The Historical Society of Harford County, Inc.
Little Stone House of Best Endeavor
Subject of Historical Society Bulletin
June, 2003

    

Photo Caption: This January 2003 photo, one of many in the current Harford Historical Bulletin, shows the east side of the Little Stone House as it stood on Calvary Road, days before its demolition. (Archives of the Historical Society of Harford County).

     

For more than two centuries, the Little Stone House sat unobtrusively on the side of Calvary road. Passersby gave it little notice, although it provided families warmth and shelter for decades and served as a landmark on the road between Bush and Churchville. Over time, the elements took their toll, and the stone house was abandoned as a residence. Still, neighbors, architects, observant commuters on Rt. 136, and local historians continued to appreciate the classic lines of its design, its association with noteworthy county families, and its reminder of a more simple period in the history of Harford County.

And then one day in January 2003 the Little Stone House was gone, demolished by an owner unaware of its historical and even economic significance. For weeks the local and regional press played up the house’s loss, and letter writers joined in with personal recollections, editorial-like observations regards its destruction, and even suggestions as to how the house could be memorialized.

Fortunately for current and future generations, the Historical Society of Harford County has just published a history of the house and the process author Grace E. Fielder followed in uncovering its past. Entitled the “The Little Stone House of Best Endeavor” the account constitutes the most recent issue of The Harford Historical Bulletin, the quarterly journal of the Historical Society of Harford County.

According to research conducted over several years by Ms. Fielder, Thomas Lytfoot, an early patent holder in Baltimore County (from which Harford County was formed in 1773), built the house between 1686 and 1689 as part of his plantation, Best Endeavor. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the house and property were closely associated with the Webster family that was heavily involved in early local politics and government.

Much of “The Little Stone House of Best Endeavor” reads like a detective story. As very little was known about the early life of the dwelling and as her conclusions differed with casual observations of earlier writers, Ms. Fielder provides readers with a step-by-step account of her “reading of the clues” as she moves from source to source in the course of her detailed but very human analysis. Helping readers follow the story’s “plot” are thirty-two illustrations, including contemporary and period photos, maps, and drawings.

The Harford Historical Bulletin is the quarterly publication of the Historical Society of Harford County. It is printed on high quality paper and illustrated with a variety of photos, prints, and maps from numerous public and private collections, it appeals to a wide spectrum of readers and researchers. Copies are sent to all Harford County schools and library branches, other county and state historical societies, as well as to numerous depositories throughout the state and region. The current and back issues of the Bulletin may be purchased at Society headquarters Preston's Stationery and the Library Store in Bel Air; also at the Susquehanna Museum, Courtyard Bookshop, and the Harford County Public Library in Havre de Grace.

Contact: Jim Chrismer
410-836-9451(H) 410- 838-8333 (W)

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