Hidden History of North Dakota

Hidden History: Slave cemetery uncovered in Maryland

Hidden History

CROWNSVILLE, Md. (Nexstar) – African-American History is sometimes hard to come across, because so little is known and written about it. But archeologists can unearth unspoiled records of what happened hundreds of years ago. The Maryland Department of Transportation, State Highway Administration recently uncovered a long forgotten slave cemetery in Crownsville, Maryland.

Unmarked field-stones left by slaves on the former Belvoir Plantation indicate an enslaved community’s burial grounds, tucked deep in the woods of the former tobacco plantation. Archeologists have discovered slave quarters, a slave cemetery, and descendants of slaves that once worked and lived on the land.

Sisters Shelly Evans and Wanda Watts share a frustration common to many African-Americans whose ancestors were enslaved in America. 

“We have no history. We begin and we end here,” said Watts.

But thanks to this recent, accidental discovery, the sisters may have uncovered their hidden family.

Evans and Watts are descendants of slaves who lived, worked and may have died on the land that was the Belvoir Plantation.

Dr. Julie Schablitsky, the Chief Archaeologist with the Maryland Department of Transportation, explained, “When we first came here to Belvoir we were first looking for the Rochambeau encampment which was during the American Revolution.” Instead, they found slave quarters built in the 1780s and lived in until Emancipation in 1864.

The land was a tobacco plantation once owned by relatives of Francis Scott Key, who wrote the Star Spangled Banner.

A former resident of the property tipped Dr. Schablitsky’s team off to what they thought could be a slave cemetery tucked along a ravine, deep in the woods. They found nearly half a dozen pieces of broken marble and stones resembling grave markers thrown around the location.

Dr. Schablitsky brought in cadaver dogs. Once they picked up a human scent they confirmed it was a cemetery.

Dr. Schablitsky says there are no immediate plans for the uncovered slave cemetery. The slave quarters have been fully excavated and the Maryland Department of Transportation, State Highway Administration plans to add interpretive panels to the site.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Recent Videos

KX Storm Team #OneMinuteForecast w/Tom Schrader 11/18

Thumbnail for the video titled "KX Storm Team #OneMinuteForecast w/Tom Schrader 11/18"

Amber's Monday Morning One Minute Forecast 11/18

Thumbnail for the video titled "Amber's Monday Morning One Minute Forecast 11/18"

Monday: Increasing Wind With Some Afternoon Sun

Thumbnail for the video titled "Monday: Increasing Wind With Some Afternoon Sun"

Synchronized Skating

Thumbnail for the video titled "Synchronized Skating"

Dickinson State Football

Thumbnail for the video titled "Dickinson State Football"

Top Plays

Thumbnail for the video titled "Top Plays"

ND Outdoors 11-17

Thumbnail for the video titled "ND Outdoors 11-17"

Suspect Loose

Thumbnail for the video titled "Suspect Loose"

Unattended Cars

Thumbnail for the video titled "Unattended Cars"

Recycling

Thumbnail for the video titled "Recycling"

Berthold Holiday Drive

Thumbnail for the video titled "Berthold Holiday Drive"

Robert's One Minute Forecast 11-17

Thumbnail for the video titled "Robert's One Minute Forecast 11-17"

Baby Event

Thumbnail for the video titled "Baby Event"

Hospice Tree Lighting

Thumbnail for the video titled "Hospice Tree Lighting"

Ryan Fans

Thumbnail for the video titled "Ryan Fans"

College Football

Thumbnail for the video titled "College Football"

WDA Volleyball

Thumbnail for the video titled "WDA Volleyball"

Girl's State Swimming

Thumbnail for the video titled "Girl's State Swimming"

Holiday Cooking

Thumbnail for the video titled "Holiday Cooking"
More Video

KX News Trending Stories

Don't Miss

Daily Pledge

More Daily Pledge