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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Wheaton in Montgomery County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Harper Family Homestead

 
 
The Harper Family Homestead Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 20, 2017
1. The Harper Family Homestead Marker
Inscription. Take a moment to think about your home and family life. Thomas Harper and his wife Elizabeth raised six children in this home. Later, their son Richard and his wife Rachel raised fifteen children there. They kept chickens and pigs, had vegetable gardens and an orchard, and rounded out their homestead with a smokehouse and privy (pit toilet) since they had no electricity or indoor plumbing. Can you imagine your family living like the Harpers did so long ago'?

The cabin and smokehouse you see have not always been here at Brookside Nature Center. The cabin came from a freed slave community called Jonesville, just north of Poolesville, in Montgomery County. It was built in 1870 by Thomas Harper and remained in his family until 1935 when it was sold to Harry L. Willard. Mr. Willard's heirs donated the cabin to Montgomery Parks in 1976. It was dismantled, moved, and reassembled as part of the U.S. Bicentennial celebration. The 1850's smokehouse, originally from the Derwood area of Montgomery County was reconstructed here in 1975.

Over time, the Harper family added a full second floor and clapboard siding to their home. As the cabin was dismantled, different construction methods became evident — logs and chinking on the first floor 2 X 4 framing on the second. The cabin was reconstructed in its original form by Park
The Harper Family Homestead Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 20, 2017
2. The Harper Family Homestead Marker
staff and volunteers.

As both structures were dismantled, the logs were labeled with metal tags (left) so the walls could be reassembled in their original form. The space between the logs would have been chinked with a mixture of stones, mud, hog hair, and glue. During reconstruction they were chinked with stones and cement for durability. The chimney, flooring, windows, and other aging parts of the cabin and smokehouse (right) were replaced.
 
Location. 39° 3.483′ N, 77° 1.942′ W. Marker is in Wheaton, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker can be reached from Glenallen Ave.. Touch for map. Marker is on the grounds of the Brookside Nature Center at 1400 Glenallen Ave. Marker is in this post office area: Silver Spring MD 20902, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Kemp Mill (approx. 0.6 miles away); Reforestation (approx. 0.8 miles away); Cisterns (approx. 0.9 miles away); The Spirit of Wheaton (approx. 1.7 miles away); Rachel Carson House (approx. 1.9 miles away); Smithville Colored School (approx. 2.3 miles away); Rachel Carson (approx. 2.4 miles away); Burnt Mills (approx. 2.4 miles away).
 
Categories. African AmericansNotable Buildings
 
Tags Labeling the Parts of the Dismantled Cabin. image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 20, 2017
3. Tags Labeling the Parts of the Dismantled Cabin.
Close-up of photo on marker
Dismantling the Two Story House image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 20, 2017
4. Dismantling the Two Story House
Close-up of photo on marker
Rebuilding the Smokehouse image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 20, 2017
5. Rebuilding the Smokehouse
Close-up of photo on marker
The Harper Family Homestead image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 20, 2017
6. The Harper Family Homestead
The Log Cabin image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 20, 2017
7. The Log Cabin
The log cabin you see here was originally located in Jonesville Maryland, a post-Civil War African American Community in Western Montgomery County.

As you can see from the photo a second floor was added to original one story cabin to provide more space for the growing Harper family.
photo on a nearby sign
The Smokehouse at the original site. image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 20, 2017
8. The Smokehouse at the original site.
The smokehouse (the smaller structure without windows) originally came from a historic house in Derwood, Maryland.
The Kitchen Garden image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 20, 2017
9. The Kitchen Garden
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 17, 2017. This page originally submitted on April 21, 2017, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 114 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on April 21, 2017, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   7, 8, 9. submitted on May 12, 2017, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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