King’s Reach was the domestic center of a tobacco
plantation in Calvert County, Maryland founded by Richard Smith Jr. and
his family around 1689. Smith was a member of Maryland’s upper class
at the time, with significant landholdings along the Patuxent River and
close ties to the Calvert family. 1689 was full of political and economic
turmoil in Maryland because the economy suffered from a tobacco depression
and Protestants overthrew the Calvert proprietary that year. Though Smith
was a Protestant, he supported the Catholic Calverts and suffered arrest
for doing so.
By the first decade of the 18th century, both political
strife and the tobacco depression had abated, allowing planters
like Smith the stability they needed to accumulate wealth. In
1711, Smith constructed a new, more substantial dwelling elsewhere
on the property, establishing an approximate end date for the
occupation of King’s Reach.
King’s Reach was discovered during a 1981 survey
that identified a concentration of artifacts dating to the late 17th and
early 18th centuries. Archaeologists conducted surface collections and
intensive excavations between 1984 and 1987. Excavations revealed a series
of postholes and cellars from a 20 by 30 foot main house with an attached
10 by 20 foot shed. This was the main dwelling at King’s Reach.
Also discovered were fence lines that enclosed the yard outside the dwelling
and joined that yard space to a 10 by 20 foot structure that most likely
represents a slave or servant quarter.
Reach Finding Aid.htm
The Kings Reach archaeological collection is owned by
the Maryland Historical Trust and curated at the Maryland Archaeological