Meet the People of Brookeville

The stories of Brookeville's residents paint a colorful portrait of life in early America. In 1814, Brookeville was a bustling country town home to many people of all walks of life. Even though rich and well-connected Quakers founded the town, Brookeville quickly grew into a diverse mosaic of people from different socioeconomic backgrounds, religions, and races.

Click on the topics below to read about the people who made history in Brookeville.

Brookeville as it appeared in the 1860s. Detail, "Martenet and Bond's Map of Montgomery County, 1865." Simon J. Martenet. Maryland State Archives. (Click to enlarge).

    Professions and Businesses: Brookeville's Working Class 

Men and women of every profession and socioeconomic status lived in Brookeville. Everyone from wealthy industrialists to skilled craftsmen, common laborers, and factory workers made their homes and livelihoods in the town. Read to learn more about work in the busy market town.

    Forgotten Names: Brookeville's Slaves

Friends from Brookeville and Sandy Spring collectively owned over two hundred slaves, many of whom would eventually be freed by their anti-slavery Quaker owners. Read to discover what is known about some of those who are too-often forgotten in Brookeville's history.

    "Security and peace": Refugees in Brookeville

Brookeville is well-known today for receiving President James Madison after the British attack on Washington, D.C., but the town was also the refuge for hundreds of fleeing civilians and soldiers. Read about the many wanderers who found their way to Brookeville during the burning of Washington and the local Quakers who came to their aid.

    Interactive Family Tree

Brookeville was originally a kinship town. Richard Thomas Jr., the town's founder, initially sold most of the lots in Brookeville to members of his extended family. Investigate the family ties which bound Brookeville's founders together and click on highlighted names to read more.

    Biographies of Brookeville Residents

Caleb Bentley
Wealthy community leader

Henrietta Thomas Bentley
Hostess to the President

Joseph E. Bentley
Troubled businessman

Anna Briggs Bentley
Homemaker and diarist

John Bond
Carpenter and farmer

Isaac Briggs
Land surveyor and industrialist

Hannah Brooke Briggs
Quaker Elder and homemaker

Gerard Brooke
Wealthy landlord

Margaret Brooke
Independent householder

Richard Brooke
Colonel in the Revolutionary War

Punch Cooler
Farmhand and laborer

William Hammond Dorsey
Wealthy lawyer and politician

Brice John Gassaway
Store owner

George Gassaway
Store owner

Charles B. Hutton
Farmer, laborer, and slave owner

William Layman
Revolutionary War veteran

Thomas McCormick
Methodist minister and carpenter

Thomas Moore
Inventor and industrialist

David Newlin
Brookeville mill owner

Rev. Eli Nugent
African American minister

Shadrach Nugent
African American leader

Caty Owens
Seamstress and tailor

James Parsley
Town constable and shoemaker

Margaret Parsley
Shoemaker's wife

Deborah Brooke Pleasants
Wealthy Quaker landowner

Milly Snowden

Harry Snowden
Laborer and tenant farmer

Richard Thomas Jr.
Brookeville's founder

Richard Thomas Sr.
Wealthy land and slave owner

Ephraim Warfield
Middle class tenant farmer

Ceasar Williams
Free Brookeville resident 

George Williams
Former slave and laborer

Robert Williams
Struggled with mental illness

Susanna Williams
Former slave

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