The Michael Cresap stone house at Oldtown, Maryland.
The Michael Cresap house at Oldtown is one of the most historic surviving buildings in Allegany County, Maryland. The Cresap family figures prominently in the history of western Maryland in general and Fort Cumberland in particular. Because of their active role in local events, the Cresap family is covered extensively in Mr. Dietle's book "Fort Cumberland".

Fort Cumberland and the history of western Maryland

Fort Cumberland played a key role in the history of western Maryland
A good grasp of the history of Fort Cumberland and its environs is needed to understand the early history of western Maryland. The history of the fort is far more complex than described in Will H. Lowdermilk's 1878 book "History of Cumberland" and J. Thomas Scharf's 1882 book "History of Western Maryland". Because of the limited coverage of certain time periods by those books, some individuals have the mistaken impression that very little happened in the environs of Fort Cumberland before the town of Cumberland was established — aside from Ohio Company and French and Indian War-related events. Unfortunately, the content of those books was constrained by the sheer difficulty of historical research in the late 1800s. Considering that constraint, it is no surprise that the aforementioned books by Lowdermilk and Scharf do not incorporate a more comprehensive history of Fort Cumberland and the early pioneer men and women who settled near it.

A new book makes the history of western Maryland more complete
Unconstrained by the limitations of 19th century historical research techniques, Mr. Lannie Dietle used modern computer-based techniques to discover and document a more complete history of Fort Cumberland and the early pioneers who populated its mountainous environs. Through diligent effort, he has made a significant contribution to the body of knowledge concerning the history of western Maryland. The work was accomplished in two steps. The initial step was researching and writing the authoritative 556-page book "Fort Cumberland: The Missing Years", which was published in 2016. It was written with the objective of documenting the events in the years before and after the French and Indian War that were not included in the "History of Cumberland" and the "History of Western Maryland". Knowing that more could be done, Mr. Dietle then wrote an even more comprehensive book that was simply titled "Fort Cumberland". This 982-page, two-volume book, which was published in 2019, provides significantly greater coverage of events before 1766, including extensive coverage of events at and near Fort Cumberland during the French and Indian War. A distinguishing feature of the book is its heavy reliance on chronologically organized transcripts of original records, with minimal narration and interpretation.

A book about an important French and Indian War fortification in western Maryland: Fort Cumberland.
A good understanding of the history of Fort Cumberland is fundamental to understanding the history of western Maryland. This book was created to provide a detailed look at the history of the fort and its environs in the decades preceding the founding of the town of Cumberland, Maryland. As a compilation of early records, the book is an indispensable resource for the devoted student of western Maryland history. It is available in a two-volume print edition and a single-volume Kindle edition.

An overview of the content "Fort Cumberland book
As an overview, the "Fort Cumberland" book documents the existence of early settlers in far western Maryland and nearby parts of Virginia prior to the French and Indian War. It then documents the complex circumstances that ignited the French and Indian War and led to the construction of a British outpost named Fort Cumberland at Wills Creek in what is now Allegany County. Following that, it describes the horrifying war-related devastation of the frontier settlement by Native American war parties, and the post-war recovery and expansion of the non-native population. It also documents the military history of Fort Cumberland during Pontiac's Rebellion, Lord Dunmore's War, and the Revolutionary War including the evolution of the fortification, and describes some of the legislation, decrees, and so forth that affected the surrounding tri-state region of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Finally, it includes a modest amount of information (41 pages) about the period after the founding of the town of Cumberland, including insightful information about George Washington's headquarters during the Whiskey Rebellion, and shows that the town was sometimes referred to as "Fort Cumberland" into the early 1800s.

To review the table of contents of the "Fort Cumberland" book, click here for Volume 1 and click here for Volume 2.

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The book is sold by the Allegany County Historical Society, which receives all proceeds. Help the society while learning more about the men and women who shaped the early history of western Maryland — order today!

You can take advantage of the low cost of the "Fort Cumberland" Kindle edition even if you don't own a Kindle device. You can read any Kindle book using the Kindle Cloud Reader website. You can also read Kindle books by using the Kindle app on a phone, a tablet, or a computer. You can even switch back and forth between devices without losing your place. All you need is a Kindle account.

    Mr. Dietle shortly after giving his retirement speech after 38 years with a Texas engineering firm.
In writing his two-volume history book, Mr. Lannie Dietle added significantly to the written history of western Maryland. This photo was taken at his 2021 retirement lunch. He was originally from southern Somerset County, Pennsylvania near Cumberland, Maryland. His interest in history started during childhood, as a result of talks with his Somerset County grandparents and the purchase of some 1860s books at a public auction.

1779 western Maryland history document related to Revolutionary War service at Fort Cumberland.
This is an excerpt from a 1779 record of expenses incurred by Captain Charles Clinton at Fort Cumberland, Maryland for disbursements he made, and blacksmith work he performed, in support of a packhorse brigade supplying the western department of the Continental Army. The use of Fort Cumberland as a supply depot for the western department is a previously unknown chapter in the history of Western Maryland.

A 1755 newspaper article pertaining to the history of Western Maryland.
This is an example of a newspaper article related to the history of Western Maryland that is quoted in the book "Fort Cumberland". The article is from the August 21, 1755 issue of the "Maryland Gazette". It reports on advice a British soldier received from a friendly Native American during the French and Indian War. The book also provides a fresh look at events at and near Fort Cumberland during Pontiac's Rebellion and the Revolutionary War.