On this ground,
two cultures — Indian and European
— confronted one another. Here a commercial town and government center grew, declined, grew again, and declined again. Residents raised supplies for the Continental Army
and, during the depression after the American Revolution,
closed the courts to prevent foreclosures. A great US President's kidnapping
was plotted, a scheme that ended in his murder. Twenty years earlier two free Africans were tried and convicted in the courthouse for leading a peaceful slave insurrection. This is Port Tobacco.
one of the ancestral groups of today's Piscataway Indians
and other native groups, had a village in this area in the 1600s.
By the end of that century or early in the next Europeans built a scatter of houses and warehouses called Chandler's Town.
Renamed Charles Town
in 1727, but known locally throughout its history as Port Tobacco,
the town became, and remained, the seat of Charles County government until 1896.
The only surviving map of the town dates to 1888,
200 years after initial European settlement. Over those years the town's inhabitants and neighbors shared in the nation's major experiences:
· contact and conflicts with Native Americans;
the Revolutionary War;
· religious diversity;
· the Civil War; and
· segregation, to name a few.
The people of Port Tobacco helped forge the nation's character. Current research examines those people and the nation they helped create.
The Port Tobacco Archaeological Project
was created in 2007
to research the 300-year-old town and its aboriginal predecessors.
Tens of thousands of artifacts
have been unearthed to date, many dating to the years before the American Revolution of 1776 to 1783.
Scientists study those objects to learn about the beliefs and customs of the area's inhabitants, and to illuminate a complex history that has shaped our present.