The Discovery Channel reports on an 18th Century store evacuated in the Fort Edward area in the Hudson River region near Albany.
A five-year-long archaeological project has unearthed the 250-year-old site of a merchant’s establishment that sold wine, rum, tobacco and other goods to the thousands of soldiers who passed through the Hudson River region during the French and Indian War, when Fort Edward was the largest British military post in North America.
Sutler, derived from the Dutch word for someone who performs dirty work, was the name given to the merchants who arrived on the heels of the British army and sold what the redcoats wouldn’t â€” or couldn’t â€” provide at a frontier outpost. With the permission of military officials, sutlers set up shop near a fort’s gates, taking advantage of the isolated location to do a brisk trade with off-duty soldiers and officers.
The archaeological dig in the area began in 2001 and they continue to uncover artifacts including coins, clay pipes, and glass fragments from bottles of alcohol, making it one of the richest digs in the Fort Edward area, the article reports. They’ve dug down deeper and uncovered fireplace bricks and a charred staircase and beams in what was the dirt basement of the sulter’s store structure.
According to the article, Native American Indians called the area the “Great Carrying Place” due to the nearby water falls forcing “travelers to make a 15-mile portage to reach the southern end of Lake George to the north.” This made the area a prime location for a store and tavern.
Many traders, soldiers, and travelers using the Hudson River would have passed through this area in the 1700 and 1800s, making this modern archaeological dig a find for many genealogists.
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