B. Smith Site (18AN1151)
The B. Smith Site (18AN1151) is the archaeological
remnants of a mid-18th century to early 20th-century
farmstead near Hanover. The site deposits reflect the
changing nature of rural Anne Arundel County across
the centuries. The site was first identified in 1999
as the result of a Combined Phase I/II investigation
of a 116 acre area.
Phase I work in the vicinity of 18AN1151 entailed the
excavation of 42 systematic shovel test pits at 20
meter intervals. The test pits revealed artifacts
dating from the early 18th up to the middle 20th
centuries. At the Phase II level of testing, two
1 X 1 m test unit were excavated to examine soil
stratigraphy and site integrity and another 22 STPs
were excavated to further define site boundaries.
Field results suggested a possible early 18th century
to early 20th century site, including the presence
of subplowzone deposits. The Phase I/II assemblage
recovered from 18AN1151, the B. Smith Site, reflects
at least some areas of dense domestic deposits.
Occupation dates would appear to cluster around two
periods. The early occupation period is represented
by the tin-glazed earthenware and creamware, and dates
from the early to mid-18th century. A later period,
represented by whiteware and cut nails, date from
the latter part of the 19th century. 18AN1151 was
subjected to Phase III data recovery in 2001.
Archival research revealed that the property was originally
part of the 1762 patent of a 484 acre tract called
“Plummer’s Pasture” to prominent Quaker Yate Plummer.
Yate died in 1764 and his 1763 will suggests he made
no improvements to Plummer’s Pasture. The land went
to Yate’s son Daniel Plummer, the tract’s first
documented inhabitant. In 1783, Daniel Plummer was
assessed for 115 acres of land worth $115, one horse
worth $10, and “other property” worth $2. By 1798,
his assessment lists 120 acres, with a one story
wood dwelling house 18 X 14 ft, a 16 X 12 ft outbuilding,
and an additional 16 X 10 ft structure. Daniel
Plummer left no living issue when he died in 1810.
In 1814, Daniel’s brothers and heirs sold the 127
acre property to John Harman. There is no evidence
to suggest that Harman or his heirs occupied the
property. The Harman heirs sold it to a brother-in-law,
Basil Smith in 1848. Basil Smith died in 1881, and
a plat shows the division of his lands among his
children. His son, Francis Marion Smith, inherited
the portion of the property that includes the site,
but Basil’s will notes that F. Marion Smith was
already living on the parcel. Francis Marion married
in 1852 and may have moved onto the parcel soon after.
A household appears on an 1860 map and F. Marion
Smith’s family is enumerated in the 1860 census.
The couple had 3 children and real estate worth
$7600, and $800 of personal property.
The 1860, 1870, and 1880 federal and agricultural
censuses, as well as tax valuations, indicate the
F. M. Smith farmstead was a comfortably wealthy
household. The farmstead was above average in
size and both livestock and produce production.
F. Marion Smith died in 1896 and his three children
inherited the farm. Oral history accounts portray
Daniel Handy Smith as a talented and thoughtful
farmer. There was a large two story frame main
house and a tenant house on the farm by this time.
The parcel was sold in 1936 to Mike and Mary Sroka.
The Srokas began breaking the parcel into smaller
house lots in the 1940s. Subdivision continued up
until the late 1950s by which time the Smith farm
had ceased to exist as an entity.
Phase III field investigations in 2001 concentrated
on two previously identified concentrations of
domestic artifacts, one believed to be associated
with the earliest occupation by the Quaker Plummer
family (Concentration One), and the second
(Concentration Two) believed to be associated
with the later Smith family occupation. A third
study locus was added to encompass the unanticipated
identification of a small fieldstone foundation
with associated domestic materials (Foundation One).
Fieldwork included excavation of 98 additional shovel
test pits forming 10 meter or 5 meter interval testing
grids and a total of 53 formal test units. Fifty-one
of these were full one meter square excavation units.
Most cultural material recovered from Concentration
One was recovered from the plowzone. Chronologically
diagnostic artifacts ranged from the mid- 18th century
through the mid- 20th century. A total of three cultural
features were identified during fieldwork within
Concentration One. Two of the cultural features
represent postmolds probably reflecting farm fencing
used between agricultural fields. The third cultural
feature was a small trench of unknown function.
A total of 16 excavation units were placed within
Concentration Two during the Phase III investigations:
Feature 1 (plowscars) and Feature 12 (small diameter
postmolds). Artifacts recovered were almost exclusively
restricted to the plowzone (roughly 1400 artifacts total)
or to contemporary topsoil (roughly 500 artifacts).
Diagnostic artifacts spanned the 19th and 20th centuries,
and most strongly represented the last half of the 19th
and first quarter of the 20th.
Foundation One represents the unanticipated find of a
small, roughly 16 X 18 ft fieldstone foundation. This
locus proved to be the richest, and most intact of the
three locations. Twenty seven test pits and 18 excavation
units were excavated within the Foundation One locus,
revealing little disturbance in the foundation vicinity
and midden deposits. All units were comparatively artifact
rich, and no extensive cultural disturbance was encountered
in any of them. A total of 15 features were associated with
the Foundation One area. Two represent lenses around the
outer foundation walls. Four reflect extensive rodent
disturbance. One feature may represent a post hole, but
no postmold was present. Six of the features represent
trash disposal pits and lenses, as does the midden itself.
The final feature was the foundation itself. Chronologically,
the material is concentrated in the last half of the 19th
and first quarter of the 20th centuries.
Concentration 1 work promised to yield intact layers from
the 18th-century occupation of site 18AN1511. Most of
Concentration 1 had, in fact, been disturbed by subsequent
plowing. Distributional analysis identified concentrations
around an 80 ft square, suggesting the possible earlier
presence of a structure. Without further evidence, it was
not possible to confirm if a log or earthfast structure
was once present. Artifacts indicate an occupation from
the late 18th throughout the early 19th centuries by a
family of the middle to upper socioeconomic status, and
with the 18th century date this would have been the Plummer
family, specifically Daniel Plummer. There were no deposits
recovered with sufficient integrity to allow any specific
research to be addressed.
Concentration 2 promised to yield information from the
18th- and 19th-century occupation, but testing revealed
all deposits in Concentration 2 had been disturbed by
plowing. The artifacts suggest this portion of the site
dates slightly later than Concentration 1. No evidence
was found for a possible building location. The disturbed
nature of the deposits and the small size of the
collection did not allow any meaningful interpretive
statements to be made about Concentration 2.
Foundation 1 is believed to have been constructed under
the ownership of Basil Smith or possibly John Harman.
The artifacts recovered are consistent with a tenant
level of occupation, representing the lower portion
of socioeconomic usage. The structure was apparently
abandoned around 1934 or at least certainly by 1954.
Three strata contained intact deposits with artifacts
deposited through gaps in the floor during the 19th-
and early 20th-century use of the structure. Adjacent
to the structure, a midden deposit contained two stratas
related to the house (based on cross mends). The artifacts
recovered are consistent with usage from roughly 1840 on,
during a period when the transition to truck farming was
taking place, as railroads opened up urban markets to farmers
in the area. The Foundation 1 structure was consistent with
tenant farm or small farmholder occupation. All evidence,
from artifacts to faunal material, supported occupants from
lower socioeconomic classes. There was some evidence that
the occupants were African-Americans. There was (and is) a
community of Free Blacks in this region dating to before
the Civil War.
Historical Trust Synthesis Project)