Notes for Uncommon Vernacular: The Early Houses of Jefferson County, West Virginia
- 1 by Wallace, Edie
- 2 Contents
- 2.1 William McSherry House (Lots 9-10)
- 2.2 Scollay Hall/Eckhart-Lowder-Scollay House (Lots 13-14) John Grantham House/Virginia Hotel (Lot 16)
- 2.3 Kounslar-Gilbert House (Lot 20) Ambrose Timberlake House (Lot 22) Strider-Harley House (Lot 26)
- 2.4 John Moyer House (Lot 41)
- 2.5 Red House and Blacksmith Shop (Lot 56) Daniel Fry House (Lot 57)
- 2.6 Dr. Mann P. Nelson House (Lot 59) Merchant-Janney House (Lot 60)
- 2.7 Michael Shaull-John F. Smith House (Lot 66)
- 2.8 Sebastian Eaty House (Lot 72) Grantham Store (Lot 74)
- 2.9 Harmon McKnight House (Lot 75)
- 2.10 Joseph (Guiseppe) Minghini House (Lot 78)
- 2.11 Crampton-Stephenson House/Ramsay Tavern (Lot 102)
- 2.12 Documentary research on the house
- 2.13 1886 deed and plat to property
- 2.14 1821 appraisal of personal property of Moses Smith (3 pages)
- 3 NOTE ABOUT PLAN OF MIDDLEWAY, SHOWN ON NEXT PAGE
- 4 NOTE ABOUT “1798 SMITHFIELD CHART” SHOWN ON NEXT PAGE
- 5 Smithfield/Middleway – A Brief Review of its Development
- 6 William McSherry House – Lot 9-10 (old Lot 1, east side Queen Street)
- 7 Scollay Hall/Eckhart-Lowder-Scollay House – Lot 13/14 (old Lot 2/3, east side of Queen Street)
- 8 John Grantham House-Virginia Hotel – Lot 16 (old Lot 4, east side of Queen Street) Built 1800 by John Grantham
- 9 Kounslar-Gilbert House – Lot 20 (old Lot 5, east side of Queen Street) Built 1830 by Conrad Kounslar
- 10 Ambrose Timberlake House – Lot 22 (old Lot 6, east side of Queen Street) Built 1844 by Ambrose Timberlake
- 11 Strider-Harley House – Lot 26 (old Lot 8, east side of Queen Street)
- 12 John Moyer House – Lot 41 (old Lot 19 w/s Queen St.)
- 13 Red House & Blacksmith Shop – Lot 56 (old Lot 12 w/s Queen St.)
- 14 Daniel Fry House – Lot 57 (old Lot 11 w/s Queen St.)
- 15 Dr. Mann P. Nelson House – Lot 59 (old Lot 10, east side King Street)
- 16 Merchant-Janney House – Lot 60 (old Lot 10 w/s Queen Street)
- 17 Michael Shaull-John F. Smith House – Lot 66 (old Lot 7, w/s Queen Street)
- 18 Sebastian Eaty House – Lot 72 (old Lot 4, east side King Street)
- 19 Grantham Store – Lot 74 (old Lot 3, west side of Queen Street) Built 1855 by John W. Grantham
- 20 Harmon McKnight House – Lot 75 (old Lot 3, east side King Street) Built 1798 by Harmon McKnight
- 21 Joseph (Giuseppe) Minghini House – Lot 78 (old Lot 1, n/s Turkey Spring, w/s Queen Street)
- 22 Crampton-Stephenson House/Ramsay Tavern – Lot 102 (old Lot 9, west side King Street)
- 23 John Smith, Sr./Moses Smith House (Bill White Grantham House)
by Wallace, Edie
Middleway, WV 1/1/2011
Digitized for the Middleway Conservancy under grant from WV Humanities Council
Ms. Edie Wallace, a historian with Paula S. Reed and Associates, Inc., Hagerstown, Maryland, provided the information in this notebook. Ms. Wallace collected the information as part of the documentary research for the book, Uncommon Vernacular: The Early Houses of Jefferson County, West Virginia, 1735-1835 , by John C. Allen, Jr., published in 2011 by the West Virginia University Press.
Information on Houses in Historic District:
William McSherry House (Lots 9-10)
Scollay Hall/Eckhart-Lowder-Scollay House (Lots 13-14) John Grantham House/Virginia Hotel (Lot 16)
Kounslar-Gilbert House (Lot 20) Ambrose Timberlake House (Lot 22) Strider-Harley House (Lot 26)
John Moyer House (Lot 41)
Red House and Blacksmith Shop (Lot 56) Daniel Fry House (Lot 57)
Dr. Mann P. Nelson House (Lot 59) Merchant-Janney House (Lot 60)
Sebastian Eaty House (Lot 72) Grantham Store (Lot 74)
Harmon McKnight House (Lot 75)
Joseph (Guiseppe) Minghini House (Lot 78)
Crampton-Stephenson House/Ramsay Tavern (Lot 102)
Information on John Smith, Sr./Moses Smith House (Bill White Grantham House):
Documentary research on the house
NOTE ABOUT PLAN OF MIDDLEWAY, SHOWN ON NEXT PAGE
Ms. Edie Wallace annotated the Plan of Middleway, dated 1883 , on the following page. It shows in red the location of the houses she researched in Middleway’s Historic District. Also in red are the various names used for Middleway’s streets over time. Note that at one point Queen Street was called “King Street” (as well as “new,” “Main,” and “Lower,” at different points in time). The annotated map also shows the original lot numbers; these are in black and circled next to the 1883 (and current) lot numbers.
(1) the 1798 Berkeley County House and Slave Tax, transcribed by Don Woods of the Berkeley County Historical Society in 2003 , (2) the 1786 Jonathan Clark survey of the disputed Hite vs. Fairfax lands, transcribed and published by Peggy Joiner, and (3) Mutual Assurance Company records, available at the Virginia State Library.
The headings in the chart are, from left to right:
Smithfield/Middleway – A Brief Review of its Development
Here is what the Middleway Conservancy says on their website (www.middlewayconservancy.org) about the early village development:
Middleway is located at the intersection of two trails used by Native Americans: one trail ran southward from Packhorse Ford (near present day Shepherdstown) and the other ran east and west. Besides the transportation advantages these trails afforded, Turkey Run which comes from a large underground spring which forms Lake Louise about one mile east of the village, provided pure water for the area. Middleway occupies a small part of the original land grant made to Lord Fairfax by the King of England. When John Smith visited the area in 1729, he found these features attractive. By 1734, he and his son together with John's brother, Rees, had established grist and hemp mills along Turkey Run.
By the time of the Revolutionary War, a small farming and milling community had developed. The Smith family had the town surveyed in 1794 and began selling town lots in 1795 . The promotion of the village was quite successful, and in 1798 the town of Smithfield was incorporated.
Although sales of lots may have begun in 1795 , nobody was taxed on Smithfield town lots until 1798 , the same year the town was chartered by the Virginia legislature and the same year that the first deeds were recorded.
John Smith, Sr. initially wrote his will in 1788 , in which he gave no indication of a planned town. He divided his land among his four sons, John Jr., William, Rees, and Moses. John Jr. got a parcel on the north side of the branch (Turkey Spring Run) and William’s parcel was on the south side, with the dividing line running down the middle of the creek. John Jr’s parcel description included reference to “the main road to Adam Levestone’s line,” as well as reference to the sawmill and the sawmill tale race, and “the main road called Cathover [?] road” (BC WB 3/145).
John Smith, Sr. lived another ten years and in 1797 he wrote a codicil to his will, revoking William’s devise because he “has since given himself entirely to [?] disguised with operitory liquers and gaming and following no honest employment for his lively hood” (BC WB 3/347). By this time it was clear that a town had been laid out: “I hereby authorize and fully empower my son John Smith Junr to sell and dispose of any Lott or Lotts on the south side turkey spring branch between the main road and grave yard…” According to the plan of Smithfield drawn in 1883 , the Grave Yard was located on the south side of the branch, east of Queen Street at the east end of South Street (a cross street). I believe that in the earliest references to lots in Smithfield the “main road” was today’s King Street, although I do not believe this lasted very long.
John Smith, Sr. died in 1798 and the town of Smithfield as laid out by John Sr. passed to his son John Smith, Jr. This was the year that the town was chartered by the legislature and is the first year that deeds were recorded for lots in Smithfield. All of these deeds were from John Smith Jr.
and his wife Sarah but there is some indication that sales of lots did occur prior to 1798 . In Smith’s deed to Harmon McKnight for Lot 3 “on the north side of the turkey spring run and on the east side of the main street,” the survey noted that the lot adjoined “Packett and Tapscott on the said street” and Henry Mowers (BC DB 15/13). The deed to “John Smith of Smithfield” (perhaps a cousin?) referred to the adjoining “Nicholas Shalls Lott on the said main street” (BC DB 15/173). And most importantly, on the 1798 House tax there were 15 houses listed specifically in Smithfield. John Smith, Jr. sold at least three lots in 1798 and at least twenty lots in 1799 , according to the deed records.
These earliest deeds refer only to lots on “main street” (now King Street) or on “new street” (now Queen Street) and reference “the first cross street” (now Grace Street) and “the back cross street” (now Charles Street). I believe that John Smith, Jr. expanded the size of Smithfield, prior to its chartering in the legislature, by laying out “new street” with lots on both sides of the street. This new street in effect straightened the road through town and became the new main street. The first reference to “King street” did not come until 1800 and at this time I believe it was given as the name for new street (this use ended sometime about 1830 probably). In the twelve deeds recorded under John Smith, Jr. as Grantor in 1800 , King street was referenced three times, “new street” five times, and “main street” twice. East Street, referred to as “back street” (adjoining the English Meeting House) appeared for the first time in 1800 .
