Catherine A. Masek
9110, Brandywine Road, Clinton, Prince Georges County
The Mary Surratt House is a two-story, five-bay frame dwelling, measuring 40' x 32', with a gable roof. The house faces west, with a central entrance covered by a one-story, one-bay gable-roofed porch. The four-paneled front door is framed by four-light transom and sidelights with three panes above a recessed panel. A shed-roofed porch also covers the first bay of the north gable end. The house is two bays deep, with two windows on either floor of the north gable end. The east facade has similar fenestration to the west, but the one-bay porch has a shed roof. The south gable end is pierced by a single window on either floor in the west bay. Windows throughout are 6/6 sash, with louvered shutters. A square interior chimney stands at either gable end of the building. Exterior walls are covered in clapboard. Prior to restoration to its 19th century appearance, the north porch wrapped around to cover the first floor of the west facade. In the early 20th century, the center bay of the east facade was covered by a two-story projecting pavilion. A one-story frame addition on the southeast corner is a 1980s replacement of the original. This addition is two bays wide, with an exterior chimney on its south gable end flanked by four-light windows in the attic gable. Its east facade is flush with the east facade of the main block. The original addition, built prior to 1933, had an interior chimney in the south gable end, and projected several feet to the east of the main block. Its south gable end was pierced by a door in the east bay, and a 6/6 sash window on the south side of the attic gable. On the interior of the house, the mid-19th century stair in the center hall is paneled. Mantels are simple in design, consisting of fluted pilasters with a simple recessed panel above the fireplace.
The Surratt House gained notoriety from its association with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. In 1852, John H. Surratt purchased the farm where the house now stands, and in addition to farming, operated a tavern and post office in his house. During the 1850s the building became a focal point of community activity in the area, which took its name, Surrattsville, from its postmaster. After John Surratt's death, the tavern, still owned by his widow, Mary, although it was operated by John Lloyd. Mrs. Surratt moved into Washington, D.C., and operated a boarding house on H Street, where John Wilkes Booth occasionally lodged. Mary Surratt was at her tavern in Surrattsville on April 14, 1865, when John Wilkes Booth stopped at the house to pick up arms and ammunition in his flight from Ford's Theater after the shooting of Abraham Lincoln. Mrs. Surratt was implicated in and subsequently hanged for conspiracy in the assassination, although she maintained her innocence until the end.