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Judith's Gardens

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Talbot County, Maryland, U.S.A.map
Surnames/tags: Turbutt-11 Bowdle-181
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National Register of Historic Places form for Judith's Garden; MD Historical Trust. Form Prepared By Robert Gallup 5hannahan, Esq.; and Michael Bourne, Architectural Consultant. "SIGNIFICANCE Judith's Garde[n] is histerically and architecturally significant for three main reasons. First, it retains many original features which do not exist elsewhere in Talbot County. Its early front porch, grained doors, plaster medallion, bell pull, and other hardware are fine survivals of early 19th century fabric in their original setting. Second, nearly all of the outbuildings which were standing in 1837 are still extant. One barn and the two necessaries have vanished and the ice house is now in ruins, but the dairy, smokehouse, carriage house, barn, and two corn houses are still in an excellent state of preservation. Many of the early plantings, including Mrs.Bowdle's boxwood garden and daffodils, are still healthy. Third, the combination of the old and new sections of the Judith's Garden house serves to contrast the rather stark lifestyle of the planter of the 1780s with the opulent lifestyle of the gentleman farmer of the 1830s. The Turbutt and Bowdle inventories and chattel mortgages give a remarkable mind's eye view of how the interiors of the two edifices must have appeared during the Turbutt, the builder of the earlier section of Judith's Garden, it can be noted that Turbutt was a member of St. Peter's Episcopal Parish and attended Old White Marsh Church. There is no record of his service in the Revolutionary War or the War of 1812, but his oldest son, Nicholas, served as a Captain in the 16th Regiment from Maryland in the War of 1812. HISTORY The present farm known as Judith's Garden evolved from four 17th century tracts: Moorfields, 100 acres patented by John Eason in 1662; The Adventure, 100 acres patentedby Robert Curtis in 1665; Judith's Garden, 193 acres patented by John Paddison, Sr. in 1694; and Chance, 100 acres patented by Edward Roe in 1668. In 1771 William Sharpe, acting under the provisions of the will of Birckhead Sharpe, sol~ Moorfields and The Adventure (200 acres) to Thomas Robinson, mariner, for 300 pounds current money (Deed 20/164). Two years later Robinson traded part of Judith's Garden to William Thomas of Anderton for part of The Adventure (Deed 20/291). In 1783 Robinson purchased another 12 acres from Charles Pickering for 40 pounds current money (Deed 21/325). This 12 acres is referred to as part of Chance, and is later referred to as part of Good Luck. Robinson is in some places referred to as "Thomas Robinson, alias Thomas Ogle," probably because his step-father was named Ogle. Robinson chose to refer to his plantation as Judith's Garden, whereon he built log house in which he was living in 1783, as well as several farm buildings. (Assessment of 1783). In 1786 in consideration of the sum of 6~0 pounds current money Robinson sold the plantation to Samuel Turbutt (Deed 23/99). In the Robinson-Turbutt deed, the property is described as "Judith's Garden, whereon stands the mansion house of the said Thomas Robinson...." Turbutt changed the name of the former Robinson plantation to Moorfields Addition. The Turbutts probably lived in the Robinson's old log house while their new frame house was being built, after which the old log house became a tenant house or was abandoned. Turbutt built a windmill (valued at $60 in 1798) and an 18' by 12' miller's house (valued at $12 in 1798). Perhaps the latter structure was Robinson's old log house. In 1798 Turbutt's miller was George Jefferson. Turbutt, who is styled 'Gentleman' in early deeds and 'Farmer' in later deeds, lived in a house that measured 18' by 16' in 1798, a slightly larger than average house for Third Haven Hundred for the period. This house is described as having 3 windows measuring 40" by 24" and 2 windows measuring 30" by 24" ; and 1 window measuring 31(?)" by---(?), valued at $55 (compare to the value of the miller's house). Since this house is not described as either brick or log, we may assume that it was frame, probably 1~ stories; (a few other houses in Third Haven Hundred are specifically desigrated as 2~ stories). The5 Turbutt kitchen measured 24' by 16' and was larger than the Turbutt dwelling house Federal Direct Tax of 1798, Talbot County, #139). The measurements given for the Turbutt's kitchen raise an interesting point whether or not the present kitchen wing at Judith's Garden contains this old kitchen. Besides hearsay evidence that 'the kitchen wing is the oldest part of the house,' there is more substantial evidence to back the Turbutt kitchen theory. First, the great 7' wide kitchen chimney is constructed of brick larger than the brick used in the other chimneys; second, there is a brick foundation uncer the kitchen wing as