MHT File Photo
Emmanuel Church Road, Parran, Calvert County
Cornehill is a five-bay-long two-story brick house with a steeply pitched gable roof with an exterior chimney at each gable end. All the windows have 6/6 sashes and segmental arches. Simple fluted pilasters and a segmental wooden arch surround the central door on the north facade. A molded wood cornice follows the roofline. There is a watertable of simple square brick. One brick on the southwest corner contains the date 1786 and the initials "T.F." The brick is laid in Flemish bond with random glazed headers. Narrow 4/4 sash windows flank the chimneys. The 1 1/2 story frame east wing was restored in 1941. It has a single short 6/6 window on the north facade, and a taller 6/6 window in the north bay of the east gable wall. An exterior chimney covers the south bay, and a small 6-light window appears in the attic gable to the north of the chimney stack. The interior of the house has the original mantels, original floors, hardware, and the walnut stairway is interesting and unusual because of two landings instead of the customary one. Outbuildings include slave quarters (one building) to the south of the house, and a tobacco barn with oak framing.
Cornehill is an imposing Georgian house. A brick in the southwest corner dated 1786 lends the house added significance by providing a reference point for dating comparable Maryland structures. The initials "T.F.", located with the date, purportedly refer to Thelbert Freeland, a member of an influential family in northeastern Calvert County. The lack of any Calvert County records before the late 19th century makes it impossible to determine if Thelbert Freeland built Cornehill. In fact, the entire history of the property before the 1890s is a mystery. The earliest known owner was Thornton Dorsey. Colonial Maryland records not damaged by the Calvert County Courthouse fires reveal that in 1663 the proprietor patented a 350-acre tract of land called Cornehill to Francis Billingsly. This tract was described as being "upon the main ridge betwixt the branchs of Plumpoint Creek and the branchs of Hunting Creek." During the majority of the 18th century, the Mackall family, large Calvert County landowners, held Cornehill, or "Cornhill."