The building that is now the Bartlett Pear Inn was once one of the grandest homes in downtown Easton. Its storied past includes a U.S. Congressman, a bishop, a love story* and even a treasure chest. There are still further connections to a state governor and a War of 1812 hero.
(*the love story involves neither the bishop nor the Congressman.)
Built in 1790, the mansion was constructed of pink brick by Benjamin Stevens, the son of a prominent Eastonian and the brother of future Governor of Maryland Samuel Stevens, Jr. Benjamin died only four years after completing the house, which then went to his father, John Stevens. John Stevens also passed away a short time later.
The house changed hands several times before being bought in 1845 by Samuel Hambleton, an Easton lawyer who would become a U.S. Congressman (1869-1873). He was the nephew of a famous U.S. Navy purser (also by the name of Samuel Hambleton) who played a vital role in the U.S. War of 1812.
The house remained in the Hambleton family for more than 100 years. Samuel Hambleton passed away peacefully in one of the upstairs bedrooms in 1886, according to a hand-written account by his son James in a family history book.
Col. Samuel Hambleton was a Southern sympathizer and his son James fought in the Civil War for the Confederacy. James was captured at Gettysburg and released from Fort Delaware a short time later.
James also was a central player in a love story connected with the property. According to an article in the Easton Star-Democrat, James fell in love with Ms. Anna Jones of Howard County, Md., after Anna came to Easton to visit her sister, who lived behind the Hambleton home. “It was quite a romance, it is related, and the engagement was one of the social affairs of Easton at the time,” states the article.
James P. Hambleton passed away in 1888, followed by his wife in 1921. Their daughters, Nannie and Amy, then inherited the property. Nannie, who lived in the home, passed away there in 1962. Shortly thereafter, a small black chest was discovered underneath one of the staircases in the home. It contained the personal papers of Purser Samuel Hambleton and his medal for bravery during his service in the War of 1812.
After Nannie’s death, the house left the Hambleton family and was converted into apartments. It was known as the Hambleton Apartments from then until the 1990s, when the building was converted into a bed and breakfast.
At one point, according to the Easton Star-Democrat, a Bishop Adams resided on the property shortly after being named bishop of the Easton diocese. This was probably Bishop William Forbes Adams, second bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Easton, who served from 1887 to 1920.
The property was included in the 1967 Historic American Building Survey, which described the home as a large, dignified Georgian mansion with very elaborate cornices and crown molding. The survey notes, “The brick work is excellent … It is a fine and well-proportioned structure.” The property at one time had a frame addition used as a law office by the Hambletons, but this was moved across the street before the addition that exists today was built.
A huge thank you to the staff at the Talbot County Free Library Maryland Room and at the Historical Society of Talbot County — both are worthwhile stops in Easton. Also thanks to Alice and Jordan Lloyd at the Bartlett Pear Inn for the chance to work on this project!
UPDATE: read and see more about the Hambleton House at these subsequent blog posts:
For God and Country — The Hambleton Family of Maryland, September 10-October 30, 1988, The Historical Society of Talbot County, binder: “Family Genealogies Haddaway – Harris”; Maryland Room, Talbot County Free Library, Easton, Maryland.
Harrison, Samuel Alexander. History of Talbot County, Maryland, 1661-1861, Volume 1. 1915. Digital images. Google Books. http://books.google.com : 2007.
Historic American Building Survey Inventory, 29 August 1967, folder: “Easton-Historic Houses,” vertical files; Maryland Room, Talbot County Free Library, Easton, Maryland.
Ludlow, Cynthia Beatty. Historic Easton. Easton, Md.: Historic Easton, Inc., 1979.
Maryland, Talbot County. Land Records. Office of the Clerk, Circuit Court, Easton.
Maryland, Talbot County. Will Book 13. Office of the Clerk, Circuit Court, Easton.
Maryland, Talbot County. Will Book 14. Office of the Clerk, Circuit Court, Easton.
“Some Early Views of Easton Taken Over Half a Century Ago,” Easton Star-Democrat, 23 May 1936; folder: “Easton-Historic Houses,” vertical files; Maryland Room, Talbot County Free Library, Easton, Maryland.
The Political Graveyard. Index to Politicians. http://politicalgraveyard.com : 2009.
Weeks, Christopher. Where Land and Water Intertwine. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984.
One morning last week, I got stuck in a miles-long back up on Kent Island in Maryland on the way to the day-job. As traffic crept forward, my car came alongside a cemetery I’ve often wondered about but never explored. Well, finding myself stopped there, I dug my camera out of my bag and snapped a few shots. You wouldn’t necessarily know it but these are taken from the right lane of U.S. Route 50.
The cemetery is Stevensville Cemetery in Queen Anne’s County, Md. I’ve wanted to stop there because Kent Island boasts the first English settlement within the state (third oldest in the nation) and I thought there might be some really old graves there.
The listing of burials at the cemetery on FindAGrave.com doesn’t show anything spectacularly old, but there are a few graves whose dates are unknown. Maybe one day I’ll actually pull off the road and explore this cemetery on foot.
If you compare the shots, you can tell that I snapped a pic, drove a few feet, snapped a pic, drove a few more feet, snapped another pic. And it is for the people in the car behind me that it may have been beneficial to have an “It’s OK, I’m a genealogist” bumper sticker. Just in case they were wondering about the weird girl in the car in front of them taking photos of a graveyard.
