Mr. Dietle's book about the history of Fort Cumberland at Wills Creek addresses time periods that the classic 1878 book "History of Cumberland" largely ignores, making it a valuable addition to the written history of Allegany County, Maryland. The cover artwork of Mr. Dietle's book depicts Emmanuel Episcopal Church, which was built on the site of Fort Cumberland overlooking Wills Creek and the Potomac River.
Long-missing keys to understanding the history of Allegany County, Maryland
The 1878 book "History of Cumberland" by William H. Lowdermilk has long been the last word regarding the history of the western Maryland town of Cumberland in what is now Allegany County. A portion of the book relating to the formation and history of the town is valuable original research. A portion relating to the Ohio Company and the French and Indian War is largely paraphrased from the writings of other historians, but is well written and fascinating to read.
The rich detail and interesting prose in Lowdermilk's "History of Cumberland" make it difficult to notice that the book largely ignores the period between the French and Indian War and the formal creation of the town. It also largely ignores the period before the French and Indian War. These periods would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible, to research in Lowdermilk's day. Nevertheless, the missing periods are crucial to truly understanding the history of Cumberland in particular and the history of Allegany County in general. For example, the history of Fort Cumberland during the Revolutionary War was unknown in Lowdermilk's day.
A new book was written to address limitations of Lowdermilk's "History of Cumberland"
Recognizing both the strengths and limitations of Lowdermilk's "History of Cumberland" book, Lannie Dietle decided to write a new history book that focused on the periods Lowdermilk skipped over. The resulting 562-page book was published in 2016 as "Fort Cumberland: The Missing Years". Having become fascinated with the history of the Cumberland region, Mr. Dietle continued his research and expanded the book to 982 pages. This upgrade provided significantly more coverage of the period before 1766, including the 1755 to 1758 period that was only minimally covered in the 2016 book. The result is a more complete understanding of the history of the Cumberland region and the early pioneer settlers who lived there.
The expanded book was published with the new title "Fort Cumberland" in 2019 in both print and Kindle versions. It explores the western Maryland settlement that existed prior to the French and Indian War and describes its war-related destruction by Native American raiding parties and its post-war recovery and growth. It also explains the factors leading to the French and Indian War, and describes the military and legislative history of the Cumberland region before the founding of the town.
A deeper understanding of the history of Cumberland and Allegany County, Maryland
Dietle's 2019 "Fort Cumberland" book is intended to supplement Lowdermilk's 1878 "History of Cumberland" book, rather than replace it. Considered together, the old and new books provide a previously unobtainable understanding of the history of Cumberland and the history of Allegany County, Maryland.
Lannie Dietle's authoritative two-volume book "Fort Cumberland" establishes a deeper understanding of the history of Cumberland, Maryland by incorporating excerpts from relevant original documents.
Ordering "Fort Cumberland":
Volume 1, print edition
Volume 2, print edition
Kindle edition (single volume)
All proceeds from sales of the book benefit the Allegany County Historical Society, 218 Washington Street, Cumberland, Maryland 21502. Learn more about the settlement of Cumberland, Maryland — order today!
Individuals with Kindle accounts can read the Kindle edition of "Fort Cumberland" by using the free Kindle Cloud Reader website, by using the free Kindle app on a phone, tablet, or computer, or by using a Kindle e-reader device.
Fort Cumberland had a profound influence on Allegany County, Maryland history and the history of the surrounding tri-state region. Mr. Dietle's book traces the history and construction of Fort Cumberland from its initial erection in 1754, its use in the French and Indian War and evolution into an earthen fortification, its use in Pontiac's War, the Revolutionary War, and the Whiskey Rebellion, and its gradual disappearance over time. The historic Emmanuel Episcopal Church was built on the site of the barracks portion of the fort in the mid-1800s.