John Smith, Jr. wrote his will and died in 1800 . In his will he instructed his executors, including his son Moses Smith, “to lay out and sell and convey as many lots as may be necessary in said Town of Smithfield for the improvement thereof and also I hereby authorize my said Executors to convey such lotts as I have sold and not conveyed…” (BC WB 3/302). Thus many lots conveyed by Moses Smith after 1800 were actually sold prior to 1800 ; this fact was always stated in the deed.
Smithfield lots sold prior to the late-19th century were numbered from #1 and up for each side of the two primary N-S streets starting from the north side of Turkey Spring Run and again from the south side of the run. The numbering began with Lot 1 adjoining the run on each side of King (main, old, upper) Street and on each side of Queen (new, King, Main, lower) Street. Thus there was potentially eight of each lot number, i.e. eight Lot 1’s, eight Lot 2’s, eight Lot 3’s and so on. Confusing? Confusing enough that several of the deed chains I followed used the wrong lot number for decades. Somebody else must have agreed because in 1883 the lots were renumbered consecutively on S. Howell Brown’s “Plan of Middleway” on which he noted “the system of numbering is new,” unfortunately without reference to the original numbering system. This map also seems to have codified the street names as they are used today. According to Brown’s Plan, Middleway was actually incorporated in 1831 . Incorporation is different from the legislative charter which allowed the proprietor to subdivide and sell lots and collect ground rents. Incorporation sets the town apart as a corporate entity with an elected mayor or burgess, a town council or board of aldermen, and the ability to collect taxes and provide services.
The Smithfield charter apparently required that a house be constructed on purchased lots within a certain amount of time but the early deeds were not consistent in describing that requirement. More often than not they simply said “agreeable to the law” or referred to the requirement in Shepherdstown or Mecklinburg (or even “Maglingburg”). In 1798 , McKnight’s deed called for
“a house 16 feet by 18 a story and a half high with a stone or brick chimney” and Smith of Smithfield’s deed called for “a house of Logs…16 feet by 18 with a stone or brick chimney.”
This is what I have gleaned from the deed and tax records only. I have not read the Bates history of Middleway. One note of interest from the tax record in reference to the “Legend of Wizard Clip” (see Middleway Conservancy website), on the 1798 tax record, John Smith of Smithfied (see above) was listed as “John Smith (Clip).” Apparently the legend had already taken hold in the official records!
On the 1820 census there were 61 households listed in Smithfield with 368 occupants, including 26 slaves and three free blacks. On the 1850 census, Smithfield was described as having 65 houses, with a total “free” (white and black) population of 351 and a total slave population of 95.
William McSherry House – Lot 9-10 (old Lot 1, east side Queen Street)
This deed chain stopped cold in 1859 with the sale of the lot by the Rebecca Wiggington heirs to Sarah West. Rebecca Wiggington was the widow of Dr. Benjamin Wiggington (d. 1847 ) and the daughter of Daniel and Lydia Fry. This lot was never owned by Wiggington or Fry and Rebecca Wiggington was never assessed for the property. I was able to retrace the ownership chain using the tax records and working backward from 1861 but ran out of time before I could take it back into the Berkeley County records. Fortunately there was a reference in a later deed to the first deed for the lot.
Certainly Carpenter, and likely McSherry as well, was required by the deed to improve the lot within several years of the purchase date. A likely date for construction by McSherry then would be 1804 -05.
The lot fronted 180 feet on the east side of new street and ran back 90 feet along Turkey Spring run.
The lot was described as “a certain house and lot…on King street known…as Lot No. 1.
The sale resulted from the Chancery Suit of Elizabeth B. Wiggington vs. James Wiggington, the children and heirs of Rebecca Wiggington.
Obviously there had to be some relationship between the Wiggingtons and the Beckham heirs.
On the 1850 census, Rebecca Wiggington, age 39, was listed with $11,000 in real estate (she inherited land from the Daniel Fry estate). Her nearest neighbors on the list were Simoni Minghini (Lot1, west side Queen St.) and Henry Smith (Lot 1, s/s run, east side Queen St.). Living in the Wiggington household were Rebecca’s children James (9) and Elizabeth B. (5). Also in the household were Sarah Whitington (28), and Solomon A. Bates (35, Physician) and his wife Margaret (22).
Were Sarah and Margaret perhaps the Camp Beckham heirs? Had Rebecca possibly been married initially to a Beckham heir?
Sarah West devised the property in 1865 to Thomas L. Roberts (Recorders WB, p. 18). Roberts sold it in 1882 to Elizabeth B. Seibert (DB L/25). In 1943 , following the Chancery case of National Radiator Co. vs. J. K. Janney, Special Commissioners James Mason and George Beltzhoover sold the “certain house & lot…on the east side of Main St. [Queen] and now possessed by Elizabeth B. Seibert” was sold to Herbert H. Jennings, subject to a life estate of Thomas Janney (DB 159/45). In 1952 , Jennings sold the “Janney Tract” (Lots 9-10, old Lot 1)
[page 11] and the “Herbert H. Jennings Home Tract” to Thomas Hodges (DB 187/172). Hodges defaulted on a Deed of Trust and the property was sold by Forrest Brown, trustee, to the Bank of Charles Town in 1953 (DB 194/321). The Bank sold it in 1953 back to Herbert H. Jennings (DB 195/541) who sold it in 1955 to James and Rachel Hafer (DB 205/14). In 1965 the Hafers sold the property to Charles and Helen Mack Reininger (DB 274/519) and the Reiningers sold it in 1967 to Walter and Beatrice West (DB 289/360). The Wests sold it in 1986 to Jimmy and Patricia Calhoun (DB 568/60) who sold it to the current owner Janet Aitchison in 1998 (DB 916/110).
Scollay Hall/Eckhart-Lowder-Scollay House – Lot 13/14 (old Lot 2/3, east side of Queen Street)
The deed included the covenant to “build a house…according to the law within three years from the above date under the same penalties as in the Town of Mecklinburgh.”
That was the only year Hively was assessed for his town lot.
While the purchase price that Bell paid for the lot implies some improvement already on the lot, the assessment is rather low, half of what it had been under Eckhart and Hively. Was the original building decayed or damaged by fire?
Clearly Bell had made no changes to the property and its market value had even fallen since his purchase.
It seems that Lowder may have “fixed up” the old Eckhart house prior to the conveyance to Eversole.
Although there was no comment from the assessor, I believe this increase represents the construction of the south brick addition to the old log house.
This deed noted that Smoke bought this Lot 3 from Thomas Tabb.
Elizabeth Smith purchased Lot 3 “on the east side of King street” from Harmon McKnight in 1802 for $55 (JC DB 1/81). The deed noted that the boundary began at the corner of John Eckhart’s lot then continued along King street 90 feet to the cross street – so this has to be the Lot 3 on the east side of new/Lower/Queen Street.
In 1800 , Michael McKnight purchased Lot 3 “on the east side of King street” from John Smith (BC DB 16/111). Harmon McKnight purchased Lot 3 on the “east side of main street” in 1798 (BC DB 16/109) – but at that time it was the upper street (today’s King) that was routinely called “main street” so this is likely not the right deed (probably the Lot 3 on today’s King Street that has the “Elizabeth Smith Log House” on it – confused yet?).
Scollay also purchased three unimproved lots in 1823 from Dennis L. McSherry (JC DB 12/475). Two lots were located immediately behind his Lot 3, “on the east side of King street” and on the “first cross street” and the other was behind Lot 1 adjoining the north side of Turkey Spring Branch (Lots 11, 12, and 15 on the 1883 Plan of Middleway).
1 lot valued at $3,000 with a building value of $2,800, with the notation “$2,000 added for new House.”
1 lot valued at $500 with a building value of $400.
Also the 3 unimproved lots and various other lots in town.
[Frankly I’m a little confused by this, that the major improvement is shown to be on Lot 2, when the larger north brick addition I thought must be on Lot 3 (the lots are only 90 feet wide). I suppose the bulk of the three sections could be on Lot 2. In any case, clearly there was a significant improvement made on Lot 2 in 1823 (which I take to be the south brick addition) and then the bigger improvement in 1843 , “new house,” which has to represent the northern addition in my mind.]
Samuel Scollay died about 1889 and the property went to Chancery, A. M. & Harriet S. (Scollay?) Evans vs. Elizabeth Page et al. Likely these were the Scollay heirs. Scollay Hall was sold by Special Commissioner Frank Beckwith to A. M. & Harriet Evans for $1,500 in 1890 (DB V/91). The property then passed to their heir Margaret H. Evans, who then devised it to Elizabeth S. Richardson in 1954 (DB 201/171). Elizabeth Richardson devised it to her sister Louise Bradley (WB N/180) who sold it in 1985 to Clint Thomas Maish (DB 551/561). Maish sold it in 2001 to Joanne Bario & Jacques La Marre (DB 953/40) who sold it to the current owner Margery Gifford in 2004 (DB 993/129).
John Grantham House-Virginia Hotel – Lot 16 (old Lot 4, east side of Queen Street) Built 1800 by John Grantham
Somehow this property got lost in the process and I missed it when I did the Berkeley County deeds and the tax records. The following is what I have right now but I will follow up on this when I do the Harpers Ferry/Bolivar group.
