As part of the new U.S. Route 301 highway alignment stretching from the C & D Canal to just over the Maryland State Line south of Middletown, the Delaware Dept. of Transportation has been doing an extensive archaeological examination of the Rumsey’Polk Prehistoric Site. Resources were identified in a plowed field as a dense cluster of Pre-Contact, 18th, and 19th-century artifacts by Richard Grubb & Associates, Inc. (RGA) during a Phase I archaeological survey in 2009 and more intensive investigations have continued since that time.
The site is located on an upland setting near a tributary of Sandy Run close to the Delaware/Maryland border. This location was prized by both Native Americans and Colonial farmers. Owned by notable Delaware and Maryland residents in the 17th and early 18th century, by 1742 the site was part of the Delaware estate of prominent landowner William Rumsey Sr., whose home stood at Bohemia Landing in Cecil County, Maryland. William Rumsey Sr. was wealthy and influential, a mill owner and customs collector for the Cecil County District. His son, William Rumsey Jr., was a Patriot and major of the Bohemia Battalion during the Revolutionary War. In 1836, the site was acquired by William Polk, a major landowner in New Castle County and continued in the Polk ownership until it was abandoned circa 1848/1855. The Rumsey/Polk Tenant/Prehistoric site was occupied by tenant farmers.
On Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. the Middletown Historical Society is going to present a talk Ilene Grossman-Bailey, Ph.D. on the archaeological excavation of the tenant and prehistoric parcel. The Middletown Historical Society is located at 216 N. Broad Street. The program is open to the public and there is no charge.