Elizabeth Downes/Francis Sellers House

 
 
Photo and description courtesy of Maryland Historical Trust

ELIZABETH DOWNES/    Circa 1785
FRANCIS SELLERS HOUSE
Hillsboro
Private

        Hillsboro, located in the midst of a particularly rich farming area, has been an agricultural trading center since earliest times.  Easy access to the Bay, via the navigable Tuckahoe River, aided its development.  Perhaps the two most influential figures in the town's formative years were Francis Sellers, who emigrated from Glasgow to Maryland in the last quarter of the 18th century, and his wife, the former Elizabeth Downes.  Elizabeth's father, Henry Downes, was a figure of some prominence.  He had served on committees to found the Alms House, to supervise the building of a bridge across the Choptank, to organize the early Methodist Church in the area, to located temporary quarters for the newly formed county's first courthouse, and so forth.
        Sellers and his wife built a brick warehouse near the river, conducted a mercantile business, and prospered.  "With the natural characteristics of a Scotsman, Mr. Sellers was energetic and thrifty in business and active in the advancement of his community along educational and religious lines.  It seems that he must have amassed a considerable fortune." (History of Caroline County.)
        Doubtless some of the business profits went to the building of this two-story, three-bay-by-two-bay, gable-roofed dwelling, which the late Eleanor Horsey dates to the period 1784-1787.
        About one hundred years later, the house's then-owner apparently grew dissatisfied with the Federal style building and decided to bring it up to date.  To this end, he covered the brick pile in stucco, strung a spindled and bracketed porch across the front, and added a long clapboard wing, complete with two-story hexagonal bay window, to the rear.


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