I think this was probably just a deed for reconveyance to Thomas Hall. Whether the John Grantham Sr. in this deed the John Grantham Sr. of the earlier tax assessments, or John Jr. or even John “son of Joseph” is the unanswered question. In any case, since Strider turned around and immediately sold the “house and Lot” for $1,000 (see below), I’d say that John Grantham built the original house.
This is one of the deeds which refers to new (Queen) street as “King street.” The street later became known as Lower or Main Street and eventually Queen Street.
On February 10, Benjamin B. Strider sold the same lot, described as “a certain house and Lot of ground…on King street on the east side thereof” and on the cross street, to Thomas H. Hall of Charlestown for $1,000 (JC DB 10/305).
Hall entered a Deed of Trust with John McFarlane with the house and Lot 4 as security.
The Stephensons, of Charles Town, sold the lot to Samuel Stone, “the same house and lot which said Stone occupies,” three months later (DB 12/373).
This deed also included the 2 lots behind (east) Lot “No. 4 on the east side of lower street,” which were said to have been purchased from John and Jane Smith.
In 1845 , John H. Smith was assessed for Lot 4 with a rent value of $100, a lot value of $750, and building value of $700. The two adjoining lots behind were vacant, valued at $100. Smith was assessed for several other town lots but Lot 4 was by far his most valuable.
This must have been his town house and office as at the time he also owned his father’s (Moses Smith) home farm adjoining Lake Louisa.
On the 1850 census, Franklin B. Burwell was listed as a 31-year old “Hotel Keeper” with real estate valued at $1,500. Listed in the Burwell household were his wife and four young children, and presumably hotel patrons Hiram N. Oyler [?], a Tailor, and Joseph T. Grantham, a Clerk.
1851 – Reassessment year. Franklin Burwell was assessed for Lot No. 4 valued at $1,250 with a building value of $900. Although there was no comment from the assessor, it seems likely that some kind of small addition was made to the property.
Franklin Burwell sold to Dr. Solomon A. Bates the “house and lot of land known as the Virginia Hotel” for $1,500 (DB 32/89).
This was likely the end of the hotel days for this house.
In 1884 , Special Commissioners Joseph Trapnell and Frank Beckwith conveyed the property to Margaret A. Bates, presumably by then the widow of Solomon Bates (DB M/372). The house and lot remained in the Bates family until 1959 when Margaret Kilmer, attorney-in-fact for Sophie Shirley Bates, sold the property to Samuel and Louise Walker (DB 233/225). In 1965 , the Walkers sold it to Constance Jo Downey (DB 273/468) who sold it in 1999 to the current owners Wayne and Delores Milstead (DB 924/542).
Kounslar-Gilbert House – Lot 20 (old Lot 5, east side of Queen Street) Built 1830 by Conrad Kounslar
This deed chain was clear only back to the 1829 purchase by Conrad Kounslar from Benjamin Welsh. Tax records indicate that Welsh married Eleanor Smith, widow of Moses Smith, and that he acquired a Middleway lot through that marriage.
1803 – George Irwin, husband of Phebe Smith (daughter of William Smith who was one of John Smith Jr’s sons – the drunken gambler son), sold Lot 5 on the north side of Turkey Spring run and the “east side of King Street” to William Gilbert for £24.
Even though this early deed says “King Street,” I believe this is the subject Lot 5 on the east side of what was then more commonly called new street (Queen). The lot is described as adjoining John Granthams lot (Grantham purchased Lot 4 on the east side of new street in 1800 , BC DB 16/382) and Dedrick Bideman’s lot (Bideman purchased Lot 6 on the east side of new street in 1804 , JC DB 2/244), so I’m fairly confident this deed for Lot 5 is in fact on the east side of new (Queen) street.
This 1803 deed to William Gilbert included the covenant to build a house “under the same rules and regulations of Shepherdstown,” which was to build within two years of the date of purchase or the property would revert to the proprietor.
I never could find a deed from Gilbert to anybody else and there were tax assessments for Gilbert only in 1809 and 1810 – each 1 lot at $20, so it is possible that Gilbert never improved the lot and this conveyance reverted to Moses Smith and his heirs, thus landing in the hands of Eleanor Smith, widow.
“One House and Lot…on the Lower street in said Town, and known as Lot No 5…Beginning at the corner of Lot 4 on the East side of the street, (being the Lot owned & occupied by Daniel Stone) thence back 180 feet to the corner of Lot No. 4
thence square 90 feet to corner Lot No. 6 thence square 180 feet to the street & corner to Lot No. 6 thence with the street 90 feet to the Beginning.”
[I wonder what a $50 house looked like?]
This deed was never recorded and by 1853 , according to the tax record, Margaret Bell was deceased. Her heirs were assessed for Lot 5 at $1,700/$1,600 (reduced in the 1851 reassessment) through 1854 .
This deed noted that it was devised to Franklin and Randolph Kounslar (and Elizabeth as widow) by the will of Conrad Kounslar.
On the 1860 census, Jacob Gilbert was listed as a Farmer in the Charlestown District, while it appeared that Elizabeth Kounslar, aged 86, was living alone in the large stone house in Middleway (just guessing by the nearby neighbors, but this system is not infallible).
This may refer to the “drug store lot” carved from the northwest corner of Lot 5 and devised to William H. and Arthur M. Gilbert by their father Jacob in his 1879 will. In 1909 , the Gilbert heirs sold “the drug store lot” to Meta B. and E. G. Shirley. The drug store building was described as being eight feet from the north side of the stone house (JC DB 102/431).
In addition to his devise of the “drug store lot” to his two sons, Gilbert devised to “my kind niece Rachel Gilbert, I put & place in her possession after my daughters shall leave her, either by death or marriage my house & lot in Smithfield…”
In 1912 , Sarah (Gilbert) Fry of Hedgesville and Rachel Smith of Middleway sold the house and Lot 5 – except the “Drug Store Lot” – to Robert W. Shirley (JC DB 108/298). R. W. Shirley sold it to Mary L. Shirley in 1938 (DB 148/345). Mary Shirley died in 1967 and the property passed to her heirs, by this time including the Drug Store Lot (1942 , DB 157/429). Sandra Dale Wright, Shirley Ann Favish Wright, Edgar Lewis Wright, and Hazel Favish O’Dell sold the property to Henry and Bertha Smith in 1967 (DB 288/269). In 1977 the Smiths sold it to John and Gail Ebbott (DB 421/212). John Ebbott sold it to Thomas Low in 1981 (DB 485/502) and in 1983 Low sold it to Jean C. Reid (DB 518/730). Jean Reid (later married Heiler) died in 1993 and Jerome Reid sold the property to the current owner Bernard F. Heiler (DB 897/641).
Ambrose Timberlake House – Lot 22 (old Lot 6, east side of Queen Street) Built 1844 by Ambrose Timberlake
This deed is interesting because it states that John Smith Jr’s will authorized “his Executors to sell and convey certain Lotts of Land in the Town of Smithfield and the money arising from the sales of said Lotts to be applied towards the improvement of said Town…”
The deed also included the covenant to “build a house on the lot aforesaid at least 16 feet by 18 and a story and a half high with a stone or brick chimney to the same within three years from the present date.”
Despite the implication of the 1803 tax assessment that Smith had indeed constructed the required house on Lot 6, the Bideman deed seems to imply that the lot was vacant, given the price and the same covenant to build a house within three years.
1816 – Although his 1814 -1815 tax assessments seemed to imply that only one of Bideman’s lots was improved, in 1816 Dedrick Bideman sold to Jeremiah Hawkins “two certain houses and two lotts,” Lot 7 on the east side of King (new) street (from Moses Smith 1802 ) and Lot 6 adjoining on the east side of King (new) street (from Seth Smith 1804 ), for $720 (JC DB 9/373).
This is one of those really confusing deeds that used the name “King street” for what had been called “new street” and would later be “Lower Street” or “main street,” then “Queen Street.”
Riely’s will instructed the executor (W. O. Macoughtry) to purchase “a lot of ground with a comfortable dwelling house, and necessary outbuildings, as the future home and residence of his wife Frances K. Riely…and his two children John William and Margaret Ellen” for her life with reversion to the children (ref. WB 11/278).
“… a two story brick dwelling house _ feet by, _ with an one story brick addition _ feet long by _ feet wide. One end of the main building is fitted up as a store room, with suitable out buildings, a smoke house, stable, corn house &c, and basement story or cellar as a kitchen…”
The property went into Chancery and was sold at public auction to benefit the Riely children.
In 1880 , Joseph Hout was listed on the census as a 75-year old Farmer in Middleway District, so it may be during his ownership that the house in Middleway was used by the Lutheran Church as a parsonage. I found nothing in the records however to indicate its use as a parsonage.
In 1916 , following a 1915 Chancery Suit brought by George W. Hout vs. C. Edward Hout, the house and Lot 22 (old Lot 6) was sold to C. W. Henshaw (DB 113/448). Henshaw sold it in 1919 to Robert U. Smith (DB 117/535). In 1936 , Robert U. and Reva Fry Smith sold it to David Fry Smith (DB 148/482). The property is currently owned by the heirs of David Fry Smith, Timothy D. Smith, David M. Smith, and Robert A. Smith (DB 1031/562).
Strider-Harley House – Lot 26 (old Lot 8, east side of Queen Street)
1804 – Moses Smith, executor of his father John Smith, Jr’s estate, sold Smithfield Lot 8, “on the new street and on the east side of the same,” to Elizabeth Strider “widow and relict of Philip Strider dec.” and his heirs (children) for £12 (JC DB 2/336).
