18QU30 is the home of Henry Coursey (1629[?] – 1695), a wealthy planter, attorney, and important public figure in 17th-century Maryland colonial history. The site’s name commemorates the gift of the property of approximately 1200 acres to Coursey from Lord Baltimore in 1658 “for conspicuous faithfulness”. The many public offices held by Coursey include member and speaker of the Upper and Lower Houses of the legislature; member, clerk, secretary, and president of the Provincial Council; Judge of Probate; Justice and Chief Justice of the Provincial Court; Surveyor and Controller General; Colonel of county militias; and Agent to New York on Indian Affairs. When he died in 1695 Coursey held 3,225 acres, 15 slaves, and personal property worth 1,500 pounds.
Plan view of the Coursey site by Henry Miller, 1990.
The site location, adjacent to the current town Queenstown and now the site of a golf course, is delineated on the 1673 Augustine Herman map as “Coursey’s Lords Gift.” The site was excavated by archaeologists from the University of Delaware Center for Archaeological Research in 1990 as part of a data recovery project partially funded by The Brick Companies of Edgewater, Maryland. Research on the collection by Jay Custer (University of Delaware) and Henry Miller (Historic St. Mary’s City) is still in progress.
Excavations identified two main occupations. One section, which was only partially excavated, dates to ca. 1660- 1680. A barrel-lined well and numerous refuse features from this occupation were excavated. The second occupation, which was completely excavated, consists of the stone foundation of a large 3-bay, central chimney manor house, an adjacent earthfast kitchen/quarter structure, numerous outbuildings, a well, and many refuse features. This occupation dates to ca. 1680 – 1730 and the features and artifact assemblage relate to the later stages of Henry Coursey’s life and that of his son, another Henry Coursey.
Summary by Jay Custer
To find out more or inquire about accessing this collection, contact the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory’s State Curator, Rebecca Morehouse, firstname.lastname@example.org, 410-586-8583.
The Coursey archaeological collection is owned by the Maryland Historical Trust and is currently undergoing analysis at the University of Delaware.