The History of Linthicum Walks

History

The Linthicums

Linthicum Walks is the name of a lovely 200 year-old house whose history reflects the agricultural past of western Anne Arundel County. For most of its history, the house and over 200 acres of surrounding land belonged to the Linthicum family. During most of those years it was a typical medium-sized farm with tobacco being the primary cash crop. Most of the family’s food was also produced on the farm.

The original land grant for the property dates back to 1672 when Evan Davis patented 200 acres of land. Davis died in 1675 and the occupancy of the land is in question until 1699 when Thomas Linthicum, a Welshman who immigrated to Maryland prior to 1658, willed this property to his son Thomas II. In 1701 Thomas II resurveyed this tract of land and others amounting to 631 acres. He renamed it Linthicum Walks.

In 1744 Thomas II gave 200 acres of this land to his son Thomas III, probably as a wedding present. These 200 acres roughly correspond to the land, which the Anne Arundel County Board of Education purchased about 250 years later, where the surviving Linthicum house and family cemetery stand today.

Thomas Linthicum III probably lived where the Linthicum house now stands. Perhaps he actually lived in the north wing of the present house. Architectural evidence suggests that the original house, now the north wing, is an 18th century structure. Its windows with 12 over 6 sashes, its fieldstone basement with hand-hewn original flooring all seem to give credence to that possibility. The earliest written description of the house, which does match the appearance of the north wing, appeared in a probate inventory of 1786. Like most colonial houses, it was quite small. It was described as having one large room and a small pantry downstairs. Upstairs there was one large bedroom. Beneath the main floor a cellar provided storage. The outdoor kitchen and meat-house were separate nearby structures.

Thomas III lived on the land for a quarter of a century, but in 1747 he was ejected from Linthicum Walks because of a legal loophole arising from an unclear title. Thus, Thomas III signed away the rights to his land to Edward Edwards, a distant relative, and then Thomas Linthicum moved west with his wife and youngest children in 1752.

The house and 200 acres remained in the Edwards family for over half a century. The Linthicums regained the property in 1816 after Edward’s son Cadwallader, defaulted on his debts. Thomas Linthicum II’s nephew John then purchased Edwards’ land at public sale. By 1816 John managed to purchase nearly all of the original acreage of Linthicum Walks surveyed for his grandfather over 100 years earlier.

When John died a few years later, his son John II inherited his father’s property. John II married Elizabeth White and sometime thereafter they enlarged their small home to accommodate their seven children. To the north wing, John added a two-story wing, which had a double parlor on the first floor and two bedrooms on the second floor.

In 1844 John’s surviving children all owned land on or adjacent to Linthicum Walks. This was the last generation of Linthicums to live out their lives at the house in Linthicum Walks. The eldest son John III was deeded the house on Linthicum Walks in that year. In 1860 John III died at the age of 45. His children sold the property in 1885, with the house and its family cemetery passing out of the Linthicum family forever.

The Family Graveyard

The Linthicum family graveyard is located to the south of the main house and contains nine markers dated from 1840s to the 1880s. These headstones are in excellent condition. Local legend suggests there may be as many as forty or more unmarked graves in the Linthicum family cemetery.

Outer Buildings

The barns reflect the rural agricultural life of Tidewater Maryland in the late 18th and 19th centuries. They were used for tobacco and equipment storage. One barn of particular interest was moved to the site in 1924 on log rollers. At the time of the relocation, it was said to be 150 years old. Unfortunately the barn was destroyed by fire. Of historic note, behind the main house survives a small mid 19th century frame meathouse.

Post Roads

Early county roads passed near the house at Linthicum Walks. One road built in the early 1700s was a tobacco “rolling road” connecting the plantation to the ocean-going ships which came up the South River. That road crossed the Linthicum plantation from east to west. The present driveway was also part of that road.

1924 – Present

Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin King owned Linthicum Walks from 1924 until 1977. The Kings completely modernized the house and added a summer porch and a kitchen. Mrs. King also converted much of the land around the house to gardens, particularly enhancing the drive to the house. The sound condition of the house today is testimony to the care that the Kings gave to this lovely home for over half a century.

Today Linthicum Walks and surrounding land is owned by Anne Arundel County, and the site is administered and maintained by the Department of Recreation and Parks.

Linthicum Walks 1924,  Photo courtesy of Margaret Mary Argent

Linthicum Walks 1924, Photo courtesy of Margaret Mary Argent