More exciting details about this historic African American neighborhood in this article!
There’s beginning to be a lot of buzz about The Hill, perhaps the oldest established African-American neighborhood in the country. Read three recent articles in the Star Democrat at the links below:
What’s more, the neighborhood’s two historic African-American churches, both of which hosted speeches by Frederick Douglass
when he visited Easton, are slated to receive preservation funds in Governor Martin O’Malley’s budget this year.
If you are interested in learning more about The Hill, donating towards the preservation and archaeological work, or getting involved as a volunteer, please visit the Historic Easton web site or send us an email!
For those interested in learning the latest on the explorations and research into The Hill neighborhood in Easton, please plan to join us on Saturday, November 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
We believe “The Hill” is the oldest African American neighborhood in the country, predating what is thought of as the oldest documented African American neighborhood: “Treme” located in New Orleans, LA.
“Uncovering Our Past” will take place at the Talbot County Senior Center (400 Brookletts Place) and will provide a debriefing on the on-going documentation efforts regarding “The Hill” and a discussion on the role of archeology and historic preservation. Professor Dale Glenwood Green of Morgan State University School of Architecture and Planning and Dr. Mark Leone of the University of Maryland College Park Department of Anthropology will highlight a panel discussion followed by a open session for sharing and collecting stories of the neighborhood history. Light refreshments will be available.
For more information on this project, please see:
Below are photos from a visit I made along with other members of Historic Easton to the Miller’s House in what is now Wye Mills back in April. The Miller’s House was built by Edward Lloyd III in the 1700s to attract a miller to the area as local agriculture transitioned from tobacco-based to grain-based.
After sitting vacant for years, the home has fallen into quite a state of disrepair. Historic Easton is trying to stabilize the house before it falls down. While we have grants to help cover some of the work, we are seeking support from anyone interested to help offset costs (donations can be made via Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Click on the photos below to view larger versions:
There is a cemetery on the property — I’ll be helping to map out the gravestones when the weather cools and vegetation dies back.
Photos below are from the archaeological dig going on at the “Buffalo Soldier’s House” in The Hill area of Easton, Md. (323 South Street). Visitors are welcome to stop by this upcoming week, Monday thru Friday, between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., to observe the dig.
The house (built c. 1880) belonged to relatives of William Gardner, a Buffalo Soldier. The archaeological dig is part of a process to help save the house and also is part of a wider investigation of the history of the entire neighborhood.
(click on the photos below for larger versions)
Photos of the house itself:
I had an amazing time today at the presentation about The Hill in Easton — I got to hear stories from current and former residents about the way African Americans developed this neighborhood from the late 18th-century to today. We took a walking tour and stopped into one of the churches that is at the neighborhood’s core. I also discovered that I had happened upon a real gem during a prior project that has value for the history of The Hill.
Below are some photos and tidbits from the day (click on the photos for larger versions):
Now, for the coolest part of the day for me. In a talk about the “Buffalo Soldier’s House,” local historian Priscilla Morris mentioned two black women from The Hill, Ann Eliza Skinner Green Dodson and her sister, Temperance
(whose son was the Buffalo Soldier, William Gardner). [4/2: Oops! I was a little confused during this presentation -- I was so excited when I realized I had the photo. Temperance's sister Ann was an early owner of the property known as the "Buffalo Soldier's House." The house passed to Temperance's son before it was sold to the Gardner family.] Morris mentioned that Temperance was a servant of the Hambleton family, who lived in the building that is now the Bartlett Pear Inn.
I realized I had a photo of Temperance.
When I did the history of the Bartlett Pear Inn, I came upon a stereograph image of the building (the top photo on the poster here) at the Historical Society of Talbot County. Pictured on the front porch are members of the Hambleton family. On the sidewalk, with two of the Hambleton children, is the Hambleton’s African American servant. Temperance.
No one at today’s meeting had seen the image before — I was able to show it to them on my phone. It was so exciting to share this rare piece of history with the group!
I hope those in the Easton area can attend this event on March 31 (click on the poster for a larger view):
I’m really looking forward to learning more about this area from the residents and to participate in the walking tour. I’ll post a follow-up blog post when the event is over!
Please visit http://www.historiceastoninc.net/ to learn more about Historic Easton’s current projects and how to get involved!