Michael O. Bourne
1100, Grove Neck Road (MD 282), Earleville, Cecil County
Rose Hill, standing on a high knoll, is the product of four major building periods. The first, an gambrel-roofed frame structure, was built at the end of the 18th or beginning of the 19th century in a form very common to rural Tidewater Maryland. 2 1/2-story brick "town house" was constructed on the east in 1837. A small frame kitchen and a one-story wing were built in the 1960s. The gambrel section of the house is covered with chamfered clapboard and on both facades there is a shed-roofed porch. The brick section is three bays wide with a door with stained glass transom in the west bay of the south facade. Windows are 6/6 sash with paneled shutters on the first floor and louvered shutters on the second. A single gable-roofed dormer window pierces each side of the roof, and at the top of the roof is a deck between the pair of flush chimneys on the east and the single partially protruding chimney on the west. The interior of the gambrel-roofed section consists of two rooms and a central hall on both floors. Its interior trim is more refined than most gambrel-roofed dwellings, with double crossette trim around the doors and windows, chair rail with gouge carving, and a semicircular fanlight above the door between the east room and hall. Beneath the window trim are paneled pilasters. Fluted pilasters are built beneath the walnut half-rail along the stair; the balustrade and over half of the trim of the west room is a replacement. The floor plan of the 1837 wing consists of a stair hall and parlor south of a dining room. The ceilings are quite tall, with plaster cornices and acanthus leaf medallions in the center of the ceilings with other decorative devices flanking the fireplaces. Black Egyptian marble mantels in the Empire style are in both first story rooms. There are recessed paneled shutters in the windows. Two of the windows, one on each gable, are jib doors to the exterior. Between the dining room and parlor is a pair of large folding double doors, original to the house. The kitchen was formerly in the basement of the 1837 section; it was remodeled to a recreation room in the 1960s, using the wood from the huge cherry tree which was felled by a storm. When the kitchen was added in the early 1960s, the original portion of the house was copied, but in the late 1960s, no attempt was made to copy the original; a compatible contemporary structure was built for the convenience of the retired owners. East of the house are early outbuildings, including a smokehouse, ice house, and shed.
The principal area of significance of Rose Hill is that it was the home of General Thomas Marsh Forman (1756-1845), who served as a young man in the Revolution, at the battles of Long Island, Monmouth, Trenton, and Brandywine, and again as an officer in the War of 1812. He was a member of the Maryland General Assembly for three terms between 1790 and 1800; was commander of the first Brigade, Maryland Militia, and was a president of the Maryland Jockey Club in 1830, being an avid horseman most of his life. Secondarily, the house is a good historical document on changing tastes and how a rural early 19th century gentleman farmer lived. His second wife has left a diary in which she describes the day-to-day life of this Cecil County farm. One of the best of her legacies lies in a depression west of the house--the remains of her garden, with numerous boxwood and holly specimens. In one corner of the garden stand two of the largest yew trees living in the United States.