Lost Legacy: The Search for a Descendant Community

Author(s): Elizabeth A. Comer

Year: 2018


Catoctin Furnace is a community at the base of the Catoctin Mountains in Frederick County, Maryland, that descends from a thriving iron-working village. From the furnace’s foundation in 1776, European immigrants and enslaved African-Americans comprised its labor force, producing the iron tools and armaments that powered a growing nation until the furnace’s demise in 1903.

From the Revolution until the mid-19th century, the iron furnace and associated agrarian enterprises relied primarily on the labor of enslaved Africans. Many descendants of the European immigrant laborers who replaced the enslaved and free blacks live in the village, but knowledge of the lineage of the African-American workers has been lost. Through DNA and genealogical research; oral history; and online databases such as 23andme, Ancestry.com, and GEDmatch; we are searching for the descendant population of the enslaved workers to reunite them with their heritage and legacy.

Cite this Record

Lost Legacy: The Search for a Descendant Community. Elizabeth A. Comer. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441316)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 1086