Friday, July 3, 2009

Northhampton Plantation (2)

By: Min Park
HS 129, Summer 1 2009

It was 3rd of June when I visited this archaeological site called Northampton slave quarter located in Prince Georges County, Maryland. I found the Northampton slave quarter from the official site of the Maryland Office of Tourism. The address and phone number were shown on the web and I called ahead the office of the site to ask direction and to let them know that I was coming. It was located on Lake Overlook Drive between Water Port Court and Lake Overlook Place in Lake Arbor, Maryland.

The place used to be slave quarter for Northampton plantation and according to the information board for the park, the place first belonged to Thomas Sprigg from 1673 then it was sold to Dr. John Contee Fairfax in 1865. The house was taken care of by the family of Thomas Sprigg and servants for almost 200 years.

The reason why I chose this site for the assignment was because it always has been fascinating for me to visit historical sites. Visiting there where you can tell that something actually happened on the exact spot where you stand gave me the feeling that I can be the part of history.

The site is located in the middle of town houses. Coming out from I-495 to small streets, I passed many single houses and town houses. The park was surrounded by these houses; it looked like people who live in the neighborhood can actually walk from their backyard to the park.

There used to be plantation of tobacco and crops and many slaves were gathered to work on the farm. The plantation was about a 1000-acre tract of land. Even though it was the only foundation of building left there, it was enough for me to draw a picture in my head how big the house was and a well at the back yard of house showed that people in the houses were getting water from the well.
Some tenants and slaves who worked in the plantation still reside in Prince Georges County. After James and Raymond Smith moved away from the house, they visited their grandmother, Susie Smith in 1930s. It is an archaeological site, the information board included what the archaeologist found in the buildings; animal bones, potteries, and tobacco pipes, etc. Unfortunately there were not displays of the findings available. I thought that it might have been more fun if I got to do the digs with them. Visiting the slave quarter I developed a better understanding about life in Prince Georges County, Maryland.

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