I saw this beautiful gravestone in Easton’s Spring Hill Cemetery last weekend:
Last spring, I visited White Marsh Cemetery off Route 50 in Talbot County, Maryland. Among the tombstones that I snapped was this pair:
Yeah, I know. Hard to read. FindAGrave already has separate listings for James Reddie and his wife, Ellen. I took photos because of the moss growing over the stones and they way they’re leaning together.
The Reddies came over from Scotland. Searches on Ancestry.com show that they were farmers and lived in Trappe, near the location of this cemetery. They had three children, William (5), Thomas (9) and Mary (12), according to the 1860 U.S. census. William remained in the area and became Talbot County Sheriff (his 1880 census listing shows him at the Talbot County Jail in Easton). By 1920, Thomas and his wife Lida are living in Iowa, according to the U.S. census. I couldn’t track down any more info on Mary.
In the 1850 U.S. census, there is a James Reddie who is a slave owner, but he lives in neighboring Dorchester County, Maryland. There’s also a confederate soldier from Maryland by the name of James Reddie, but I don’t see any concrete link between that soldier and the James Reddie depicted here.
Bear with me, folks, as I share this story and vent, for I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir on this one and the true targets of the ensuing post shall never see this page:
This past Saturday, my friend, whom I shall call “Shelley” (name changed to protect the flabbergasted), and I decided to take advantage of some fabulous late-November weather (bright, sunny, near 60), to shoot some volunteer photos and fulfill photo requests on FindaGrave.com.
We started out in St. Michael’s, Md., at Christ Church Episcopal Cemetery, where we snapped photos of the tombstones of the Rev. John William CHESLEY and his wife, Sarah F. VALLIANT Chesley. We also saw several supposed relatives of these two (or at least, we saw their graves) and so we photographed them too, for uploading to the site. A gentleman associated with the church saw us and invited us to check out the interior of the church as well, which was beautiful.
This particular cemetery and church is located across the street from several cute shops. “Shelley” had some Xmas shopping left to do and so we visited a couple of establishments before heading back to the car, which was parked behind the church. Suddenly, “Shelly” exclaimed, “That guy isn’t going to let his dog do that on the church lawn is he? He is!” And then I turned to see that, yep, a guy walking his dog was letting it do its business right next to the steps leading up to the church. Ewww. “Hopefully, he’ll at least pick it up,” I said.
After we packed up the car and were on our merry way to our next stop in Sherwood, Md., we passed the same guy and his dog, now on the other side of the street. “Hmmm, he’s not carrying a bag, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt — there’s a trashcan right there.”
“Nope, there’s a pile, right by the church steps. There’s a pile,” “Shelley” confirmed, as we drove by the church. Gross.
Several miles later, we missed the turnoff for our intended stop, but decided we’d hit it on the way back and proceeded to Tilghman Island, where still more graves awaited us. Google Maps had directed us to a small cemetery off a narrow road, nestled behind what looked like a house. I pulled over and we read over all the stones, but none of the names matched the couple we were supposed to find there. I felt weird, traipsing around someone’s apparent backyard (turns out it was the back lot of a business, not a private residence) and so I suggested we drive further down the road to see if we found another cemetery.
Less than a mile later, we came to a United Methodist Church and there was a large cemetery behind it. Bagpipes played in the parking lot — there was a funeral about to begin. We didn’t want to interrupt and parking was at a premium, so I turned around to see if there were any other places to check out in the meantime. That’s when I smelled it. That’s when “Shelley” uttered the phrase you never want to hear: “Um, I smell poop. I hope one of us didn’t step in it.”
I was back on the road at this point, trying to look down at my shoes to see if I was carrying the offending substance. Not me, so far as I could tell. I pulled over in an elementary school parking lot. “Shelley” had apparently stepped squarely in a pile at the previous cemetery.
“Poop seems to be the theme for the day,” I said.
We scavenged some sticks from under a nearby tree and between that and some water I had in the car, “Shelley” was able to clean most of the offending substance off the bottom of her shoe. We couldn’t help but laugh. “I deserve hazard pay for this!” “Shelley” joked.
After much giggling, sticks and “ewws!” we decided to drive back to Sherwood, to find the cemetery we had overshot earlier. We found the church, but it was on the tiniest of lots and we didn’t see a cemetery anywhere nearby. This was a Methodist church too. I said I was willing to bet that the graves we were seeking were probably at the larger Methodist church back in Tilghman. We returned to find the cars from the funeral departing. I parked and we started scouring the cemetery, now looking for the names from the Sherwood request and the Tilghman request.
We quickly found the Larrimores (the Tilghman request), and apparently FindaGrave had them at the right location, but Google Maps had sent me to the wrong cemetery. “Shelley” and I decided to split up the remaining graves because we were beginning to lose the light. We didn’t find the names from the Sherwood request (I’ve since asked another FindaGrave volunteer for directions to the cemetery so I can try again).
