Michael O. Bourne
South Side Island Creek Road, Hampton, Talbot County
The Wilderness, overlooking the Choptank River, was constructed in two periods. The smaller two and one half story, four bay long brick structure is attributed to the 1780-90 period, and the larger portion to around 1815. The walls are laid in Flemish bond and the jack arches of the 1815 portion have reeding around the three pieces of the stone arches. There are 6/6 sash and louvered shutters at the window. The original dentil cornice appears intact. There are three chimney stacks, that on the northwest gable having double chimneys connected by a curtain wall, with pent between for access to the roof. There are two dormers on both portions of the gable roof. Inside the earlier portion, part of the simple woodwork appears original. This portion of the dwelling also possesses some original 9/6 sash. Its floor plan now consists of two rooms, but may originally have been two rooms with center stairhall. The 1815 portion has a typical townhouse plan of the period, with large stair hall having two rooms to the northwest. Separating the hall is an elliptical arch having paneled pilasters and keystone at the top of the arch, the paneling is the same in the window jambs. The stair has turned newels, rectangular balusters, and a wave-like design for the step ends. The chair rail has reeded work in each of the three rooms, however the mantels are antique Adam replacements. Recent additions to the house include a porch, partially enclosed, on the southwest and a small kitchen on the southeast. During the first part of the 20th century, the northeast wall of the earlier portion was moved forward approximately six feet, to create more interior space. At that time the entire structure was painted white. Adjoining the house are two early outbuildings, a smokehouse, and dairy. Not too far distant is a dilapidated quarter.
The greatest significance of The Wilderness is that it was the home of Daniel Martin, 20th Governor of Maryland. The structure is also an important element in the development of Maryland's domestic architecture.