• Kaylin Beach

Tobacco Tidbit: Planting Perspective

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that the tobacco plant will be responsible for a substantial improvement in the health of a nation.” - The Tobacco Merchant’s Lawyer by Ian Heggie

Or will it?

As we open another season of making tobacco on the National Colonial Farm, I must stop to discuss just a glimpse of why we subject ourselves to the tedious work of tending tobacco fields annually. After all, what's the point of growing this almost forgotten 'weed' if nothing is to be done with it?

Tobacco is a complex plant in the history of North America, particularly Maryland’s history. It is amazing how this simple ‘weed’ has shaped hundreds of years in the culture, economy, and government of this beautiful state. From the first sighting of its leaves by Columbus (who received them as a gift from the indigenous peoples of South America, deemed them worthless, and promptly threw them overboard) to the tobacco buyout in the 1900’s due to soil destruction, this plant has left its mark on all who come into contact with it.

Here at the Accokeek Foundation, we seek to tell the stories of all who shaped the land known as Piscataway Park; indigenous and immigrant, free and enslaved, rich and poor. What we find is that all of those people are connected through several things, one of the largest being agriculture.

On The National Colonial Farm, the story of a tidewater tobacco farmer is captured through historical demonstrations and museum theatre. Here the stories