This was one of the Moses Smith deeds that stated that he was empowered by John Smith’s will “to convey such lotts as the said John Smith had in his life time sold and not conveyed.” John Smith, Jr. died in 1800 .
Ferdinand W. Stephenson, John F. & Mary Ann Strider, John & Harriet (Strider?) Bush, James Power, Mary (Strider?) Huntsberry, Henry S. Shaffer, and William & Ann Amelia (Strider?) Green – the heirs (children and grand children?) of Philip Strider – sold the “house and lot of ground, Lot No. 8” to Joseph Harley for $325 (JC DB 25/130).
The house and lot were described as “now in the occupancy of Joseph Harley.”
It appears there was a lone hold-out heir to this deed. In 1841 , the property was sold to Harley again at a public auction following a Chancery Suit John F. Strider vs. Edward W. Stephenson.” This second deed, also for $325 described the property as:
“…known on the plan of said Town as lot No. 8 now in possession of said Harley and the same which had conveyed to the said Harley by another deed from Ferdinand W. Stephenson, John F. Strider, & others…”
This doesn’t seem like a big enough change in value to indicate that the brick addition had recently been constructed. Perhaps it was under construction at the time of the reassessment.
Again, this seems too small to indicate a new brick addition but combined with the earlier increase, $100 might be enough.
In 1889 , “the Harley Lot #26” was sold following a Chancery Suit, Elizabeth Slagle & others vs. Jacob A. Harley & others, to R. W. Kearns for $505 (JC DB T/74). Kearns died intestate about 1908 and the lot was sold in 1916 by J. W. Kearns and E. F. Kearns to C. M. Kearns (DB 113/464). Charles Kearns purchased the adjoining vacant Lot 25 in 1933 (DB 162/143). He died in 1967 and the heirs transferred the two lots (25 and 26) to Thelma M. Kearns through a trustee in 1970 (DB 316/109). In 1971 , Thelma Kearns sold the property to the current owner Mary Toborg (DB 329/245).
John Moyer House – Lot 41 (old Lot 19 w/s Queen St.)
The lots were described as Lot 19 on the west side of King Street (today’s Queen St.) and Lot No. 19 on the east side of “main street” (today’s King St.). The lots were back to back (e/s King and w/s Queen) as described in a later (1844 ) deed.
This deed was described as among the lots “sold but not conveyed” by John Smith, Jr. prior to his death in 1800 . That means John Moyer (Moyers) actually purchased the lots before 1800 , however he did not appear on the tax record until 1819 .
Clearly there was a building on the lots but certainly not substantial. This seems low for a three-bay, two story house. Was it possibly 1 ½ stories?
This deed described the lots:
“Beginning at a stake in King Street (in this case it actually is today’s King St.), corner to lot No. 18, thence with the said street 90 feet to a stake corner to the cross street, thence square back with said cross street 360 feet to the main street (by this time main refers to Queen St.), thence with the main street 90 feet to a stake, corner to Lot No. 18, thence square with lot No. 18, 360 feet to the beginning, containing two full lots.”
This was the only notation ever given for this property in the tax record. It could refer to the addition to the house, possibly used as a shop, or it could refer to a stand-alone shop.
In 1857 , also a possible reassessment year, Myers was assessed for 2 lots at $1,000/800. This is a much bigger change than most of the other assessments in Smithfield so this may actually represent some improvement to the property.
The property remained in the Myers (Moyer, Moyers) family, passing from Abraham Myers to his heirs and sold by them in 1907 to Frederick Myers for $500 (JC DB 102/67). In 1929 , Frederick Myers sold “the Myers Property” to W. Randolph Barnes for $1,600 (JC DB 132/227). Barnes’ heirs sold it in 1954 to Frederick Kratz (DB 197/451) and Kratz to Thomas Reynolds & Edward Dent, Jr. in 1959 (DB 235/34). In 1971 Thomas Reynolds sold the property to Robert and Beatrice Mason (DB 327/308) and in 1989 , Beatrice Mason sold it to the current owners Grant and Lillian Prillaman (DB 630/590).
Red House & Blacksmith Shop – Lot 56 (old Lot 12 w/s Queen St.)
Like the Daniel Fry House on Lot 57 (old Lot 11 w/s Queen St.) this lot had some problems with its identification in the deed and tax records.
This deed book is one of the missing record books, destroyed during the Civil War, so we cannot know for sure the details of the conveyance.
It was during this period that many deeds started using the name “King street” for lots located along “the new street” (today’s Queen St.)
1 lot valued at $20 “from Moses Smith and John Grantham” (Lot 3, w/s Queen, “Grantham Store”)
1 lot valued at $20 “from Benjamin Bell” (subject lot). At $20 value, this was not an unimproved lot (more typically $5).
Daniel Fry purchased Lot 12 on the “east side of Main street” (here I believe referring to today’s King Street) from John Fryer fro $30 (DB 10/370). This was added to his tax assessment in 1819 when Fry was assessed for 3 lots at $125 and 1 lot at $5 “from John Fryer.”
1 lot with a rent value of $100, a lot value of $500, and a building value of $400 (Lot 57/old Lot 11 “Daniel Fry House”)
1 lot with a rent value of $35, a lot value of $150, and a building value of $100 (Lot 74/old Lot 3, “Grantham Store”)
1 lot with a rent value of $40, a lot value of $250, and a building value of $200.
I suspect this was actually the two lots numbered 12 fronting on Queen (the subject lot) and King (then Main street) and Charles (cross) Streets. Since they adjoined each other the two lots were listed a one lot, a common occurrence throughout the tax records.
It is the description of the two lots sold by Lydia Fry to John Little in 1831 first confuses (because the use of street names was incredibly inconsistent early on in this town), then confirms that indeed the two lots adjoined and were bounded by today’s King, Queen, and Charles Streets:
1) (confusing) “one of the said lots lying on the west side of King [Queen] street (No. 12) cornering on the back cross [Charles] street and adjoining the lot formerly the property of Isaac Williams and bounded as follows, Beginning on the corner of King street and the said cross street and running in a North direction 90 feet on King street, thence square with King street back in a west direction 180 feet, thence in a south direction square with the last line 90 feet to the said cross street thence in an east direction with the said cross street 180 feet to the beginning…conveyed by Benjamin Bell…1809 .”
2) “one other lot lying on the east side of Main [King] street (No. 12) Beginning on the corner of Main street and the said cross street, running in a north direction with main street 90 feet to the corner of lot No. 13, known by the name of Franks lot, thence back in an East direction 180 feet to the corner of the first mentioned lot, thence square with the last line and running with the back line of the first described lot in a south direction 90 feet to the cross street, thence with the cross street in a West direction to the beginning…conveyed by John Fryer…1818 .”
The deed stipulated “the further exception on the part of the said Lydia of reserving for the use of the occupants of her remaining houses in said town, the use of the well of water on one of the lots sold so long as the said lot shall remain the property of herself and her children and no longer…”
1833 – John Little sold the Lot 12 “on the east side of Main street” and adjoining Henry Franks lot (described in his deed as on the “east side of the western street” DB 14/526), to Washington Merchant for $200 (JC DB 17/53).
This deed described the lot as Lot 13, “the well lot,” with a house on Main Street (in this case Queen Street).
This unfortunate re-numbering of the lot may have been a result of confusion from the wrong number being assigned to the Fry house lot on the south side of the cross (Charles) street back in 1810 (see Daniel Fry House report). The well on the lot however, is a clue that we have the right lot. Also, that by this time the “new street” really was consistently being called Main Street.
Barnes’ assessment changed in 1843 to 1 lot at $500/$400 without comment, and again in 1845 to 1 lot at $400/$300 without comment, then back to 1 lot at $500/$400 without comment. It remained level through 1850 .
This deed was not recorded but the conveyance showed up on the 1851 tax record when Grantham and Johnson were assessed for the lot, now valued at $1,250 with a building value of $1,000 – without explanation.
This was a reassessment year but I think also this was when the stone blacksmith shop was constructed.
1860 – In January William Martin mortgaged his property with John F. Smith to cover three debts. This Deed of Trust confirms the exact location of the property describing it as bounded by the turnpike, Nicely to the north, Macoughtry to the west, and cross street to the south, “on said lot is erected a large stone smith’s shop, and an excellent well of water.”
Two months later John F. Smith as trustee sold the property back to Thomas Johnson at a public sale for $505 (JC DB 39/222).
On the 1860 census, Thomas Johnson (from England) was still listed as a Blacksmith, now 34 years old with his wife and children, and this time he also had an apprentice and another young blacksmith in residence, Walter Chapman.
In 1873 , Thomas Johnson sold his house and shop in Smithfield to Mildred C. Waters for $1,200 (DB A/274). Waters sold it in 1876 to George F. Foulk for $1,000 (DB D/261). In 1880 , George Foulk sold it back to none other than Thomas Johnson for $700 (DB H/121). This time Johnson held onto the lot and it remained in the Johnson family until 1944 when Carroll H. Johnson sold it to Lee Osbourn (DB 160/48). In 1958 Charlotte R. Colin inherited the property from Osbourn and in 1951 she sold it to Nathaniel Gray Sr. (DB 233/337). Gray’s heirs sold it to Mary A. Peacher in 1965 (DB 273/152) who sold it in 1972 to Donald Weise (346/169). Donald and Rosemary Weise sold the property, described as the “majority of Lot 56 on the map hanging in the Clerk’s Office” excepting the parcel with the blacksmith shop (25’ x 51’), to the current owners David and Patricia Arnaudo (409/87).