opposed to a granite foundation under the main block of the house and under the part of the kitchen closest to the dining room; and third, concerning the measurement of 24' x 16 1 , the 24' figure is almost perfect for the chimney side of the present kitchen which measures 24!2'. Measuring 16 1 in the opposite direction the line ends at an undersized window of the present pantry in the kitchen wing. Finally, the roof pitch of the kitchen wing is steeper than the roof pitch on the main block of the house. Other improvements in 1798 included a tobacco house 20' by 16'; one ----ldg(?) (illegible); and three Negro huts valued at $12 each, the same value as the miller's house. The Negro huts and the miller's house are not mentioned in the Assessment of 1813. In 1806 Turbutt mortgaged his 106-acre farm on Island Creek for $500. He describes the farm as being parts of Moorfields, The Adventure, Judith's Garden, and Chance. (Land Records 32/200). This tract description continues into the present Samuel Turbutt devised his dwelling plantation --106 acres--plus a one-acre wood lot to his widow Mary for her lifetime as a widow, and upon her death or remarriage, to his sons William and Greenbury. In May 1825 Judith's Garden 'the property of Greenbury Turbutt,' is advertised in the Easton Gazette as about to be sold at Sheriff's sale for non-payment of taxes. The threatened sale, however, never took place. In the Federal Assessment of 1826 Samuel Turbutt's widow was still residing at Judith's Garden with her son Greenbury. Among the many improvements listed are a frame dwelling house ($100), kitchen ($10), and an unfinished dwelling house ($40). These buildings have the same designations in the Assessment of 1832, where they are valued at $75, $12, and $25 respectively. The 'unfinished dwelling house' remains a puzzle; it is not listed in the Assessment of 1840. In 1831 Greenbury Turbutt mortgaged the 106-acre plantation on Island Creek, plus 10 acres called Oldham's Discovery (Land Record 40/310). A mortgage of his father's with the Farmers and Merchants Bank was still outstanding. Both mortgages were finally paid off by Benjamin Mullikin Bowdle, Greenbury Turbutt's brother-in-law, and the husband of Eliza Washington Turbutt Bowdle. At the same time (October 10, 1837[)] Greenbury and Susan L. Turbutt, and William and Henrietta Maria Turbutt sold 106 acres described as "the farm on which Thomas Stevens now resides, parts of Moorfields, The Adventure, Judith's Garden and Chance" to Benjamin Mullikin Bowdle for $3058 (Deed 53/272). It is almost certain that it was in 1837 that Benjamin Bowdle built the main block of the present Judith's Garden plantation house and its outbuildings. Benjamin Bowdle was the son of Carson Bowdle (deceased 1827) and Julianna (Bowdle) Bowdle (1780-1853). He was the oldest of nine children, was born in 1803, and died in 1862. In the 1820s he married Eliza Washington Turbutt (1804-1841), daughter of Samuel and Mary Bowdle Turbutt. Benjamin Bowdle was one of the Founders and Trustees of the Maryland Military Academy at Oxford, where his son Hardy graduated in 1848. In the same year Bowdle made a five dollar donation to the construction of the Washington Monument, for which he was sent a large engraving of Washington and a citation for the donation. IN 1851 Bowdle was elected one of five sober and discreet persons" to act as Trustee and Vestryman of the newly founded Church of the Holy Trinity (episcopal) in Oxford, St. Peter's Parish. When Bowdle died in 1862 he devised all of his properties, both real and personal, to his widow (and second wife), Anna Maria Bowdle. (Will 11/20). Mrs. Anna Maria Bowdle is listed as a "patron" of the 1877 Talbot County Atlas and is listed as owning 500 acres. Under occupation she is listed as a "Lady of Comfort." After her husband's death, Mrs. Bowdle never remarried. She devoted much of her time to church work and also donated one acre out of the Chance parcel of the farm for a local schoolhouse. Mrs. Bowdle also greatly extended the gardens at Judith's Garden. Her now ancient boxwood and masses of daffodils still survive, as does the wooden picket garden gate and strap hinges. She added a summer kitchen to the house, rebuilt the dining room, adding French windows and doors which opened onto the conservatory, and raised the dining room ceiling height. By 1893 Judith's Garden had become too much for Mrs. Bowdle to cope with and her debts were fairly high. With this in mind, she hired James H. Willis to look after her affairs, and as her trustee, Willis sold Judith's Garden to Arthur B. and Jeanette E. Plummer for $8650 (Deed 118/311). Five years later the Plummers sold the farm to R.H. Ritter of Philadelphia and his wife, the former Sophia Willis of Oxford (Deed 129/146). It was Mrs. Ritter who restored the name "Judith's Garden" to the farm. Upon Mr. Ritter's death the farm passed to his widow, and from her to R. Heber Ritter, Jr. (Wills 22/316 adn 31/319)."

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