Photo credit: Susan Taylor , 01/1998

Property Name: Troth's Fortune
Date Listed: 4/24/1975
Inventory No.: T-50
Location: Easton Preston Road (MD 331), Easton, Talbot County

Description: Troth's Fortune is one of the notable small dwellings of Talbot County, Maryland. Like many of Maryland’s early farm houses, it has a gambrel roof, but it differs from others in that it has a stair tower and a richly detailed interior. It is a 3 bay long brick structure with two 20th century frame wings on the northeast. Its principal facade, facing southeast to the Choptank River, is brightened by the glazed headers used in its Flemish bond brickwork. It is further detailed by a chamfered watertable with English bond beneath and two segmentally arched basement windows. Both windows of the facade have 12/12 sash, and the six-panel door has paneled jambs and trim on the outside of the brick. Three shed roof dormer windows have 6/6 sash. The chimney on the southwest is contained partly within--partly without the gable; both chimneys have caps with plaster bands. The southwest gable possessed 4 small windows extended to light the closets within. Those on the southeast side retain their original frames and have internal shutters only; the other two have had their frames removed and the gaps filled with brick. English bond is seen both above and below the watertable. Common bond, with 3 rows of stretchers to 1 row of headers is employed in the northwest facade and northeast gable, as well as in the tower. A watertable brick is lacking on the northeast gable, and in place of the chamfered brick, the other two sides are a simple stepped brick. A door and window are located west of the stair tower on the northwest side of the house; the frame of the window appearing original. One window is located northeast of the tower and one in the gable roofed tower itself. One dormer is located on each side of the asymmetrically placed tower. The interior consists of two rooms, generally classified as the hall and parlor plan. The stair tower opens directly into the hall. Raised paneling is original to the fireplace wall and the wainscoting of the remaining three walls. Above the 3 centered arch fireplace are 3 tiers of horizontal panels; the lower consisting of a pair of panels conforming to the curve of the arch, and the other two being single horizontal panels. Flanking the fireplace are fluted pilasters on recessed panel pedestals. Series of 5 raised panels surrounds the doors. The bolection chairrail continues across the paneling and doors in typical early Georgian style. Raised paneling on the protruding fireplace wall in the parlor boasts a large bolection molding around the fireplace and two panels of cupboard doors above flanked by a single panel and crowned by a single narrow horizontal panel. Originally, the second floor plan consisted of a hall, with one room on each side and a smaller room between. When the wing was added, the parlor chamber was converted into a bath, corridor, and dressing room. The hall chamber possesses a small fireplace with walls of raised paneling housing two closets, as below. A plaster wall separates the hall chamber from the other rooms, but other walls on the second floor are of vertical beaded boards. Flooring on the second story is original.

Significance: Troth's Fortune, probably built between the years 1686 and 1710 (according to the documentary evidence) is a well-preserved example of late 17th century Maryland vernacular architecture. William (I) Troth bought a tract of 300 acres called Acton in 1686 on which he built the house today known (erroneously) as Troth's Fortune. Its gambrel roof, 1 1/2 story height, and two room width make this house typical of the 1680s and 1690s in tidewater Maryland. Although it may seem small by today's standards, its two good-sized rooms on the first floor and three small rooms upstairs made it twice the size of the numerous less wealthy planters’ houses. The unusual feature of the medieval-style stair tower on the rear facade and the detailed c. 1720s woodwork of the interior give Troth's Fortune an individuality which adds much to the interest of the house. In addition to its architectural importance, Troth's Fortune provides a clear view of two aspects of the economic and religious life of colonial Talbot County. William (I) Troth, the builder of the house, was a member of that small class of colonial planters who combined agriculture with business and trade to make a living considerably above that of the average planter. He was also a member of the Society of Friends, a religious group which became particularly large and well established in Talbot County.




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