"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Adam F. Plummer

This portrait of Adam Francis Plummer hangs on a fence in Edmonston, Maryland

Adam Francis Plummer Founder of Present Day Edmonston

Born into slavery to the powerful Calvert Family, literate and educated Adam Francis Plummer rose to become the foreman for Charles Benedict Calvert (founder of the University of Maryland and member of Congress). Working on the nearby Riversdale plantation, he kept a diary of family life and attempted several escapes without success. At the close of the Civil War, Plummer and his wife Emily set out to reunite his family after several had been sold to the deep south during slavery.

In 1870 Plummer purchased 10 acres on the south end of the plantation (present-day Edmonston) to establish a settlement for his newly freed family. With an expertise in horticulture and a fondness for roses, he named the community Mt. Rose after the gardens established here.

A century later Adam Francis Plummer became a figure of major historical significance when his diary was found to be the only diary of any slave in U.S. history. The diary is now in the care of the Smithsonian.
Adam Plummer's diary can be read on the Anacostia Community Museum website.

The portrait seems to be based on this photo which appeared in his daughter Nellie's Book, Out of the Depths or The Triumph of the Cross.

Nellie Arnold Plummer

Adam Plummer's wife Emily was enslaved at 'Three Sister's' Plantation in Lanham. She was later enslaved at the Thompson estate on Meridian Hill in Washington, DC. This photo appears on Historical Marker on Meridian Hill. Throughout their marriage Adam Plummer had to travel many miles to visit his wife Emily.

This photo on display at Riversdale shows Adam Plummer and his large family.

 Patriarch Adam Francis Plummer surrounded by his family outside his home, Mount Rose. Standing, left to right, Robert Francis, Nellie Arnold, Margaret Jane, Nicolas Saunders. Sitting, Sarah Miranda, Adam Francis, Henry Vinton, Margaret's daughter, Nellie.
Donald Lynch tells the Plummer family story in a caption to this photo.
Slavery divided the Plummer family. Adam lived at Riversdale, and Emily and their children were sold to several different plantations in Maryland and Washington, DC. Adam visited his family when he could. He taught his children to read and write. The Plummers had nine children: Sarah Miranda, Henry Vinton, Elias Cupid Quincy, Julia Ann Caroline Maria, Nicholas Saunders, Marjorie Ellen Rose, Margaret Jane, Robert Francis, and Nellie Arnold. Emily struggled to keep her children together. Daughter Sarah Miranda Plummer was sold down South, ending up in New Orleans. Following the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, Emily attempted to escape with her children and reach Adam at Riversdale. They were arrested as fugitive slaves and imprisoned in Baltimore. Ultimately, the family was released into Adam Francis Plummer's custody. The eldest son, Henry, joined the US Navy. Following the war, Henry found sister Sarah in New Orleans and reunited her with the family. In 1870, Adam purchased 10 acres of land behind Riversdale and built Mount Rose, the family home. Emily died in 1876, and Adam died in 1905. -- Lynch, Riverdale Park, Arcadia Publishing, 2011

Adam and Emily's daughter Sarah, Nellie's Sister, Miranda appears on the  "Walk of History" in Upper Marlboro, along with Jim Henson and Daniel Carroll.

Sarah Miranda Plummer Clark

The nearby historical marker says this of Sarah Miranda Plummer Clark.
Sarah Miranda Plummer Clark (1842-1905) 
Sarah Miranda Plummer was born at Three Sisters plantation in central Prince George's County. Her mother was a slave on that farm while her father was owned by the Calvert Family and lived on the Riversdale plantation in what is now Riverdale Park. When Sarah was eighteen, she was abducted, sold and carried south to New Orleans. Six years later, after the Civil War, Sarah's brother found her and brought her to her parents' home at Riversdale. On the night of her return, a vigil was held to give thanks and this marked the official founding of St. Paul's Baptist Church.

Adam F. Plummer has earned his place on the Truth, Remembrance and Freedom mural on the now defunct Crossroads Caribbean nightclub in Bladenburg.

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