Daniel Fry House – Lot 57 (old Lot 11 w/s Queen St.)
This is one of the lots that was apparently incorrectly identified in the early deeds (as Lot 12) making the deed history a bit dicey to follow.
This deed book is one of the missing record books, destroyed during the Civil War, so we cannot know for sure the details of the conveyance.
Although the deed said it was Lot 12, the description of the lot being “on the new street [Queen Street] and on the west side of the same” and along the south side of the “cross street” (Charles Street) implies that this was indeed Lot 11:
“Beginning at a stake in the corner of the cross street to Charlestown, then with said street [new street] S 11 ½° W 90 feet to a stake, then N 78 ½° W 180 feet, then N 11 ½° E 90 feet to a stake on the edge of said cross street running with said street 78 ½° 180 feet to the beginning.”
The deed and tax records indicate that there was a building on Lot 11 prior to the purchase by Fry and A. Bell in 1810 . If B. Bell did buy this lot from Smith in 1798 , he would have been required to build a minimum 16’ x 18’ dwelling on the lot, in accordance with the town charter, probably early in the 12 year span of his ownership. Thus it is quite possible that the older section of this log house was constructed ca. 1805 by Benjamin Bell.
1 lot was Lot 11 (subject house)
1 lot was Lot 12 (w/s new/Queen St, “Red House & Blacksmith shop”)
1 lot with a rent value of $100, a lot value of $500, and a building value of $400
1 lot with a rent value of $40, a lot value of $250, and a building value of $200
Since the second, less valuable lot was later (1832 ) identified in the tax record as the one sold to John Little (Lot 12, “Red House & Blacksmith Shop” – this sale was actually for both lots #12 listed in 1818 ), then it stands to reason that the first above-listed lot in 1820 was the “Daniel Fry House,” which apparently was improved in 1819 (judging by the rent value).
Swimley may have made some improvements to the property, given the increased value, but it doesn’t seem likely that he built the addition to the house.
The confusion over the lot number (Lot 11 vs. Lot 12) seems to have caused both the tax assessor and the Clerk of the Court to simply drop any reference to a number for this lot, beginning with the 1840 deed from Lydia Fry to Henry Swimley when it was described simply as the lot on “the corner opposite Thomas Timberlake’s property.” In 1845 , when the tax assessor began enumerating the town lot numbers, this lot was not assigned a number on the tax list, although on the 1852 tax list it was identified as being on “lower street” (Queen Street).
The lot was described as being on the west side of the “lower or Main Street…at the south corner of the square or cross street and immediately opposite the Brick store and dwelling of George H. Beckwith…”
By the sale price it seems that Roberts and Hammond made a substantial improvement to the property, likely the addition to the house making it five bays with a center hall.
In an unrecorded 1861 conveyance, Elizabeth Kownslar sold the property to Eliza Lavinia Roberts, which makes me wonder if there was some relation between Kownslar and the Roberts family (like maybe Eliza was Elizabeth’s daughter?).
The Daniel Fry House remained in the Roberts family through Eliza’s children (DB 77, pp. 90 and 250) until 1931 when it was sold by Forrest A. Brown as Special Commissioner to Elizabeth Shaull (DB 139/239). From 1940 through 1997 the property then passed through nine successive owners (DB 152/342; 246/28; 272/155; 368/549; 410/228; 468/448; 508/206; 646/635; 648/627; 743/442; 852/272). In 2008 , John Schwartz and Barbara Martin sold it to the current owners Ron and Paige Phifer (1051/680).
Dr. Mann P. Nelson House – Lot 59 (old Lot 10, east side King Street)
Seth Smith was one of the early Trustees of the Town of Smithfield who sold lots through the first decade of the 19th century. The other trustees were John Packett, Moses Smith, Joseph Grantham, John Grantham Jr., and Benjamin Bell.
An 1826 Deed of Trust entered by Edward S. Bell with trustee Thomas Griggs, Jr. indicated that Bell had purchased “Lot 11” of Hill’s heirs, although no deed was ever recorded and the heirs continued to be assessed for the lot through 1830 .
Edward Bell had given the lot as security for the payment of two debts: one debt of $930.60 owed to “M. W. & J. Swann of Baltimore,” and one debt of $429.22 owed to Tiffany, Wynan [?] & Co. of Baltimore.”
Dr. Mann P. Nelson wrote his will in 1887 and died in 1888 . In his will he devised to his niece Fanny White “my house & lot (including the stoves in the fireplaces)” on the east side of upper street (JC WB A/372). In 1919 , the heirs of Fanny White sold the property to R. Edith Grantham (JC DB 117/426). Grantham devised it to Jessie Seibole, who then sold it in 1941 to Raymond White (DB 154/299). White devised it to Helen A. Z. White, who then sold it to Louise Krieg in 1954 (DB 200/425). Kreig transferred the property to trustee Forrest Brown in 1957 (DB 220/156) and in 1966 , sub-trustee L. C. Briscoe sold it to Henry Earl Smith (DB 279/356). In 1968 , Smith sold it to William and Alice Pifer (DB 295/490). The Pifers sold the property in 2003 to their children William Jr. and Vicky Pifer Smith (DB 975/217) who sold it in 2005 to Reese Clabaugh (DB 1012/75). Reese Clabaugh Jr. added Tracey Brill to the deed in 2009 (DB 1060/300).
Merchant-Janney House – Lot 60 (old Lot 10 w/s Queen Street)
Spring Branch and on the west side of “new street,” to Abraham Merchant (BC DB 15/488). This deed did not include a purchase price.
The lot was described as 96 feet along new street and 180 feet back, adjoining “No. 11 belonging to Benjamin Beall” on the north and Lot No. 9 on the south. The lot narrowed to 90 feet wide on the west boundary line.
Merchant was bound by the deed to “Build a house on the aforesaid Lott at least sixteen feet by eighteen one and a half story high with a Brick or stone Chimney within three years from the time such Lotts were purchased or otherwise to be under the same penalties as they are under in the Town of Mecklingburg.” That is, the lot would return to the proprietor’s ownership if the lot was not improved within the three years allotted.
The ground rent was “one half dollar yearly.”
A deed dated June 7, 1798 for the adjoining Lot 10 on the east side of “main street” (today’s King Street), noted in the lot description that it was bounded on the east by “Abraham Merchant’s Lott,” indicating that Merchant had actually purchased his Lot 10 (w/s new/Queen) at least a year prior to his deed and may have already constructed his house.
Merchant never showed up again in the tax record.
It is possible that something happened to the Merchant house, or that the assessor simply saw the now-8 to 10-year old log house as not very valuable.
Clearly, the value of the property, probably particularly the improvements, had fallen.
1818 – It was around this time that somebody, but not everybody, in Smithfiled decided to rename the “new street” as “King street.” (The “old street” generally called “main street” and later “upper street,” would much later become today’s King Street.) At the same time, somebody else got confused about the lot numbering system and the Benjamin Bell (Beall) Lot No. 11 (Daniel Fry House) became Lot 12 in the 1810 deed from Bell to Daniel Fry (see report). This caused a chain reaction of lot number changes along the west side of new (or King, now Queen) street.
Nathan Janney sold the house and “Lot 11”  on the “west side of King street” to Robert Bailey for $1,100 (JC DB 10/373).
This was a deed of trust and Bailey was acting as a trustee holding the property, possibly because of debt accrued by Janney in the house improvements. It seems likely that it was Nathan Janney who added the second story to the house.
Bailey did not appear in the tax record either.
The lot was described as adjoining Daniel Fry’s lot.
It would appear that Bailey and Janney had perhaps leased the house to Lucy Haines.
The boundary was now described as: “Beginning at a post on the edge of King [new] Street, on the west side of said street corner to Daniel Frys lot N 78° W 180 feet, then S 12° W 90 feet, thence S 78° E 180 feet, thence with the said street N 12° 90 feet to the beginning.”
It was described as Lot 11  on “the west side of lower or Turnpike Street.”
The conveyance also included the adjoining piece of lot 10  purchased by Redman from Walter J. Bunnell: “as a way to the stable & corn house and for a wood & corn yard…right reserved to the owner or occupant of said adjoining property to pass over this piece of ground to the stable, corn house etc. for wagons with hay or wood to pass up and to be thrown over into the lot or otherwise disposed of,” but not for “standing stocks hogs or horses.”
Following Elizabeth Kounslar’s death about 1874 , the property passed in 1875 to her heirs Harriet L. Evans and Fannie L. White through trustee S. F. White (husband of Fannie) for $1,000 (JC DB C/362). Harriet Evans sold it in 1876 to Elizabeth S. Shirley for $1,000 (JC DB E/91). By this time new street (or for several years King street) was called “lower” or “main” street (today Queen Street). The property remained in the Shirley family at least through 1966 when Carroll and Anna Martin, nieces of Florence T. Shirley (daughter of Eliz. Sophia Shirley) sold the property to Marvel Williams (DB 282/305). Williams sold it to James and Thelma Knox in 1969 (DB 309/441) and Knox sold it to Dorothea Feigley in 1972 (DB 348/150). In 1982 the Feigleys sold it to their son Chester Feigley (DB 495/532) and in 1992 Chester Feigley sold it to the current owner Frances Shirley (DB 713/605).
