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Fort Williams at Ridgedale Historic House

The site of Fort Williams epitomizes the experience of settlers on the South Branch of the Potomac and nearby Patterson Creek Valley, WV during the French and Indian War. With the help of the Western Maryland chapter of the Maryland Archaeology Society, we have completed several field sessions that included shovel test pits, metal detecting, and unit excavations. We have the identified the two areas of occupation, likely the Fort and an outbuilding or barn.

Robert Williams and his family were early settlers, holding ground during the violent backlash after General Braddock's defeat.  He and his family were attacked on a trip to Fort Cumberland in 1755. While most of the family did not survive, he and his 18-month old daughter where taken captive. Williams escaped, returning to his homestead on the South Branch where raids and fights with Native Americans continued.  Archbishop Ashbury held a revival on Williams's property in 1783 and documented the details of Williams's capture.

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Jane Gates Heritage House

The Jane Gates house has been a witness to nearly 150 years of life along Greene Street, Cumberland, MD. Jane Gates was born into slavery, but shortly after the Civil War she purchased this two-story home on a large lot on the Old Turnpike Road. The archaeological study is an important tool to understanding the everyday lives of the house occupants. Through recovered objects, treasures, and trash, we discover fragments of daily life—information often unattainable by any other means. The archaeological research adds a tangible depth to archival research obtained by the Gates family. In addition to a week of professional archeological excavations, the Jane Gates House hosted a public archeology weekend where the public was given the opportunity to assist with archaeological investigations, screen for artifacts, learn about on-going house research and renovations, and tour the house.

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