I live in a historical town in western Maryland. I love downtown --- the old buildings, the park, the promenade along the creek that runs through it, and the history. Oh, the history is rich here. Founded in 1745, Frederick, Maryland sits on the banks of Carrol Creek, in a valley once called 'Apple Valley' due to all the orchards. During the Revolution, the Frederick Barracks pictured above housed Hessian prisoners of war. Reading the accounts posted on the Facebook page, it was quite amiable and often times rowdy.
The Frederick riflemen were famous during the Revolution for their superior marksmanship, and the town sat on the fringes of the Indian War, also knows as Cresap's War, Lord Dunmore's War, or Logan's War. (I am revising two novels set in this period and will be reissuing them in the spring.)
Central and western Maryland's countryside, especially along the Potomac, are huge inspirations for my writing. Here I found the inspiration for my historical series, Daughters of the Potomac, set in the days of the American Revolution and its aftermath. I've had moments where I've stood on the shoreline of the river, breathed in the air, gazed across to Harpers Ferry, and felt a kind of pull to write about what came before us. Indeed this area is significant to the Civil War, Antietam and Sharpsburg being close by, and overshadows the Colonial history. But the era of the American Revolution permeates the area. A few miles up river from these battlefields sits Fort Frederick, build during the French and Indian War.
If you are reading or writing a historical novel, or you just want to explore the history of your area, may I suggest you take a day and drive through the countryside down sideroads you've never been before? Here's what happened to me on such a day.
We were driving down Sunday's Lane, a very rural part of the county. I saw a stone jutting up on the edge of the road on a rise of ground and asked my husband to stop. I got out and discovered it was a Civil War grave marker. I walked further on. Here was a family's burial ground going back to the Revolution. As sad as it was, I read the inscription on a child's stone. "It is well with my child". I was so moved that I included this in my novel 'Beside Two Rivers'.
Rita Gerlach: http://ritagerlach.blogspot.com