Michael Shaull-John F. Smith House – Lot 66 (old Lot 7, w/s Queen Street)
Shaull was bound by this deed “to build a house on said Lott at Least 16 feet by 18 feet with a stone or brick chimney under the same rules and regulations of Shepherds Town,” which was to build within two years of purchase or the lot would revert back to the proprietor.
In 1810 , Michael Shaull was assessed for 1 lot valued at $20, indicating that it was probably improved, but not by much (and of course, whatever it was it had probably been there since at least 1802 ).
The lot was described as: “a certain house and lott…in the Town of Smithfield, on the north side of the branch called Turkey Spring and on the north [sic] side of the new street called No. 7 – Beginning at a stake corner to Gabriel Nourse then with the street 90 feet corner to No. 8 then with the line No. 8, 180 feet corner to No. 8, then square of 90 feet corner to No. 6, then with the Lott No. 6, 180 feet to the Beginning.”
Smith owned the house and lot for the rest of his life. His assessments did not change, even through the 1841 reassessment, until the 1851 reassessment when it rose to 1 lot at $800/$700 without comment. It is likely that the two-bay addition was constructed by Smith sometime between 1841 and 1851 .
In 1850 , John F. Smith and his 21-year old son John R. Smith were listed as merchants in Smithfield (their store was apparently on Lot 69). Smith was apparently a widower as no wife was listed. Also in the household were 16-year old Lafayette, 10-year old Mary C., 7-year old Henry, and 3-year old James.
Capt. John F. Smith died in December 1887 (Tombstone Inscriptions said 1889 ) at the age of 82. His son, John Rufus Smith (d. 1896 ), acting as administrator of the estate, entered a Deed of Trust with George Baylor in January 1888 , the security on his $2,000 bond was his:
“interest as heir in the real estate of his father John F. Smith…it consisting as follows of a farm of 210 acres adjoining John McClure’s heirs, D. Fry’s heirs and others, a tract known as Watson’s place, containing 192 acres, a lot known as Brick yard lot containing 9 ¾ acres; a lot known as Granthams lot containing 10 acres, a tract known as the Shaull place, containing about 120 acres, and five house and lots in Middleway…” (JC DB W/13)
[all of these tracts are easily identifiable on the 1883 map under the name “John F. Smith” except, of course, the Brick yard lot which I still believe is likely the same one mentioned in the 1831 Joseph Bell to Lydia Fry deed adjoining Henry Smith land (the 210-acre John F. Smith farm here described). I believe the small lot on the south end of Middleway under the John F. Smith name in 1883 (the one identified by Don Watts as the likely brick yard lot) is more likely the 10-acre “Granthams lot” due to its proximity to other Grantham lands.]
G. M. Lafayette Smith, who was probably living in the John F. Smith house addition at the time of the 1860 census, died in July 1888 (Tombstone Inscriptions). The house was by then known as the “Lafayette Smith House” and was the subject of a Chancery Suit in 1891 between George W. Smith (son of J. F. Smith; d. 1904 ) and Rufus W. Smith (son of Lafayette?). The Lafayette Smith House (the subject house) was sold in 1892 to Joseph D. Smith for $495 but the deed was “lost of mislaid” (ref. in DB 111/299). In 1912 , Joseph D. Smith sold the house and lot to Cattie V. Smith (JC DB 111/299). Cattie Smith Outcalt sold it to Elizabeth S. Shaull in 1920 (DB 118/295). Elizabeth Shaull’s property was sold as a result of delinquent taxes in 1940 to Harry and Mary Smith (DB 157/263). In 1955 , Robert Upton Smith Jr. sold the house and lot to Douglas Ring (DB 204/477). His widow, Beulah Ring sold it in 1981 to James Fastenrath and Anne Grimmer (DB 492/145). In 2006 Fastenrath and Grimmer sold it to Kelley Yeomans and Alfred Phelps (1024/302). Apparently the property was foreclosed and Wells Fargo Bank sold it to HUD in 2009 (1064/161).
Sebastian Eaty House – Lot 72 (old Lot 4, east side King Street)
It is likely that old Smithfield Lot 4 on the east side of then-main street (today’s King Street) was sold by John Smith in 1798 to John Packett and William Tapscott, however, this deed could not be located. It was probably recorded in Berkeley County Deed Book 14 which is one of the missing books (a Civil War casualty). Packett and Tapscott also did not appear in the 1798 -1799 tax records. I did find a 1798 reference to Packett and Tapscott as owners of this particular Lot 4, identified as the adjoining lot in the deed from Smith to William Robinson Lowry for Lot 4 on the west side of new street (today’s Queen Street) dated December 24, 1798 (BC DB 15/20).
The lot was described as adjoining 90 feet along “William R. Lowry’s Lott” to “the first cross street [Grace Street].”
This deed did not include the covenant to build a dwelling but rather the standard phrase “and all houses, buildings, orchards…” etc., indicating that Packett and Tapscott had constructed the one story building later (1852 ) called the “store room” on the lot.
The “first cross street” (today’s Grace Street) was the route to the nearest bridge over the Opecquon Creek, and “main street” had been the main street through Smithfield, so this would have been a central location for a store or warehouse.
Joseph Grantham was never taxed on this lot either, only on his acreage elsewhere.
John Packett and Joseph Grantham were both Trustees of the Town of Smithfield.
1 lot valued at $60 (probably Lot 4, main street)
1 lot valued at $24 (“of Smith” lot?)
1 lot valued at $15 (“of Grantham” lot?)
1 lot with a rent value of $100, lot value of $1,000, and building value of $800
1 lot with a rent value of $25, lot value of $150, and building value of $100
1 lot with a rent value of $15, lot value of $100, and building value of $50
1 lot at $1,000/$900
Unfortunately there was no explanation for this devaluation of the Eaty lot.
On the 1850 census, Sebastian Eaty was listed as 78 years old with no occupation and real estate valued at $2,000. Living in the household was his wife Frances (65), son Sebastian B. Eaty, aged 38 and listed as occupied as a Physician but also “Insane,” and daughter Eliza Eaty, aged 27.
Given Eaty’s age and the “insane” condition of his son, it is possible that the house was by this time in bad repair, prompting the devaluation of the property (or the assessor took pity on the old man).
Macoughtry sold Lot 4 “on the upper street” to Thomas J. Homar for $745 (JC DB 32/309).
The property was described as 90 feet by 180 feet, “on which a commodious dwelling house and store room, the same in which the testator lived for many years,” was located.
Thomas J. Homar kept the property until his death when it passed to his heirs Herman Homer (Homar), Matilda (Homar) Manahan, and Sadie (Homar) Smith (JC DB 104/375). In 1909 , Sadie Smith sold it to Robert U. Smith and Elizabeth Shaull (DB 142/416). Shaull sold her interest to Smith in 1944 (DB 160/59). Robert U. Smith sold it in 1955 to Albert Henry (DB 206/118). Albert and Alma Henry sold the property to Robert A. Smith in 1981 (DB 482/145). Robert and Virginia Smith sold it to Lillian Woehler and Lillian Prillaman (DB 644/689). Woehler married James G. Grantham and sold her interest to Prillaman in 1997 (DB 857/123). In 1997 , Lillian and Grant Prillaman sold the property “known as the Smith Lot” to the current owners Larry and Karen Bowers (DB 878/72).
The lot was described as being on the “north side of the branch called Turkey Spring on the new street and on the west side of the same called No. 3. Beginning at a stake corner to lott No. 2 thence with the street 90 feet to a stake at the cross street then square with cross street 180 feet to a stake then square 90 feet to a stake corner to lott No 2 then with lott No. 2 180 feet to the Beginning.”
“…said Smith and Grantham doth bind themselves…to build a house on said lott at least 16 feet by 18 feet story and half high with a stone or brick chimney under the same rules and regulation of Shepherdstown also to pay Moses Smith one half dollar yearly ground rent…”
This was the earliest deed I could find for this lot – I could not find the deed from Smith to Ainsworth and Ainsworth never appeared on the BC Land Tax with a lot. This may have been a sort of “reconveyance” arranged by Moses Smith so that the Smith & Grantham partnership could own the lot.
Beginning with the 1801 tax list, and continuing through the 1804 list, Moses Smith and John Grantham, Jr. each were separately assessed for 1 lot valued at $40 but nothing jointly. After 1804 their assessments were inconsistent but the two were never jointly assessed.
The lot was described as being on the corner of new street and “the cross street leading to the saw mill” adjoining Harmon McKnight’s lot (Lot 3, east side upper/King Street) and Joseph Stone’s lot (Lot 2, west side new/Queen Street).
Technically, according to the town regulations, there should have been a small log house/building on the lot by this time.
Fry also owned Lot 12 (Red House) by this time, 1 lot at $20 “of B. Bell.”
In 1815 , Daniel Fry was assessed for two separate lots, both valued at $40, but by this time he had purchased Lot 11 (Daniel Fry House) so that was one of the assessed lots. Later assessments show that the other lot was Lot 12 (Red House).
1 lot – rent $100, lot $500, buildings $400 (Daniel Fry House)
1 lot – rent $35, lot $150, building $100 (later identified as Lot 14)
So where did the Smith & Grantham Lot 3 go?
Since this building value could not possibly have represented a new brick building I did not take the time to trace the lot back to Daniel Fry in the tax record.
Again, I don’t think this represents a new brick building. I suspect this indicates that Farnsworth added to the already existing building.
