Photo credit: Lauren L. Bowlin , 09/1991

Property Name: Presbury Meeting House
Date Listed: 5/23/1974
Inventory No.: HA-15
Location: Austin Road, Edgewood, Harford County

Description: The original portion of the building is brick and was built about 1720. It is two stories high with attic and cellar, approximately 40'6" x 20'3". It consists of a central hall with a room on either side on both of the principal floors, originally there were brick chimneys on each end. The front facing the Gunpowder River is built of Flemish bond with each header brick being blue glazed. Henry Chandlee Forman in "Early Manor and Plantation Houses of Maryland" mentions that the Presbury Meeting House has a gable end with an unusual glazed brick diamond pattern. Vestiges of this pattern can be seen near a modern chimney added for heating. The original floor joists and center supporting timber, which were replaced in 1958, were hand hewn oak. The walls are all solid brick approximately 13 1/2" thick. The building has been modified through the years to suit the needs of the military family occupancy. A two story 18' x 20'8" frame addition has been constructed on the east end of the building.

Significance: The site of early Methodist meetings prior to the construction of the Gunpowder Meeting House. This house is frequently mentioned in journals of early Methodist preachers. It was the site of 14 visits for preaching and overnight rest by Bishop Asbury between 1772 and 1777. Also of subsequent stops by the Reverend John Littlejohn, who on August 12, 1777 is the first preacher (as far as is known) to specifically mention "Presbury's Preaching House" in his journals. Also of interest is the fact that what has been called the first recorded quarterly meeting in American Methodism took place either at the Presbury House or the Gunpowder Meeting House on December 24, 1772.




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