A Remembrance

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 In 1771 Hammond-Harwood House architect William Buckland arrived in Annapolis from Virginia after completing his indenture with George Mason for the completion of Gunston Hall. With this move, Buckland brought with him his wife Mary, a daughter, and a number of craftsmen, artisans, and an enslaved couple-Oxford, Sue, and their two children-who had been included in the purchase of his Richmond County farm.

     Little is known about these individuals under Buckland’s service, but Oxford remained with Buckland until Buckland’s untimely death in 1774. In order to be free of the expense of maintaining the workmen and enslaved, Mary and the two executors John Randall and Denton Jacques, made an almost immediate sale of “a parcel of household furnishings” and all of the laborers in Buckland’s shop. Included in the sale were two bricklayers, a painter, a carver and a stonemason, Hannah, a young Negro Woman, Joe a Negro Boy, Beck a Negro Girl, Sue a Negro Woman, and Oxford a Negro Man.” In the “Inventory of the Goods and Chattels of William Buckland, late of Anne Arundel County, deceased,” dated December 19, 1774, Oxford was listed as Buckland’s single most valuable chattel at 60 £, followed by Hannah at 50 £. This inventory is currently on view at the Hammond-Harwood House.

      Unfortunately, we do not know what happened to these enslaved individuals following the sale, but it is probable they went into someone else’s service. The Hammond-Harwood House continues research on those who were part of this history, along with those who later worked in the house during its occupancy through 1864. With the celebration of Juneteenth, we especially honor and remember them on this day with the hope of discovering more about their lives and their part in building the new nation.

Lucinda Dukes Edinberg



Prerogative court (Inventories) Inventory of William Buckland, Liber 125, Pps. 337-342.

Laid paper, ink. Courtesy of the Maryland State Archives

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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