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Rose Hill Manor Park & Museums

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This is a contributing entry for Rose Hill Manor Park & Museums and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.
Welcome to Rose Hill Manor Park and Museums. The museum was established in 1972 to commemorate a key figure in the American Revolution and founding era, Thomas Johnson, first Governor of Maryland. However, this property was occupied by many families from the 1740s-1960s. Among those that lived here were dozens of enslaved people. Our goal in this tour, as part of our broader mission to tell all the stories of the inhabitants of Rose Hill, is to tell the stories of the free and enslaved African Americans who were part of Rose Hill and how their experiences fit in the larger context of Frederick and Maryland History.

This home was built by Ann and John Grahame sometime around 1792. Ann was the daughter of Governor Thomas Johnson and given the property as a wedding present. Like many people in the "Era of Good Feelings" personal and economic experiences caused John Grahame to expand and then scale back his land holdings and property. Unfortunately caught up in the fortunes and disasters of the Grahame family were the enslaved people.

In 1827 John's son Thomas suddenly died. His young daughter Ann Rebecca inherited Walley, his wife, and their three children. Also enslaved and passed down to Ann Rebecca were Lenere, Edward, Peter, Sally and her child, and Lucinda and her child.

In 1830 Peter, Anne and their children Eliza and Ben were mortgaged by John Grahame to his brother in law. Also included in that mortgage were Lucinda and her sons George and Charles and three others: Bill, Charles, and Polly. As you can see not only did Grahame's economic situation cause uncertainty in the lives of these people but through these two events we can tell that originally some of these families weren't living together before 1827.

Then in 1831 Ben was sold away from his family.

These three events leave many questions and heartbreak, families did not always stay together and instead were moved around the families of their enslavers or beyond.