While reading old newspaper abstracts for a client project, I came across this gem of an exchange between a quarreling husband and wife:
3 Aug 1822: Notice – “‘Whereas my wife, Celia Stevens has left my bed & board….’ – Samuel Stevens”
10 Aug 1822 – “Celia Stevens answers the notice of her husband, Samuel Stevens, saying ‘He has neither bed or board… it being mine and the fact is he left it…’”
(F. Edward Wright, Maryland Eastern Shore Newspaper Abstracts, Volume 4, 1819-1824 (Silver Spring, Md.: Family Line, 1982), page 37, entries 231-232.)
This led me to look up the term “bed and board” and, not surprisingly, it’s the basis of a legal definition of a divorce where the husband and wife are not legally separated, but are not living together either (see a modern definition here).
These posts no doubt caused a stir at the time. I would love to find the original clippings — it appears the Maryland State Archives may have them. Hmmm… Maybe after I finish the client project.
On the way to southern points on the Eastern Shore, I always pass this tumbling-down church and graveyard on Route 50 near Trappe, Md. I finally pulled off the road to explore it this past Saturday. The sign on the corner reads “White Marsh Cemetery,” but Google Maps has it listed as “Hole-in-the-Wall Cemetery.” Funnily enough, the name does not come from the appearance of the existing building.
The building is the remains of a church dating back to the 1600s. Interesting stories about the church can be found on the Haunted Eastern Shore Facebook page. Many of the graves have stones with dates in the 1700s including a vault in the floor of the church holding the remains of a parish rector and his wife.
The cemetery is still in use by another church and there are many recent graves there. Below are photos of some of the older graves, many of which are succumbing to nature in varying degrees:
This elaborate tombstone in Easton, Md.’s Spring Hill Cemetery caught my eye because of its blueish hue, which stood out from the granite and marble surrounding it, and because of of its elaborate carvings:
The inscription on his stone indicates that Lynch fought as a Confederate soldier in the Civil War as part of the Chesapeake Battery of the Maryland Artillery.
Lynch’s gravestone is a veritable sampler of cemetery symbolism. The cannons on the stone may be meant to commemorate his military service. The anchor could have several meanings. According to this site on gravestone symbols, the anchor could mean hope or eternal life and/or could indicate the deceased was a sailor or even a Mason. According to the Association of Gravestone Studies (yes, there is such a thing; link opens a PDF), the anchor may also symbolize strong faith or steadfastness.
The wreath of flowers could mean victory or honor. The gravestone also features a bundle of wheat and a Lily of the Valley; the former represents harvest and the later, innocence or purity.
Taken at Spring Hill Cemetery in Easton, Md.:
The inscription at the top reads In Hoc Signo Vinces:
The phrase means “by this sign thou shalt conquer,” and it is used by the Knights Templar among others.
This headstone, found in Spring Hill Cemetery in Easton, Md., is interesting to me for a couple of reasons: the symbols accompanying the husband’s name and the lack of a death date for the wife (and I’m pretty sure she’s dead, otherwise, she’d be 132 years young).
I did some preliminary searches and was not able to find information about Mary Virginia Kirk Cannon’s death. Some might suggest that perhaps she remarried and was therefore buried with the subsequent husband. However, she would have been 81 when Everett Cannon died — that doesn’t completely rule out another marriage, but I think it diminishes the likelihood quite a bit.
There are other possible scenarios — perhaps she moved far away before she passed and was buried elsewhere. Or perhaps her family couldn’t afford to have her stone engraved with her death date.
Turning back to the symbols on the grave. The one on the left-hand side represents the Shriners, a group of Master Masons. The symbol on the right-hand side looks like the Rotary wheel symbol to me. I’d never seen either symbol on a grave before.
I’m late (again) for this weekly series, but I’m also going to take a different spin on the original mission from We Tree:
“Learn about your local public library’s inter-library loan (ILL) policy. Pick a genealogy-related book that you want to read that is not in your library’s collection. Ask the librarian how to request the book from another library. Find the different library systems from which you can request books through your own library, as this can dramatically increase the number of genealogy books to which you have access. If you have a genealogy blog, write about your experience with requesting items through your library’s ILL service.”
I’ve used and am a huge proponent of inter-library loan (ILL) services. Through my volunteer work with the Internet Public Library, I constantly refer patrons to their local libraries because even if their library doesn’t have a particular book that they may need or want, they usually can request it via inter-library loan.
The state of Maryland actually maintains a fleet of vehicles for this purpose (and if I could find my spring 2008 class notes, I could tell you exactly how many). The other morning, I saw a van belonging to the Eastern Shore Regional Library heading west on Route 50 here on the Shore. I wonder if they were transporting books for the ILL program.
Here’s how the ILL loan process works at my library: once I determine that a book I need is not available in my library’s catalog, but is available at another library in the system (either via WorldCat [more on this in a future post] or on Marina, the state’s library holdings database), I simply call or email the library and ask them to request the book for me. They also can request books from out-of-state institutions, but there is a $5 charge for this (still cheaper than having to buy your own copy of most books!). The hitch is that if a book is in high demand, you may have to wait a while before it becomes available to send your way.
I’ve also used the ILL system within the University System of Maryland libraries. I work on the College Park campus, but when I needed a book at one of the campuses in Baltimore, I was able to request that it be sent to one of the libraries on the College Park campus for me to pick up. Way more convenient!
I saw this unusual tombstone for John J. JUMP at Easton’s Spring Hill Cemetery a couple of weeks ago. I originally thought he may have been a sailor, because the wheel on his tombstone sort of resembled a ship’s wheel, but this may not be the case. In researching symbols on tombstones, I learned that a broken wheel can simply signify a life cut short.
That would certainly be the case for Jump, who was only 35 when he died.