Jennifer K. Cosham
William Hilleary House
4703, Annapolis Road (MD 202), Bladensburg, Prince Georges County
The William Hilleary House, also known as the Magruder House, faces north, and is 1 1/2 stories high on that side, and 2 1/2 stories high on the south side, as the land slopes in that direction. The stone walls of the gambrel-roofed house, built c. 1742-1746, were at some time stuccoed and scored to resemble ashlar masonry. At one time, prior to its present restored status, the stucco was coming loose, exposing the sandstone construction. The north and south slopes of the gambrel roof are each pierced by three evenly spaced gable-roofed dormers with 6/6 sash windows. A foot square solid timber which appears to be the wall plate/cornice is exposed beneath the eaves. It is decorated with curved molding on the projecting underside where it joins the walls. The west wall conceals one interior chimney, while at the east end of the house is an exterior chimney. There are very small windows flanking each chimney at the peak of the roof. The main entrance, consisting of a wide 6-panel door with HL hinges, centered on the 5-bay north façade, is flanked by evenly spaced 9/9 light windows, two on each side. This entrance is now covered by a one-bay gable-roofed porch which dates to the present restoration. Prior to this, during the mid 20th century, the entrance bay was covered by a shed-roofed glazed porch. Four small basement windows are beneath each of the four front windows at ground level. The walls of the house, at the doorway, are curved inward, toward the doorway, decreasing their thickness. Windows at the first floor level on the south side of the house are unevenly spaced, as are the doors and windows on the ground level. All the openings at ground level have vaulted brick lintels. Near the west end there is a door with a 6/6 window on either side. At the opposite end of the rear wall is a double-width door and one 4-light window. All of the windows on the first floor have or have had inside shutters. All of the ceilings on the first floor are 12 feet high, and the floors are pine. The interior walls are of masonry. The house is now surrounded to the south and west by an exit ramp connecting Kenilworth Avenue with Annapolis Road.
Located on the old Bladensburg-Annapolis Road and within two blocks of the old road to Baltimore (U.S. 1), this house is the only 18th-century stone, gambrel-roofed house in Prince George's County. The central location of this property apparently made it very popular with the medical profession, as five doctors have lived here. Built between 1742 and 1764 by William Hilleary, the house passed through a number of 18th century owners, including Richard Henderson, a prominent merchant and land speculator, who served as a County Justice and was well known for his "paper wars" with Levi Gantt and Alexander Clagett in newspapers. George Washington's diary, May 9, 1787, states that he dined at Richard Henderson's in Bladensburgh. Henderson sold the property in 1793 to Dr. David Ross, a surgeon and merchant, as well as business partner of Henderson's in the Frederick Forge on Antietam Creek. Ross was the "Agent Victualer" for the Maryland troops during the French and Indian war. He was an original inhabitant of Bladensburg, had served as a Town Commissioner, and from 1750 to 1759 had been a Justice of the County Court. Owners or occupants during the 19th century include names which also have been prominent in Prince George's County: Dr. Alexander Mitchell, Leonard M. Deakins, Dr. William Draine, Dr. Benjamin Day, and Dr. Archibald Magruder. In August, 1814, the invading British troops would necessarily have passed this house. Unproven stories, yet very probable due to the proximity of the house to the battlefield, relate that the only American civilian resistance offered at Bladensburg came from this house. Later that day, after the battle, the house was used for a hospital.