Nathan Williams

Fort Frederick south of Big Pool Road (Maryland Route 56), Big Pool, MD 21711

Nathan Williams

History: Nathan Williams was the son of Samuel "Big Sam" Williams, a slave who in 1826 bought freedom for himself, his wife, and his four children. In 1839, the elder Williams purchased a farm about 3.5 miles east of Fort Frederick. There, Nathan Williams fell in love with a slave named Ammy on an adjoining farm and bought her freedom. In 1860, the couple acquired the Fort Frederick tract for $7,000. During the Civil War, the 1st Maryland Infantry garrisoned the fort in 1861-62, and officers occupied the Williams' house where Ammy Williams cooked their meals. Nathan Williams sold produce to soldiers here as well as to the Confederates. He justified his fraternization with the Confederates by passing information to the Federals.

More to Explore: Tour the stone fort, built in 1756, that protected Maryland's frontier settlers during the French and Indian War. Fort Frederick is unique because of its strong stone wall, large size, and roomy barracks. Fort Frederick also served during the American Revolution as a prison for British soldiers. Hike, bike and walk with Mother Nature on the nearby Western Maryland Rail Trail, over 21 miles of paved trail that runs through the beautiful, scenic Maryland countryside. Or spend a relaxing evening at one of Hancock’s fine local hotels, lodges or bed & breakfasts.

Photo Credits:

  1. “Nathan Williams and Family.” Courtesy of Washington County Historical Society.