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Derwood in Montgomery County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Farming and Labor in Montgomery County

1861-1865

 
 
Farming and Labor in Montgomery County Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, July 5, 2017
1. Farming and Labor in Montgomery County Marker
Inscription. Local farmers attempted to maintain their agricultural operations despite disorder caused during the Civil War. Out of necessity, planters paid particular attention to weather and planting information provided by Almanacs and newspapers. The Rockville Sentinel supplied regular updates on how Mother Nature actually affected routine farming practices and crop production in Montgomery County:

Our farmers during the past week have been quite busy planting corn, their oat seeding having been finished. The destruction of much of the fencing in this county by the troops lately stationed in it, together with the wet weather, has necessarily interfered very much with many in getting in their oat and corn crops at the usual time. (20 May 1862)

By 1864, sources of labor were of a much interest as the weather. Because of the war, the available number of both young white men and enslaved laborers was dwindling. The Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Lincoln in January 1863, freed only the those enslaved in states that had seceded from the Union. It did not apply to border states like Maryland that remained loyal to the Union. Yet some enslaved were not willing to wait for a government proclamation to seek freedom:

The slaves have been leaving our [Montgomery] county in so continuous a
Farming and Labor in Montgomery County Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, July 5, 2017
2. Farming and Labor in Montgomery County Marker
stream as to leave most of our farmers in the vocative (or lacking) for help to save their fodder, corn, and other outstanding crops. From present indications, the agriculturalists of our county well be compelled to abandon their pursuits altogether, or circumscribe them within such narrow limits as to minister to their own domestic wants.
(Baltimore Sun, 30 September 1863)

Farmers, like Edwin Muncaster who maintained 45 bondspeople in this very property in 1860, had “great apprehensions....that serious loss may occur from scarcity of labor necessary to secure the various crops.” On this 800 acre farm, enslaved men, women, and children worked fields of wheat, Indian Corn, Irish potatoes, rye, and hay. In time, hired hands and tenant farmers were employed to ensure peak cultivation of these cash crops." (Baltimore Sun, 28 June 1864)
 
Erected by Montgomery Parks.
 
Location. 39° 9.837′ N, 77° 7.849′ W. Marker is in Derwood, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker can be reached from Rock Creek Park Road half a mile north of Muncaster Road. Touch for map. Located in the Agricultural History Farm Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 18410 Rock Creek Park Rd, Derwood MD 20855, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within
Agriculture image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, July 5, 2017
3. Agriculture
In 1860, there were over 2,041 county residents, both black and white, male and female, involved in agricultural practices as farmers and hired hands.
Close-up of LOC image on marker
4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Bussard Farmhouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Agricultural History Farm Park (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Newmantown (approx. 0.2 miles away); Nike Missile Local Park (approx. 2.4 miles away); Oakley Cabin (approx. 3.3 miles away); Rolling Ridge (approx. 3.4 miles away); Olney House (approx. 3.6 miles away); The Early Years (approx. 3.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Derwood.
 
Categories. African AmericansAgricultureWar, US Civil
 
Emancipation image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress
4. Emancipation
The issue of abolition in Maryland came to a popular vote through the adoption of a new state constitution in September 1864, and after successful ratification, all slaves in Maryland were freed on November 1 that same year. “Negroes Leaving the Plough” by Alfred Ward, March 1864.
Harvesting Wheat image. Click for full size.
By Libary of Congress
5. Harvesting Wheat
Enslaved laborers stacking wheat during the harvest, 1863. Edwin Forbes, artist.
“Abraham Lincoln and his Emancipation Proclamation.” Lithograph 1888. image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress
6. “Abraham Lincoln and his Emancipation Proclamation.” Lithograph 1888.
Maryland's enslaved population was not freed by Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, but by a new state constitution on November 1, 1864.
Farmers and Dairyman's Almanac - 1860 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, July 5, 2017
7. Farmers and Dairyman's Almanac - 1860
Close-up of image on marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 13, 2017. This page originally submitted on July 5, 2017, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 66 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on July 5, 2017, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   7. submitted on July 7, 2017, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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