Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Lot 42

Brookeville, Montgomery County, Maryland
Owned by Hannah Briggs, 1804-1851

Information:



Lot 42 in Brookeville was part of a two-lot parcel on Market Street containing the temporary home of Hannah Briggs, wife of renowned engineer and surveyor Isaac Briggs. In 1804, Hannah Briggs purchased lots 42 and 43 from Richard Thomas Jr., the founder of Brookeville and original owner of all of the lots in the town.1 The nature of Isaac's employment with major engineering projects meant that he was often away from his home and family on business for several months, or even years at a time. Since the Briggs's full time home and family estate, known as "Sharon," was several miles outside of Brookeville, Hannah and her children would often stay in their Brookeville home while Isaac was away, so as to be closer to their family and friends in the Sandy Spring Quaker community.2 It appears that Hannah's daughter and son-in-law, Anna Briggs Bentley and Joseph E. Bentley stayed in the home from approximately 1819 to 1826.3 The two lots most likely stayed in the Briggs's possession until Hannah's death in 1851.4

Above: A view of Market Street sometime in the late nineteenth century. The Briggs house can be seen on the far right with a service door for a carriage shop which J.W. Whiteside ran from the home. Courtesy of Sandy Spring Museum

Kyle Bacon, DAR Research Fellow, 2012

Notes:

  1. MONTGOMERY COUNTY COURT (Land Records) February 14, 1804, L, p.255. Deed, Richard Thomas to Hannah Briggs, lots 42 & 43 in Brookeville, Maryland [MSA CE 148-12]. While women could own property, those women usually acquired the property by inheritance either before their marriages, or simply because they never married. However, Hannah Briggs had already married Isaac a decade prior to this particular sale. It is likely that Hannah performed this transaction without Isaac's name appearing because he was out of the state surveying the Mississippi Territory.
  2. Isaac Briggs, et. al. Briggs-Stabler Papers, 1793-1910. Maryland Historical Society collection no. MS 147, Boxes 1-4. This collection includes a variety of personal correspondence between Isaac and Hannah Briggs, as well as letters to and from their children. Hannah often writes in her letters about her desire to spend time at the Brookeville home so that she can be closer to her friends and family.
  3. Ibid., box 2, 1819 folder, January 8, 1819.
  4. There are no official Montgomery County land records which indicate that Hannah sold the two Brookeville lots during her lifetime. Also, neither Hannah nor Issac Briggs officially submitted a will to the Montgomery County Register of Wills that may have indiciated the distribution of their lands amongst their heirs.

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