Nanjemoy's Douglas Point Historical Insights
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by Janet Cox
You may have heard it referred to as "The Chiles House." Actually, Francis Shepard built this home between ca1770-80, located near Wade's Bay. When built, the home and its tract were referred to as Mt. Pleasant in two architectural surveys of the property (1956 and 1974).
The home, Georgian in style and unique for such a rural setting, had superior woodwork, exterior walls sheathed with sawn and beaded siding, and a roof covered with fish-scale shingles rather than clapboards. Its charm was enhanced by two massive outside chimneys; the interior had an intricate corner cupboard with a molded arch and glass-paned door; the inside doorway into the Great Room had a similar arched motif to match the cupboard and a glass transom for added light; the ceilings of the lower rooms featured exposed ceiling joists. Upstairs were two bedchambers. There were approximately seven out building at the site. Today only a few foundations are left.
This home remained in the Shepard family for approximately 100 years. When Francis Shepard died, he was unmarried; it devised to his brother Thomas. Rev. William J. Chiles and his wife, Jane Shepard, daughter of Thomas Shepard, purchased the home ca 1841, renovated it, doubling its size by adding a porch, a two story addition on the south end with closets, and full cellar. The Chiles lived there until their deaths in ca 1874. The Chiles and a few of their children were buried in a cemetery located between the home site and Riverside Road.
Nanjemoy's George Washington Connection
by Janet Cox
The controversy over the proposed strip mining of the Douglas Point, Wade's Bay, and Blue Banks area's has raised a number of questions involving the significance of the land. One such question regards the location of a parcel referred to on a Historical Marker located near the Nanjemoy Post Office.
The marker states that "... 2 miles from this location, George Washington owned a farm..." This would place it in close proximity to the location of the proposed strip mining by Maryland Rock Industries. As a member of the Nanjemoy History Writer's Project and the Charles County Historical Society, it became a source of great interest for me. I started researching the land records to ascertain the original owner and how Washington came to acquire it. I was surprised by my findings.
As a lifelong, resident of the town of Nanjemoy, my parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc. have lived in this area since its early settlement. I would like to share my findings:
Francis Adams, my 6th great grandfather, came to America from England in 1658 as a transported with others by Zacharias Wade. Noted in documents as an indentured servant, after serving out his indenture, he was provided land and settled in the area and raised a family. Documentation shows he held various land patents. Some, but not all, of this land was acquired for "Time of Service to the Province" (Maryland). He was born ca 1642 and in testimony provided in 1673 stated he was literate and signed documents. He married Grace Thomas and together they raised two sons and a daughter (Francis, Jr., Charles, and Elizabeth).
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