In the late 1700s, a large slave village was constructed just beyond the building in front of you. By 1800, as many as 90 enslaved laborers were housed there, an unusually large number of slaves for this area. The enslaved people were the property of the Vincendière family, French planters who fled a slave revolt in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti) in 1793. They acquired land and enslaved laborers to establish L'Hermitage plantation, seemingly intent on recreating the Caribbean slave system here in Frederick County. Local authorities, however, did not favor their approach; court records indicate that members of the household were accused of mistreating their slaves and withholding food and clothing. L'Hermitage was sold in 1827, and there was never again a sizable slave population at the farm.
One can see a row of wooden houses and one stone house...[and] instruments of torture, stocks, wooden horses, whips, etc....They foam with rage, beat the negroes, complain and fight with each other.
Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz's 1798 eye-witness accounts of L'Hermitage
(lower left) In 2003, archeologists confirmed the location of the L'Hermitage slave village. Building foundations and artifacts unearthed at the site shed light on a dark past and help tell the stories of the people who toiled here.