, I'm lucky if I can find the right side of the hammer to use (Dad, I know you can relate).
I'll post some pictures next week on the process...that is if I survive the ordeal.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Of course, if you go out to Port Tobacco today, there are very few obvious survey points, but we did find one on top of the rubble pile on the jailhouse lot and another turned up in one of our excavation units, although I'll have to flip through the notes to find that unit. With our total station and a bit of experience on the parts of Scott and myself, we might succeed. It's so crazy it just might work. (Picture a Muppet saying this.)
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
The southern portion of this parcel traces back to the ownership of Margaret Baillie and Margaret Boyd. It was called Lots 4 and 5, as well as part of Spaulding's Square when William Boswell acquired them in 1859 (Liber JHC 1, folio 167).
On the north (village green) side of these lots was the land of Elijah W. Day and, I think, the Centennial Hotel lot. Here's where I'm going with this: I think the reason that Pete's excavations at the Centennial Hotel locus failed to encounter the expected foundations is that we were not on the Centennial hotel/Elijah W. Day lot...we were on Lots 4 and 5.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Map showing individual graves. Dark ovals represent grave fossae while other figures represent planted stones.
There are hundreds of such cemeteries throughout Maryland and all too often they are missed or worse, ignored when the land is slated for development. Many have already been obliterated. If, in your travels, you think you may have found such a site, notify your county government or historical society. You can also contact Jim or myself. Just do your part to protect this limited historical resource.
Monday, January 5, 2009
I've prepared a drawing of the cemetery that Scott and I documented in Anne Arundel County Saturday and he should ave a blog posted on that soon.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
This is an incredibly rich 17th-century site on the Eastern Shore with one of the largest collections of British pottery that I have ever seen. I suspect that this was both a dwelling and a store and, as such, might offer a glimpse into what some of the Port Tobacco dwelling/stores have in store for us. Quantities of tin-glazed earthenware recovered from some of the unreported excavations at Port Tobacco in the 1970s are similar to the slipwares recovered from the Grieb site in both numbers and condition.
Before Bruce begins his presentation, I will talk a little about our upcoming fieldwork in and around Port Tobacco beginning in February.
All are welcome...there is no fee, just good fellowship.