What I did find, after scanning the gravestones of my section, was still another, very large, pile of dog crap. The ancestors of the dog that produced this pile must of have bred with a horse.
What is wrong with people these days? When did it become acceptable to let your dog do its business on the lawn of a church or in a cemetery? Okay, let’s say your dog really, really has to go. Pick it up! Like you should anywhere your dog goes. Gah!
Last week’s post reminded me of the pic below, which I snapped earlier this year in Spring Hill Cemetery in Easton, Md. I’m kind of jealous of someone whose surname lends itself well to imagery in cases like this:
This beautiful tombstone belongs to:
Beloved Daughter of
Matthew P. & Mary F.
Born Dec: 17, 1859
Died Nov: 4, 1884
I knew some of the Hambletons of the Hambleton House (now the Bartlett Pear Inn) are buried in Spring Hill Cemetery in Easton, so I ventured over there last week to see who I could find. I happened upon the above tombstone for a Samuel Hambleton but when I got home and examined the photos I took more closely, I realized it wasn’t for the Purser Samuel Hambleton or the Col. Samuel Hambleton who bought the house or his son James’ son Samuel. It’s the grave of a fourth Samuel Hambleton!
This tombstone belongs to one of James’ brothers. The inscription reads:
Son of Samuel & Elizabeth Hambleton
Died January 24th, 1861
Aged 11 years.
I thank thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent and hast revealed them unto babes.
Even so Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.”
The phrase above is from Luke 10:21 in the King James Bible.
I also found another tombstone for another of James’ brothers:
Born Dec’r 5, 1839
Died Nov’r 25, 1862
Jesus saith unto her Thy brother shall rise again. St. John XI:23″
Col. Samuel Hambleton, the father of James and the two sons above, also is buried in Spring Hill Cemetery, but in a different section. Entries for all three are available on FindAGrave. I hope to go back someday and find more of the former inhabitants of the Hambleton House.
This week, I’ve posted about a research project that I did for a local B&B. The innkeepers wanted more than just a write-up about the building, however. They wanted something they could hang on their walls that would show off the building’s history.
After researching the property, I went to the local historical society and found several old photos of the building over the years. After purchasing copies of these photos, I used Creative Memories’ Storybook Creator Plus 3.0 to create wall prints that the innkeepers can frame for the hallways of the bed-and-breakfast.
Through Creative Memories’ Digital Center, you can get prints of individual photos, standard 8×8″ or 12×12″ scrapbook page prints or even posters. Below is a design I created that could be printed at 16×24″.
Since delivering the prints to the inn, I’ve had the chance to eat dinner there. The innkeeper was so excited to show me the framed prints, which they’ve hung where all of the guests can see them. She said she’s incorporated them into her tour of the building.
If you would like to learn more about how to make wall prints from your photos, feel free to contact me!
Okay, so it’s not mine, nor do I have a photo of it, but I wanted to expand on a part of the Hambleton House story that involves an actual treasure chest! As I mentioned in my blog post about the Bartlett Pear Inn in Easton (formerly the Hambleton House), a small chest was discovered under one of the staircases* in the home after the passing of Nannie Hambleton, the last of the Hambletons to occupy the building. Nannie Hambleton passed away in 1962, 117 years after her father purchased the property.
*The innkeeper took me on a tour of the Bartlett Pear Inn when I started working on this project and there are several staircases in the building under which the chest may have been kept. There’s even a staircase to nowhere that was partially walled off during one of the building’s many renovations. You can still see part of it by looking in one of the closets off the main staircase.
The chest that was discovered once belonged to her great-uncle, War of 1812 Purser Samuel Hambleton (not to be confused with Col. Samuel Hambleton (Nannie’s father) or Samuel Hambleton III (her brother)).
The elder Samuel Hambleton made a name for himself at the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812 by crafting a banner that read “Don’t Give Up the Ship.” The chest found under the staircase at 28 South Harrison Street in Easton contained his personal papers and his medal for bravery.
Purser Hambleton later built Perry Cabin in St. Michael’s, Md., which is also now an inn. Perry Cabin is named after Commodore Oliver H. Perry, with whom Hambleton served during the Battle of Lake Erie.
One interesting bit of Easton (Md.) history is located right across South Lane from the Bartlett Pear Inn (formerly the Hambleton House, built in 1790 by Benjamin Stevens). On the corner of South Lane and Harrison Street is a stone marker with the Roman numerals XXIII carved into it. This marker is from the original survey of the town in 1786 by a group including John Stevens (Benjamin’s father). The marker denotes Lot 23. Benjamin Stevens bought lots 24-26 on which the Bartlett Pear Inn now sits. (Photos by Missy Corley)
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.