Plantations as Complex Historic Places

…the most recent post from Our Folks’ Tales, Andi Cumbo-Floyd’s blog “dedicated to telling the stories of enslaved people, free people of color, and the descendants of these individuals.” You’ll also find there good pages of links for African American history and genealogy. I’ve added this blog to the links on this site. I also left a long comment in response to this entry re: plantations, and invite you also to share your thoughts. More conversation on this topic is currently happening on the Coming to the Table Facebook group.


2 comments on “Plantations as Complex Historic Places

  1. Warren Smith says:

    I did go to see Dunblane, St. Mary City and Magruders Ferry. I did especially enjoy Magruders Ferry which is idyllic and has a plaque concerning the burning of Magruders storage facilities in the war of 1812. There is a pier and there was a fisherman, who happened to be a lady, the day that I visited. I suspect the view of the inlet has not changed over hundreds of years and you can see it as they did in the 1800s. My dads side of the family includes the Magruders, my moms the Piscataways. About 20 mins from Magruders Ferry is an old fashioned barbecue stand named TJs barbecue run by my cousins the Jamesons.

    • susantichy says:

      Hi Warren. I’ve never before been contacted by a person of direct Magruder/Native inheritance, so thanks for writing. I’d love to know more about your family and family tree, if you’d care to share it. You can write me privately by clicking the Contact tab at the top of any page. (And where is your cousins’ barbecue stand? I’ll look for it next time I’m down that way!) As to how the river and riverbank look today…in Alexander’s time, the flat land along the river would have been cultivated, first by indigenous folk and then by colonists who learned from them how to farm in local conditions. Likewise, the land above (where the remaining acres of Anchovie Hills lie today, for example) would have been cleared for building and more planting. The woods there now are secondary growth. The river today is silted in, shallow and fairly muddy, but in earlier times was deep enough for ocean-going ships to anchor midstream, and from there send smaller boats to the tobacco landings on shore. I’ve read that it used to be a half mile wide, which is certainly isn’t these days. Still, it’s wonderful that the site has not been developed or radically changed, that it allows us to picture the woodland and farmland of earlier days. Myself, I grew up in Montgomery County, much higher up the Patuxent watershed, and didn’t even know that the reservoir where I (illegally!) swam ponies on hot days was connecting me to my immigrant ancestors’ landing places.

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