Of interest, the 1850 census also listed Jefferson Farnsworth (who purchased Daniel Fry’s Lot 14 in 1841 ) who was likely Henry Farnsworth’s brother and was a “Bricklayer.” In 1860 , Jefferson Farnsworth was listed as a “Brickmaker.”
His immediate neighbor was Samuel W. League, a 51-year old “Clerk” who probably worked in Grantham’s store. League had $800 worth of real estate, perhaps one of the old houses on the lot? Among his family members was his 16-year old son, James W. League.
In his will he devised: “to my wife Phoebe A. M. Grantham for and during her natural life, the lot in Middleway improved by the store house and dwelling where I now reside.”
He also devised to his daughter Lillian, wife of William H. Gilbert, the lot with a “store house and dwelling occupied by James W. League and J. L. Grantham” and the other store house/dwelling subject to her mother’s life estate.
In 1918 , Lillian Gilbert sold the Grantham Store Lot to Carrie Weaver for $450 (DB 116/299). Weaver sold it to S. B. Webb in 1945 (DB 165/287) and Webb sold it in 1946 to Nathaniel Gray (DB 165/321). Gray sold the lot in 1956 to Albert Nicodemus (DB 210/343). In 1969 Nicodemus devised the lot improved with a brick store building and dwelling to his son Milton Nicodemus (JC WB N/435), who sold it in 1983 to the current owners Joseph and Barbara Bitner (DB 512/726).
Unfortunately I believe the common name given to this house, the “Elizabeth Smith House,” is incorrect and is the result of confusion regarding the street names in Smithfield/Middleway.
As noted in the Scollay Hall (old Lot 3, east side of new/upper/Queen Street) report, that lot was sold to Elizabeth Smith by Harmon McKnight in 1802 – then described as being on the east side of King street (another name used at that time for today’s Queen Street). That Lot 3 (e/s Queen) was actually owned by Michael McKnight (possibly Harmon’s father?). I could find no other sale of a lot to Elizabeth Smith and she was never taxed on any lots.
The deed included the covenant to “build on the lott aforesaid a house 16 feet by 18 a story and a half high with a stone or brick chimney…”
“Herman McNight” was assessed on the BC House Tax for 1 house in Smithfield valued at $210.
McKnight was in debt to Benjamin Stephenson for £106 and put up his Lot 3 on the east side of main street as security.
October. James and Ann Stephenson sold Lot 3 to Moses Smith for $250 (JC DB 4/406).
I found no conveyance of this property from Moses Smith to anybody.
1 lot with a rent value of $60, lot value of $500, building value of $400
1 lot with a rent value of $20, lot value of $200, building value of $150
I’m thinking this is the most likely candidate for the subject Lot 3.
1 lot with a rent value of $20, lot value of $100, building value of $50
1 lot with a lot value of $30 (unimproved)
1821 – Moses Smith was deceased by January 1821 , leaving his widow Eleanor (later married Benjamin Welsh), an adopted (?) daughter Courtney (Hale) Smith, a newborn son, and son and primary heir John Henry Smith (JC WB 3/268).
Moses Smith noted in his will, written November 1820 : “Whereas my wife Elenor [sic] Smith was delivered of a male child some time about the 16th of August last and it has no established name that I know of…” He devised the child $500.
To John H. Smith he devised “the plantation whereon I now live and also all my houses and lots in the Town of Smithfield…”
1845 – JC Land Tax, the first year lots were identified by their number, John H. Smith was assessed for Lot 1 at $300/$250, Lot 2 at $300/$250, Lot 4 at $750/$700, and 4 unimproved lots – but no Lot 3, although as far as I can tell he still owned it.
Samuel Scollay (we know this is e/s Queen St. – Scollay Hall)
Henry Farnsworth (we know this is w/s Queen St. – Grantham Store)
Henry Gilbert heirs (1 Lot 3, $350/$300)
Michael Labow’s heirs (unimproved – Lot 3 s/s of Turkey Spr. run, e/s Queen DB 12/41)
George Murphy (unimproved - Lot 3 s/s of Turkey Spr. run DB 23/137)
Van Thomas, “now residing near Winnsborough, Franklin Parish, Louisiana did in March 1860 execute to W. O. Macoughtry as Trustee for the benefit of John H. Smith, a Deed of Trust on a certain house and lot in Smithfield…to secure to said John H. Smith the balance of the purchase money for the same property…”
Ten days later John J. Thomas sold the lot to John W. Grantham (owner of the adjoining Lot 3, w/s of Queen St – Grantham Store) for $500 (JC DB 3/460).
In 1869 , John W. Grantham sold the lot to Thomas F. Harris for $650 (DB 4/77). Harris entered at Deed of Trust in August 1875 to sell the property (DB C/259) and in December 1875 , trustee G. N. DeL. Smith sold it to Eugenia P. Isler for $202 (DB D/362). The heirs of Eugenia Isler, Edith & Charles Johnson, Annie Barnes, and Charles & Elizabeth Isler, sold the lot to W. L. Isler in 1923 (DB 122/501). W. L. Isler devised the property to his heirs Edith, Carroll, and Aldo Johnson (JC WB I/278). Edith L. Johnson et al sold it in 1953 to Eleanor Fry Childs (later Wilson) (DB 194/380). In 1981 , Eleanor and William Wilson sold it to Charles Rocheleau and John Pliny Eastman Holt (DB 493/82). This deed noted: “It is understood…that the Grantees are going to restore the existing house on the property…and build a wing that will be complimentary to, and architecturally compatible with, and in a style similar to the existing structure.” Rocheleau and Holt sold the property in 1987 to Alfred and Diane Ewing (DB 584/130), who sold it in 1993 to Wayne and Delores Milstead (DB 756/386). In 1999 the Milsteads sold it to Alan and Sara Caldwell (DB 924/558), who sold it to Linda and Peter Fricke in 2003 (DB 971/455). In 2004 , the Frickes sold the “Isler lot” to the current owner James E. G. Grantham (DB 993/657).
Joseph (Giuseppe) Minghini House – Lot 78 (old Lot 1, n/s Turkey Spring, w/s Queen Street)
This deed was described as being for two lots, Lot 1 and an adjoining lot. Since the subject Lot 1 (78) on the 1883 Plan of Middleway shows this lot to be 162 ½ feet wide by 180 feet deep, it was essentially a double lot.
The lot adjoined the Richard Barnhouse lot (Lot 2) on the north, George Fry (Fryer Lot 1 (79), e/s King Street) on the west, and Turkey Spring run on the south.
Despite the high purchase price of £300, this lot was unimproved and Hiett was bound by the deed “to build a house on the same agreeable to law.” Likely the high price was due to the proximity to a water power source.
I believe this assessment also reflected to value of the land for industrial use rather than improvements.
Endsley and Hiett were bound by their deed “to build a house on each lott at least 16 feet by 18 a story and half high with a stone or brick chimney within three years from the present date…” indicating that Simeon Hiett did not fulfill his covenant.
Krick was bound by the deed “to build a house on each lot agreeable to the rules of said Town.”
Once again, Minghini was bound by the deed “to build a house on each lot agreeable to the rules of said Town.”
Minghini already owned a 1/3 lot valued at $20 (1809 -1811 ), a rare instance of a subdivided lot in Smithfield. This may be the other Endsley lot on the south side of Turkey Spring run which was carved from the “south side” Lot 1.
Giuseppe Minghini was reportedly the Italian immigrant servant of Gen. Charles Lee of Prato Rio who, along with housekeeper Elizabeth Dunn, inherited most of Lee’s livestock, slaves, and cash in 1782 :
“Lee died in October 1782 in Philadelphia. His personal property inventory included 2 swords, 30 horses, 52 sheep, 26 lambs, 32 steers, 7 cows, 16 young cattle and calves, 29 hogs, 13 pigs, and 4 slaves. The only furniture listed was one bed, the only kitchen items were 6 table spoons, 6 spoon forks, 11 teaspoons (BC WB 1, p. 315).” (Quoted from the Prato Rio report)
The amount of cash is unknown but the livestock, particularly the horses, would have been quite valuable. Minghini appears to have made the most of his inheritance.
On the 1850 census, Simone L. Minghini was listed as a 45-year old Cabinet Maker with his wife Elizabeth and son Joseph L. Also in the household was Josiah Ridgway, a 22-year old Cabinet Maker, and three younger men, probably apprentices.
In 1852 Simoni Minghini was assessed for his 2 lots (for many years assessed as 1 lot) valued at $650 with a building value of $400, with no explanation. This assessment remained the same through 1861 .
The house and lot remained in the Minghini family until 1891 when Joseph L. Minghini sold it to John S. Grantham for $550 (JC DB W/217). In 1850 , 22-year old John S. Grantham was a Cabinet Maker on the census. On the 1880 census, 52-year old J. S. Grantham was listed as an “Undertaker,” typically a profession taken on by cabinet makers.
The heirs of John S. Grantham sold the lot to Rose Kearns in 1914 (DB 113/505). In 1954 , Rose Kearns sold it to the Chesapeake Conference Association of 7th Day Adventists of Baltimore, Maryland (DB 198/460). They in turn sold it, through trustee C. V. Anderson, to D. Frank Wyncoop in 1955 (DB 205/409). The Wyncoop heirs sold it to Wave Lewis in 1958 (DB 228/554) who immediately sold it to John and Alice Wyncoop (DB 228/555). The Wyncoops sold it in 1966 to Charles Winfrey (DB 283/253). Winfrey divided the lot (Lot 78 or old Lot 1) into two lots and sold the house on subdivision Lot 1 in 1968 to Darius Hughes (DB 292/486). Hughes sold the lot in 1972 to Lorraine Markley (DB 340/663) who sold it in 1974 to Idella Murry (DB 370/569). Idella Murry died in 1989 and the house and lot passed to Gloria and Charles Lester, who sold it to the current owner Anne Womeldorf in 1989 (DB 648/120).
