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The Plummer Family

Through Rosalie Stier Calvert's letters, Riversdale has a story, but it also enjoys another story: that of Adam Francis Plummer, an enslaved servant born at George Calvert's Mount Albion in 1819 and brought to Riversdale at the age of 10. An industrious and patient man described as "skilled in planting," Adam served George Calvert and had a close relationship with his second son, Charles Benedict Calvert.

Taught to read by an itinerant minister, Adam began keeping a journal when he married Emily Saunders from nearby Three Sisters Plantation in Lanham on May 31, 1841. They had nine children:

  • Sarah Miranda
  • Henry Vinton
  • Elias Cupid Quincy
  • Julia Ann Caroline Maria
  • Nicholas Saunders
  • Marjorie Ellen Rose
  • Margaret Jane
  • Robert Francis
  • Nellie Arnold

Over time, Emily was sold and moved from Three Sisters to Meridian Hill in Washington, D.C., and then to Ellicott Mills in Maryland. Adam traveled whenever possible to see his family and do what he could as a husband and father.

After emancipation in 1863, Adam remained at Riversdale as a paid foreman. He bought 10 acres of land in present-day Edmonston, named it Mount Rose, and built a log house for his family. They moved there in 1870.

Emily Saunders Plummer died in 1876, and Adam died in 1905.

Adam's journal was located in 2003 and donated to the Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum.

See the online exhibit on Adam Francis Plummer.