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Addisons from Maryland
This topic may be of interest to one of your members. Awhile back, my friend and I began to research his family history so that we could provide it to his children and grandchildren.
Here is what we have found so far:
The Addison Family
For as long as any living relative can remember, the Addison family has lived near Norbeck, which is a small town 15 miles north of Washington DC in Montgomery County, Maryland. The Norbeck region was first settled by freedmen and run-away slaves. Here they cleared the trees and started small farms. They lived in harmony with the few Indians who still hunted in the wilderness north of the nation's capital during the 19th century. After the Civil War, the former slaves were allowed to apply for the deed of the property they were living on. This is how the Addison family obtained their property in Norbeck.
Although there are no written records, it is believed that the Addisons from Norbeck are direct relatives of the slaves from the Addison Plantations in Prince George's County, Maryland. In 1675, John Addison came to America from England. He settled in Maryland and acquired large holdings of land from Lord Baltimore. On these lands he planted tobacco which he exported to England at a great profit. In order to grow more tobacco, he needed a large work force. He bought many Africans to work his plantation. In 1700, slaves were 11 percent of the population of Prince George's County and by 1790 they comprised 52 percent of the population. John Addison's son, Thomas, expanded the Addison plantations to become the largest land holders in the county. But by the turn of the century in 1800, the large plantations were sold off and became small farms. An owner of a small plot only used one or two slaves to work the land. As a result, many slaves either were freed or ran away from the plantation.
These former slaves moved to the wilder regions of Maryland and intermingled with the native Indians. The Addison Plantations were only 10 miles south of what would become the District of Columbia. Even until the mid-1800's, the area north of the District remained wooded and uninhabited. It was this remote area of Maryland where the freedmen and run-away slaves migrated and where they could live off the land and be free.
Many of the former slaves took their master's name since they had no family name that could be remembered from when they lived in Africa. It is believed that the Addisons of Norbeck left the Addison plantations sometime in the late 1700's. The family roots probably started here in America in the late 1600's as slaves of the Addison family as they built their large land holdings. The Addison Plantations are long gone, the family home burned down and only Addison Road in Prince George's County reminds us of the Addisons from England. But in Montgomery County, the Addsion family from Norbeck is still alive and well! They have endured.
Reference: Along the Potomac Shore in Prince George's County, Tanta-Cove garden club, 1992.
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