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Rappahannock Landing Archaeological Survey ... - Fauquier County

Rappahannock Landing Archaeological Survey ... - Fauquier County

The Late Woodland period

The Late Woodland period is marked by an increased reliance on agriculture, attendant population growth, larger villages and increased sociocultural complexity (Turner 1992). Ceramic types of the Late Woodland period in the Piedmont include the quartz-tempered Gaston Simple Stamped and sand/crushed rock-tempered Dan River pottery (Hantman and Klein 1992). The trend towards sedentary settlements continues throughout the Late Woodland period. In the early portion of this period, settlements consist of small clusters of houses with little to no internal organization. However, by 300 B.P., larger villages are observed. Features associated with these villages include palisades, houses, hearths, storage pits, and burials (Hantman and Klein 1992). The smaller Madison triangular projectile point is generally associated with the Late Woodland period. Contact Period The Contact and early historic period refer to the time period during which the native groups had their first contact with Europeans and European goods. Native adaptations to the changing social and political environment of the Piedmont are poorly understood. The Piedmont was occupied by several Siouan-speaking groups during the late prehistoric and Contact periods (Mouer 1983). The material culture of the period is characterized by sand- and grit-tempered pottery decorated with simple stamped decorative motifs, often similar and likely derived from Late Woodland styles (Potter 1993). The introduction of European goods is a distinguishing characteristic of this period. Depopulation related to European born disease and changed trade dynamics are the two primary factors often cited in cultural changes during this period. Historic Period Contact Period and the Seventeenth Century The history of Fauquier County has been explored in numerous published accounts over the past century (e.g., Haley 1989; Harrison 1964; Hoffman 1962; Russell and Gott 1976). The historic context presented here will present highlights of regional history with more specific information on the events leading up to the Battle of Rappahannock Station, events and strategies of the battle, and the final outcome. Prior to European interest in Fauquier County the Iroquois Nation controlled the central Piedmont of Virginia and Maryland, using north-south trails for raids into North Carolina. By the late-seventeenth century European interest was growing and in response to the European settlement the Iroquois found other trails further west. In 1696 Nicholas Hayward, Richard Foote, Robert Bristow, and George Brent purchased 30,000 acres from Lord Culpeper and established a strategically-placed settlement overlooking the north-south trail that led from Conoy Island in the Potomac to Occaneechi Island in the Roanoke (Groome 1927:24). The settlement was located at Brent Town in the general vicinity of present day Sowego, approximately 20 miles from the project area (Groome 1927:24; Haley 1989:5). By the beginning of the eighteenth century roughly 80 settlers occupied this area. 12

The Eighteenth Century With the Iroquois using more westerly trails and with the 1722 Treaty of Albany that restricted Native American populations to areas west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Europeans felt less threatened by the Iroquois, and the population subsequently increased (Haley 1989:5). Although the majority of the settlers were English, small groups of Germans settled near Midland in 1721 (Petro 1956:13). According to most accounts, the first Germanna Colony arrived in Virginia in 1714. After docking in Tappahannock, the group moved westward to a location about 30 miles past the fall line of the Rappahannock. Within a horseshoe bend of the Rapidan River, the group of 12 families built Fort Germanna with the sponsorship of Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood (Wayland 1989). Two additional groups of Germans joined the first colony in 1717 and 1719, and the town grew to over 200 people. By this time, they had outgrown the fort, and it was demolished. In its place, Spotswood had his servants and slaves construct an enormous mansion, now known as the Enchanted Castle (Barile 2004). The first colony’s tenure at Germanna lasted approximately seven years. In return for their passage, they were indentured servants on Spotswood’s land. In addition, the Germans were granted a levy-free existence so long as they remained in the county (Hackley 1962). Once their indentures had expired, however, the group left Germanna to form their own town. The new property, named Germantown, was located on Licking Run in what was then the Northern Neck proprietary. Tidewater landholders had been granted most of the land in the Piedmont by the first half of the eighteenth century but they did not move to the area. Instead they used this land as an extension of their plantation property, which in turn prohibited colonization by independent settlers (Haley 1989:6). It was not until the second half of the eighteenth century that these large holdings were slowly replaced, which in turn allowed for the population to grow even more (Haley 1989:7). In 1759 Fauquier County, named after Francis Fauquier—a governor of the Virginia Colony, was formed out of the larger Prince William County due to the increase in population and development of this rural and agrarian area. This new county was without towns or villages but had a population of approximately 13,500 by 1775. Of these, approximately 8,700 were white with the remainder being slaves with a few free blacks. With blacks making up 35 percent of the population they were only owned by 15 percent of the white male population. By 1782, 88 of the major landholders owned 44 percent of all slaves in Fauquier County (Russell and Gott 1977:1). The Nineteenth Century By the first half of the nineteenth century farmers were growing a variety of crops such as corn, wheat, oats, and of course tobacco. Like most southern counties, Fauquier farmers used slave labor as their primary labor force to produce these crops. Because of an increase in production of raw goods mills began to spring up across the countryside, 13

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