Brutal Slave History Unearthed in D.C. Suburb

National Park Service archaeologists find the remains of cabins on an 18th-century plantation where a French family established harsh subjugation over 90 slaves.

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A Park Service worker examines an artifact. (Tracy A. Woodward/Washington Post)

From the old road that crossed the Monocacy River, you could plainly see the slave cabins of L'Hermitage.

They were lined up in front of the plantation house, not hidden out back, as was the custom. And passersby could see the implements of oppression -- whips and stocks -- that the owners used to control their property.

Even in 1800, this was extreme for Frederick County -- this brutal, Caribbean style of bondage, with its French émigré masters, aggressive displays of subjection and 90 slaves.

Last week, in the midst of a summer-long archaeological dig, experts using surface-penetrating radar found what are believed to be remnants of two cabins that once made up the small slave village that served L'Hermitage.

And the National Park Service says the find adds another page to the story of the mysterious plantation, whose tropical-influenced main house still stands, an unlikely witness near the banks of the Monocacy, more than 200 years after it was built.

 

Read the entire story in The Washington Post.

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