Crampton-Stephenson House/Ramsay Tavern – Lot 102 (old Lot 9, west side King Street)
The deed included the covenant to build within 12 months of the purchase date “one good dwelling House to be at least 16 feet wide and 18 feet long with a stone or brick chimney to the same fit for Habitation, otherwise this deed shall become void.”
This doubling of the market value seems to imply a greatly improved building but in 1814 Joshua Showers was assessed for 1 lot at $40 “of Wm Stephenson.” It is possible the assessor never viewed the property.
Showers’ heirs were his three children Mary Ellen (m. Abraham Gardner), William Showers, and Henry Showers.
Presumably Henry Showers also sold his 1/3 interest to Macoughtry but I did not locate this deed.
Dr. William O. Macoughtry owned several other lots in Smithfield, including three adjoining (unnumbered in the tax record) lots on “upper” street that likely included Lots 10 and 11 (w/s upper street) previously owned by James Macoughtry (father?) with a building value in 1857 of $800; also Lot 13 on “upper” street with a building value of $50, and five other lots on “lower” street.
On the 1850 census, Macoughtry, a Physician, was listed immediately after Physician Mann P. Nelson (who lived across the street on Lot 10). Macoughtry was listed with $2,400 in real estate. There was nobody living nearby listed as a “Hotel Keeper” or “Tavern Keeper” but there was single mother Susan Myers (39) who owned no real estate and may have been living in one of Macoughtry’s houses.
Sometime before 1885 , the Dr. W. O. Macoughtry estate was divided between his two surviving children Thomas Macoughtry and Frances L. White (wife of S. F. White). In 1885 a confirmatory deed was recorded by N. S. White (trustee?) stating that the widow and children of Thomas Macoughtry inherited the “houses and lots” in the division between Thomas and Frances (DB O/93).
In 1901 , those children of Thomas Macoughtry – William O., Margaret R., and Robert Lee Macoughtry sold the “house and lot known as the Ramsay House” to William, Samuel, and Mary Wilson (children of John Wilson, dec.) for $750 (DB 90/195). In 1908 , the John Wilson heirs of Bunker Hill (Berkeley Co.) sold the “Ramsay House and lot” to J. B. Watson of Middleway for $750 (DB 101/412). It remained in the Watson family until 1956 when Bessie Watson sold it to Leon and Virginia Stevens (DB 209/369). The Stevens’ sold it in 1956 to Charles and Emily Hough (DB 212/391) who sold it in 1963 to Joseph and Josephine Stephens (DB 260/198). The Stephens’ sold it to Stephen and Stephanie Giddings in 1982 (DB 499/22) and the Giddings’ sold the property to Nicholas S. Frobouck in 2005 (DB 1009/382). Frobouck sold it to the current owners Ronald and Mary Sosnicki in 2007 (DB 1043/410).
John Smith, Sr./Moses Smith House (Bill White Grantham House)
1788 – John Smith, Sr. wrote his will, dividing his land among his four sons John Jr., William, Rees, and Moses, and his two daughters Phebe Fry and Sarah Smith. The daughters’ land was a little southwest of today’s Middleway (adjoining Ludwick Fry). John Jr. got a parcel on the north side of Turkey Spring branch, “part of the land and premises I now live on,” including the saw mill (and later Smithfield) and bounded on the west by “the main road”; William got a parcel on the south side of Turkey Spring branch (and later included the south side town lots); Rees’ share seems to have been on the south side of the branch and on the east side of William’s share; and Moses’ share adjoined Rees (north of) and John Jr. (east of). No acreage was given but the boundary description seems to approximate the “John H. Smith” tract on the 1852 map:
I do herby give bequeath and devise unto my son Moses Smith the land and property within the Bounds here after mentioned Lying and being in the said county and on the east of opeckon creek and branch of the same called Turkey spring and beginning at some stones on the south side a Muddy branch Running through the meadow and being the beginning course of the afore devised tracts then with and along my sons Rees share last [? ?]nning black oak corner on [????] then along the same to John Granthams line north twenty seven [?st] forty seven poles to three black oaks Granthams corner then north [?] west twenty seven poles to a white oak [on the south] the meadow Granthams corner then north ten west ten poles crossing the meadow to a large white oak [?????] Courses then north thirty three east thirty nine poles to [?] and white oak Granthams corner by a path then north fifty nine east fifty two poles to a black oak sapling corner to Grantham then south twenty eight east eighty poles to a hollow white oak Granthams corner then south twenty six east sixty poles to a white oak in his line then leaving his line and running north sixty seven poles to a locust and white oak in a hill about two poles south of bell heaven road corner to General Washington land then with his land north eighteen east seventy eight poles to a walnut & two black oaks in his line then leaving his line and running west one Hundred and sity poles to two white oak saplins at the line of Hugh Rankins land then along his land south twenty five west about fifty poles to four black oak saplins on the south side belheaven Road and corner to my son Johns land. Then along his line to the beginning which said land and premises within the bounds afore mentioned I do hereby give bequeath and devise unto my son Moses Smith…” (BC WB 3/145)
John Smith (Sr.?) was assessed for 1 house in the country valued at $210.00
John Smith (Jr.?) was assessed for 1 house in the country valued at $157.50.
William Smith was assessed for 1 house in the country valued at $157.50.
Moses Smith was assessed for 1 house in Smithfield valued at $262.50, occupied by “Philip Storthers.”
John Smith Esq. (Jr.) assessed for 111 acres and 1 town lot.
John Smith Esq. “for Moses” assessed for 161 acres and 1 town lot.
William Smith assessed for 161 acres.
Rees Smith assessed for 161 acres.
There was also “John Smith (Clip)” assessed for 1 town lot, “Clip” probably referring to his location in Smithfield (Wizard Clip), who was perhaps a cousin or maybe not even related?
John Jr. and William both already had their own houses and the only house that Moses owned, located in the town of Smithfield, was occupied by a tenant, so it appears likely that Moses was still living in his father’s house (or away at school) and that the house may have been on the parcel shortly to be inherited by Moses Smith. Given the relatively low value of John Smith Sr’s house, it was probably a fairly simple log house.
1800 – John Smith, Jr. wrote his will and died (BC WB 3/302). In his will he named his brother Moses as one of his executors, along with “my trusty friends” John Grantham and Jacob Rees, and his wife Sarah Smith as executrix.
Moses Smith was assessed on his own for 161 acres and one town lot.
On the census Moses Smith was listed in the “country,” a Farmer over the age of 45, with one adult female, one teenage female, two males under age 9, and eleven slaves.
Moses Smith wrote his will in November 1820 in which he noted his wife Eleanor, daughter “Courtney Smith alias Hale daughter of Nancy Hale” (adopted?), and wrote of his youngest son, “Whereas my wife Elenor Smith was delivered of a male child some time about the 16th of August last and it has no established name that I know of…”
Smith left the bulk of his estate to his oldest son John Henry Smith (still under age 9 according to the census): “I give to my son John Henry Smith the plantation whereon I now live and also all my houses and lots in the Town of Smithfield, also all my Slaves together with all the balance of my personal Estate.”
So according to his will, Moses Smith, his family, and slaves were living on his 200-acre farm in the buildings with an assessment value of $300.
His exceptionally detailed personal property appraisement (see attached) indicated a man of wealth, despite his continued occupation of what must have been a relatively small log house. The list of items appraised included a copy of Varlé’s map and noted the title of every book in his library.
The building value increase appears to represent more than just a reassessment.
On the 1860 census, John H. Smith was listed as a 45-year old Farmer with $8,900 worth of real estate. Living in the household was his wife Margaret and their eight children ranging in age from 19 to 2 years.
The farm was sold to W. E. Outcalt for $3,463.69. The plat showed that the bulk of the eastern section of the Moses Smith land had been sold to John James Grantham (brother-in-law of John H. Smith? – is this Tudor Hall?). Other adjoining neighbors included George W. Shirley and Dr. S. A. Bates.
In 1889 , William E. Outcalt sold the then 89-acre farm to Nelson R. Roberts for $3,100 (JC DB U/2). Between 1899 and 1905 , Roberts had acquired significant amounts of nearby and adjoining land, five tracts for a total of 220 acres including the former John H. Smith 89-acre parcel. Roberts sold the farm in 1905 to Charles F. Keiter for $9,000 (DB 95/465). After Keiter’s death in 1910 , his executor Harry Keiter sold the farm to himself (Harry Keiter) in 1917 for $14,850 (DB 115/142). In 1949 , Charles E. Keiter et al (heirs of Harry Keiter) sold the now 90-acre former Smith farm to William and James Grantham (DB 175/534). William White Grantham, Sr. died in 1987 and the 90-acre tract passed to his widow Janet, then to son William White Grantham, Jr., the current owner (DB 1063/226).
1821 appraisal of personal property of Moses Smith (3 pages) <a href="/Portals/0/Wills/MC014_Temp_WB1821 .PDF" target="_blank"> View p1</a>, <a href="/Portals/0/Wills/MC015_Temp_WB1821 .PDF" target="_blank"> View p2</a>, <a href="/Portals/0/Wills/MC016_Temp_WB1821 .PDF" target="_blank"> View p3. </a>