My name is James Schmitt and I am a recent graduate from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. I am interning with the Maryland State Archives throughout summer 2019. I will specifically be working on the Finding the Maryland 400 project as a Maryland Society Sons of the American Revolution Research Fellow.
I majored in History and minored in Museum Studies while pursuing my bachelor’s degree at St. Mary’s. Although my primary area of historical study ranges from the Antebellum to Reconstruction periods of American history, I generally enjoy learning about most historical topics. Throughout my college career, I took historical courses ranging from the early colonial Chesapeake, colonial and Revolutionary military history, the early Republic, the Progressive Era, and 1960s America. As I grew up in the Annapolis area, the history of Maryland holds a special place in my interests.
In the summer of 2018, I took part in SMCM’s ongoing Cremona Archaeological Field School project, which focused on a seventeenth-century plantation house located in Mechanicsville, Maryland originally owned by the Ashcom family. This involved spending time in the field collecting data and artifacts from excavation sites on the property. I also helped categorize and clean artifacts in the college’s lab. As a group, we were able to uncover post holes as well as brick features hinting at the location of a potential former outbuilding on the property.
I have also previously interned with Historic St. Mary’s City, a living history site dedicated to preserving and interpreting the history of Maryland’s first capital. I developed preliminary forms of lesson plans for public schools focusing on slavery in the Chesapeake while interning at HSMC. I also volunteered at HSMC’s St. John’s Site Museum, where John Lewger—Maryland’s first government administrator—built his house in 1638; the house also served as a meeting site for the early colonial legislature, Governor Charles Calvert’s house, and a public inn.
I am greatly looking forward to contributing to this project, and hope to shed further light upon the Maryland 400. I would like to thank the Maryland Society Sons of the American Revolution for providing the funding for this project, and I hope to meet their expectations.
Thank you for joining the team. We hope to see your work soon. Thanks.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hello! I am very grateful for this opportunity. This topic is fascinating and having the opportunity to delve into older records has been an enjoyable challenge so far.
I have already completed a few biographies for the Fourth Independent Company, including Peter Jeffers and Reuben Jeffers. I am currently working on others as well. Thank you for your comment!
So interesting to read your biography. What an amazing opportunity you will have while interning with the Maryland 400.
Question – You said you were a volunteer at the St John’s Museum. My ancestor, Gerrit Van Sweringen owned an inn there that had been the assembly building. Was he the owner when it was an inn? Would love a private email with any insights you can provide. Thank you!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you for your comment! Van Sweringen did not own the inn at St. John’s, but did own an inn located on HSMC’s main location (the St. John’s Site is located on the SMCM campus itself). The site where his inn once stood is currently an exhibit at HSMC. I highly recommend reading this for more info about him if you have not already: https://www.hsmcdigshistory.org/pdf/Van-Sweringen.pdf
The inn at St. John’s was managed by Henry Exon. If you would like to learn more about the site, Dr. Henry Miller wrote a short summary on it:
Click to access St-Johns.pdf
Although I have only been working on this project for a little over a week, I have been enjoying my time with it. I hope that I will be able to provide more information on the Maryland 400 in the coming months.
James I enjoyed your post. I am also an alumni of St. Mary’s, and grew up on Breton’s Bay, just a few miles from where my family landed (Richard and Luke Gardiner 1634). Good luck with your internship. TY, Carolyn Gardiner
LikeLiked by 1 person
It is always nice to hear from someone else who went to SMCM, especially from someone who can trace their family history back so far. Thank you for reading my post!