MAAR Feature II (18BA313)

The MAAR Feature 11 Site (18BA313) consists of four non-extant 19th-century attached dwellings and a possible store. The village of Texas was a 19th-century Irish Catholic community where limestone quarrying and the production of lime was the principal economic activity. Texas was first settled in 1703 by Joseph Taylor. In 1725, Thomas Cockey purchased Taylor’s improved house and lands. Cockey owned the land until his death in 1737. Cockey’s son, Thomas Cockey Deye, inherited the land at his father’s death. In 1804, John Clark began a small-scale quarrying and lime operation on land that he was leasing from Cockey Deye. The arrival of the Baltimore and Susquehanna Railroad in the village in 1832 encouraged the limestone business and provided transportation of the product. In the 1840s, Irish immigrants settled and worked at the kilns and quarries or ran local businesses. In 1846, Samuel Griscom purchased a 44 acre parcel on both sides of the railroad that formed the center of Texas. Within a year he was operating a quarry. Griscom built a number of duplexes by 1854 along either side of the railway line. Industry in Texas peaked between 1850 and 1880. By 1852, there were 37 individually owned kilns operating in Texas. The industry gradually declined into the 20th century, due mainly to a lack of modernization, but was revived in the 1930s.

Site 18BA313 was located on Lots #4-7 of Division 9. Site 18BA313 was initially identified in 1985 in advance of a proposed highway project. In Phase I archaeological survey, pedestrian survey and probing was followed with subsurface testing. Parts of a foundation were noted during the surface reconnaissance and extensive probing was done to delineate the extent of the 24x41 ft. foundation. The foundation and lintel were designated as Site Feature 11. Phase II site examination was conducted at the site in 1986. The area investigated consisted of the rear yard, where 16 test units and a trench were excavated. Discoveries included a brick walkway, a set of limestone steps, and a filled cellar of the stone foundation discovered in Phase I. The structure was interpreted to be a single-family dwelling that was destroyed by fire in the first part of the 20th century. Investigations at the site revealed that the landscape had been altered in the historic past, probably in the construction and improvement of the residence and yard. The house was probably erected prior to 1866 and burned down sometime in the first two decades of the 20th century. Diagnostics from the site dated from ca. 1865 to the present, with a greatest number of types having a range from ca. 1880-1920.

Phase III archaeological investigations were carried out at Site 18BA313 in late 1991 and early 1992. The main goal of the archaeological recovery was to recover information concerning immigrant ethnicity evidenced in the archaeological record. During mechanical stripping in the backyard area, a rock foundation feature was encountered. The 12 ft. square rock foundation feature was interpreted to be a cellar hole. A total of 688 artifacts were recovered from the cellar hole excavations, the majority of which were recovered from the burn-related layers. Based on excavations within the house cellar that revealed partition walls, the overall size of the foundation, and the historical documentation, it was determined that the structure represented a 50 x 30 ft. multi-family residence or row house. Four features—a privy, a modern trash pit and two postholes—were also identified during the rear yard excavations. The walkway and limestone steps that were encountered during the Phase II study were re-identified during the Phase III evaluation.

The main goal of the data recovery project was to recover information concerning immigrant ethnicity evidenced in the archaeological record. The Feature 11 Site (18BA313) was the site of a multiple residence (three, two-story connected houses along with a single-story attached residence) that existed during the last half of the 19th century and was destroyed by fire in the first decades of the 20th century. The only pit or shaft feature identified at the site related to the dwelling’s occupation was a privy which had been cleaned in recent times. A second structure was identified by a foundation and cellar hole in the rear yard area of the site. This feature had been filled during or after the structure was abandoned and demolished. Based on a documentary account, the structure may have served as a store during the 1860s and '70s. The land in and around the site has been subjected to disturbance from infilling and grading since the 19th century. The Phase III data recovery project thoroughly examined the site for extant cultural and structural features.

(Edited from the Maryland Historical Trust Synthesis Project)

References

  • Payne, Ted, Kenneth Baumgardt, and Betty C. Zebooker
  • 1994. Beaver Dam Road Widening: Phase III Archeological Investigations at Nineteenth Century Irish Workers Residential Sites: 18BA313, 314, and 325, Baltimore County, Maryland. MAAR Associates, Inc., Newark, Delaware.

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