War of 1812
This list of historic sites can be associated with the War of 1812 in Kent County, although not all of the structures were built during that time period. By 1813, a British blockade had nearly closed the Bay and ships constantly threatened farms and towns. In May 1813, the British were positioned at the mouth of the Sassafras River. In 1814, British naval forces landed at Kent Island, attacked St. Michaels and Queenstown and were in Kent County by the end of the month.
William Henry & Archibald Wright Houses/Kitty Knight House (built c. 1773)
Ships under the command of Admiral Cockburn sailed up the Sassafras River late on the morning of May 6, 1813. Soldiers torched house after house on both sides of the river. Local legend holds that when they came to a brick house at the top of the hill, Miss Kitty Knight tossed the fire brand was tossed back out. Newspaper accounts said that several houses were “spared at the entreaties of the women and aged.”
Lathim House (built c. 1760)
As the British prepared to attach the towns of Fredericktown and Georgetown on the Sassafras River on May 6, 1813, they landed at the mouth of Turner’s Creek and forced John Stavely to serve as their pilot. After the raid and burning of the towns, they returned to Turner’s Creek, returning their guide and plundering the property of John Lathim for supplies. Turner’s Creek was an active settlement at the turn of the 19th century with over 60 people. The Lathim House and Knocks Folly are in close proximity, so it is possible either (or both) of them may have been plundered by the British in 1813.
Christ Episcopal Church I.U. (built 1860)
Lt. Col. Philip Reed, Commander of American Forces at Caulk’s Field, who was later promoted to General is buried in this church’s cemetery. The grave was unmarked until 1902, when a granite marker was placed on his gravesite which reads :” A Soldier of the Revolution and of the War of 1812.” Reed was a member of the Chester Parish of the Protestant Episcopal church and attended services at the original building on this site, St. Peter’s, which was built c. 1767.
Buck-Chambers House (built c. 1735 and 1786)
After the Revolution, this house was acquired by Benjamin Chambers, who lived there until he moved into Widehall on Water Street in 1810. Chambers was General of the 6th Brigade, Second Division of Maryland Militia during the War of 1812. During the Revolution, Benjamin Chambers had served as a lieutenant in the Maryland Battalion during the Battle of Long Island.
Dougherty-Barroll House (built c. 1743)
This structure operated as Doughterty’s Tavern during the mid-1700s before it became the private residence. of Joseph Nicholson—who along with his brothers served prominently during theRevolutionary War—and his son, Joseph Hopper Nicholson (1770-1817). Judge Joseph H. Nicholson organized the Baltimore Fencibiles (also called Nicholson’s Fencibles), a volunteer unit. One of Maryland's most vocal advocates for War of 1812, Nicholson introduced a resolution calling for the non-importation of British goods, which led to the Embargo Act of 1807. During the bombardment of Fort McHenry, Nicholson kept his men at their posts for 25 hours. Nicholson was the brother-in-law of Francis Scott Key, author of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Some histories suggest that Key gave a copy of the poem to Judge Nicholson, and it was he who suggested setting it to the familiar tune, "Anacreon in Heaven" and had the poem printed on broadsides. In 1890, a copy of the poem was discovered in a desk in the Annapolis home of Col. Joseph H. Nicholson, the Judge’s son, and is now owned by the Maryland Historical Society.
Widehall (built c. 1770)
Widehall became the home of Benjamin Chambers, brigadier general of the 6th Brigade, Second Division of Maryland Militia, in 1810. The home passed to his son, Ezekiel Forman Chambers, a captain in the 21st Regiment of the militia under Col. Philip Reed, who served during the Battle of Caulk’s Field. After the war, Ezekiel was also awarded the rank of brigadier general and commended for bravery.
Hynson-Ringgold House (built c. 1743)
106 S Water St., Chestertown, MD 21620 (PRIVATE) Hynson-Ringgold House was the home of James Edmondson Barroll (1779-1875), secretary and adjutant to the Troop of Horse
Great Oak Manor, Frisby Farm (built c. 1938)
On August 30th, 1814, James Frisby’s farm (no longer standing) on Great Oak Manor was raided by the British. The troops proceeded to the south side of Fairlee Creek to Farley, the farm of Richard Frisby located on a small bluff with a good view of British activity at the mouth of the creek. British Lt. Benjamin George Beynon reported they burned the house, outbuildings and fields, but also received information from a slave that Lt. Col. Philip Reed’s militia was encamped near by at Belle Air, now called Fairlee. The Battle of Caulk’s Field was soon to come.
Big Fairlee, Henry Waller Farm (built c. 1815)
On August 28th, 1814, Royal Navy vessels under Sir Peter Parker fired Congreve rockets at the farm and “elegant” house of Henry Waller on the west side of Fairlee Creek. The came ashore and burned his house, outbuildings and granary. A rocket shell now on display at Fort McHenry was from the Waller Farm. After the raid, Henry Waller sold his farm to Richard Frisby, whose home Farley was also burned. It was Frisby who constructed the c. 1815 dwelling.
Mitchell House (built 1825)
On September 3, 1814, the British raided the home of Major Joseph Thomas Mitchell in the early morning, waking Mitchell and his wife. Mitchell’s horses were shot and the Major taken prisoner because it was believed he was the commissary general for Maryland. In reality, he was a militia contractor for Kent County. Major Mitchell was held prisoner in England at late as 1817, according to some accounts. The current dwelling known as Mitchell House was built by Joseph T. Mitchell in 1825.
Caulks Field House (built 1743)
The field on which Kent’s most famous battle took place belonged to Isaac Caulk, on a portion of his property owned until 1812 by his uncle, John Moore. Caulk had been a captain under Philip Reed in the 21st Regiment, which had held maneuvers on the fields in the past. Initially, the engagement was called “The Battle of Moorefield or Caulk’s Field” but since has been known by the latter name. Some experts regard Caulk’s Field is the best surviving War of 1812 battlefield in America, mostly untouched by development, identifying wooded areas and ridges that still resemble the 19th century landscape.