Mr. Dietle's book provides a good understanding of the history of Fort Cumberland at Wills Creek, which is essential to understanding the overall history of Allegany County, Maryland. The Emmanuel Episcopal Church, which is situated on the eastern end of the site of Fort Cumberland, is featured on the cover of the book.
Neglected periods in the history of Allegany County, Maryland
One of the keys to really understanding the early history of Allegany County, Maryland is a comprehensive understanding of the history of Fort Cumberland. That history is much more extensive than reported in the 1878 book "History of Cumberland" by Lowdermilk and the 1923 book "History of Allegany County Maryland" by Thomas and Williams. Because of the limited coverage of certain time periods by those books, some students of the history of Allegany County were left with the impression that very little happened within the bounds of the county before the town of Cumberland was founded, other than the reported French and Indian War activities at Fort Cumberland. Unfortunately, it was much more difficult to perform history research back when those books were written. That explains why those books do not provide a more comprehensive history of the fort and the early settlers in the region that eventually became Alleghany County.
A new book expands the written history of Allegany County
Using the powerful computer-based research tools that are now available, Lannie Dietle set out to write the definitive history of Fort Cumberland. In the process, he added significantly to the understanding of the history of Allegany County. Mr. Dietle completed the work in two steps. The first step was completion of a surprisingly comprehensive 556-page book titled "Fort Cumberland: The Missing Years" in 2016. It was written to cover the settlement periods before and after the French and Indian War that were largely unexamined by the "History of Cumberland" and "History of Allegany County Maryland" books. The second step was completion of an even more comprehensive 982-page two-volume replacement book titled "Fort Cumberland" in 2019.
Overview of the 2019 "Fort Cumberland" history book
Compared to the 2016 book, the 2019 book provides significantly more coverage of the period before 1766, including the 1755 to 1758 period of conflict that was intentionally glossed over in the 2016 book. To summarize, the book documents the pioneer settlement that existed before the French and Indian War, and then documents the war-related devastation and post-war recovery of the settlement. It also documents the military and legislative history of the Allegany County region, with a detailed look at Fort Cumberland-related events during Pontiac's Rebellion and the Revolutionary War. It also documents the complex circumstances in the Ohio valley that precipitated the French and Indian War.
Click here to view a copy of the Table of Contents of "Fort Cumberland" that has been supplemented with the subtitles (italicized) that are found in each of the 40 chapters of the book.
Volume 1: print edition
Volume 2: print edition
Kindle edition: two volumes in one
The Allegany County Historical Society of Cumberland, Maryland sells the book via Amazon and receives all sales proceeds. Order now to learn more about the men and women who shaped history of Allegany County and western Maryland!
You can read the Kindle edition of "Fort Cumberland" even if you don't have a Kindle device. You can use the Kindle Cloud Reader website, or you can use the Kindle app on a phone, tablet, or computer. All you need is a Kindle account. You can even switch between devices and not lose your place in the book.
Allegany County Historian Lannie Dietle posing with a statue of George Washington at the Maryland State House in Annapolis. George Washington visited what is now Allegany County, Maryland many times. The earliest visit was in 1747/8 as a young surveyor meeting the frontiersman Thomas Cresap for the first time. The final visit was during the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794, as an esteemed war hero and President of the United States leading an army of citizen soldiers. George Washington's headquarters at Cumberland during the Whiskey Rebellion is now a beloved historic landmark.