Do you have William and Hannah Reed of what is now West Virginia in your family tree? If so, you will be interested to know that the West Virginia Department of Transportation is now performing an archaeological "dig" on their homesite.
Michael Baker Jr., Inc., a contractor to the West Virginia Department of Transportation, Division of Highways, is performing archaeological data recovery excavations at the Reed Farmstead site in Hardy County. The site is being excavated and recorded prior to construction of the proposed Appalachian Corridor Highway.
Discovered in 1996, the Reed Farmstead site (circa 1805-1850s) has been found to contain the remains of several buildings and many historic artifacts. It is providing archaeologists with insights into the lifestyle of rural farmers in the pre-Civil War era. As a result of its isolated location, the site has encountered little disturbance since it was abandoned in the 1850s, allowing it to maintain a high degree of archaeological integrity.
In addition to the data recovery excavations, Baker's team is performing extensive historic research, working to unearth detailed information on the William and Hannah Reed family. Coupled with the archaeology, this research will provide a context for interpreting the lifeways of the Reed family.
Task Manager Stephen Hinks notes, "The Reed Farmstead excavations are among the most extensive ever conducted at an antebellum farmstead in West Virginia. This work is providing important information about how our ancestors carved out a living on the rugged Appalachian frontier, and how they adapted to their environment. The artifacts also help us better understand consumer behavior and choices among farm families in this fairly isolated region."
As part of the Reed Farmstead Site investigation, Baker has developed a project web site that provides site history, current excavation information, and recent field discoveries. This web site, as well as planned visits to the site by local school groups, are some of the ways Baker and the WVDOH are sharing West Virginia's rich archaeological heritage with the public.
Anyone with information regarding the William and Hannah Reed family of Hardy County are encouraged to contact the archaeologists either through the Reed Farmstead web site or by calling Denise Grantz or Stephen Hinks at 1-800-553-1153.
The web site is located at: http://www.reedfarmstead.com