|18CH216 Blossom Point
The Blossom Point site is located at the confluence of
the Potomac River and Nanjemoy Creek in Charles County, Maryland. A brick
house measuring approximately 25’ by 30’ was constructed there
c. 1805 for Bennett Semmes, a tenant farmer and overseer. At the time,
Blossom Point farm was part of a much larger tract called St. Thomas Manor,
which had been patented on behalf of Thomas Matthews and Father Thomas
Copley in 1649. Both men were members of the Society of Jesus, or the
Jesuits. The property was continuously occupied by various tenants of
the Jesuits for the next 300 years. Semmes was the main overseer and collector
of rents for St. Thomas Manor from 1788 to 1832. After he died in 1832,
the Blossom Point Farmhouse became the residence of subsequent overseers.
In the first half of the 19th century, tobacco, oats,
wool, peas, beans, potatoes, orchard crops, butter, beeswax, and honey
were all produced at Blossom Point, but after a Federal Army Camp depleted
its resources during the Civil War, its productivity decreased significantly.
The Jesuits then tried to sell the farm, but they were unsuccessful and
ended up renting it to short-term tenants who did not take care of the
property. All farming activities were abandoned by 1920.
In 1942, the Army leased Blossom Point from the
Jesuits and began using the site as a testing facility. The Blossom
Point Farmhouse was the only surviving structure at the time.
In 1980 the Army purchased the property, but they later had to
tear down the farmhouse because erosion on Nanjemoy Creek had
caused major structural damage and it posed a safety hazard.
A 1990 archaeological and architectural survey
of Blossom Point Farmhouse helped date the original wing of the
structure to c. 1805. The surveyors concluded that the yard was
extensively disturbed and the only intact archaeological deposits
were underneath the house itself. A subsequent Phase II study
by Jay Custer included the excavation of ten test units within
the interior of the house. The majority of the artifacts dated
to the mid-late 19th century, but numerous 20th century artifacts
were also recovered and these were found in the same strata as
the earlier materials. The deposits seem to have suffered heavy
disturbance from repair activities in the 20th century.
|Custer, Jay F.
||Archaeological Investigations at the Blossom Point Farmhouse
(18CH216), Charles County, Maryland. Maryland
|Kise, Franks, and Straw, Inc.
||Architectural, Historical, and Archaeological Investigations
at Blossom Point Farm, Blossom Point Testing Facility,
Charles County, Maryland. Report submitted to the Baltimore District,
United States Army Corps
The Blossom Point archaeological collection is
owned by the U.S. Army, Adelphi Laboratory Center, and is curated at the
Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory.