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Anyone who’s lived in an old house, or visited a historic site, or walked on a cobblestone city path is confronted with mysteries. Anyone who reads history, or who picks up an item in an antique or vintage shop, or who figures out some of their own genealogy is confronted with mysteries. We know the past is important; who we are and what our world is like reflects history. Historians, amateur and professional, devote their lives to thinking about these mysteries. A discovered clue leads to new perspectives; but then, perhaps, a different discovery adds another layer of mystery.

As Hammond-Harwood House celebrates its 250th anniversary, we are making extra efforts to bust myths and seek answers through investigation and research. Here are some of our mysteries – documents and artifacts provide some clues but we still want to know:

-Why did Matthias Hammond never live in the elaborate house he had built?

-What was the cause of architect William Buckland’s sudden death in late 1774? And where was he buried?

-Who oversaw the completion of the house’s construction? And when was it finished?

-As Judge Jeremiah Chase purchased the house for his daughter Frances Loockerman, her husband, and her children, what did he envision their life to be like?

-What were the names of the enslaved who lived at Hammond-Harwood House? Are there descendants of these individuals alive today?

-What happened to the enslaved boy Harry who was put up for auction in 1822 to satisfy taxes owned by Richard Loockerman?

-What were the Loockerman children like? Happy, troubled, aware of their father’s money problems? Where did they sleep? How were they educated?

-Who hid the shoe (pictured below) in the attic eaves and why?

And many, many more….


By Barbara Goyette, Executive Director


Posted on May 24, 2024 in , , by Hammond-Harwood House



Hammond-Harwood House

The mission of the Hammond-Harwood House Association is to preserve and to interpret the architecturally significant Hammond-Harwood House Museum and its collection of fine and decorative arts, and to explore the diverse social history associated with its occupants, both free and enslaved, for the purposes of education and appreciation.
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