Charles County commissioners last week approved a $5,000 grant match for research related to the Piscataway Conoy Tribe.
Julia A. King, chair of the St. Mary’s College of Maryland Anthropology Department, proposed the project that would be funded, if approved, by the Maryland Heritage Areas Program.
“I’m passionate about Charles County history,” King told the commissioners on Feb. 9. She noted teams from the college helped find the county’s first courthouse in 2008 and the Zekiah Fort in 2011.
The fort — which is located on a hill south of Waldorf — was established in 1680 by Charles Calvert, governor of the Maryland colony, for the protection of Piscataway Indians from raids by Susquehannock and Seneca tribal warriors from the north, according to the Baltimore Sun.
The grant proposed by King would help document Piscataway towns in Charles and St. Mary’s counties.
Francis Gray, who identified himself as the Piscataway Conoy tribal chair, said the grant would be used to research what the tribe considers “low-hanging fruit,” specifically the Pomonkey Creek area in Bryans Road, Chapel Point on the Potomac River, and the area between the Loyola (Jesuit) Retreat House on the Potomac River and Popes Creek, an area that the tribe calls Huckleberry.
King said the grant would be for at least $5,000, “perhaps more.” The research would be used to develop content for the Southern Maryland Heritage Area, a letter from the commissioners states.
“I’m ecstatic about this because it’s part of my ancestry as well,” Commissioner Thomasina O. Coates (D) said.
King said she hopes to hear whether the grant was approved by this summer.