Oxon Hill Manor, historically known as Addison Plantation,
is located along the Potomac River just outside of the District of Columbia’s
border with Maryland. John Addison began acquiring property in the area
in 1685 and he was living there by 1689. At the time, the site was far
enough inland to be considered the “frontier” of European
settlement. John Addison was a merchant and planter, and one of the first
to settle in the area. In 1696 his holdings became part of Prince George’s
County (previously the area had been a part of Charles County), and Addison
became involved in protecting the fledgling County. He was appointed a
colonel of the county militia and housed the arms the militia used when
needed to protect against Indian unrest.
John’s son Thomas inherited the property in 1705
a two-story Georgian-style manor house in 1710-1711. Thomas Addison
became colonel of the militia in 1714 and held the position until
his death in 1727. The manor house and property remained in the
Addison family until 1810, when it was purchased by Zacariah Berry
whose family inhabited the site until the 1880s. A series of speculators
then owned the estate, renting it to tenants, until it was purchased
and inhabited by the Welles family who built a new main dwelling
on another area of the property in 1927. The Addison house had
burned in 1895, but the Welles dwelling, Oxon Hill Manor, remains
extant and is now part of a county-owned public park.
Because of its location in the path of development projects,
a great deal of archaeological work has taken place at 18PR175,
including two different Phase III data recoveries. The first Phase
III was conducted by Garrow & Associates, Inc. on the northern
portion of the property in 1985. This project exposed occupation
areas dating from the early 18th century through the late 19th
century. Features indentified include a well, cellar, a probable
meat house, a probable potato house, a possible slave quarter,
and numerous post holes. Most notable for the artifact analysis
was the assemblage from the stratified well. Four distinct fill
episodes were identified, and the lower waterlogged layers exhibited
preservation that allowed for the discovery of a
leather saddle, shoes, textiles, wood, and grass clippings. The
lower three fill episodes in the well point to its use for disposal
The second Phase III was conducted by John Milner &
Associates in 1988 on the southern portion of the property. One of the
main areas of excavation was a c. 1680s earthfast structure with a cellar
and passageway. This storage cellar was apparently the magazine used by
the Addisons to store the local militia’s arms. The building burned
around 1730, providing a closed date range for the debris in the cellar
and passageway features.
Oxon Hill Manor Finding Aid.htm
|Garrow, Patrick H. and Thomas R. Wheaton, Jr., eds.
||Final Report, Oxon Hill Manor, Archaeological Site Mitigation Project,
I-95/MD 210/I-295. Vols. 1 and 2. Report prepared for the Maryland Department
of Transportation, by Garrow and Associates, Inc.
|McCarthy, John P., Jeffrey B Snyder, and Billy
R. Roulette, Jr.
||Arms from Addison Plantation and the Maryland
Militia on the Potomac Frontier. Historical Archaeology 25(1):66-79.
The Oxon Hill Manor archaeological collection is owned
by the Maryland Historical Trust and curated at the Maryland Archaeological