Michael O. Bourne
Castleton Road (MD 623), Darlington, Harford County
This frame and stone 1 1/2-story structure in two parts faces south. The larger west section of frame, weatherboarded, is almost square. Now three bays by three, with 9/6 windows, its peaked roof ridgeline runs east-west with a large brick chimney rising inside the west gable. The south slope of the roof has three sharply peaked dormers over 6/9 windows. The north slope, less steep, extends over a long narrow north room that was once two small rooms. This frame section contains some very fine woodwork. A long low wing runs east, one room deep. The first room has stone walls over two feet thick. A central chimney rises from a huge cooking fireplace with its crane still in place behind the wide brick hearth. Heavy masonry supports in the cellar indicate a larger fireplace than that existing in the living room. This arched support extends across 2/3 of the windowless west wall to the northwest corner of the room. This change was made in the late 18th century.
The Rigbie House was twice the scene of important events in our country’s history. In April 1781 Lafayette’s officers quelled a mutiny that might have prevented his army of New England troops, who had been headed homeward, from turning south again to join General Greene and General Washington at Yorktown, in which case that battle might never have been fought. Earlier it had been one of a series of forest outposts fortified against the Indians and representing Lord Baltimore’s claim of 1632 to land extending north to the 40th parallel, a claim disputed 50 years later by William Penn (1682) until the Mason Dixon line was set in 1767.