Jacob and Hannah Leverton House
3531, Seaman Road, Linchester, Caroline County
The Jacob and Hannah Leverton House, also known as the Dyott Farm for the 1970s-era owner, is a two-story side-passage-plan brick house with a gable roof constructed in the first quarter of the 19th century. Facing south, the principal façade is laid in Flemish bond, while the other three sides are laid in common bond. The entrance is in the east bay of the three-bay south façade, and is sheltered by a one-bay-wide gable-roofed porch. All of the windows, basement to second story, have well executed jack arches one brick in height. Attic windows have sailor course arches. A two-brick corbelled cornice is located beneath a steeply pitched standing-seam metal gable roof. Most of the windows have been replaced with 1/1 pane sashes, however three of the windows on the second story have muntins in their sashes which appear to be original. The west gable windows have original 4/4 sashes and the east gable has one replacement window with 1/1 sash. On the east gable a 2-bay, 2-story frame wing was built in 1968 to replace the original collapsing 1 ½-story wing. Its fenestration is irregular, having a bay window on the first floor south façade with two windows above. The north façade has two sindows of differencing sizes on the first story and a double sliding window above. Most of the new windows have muntins dividing the sashes into 6panes. The east gable has a half-glazed door and a window on the first story and a picture window with flanking double-hung sashes centered on the second story. In its original state, the plan of the house consisted of an entry stair passage with a single room on the west. The board partition was removed prior to 1970 to form one large living space with the stair ascending on the east side of the room. The new addition consists of a bathroom and kitchen. The second story has a room and bath over the kitchen, and a bedroom with fireplace on the west side and smaller unheated room at the head of the stair which projects about two feet into the west room. The latter two rooms are divided by board partitions. Original detailing of the brick section is modestly well furnished with open-string stair ascending against the east brick well to a landing, then at a right angle and up two steps to the upper landing and from thence four steps to the second story. The balustrade consists of delicate 2” square newel posts and ¾” square balusters (2 per step) with nearly round handrail extending from post to post. There is a single recessed paneled spandrel beneath the stair as well as paneled soffits beneath each run and landing of the stair. A small door is located under the first landing and a batten exterior door dating to 1968 under the upper landing. The first-floor flooring was replaced in 1968 but the exposed beaded ceiling joists are original as well as the flooring above. There are no traces of lath nail holes that are found on the majority of ceilings that were plastered at a later date. Centered on the west wall is a chimney breast with well-designed mantel around the fireplace. It consists of a three-part trim supporting two plain plinths that in turn support the mantel shelf. Chair rail still remains on the chimney breast, but the remainder was removed for future installation and is now in storage. Windows, doors, and trim date to 1968. The second-story rooms also have exposed beaded joists and exposed attic flooring. The original second-story mantel is in place, and is a simpler version of the one below, with two-part trim and a plain frieze with mantel shelf above. Original two-part chair rail remains around this room along with original two-part window trim around the windows on the north side. Only one original door remains on the second story, with one keeper and one cast-iron butt hinge, but no lock to accompany the keeper.
The Jacob and Hannah Leverton House is historically significant for its association with the Underground Railroad. The property was the home of Jacob and Hannah Leverton, Quakers. As agents of the Underground Railroad (UGRR), the Levertons and their son, Arthur, sheltered hapless runaways. In an account of UGRR activities on the Eastern Shore published in 1898, the Leverton home, located near the division line between Caroline and Dorchester counties and surrounded by the lands of other abolitionists, was described as “the main stopping place for the UGRR in the area.” Jacob Leverton helped a battered young girl escape her pursuers before they appeared at his farm, demanding an explanation for her disappearance. In January 1858, after exposure of their UGRR activities, Arthur Leverton and free-black neighbor, Daniel Hubbard, had to flee their homes to evade retaliation by an angry mob. The property derives additional architectural significance as a representative example of a type of dwelling characteristic of the region in the early 19th century. Its modest woodwork and exposed beaded ceiling joists are typical of late Federal period houses in Caroline County. Its corbelled brick cornice is the earliest known example in the county. The original house built on the property by Jacob Leverton when he purchased it in 1814 was perhaps the 1 ½-story frame section which no longer stands. The larger 2-story brick portion, today’s main block, was constructed soon after. Within 20 years, Leverton had acquired a large spread of contiguous land containing 549 acres. It was on this expanse of wooded and cultivated acreate—undivided by any public roads and thereby providing some measure of security from pursuers—that Leverton offered temporary sanctuary to hounded fugitives from slavery. In his history of the Underground Railroad, published in 1898, Wilbur H. Siebert identified Leverton, along with his wife, Hannah, as railroad operators in Maryland. In that same year, a Quaker newspaper reported a neighbor’s recollection of Jacob Leverton sheltering a young woman who appeared at his home bearing visible signs of physical abuse. According to the account, Leverton’s assistance in enabling the fleeing woman to complete her escape resulted in court action against him by the slave-owner. Jacob Leverton died in 1847. By a devise clause in his will, his dwelling and home farm became the property of his two daughters.