Montmorenci – Colonial Mansions of Maryland and Delaware

November 16, 2010

From: Colonial Mansions of Maryland and Delaware
by John Martin Hammond


NEAR the hamlet of Glyndon, Baltimore County, Maryland, in the Worthington Valley, is to be found the old Worthington homestead, Montmorenci, built about 1760 by Samuel Worthington who married Mary Tolley. From these two a long line with many branches has descended, and from this generous old home have gone forth many sturdy sons who have played conspicuous parts among their fellows. The house is finely situated on the crest of a hill in the centre of the thousand and more acres which remain to it of the vast tracts over which it lorded when it was young, and is as sound and weatherproof to-day as when it was new.

It is of stone and plaster construction, the walls being very thick and the foundations of a mass sufficient to support a battlemented tower. A winding road leads from the entrance of the grounds to the front of the house, and from the rear the ground falls sharply away to the Italian garden which the present mistress of the old home, Mrs. Mary Conrad Lehr, of Montmorenci and Washington, is devising at the foot of this declivity. The exterior of the house is plain, and there is a small wing at the north end which contains the kitchen and pantries.

The interior arrangement of Montmorenci is like that of many another old Maryland home in that it has a broad hallway from front to back of the house, on which as an axis the other rooms are symmetrically disposed. The winding staircase, however, with its slender mahogany rail and its slim, patrician mahogany spokes, is a very graceful and unusual feature and is perhaps one of the mansion’s greatest beauties.

In Montmorenci may be found a great quantity of rare old furniture which (as is not always the case) has found an appreciative mistress in the daughter of the house of this generation. It would be, perhaps, without interest to mention styles and periods well known or to attempt in any way a description of the furniture, but in each room of the house are to be found pieces to interest the lover of things colonial, and so great a quantity has Mrs. Lehr that she is able to furnish her new home in Washington from Montmorenci without seeming to have robbed that place.

Not far from Montmorenci is Bloomfield, another old Worthington place and built by a son of the builder of Montmorenci. It is a brick homestead and is distinguished for the carving which graces the north wall of the living room on the interior. Though long a Worthington possession, it has been for a number of years the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Councilmann.

The Worthington family has already received a brief summary in the chapter devoted to Belvoir, the beautiful mansion on the Severn in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. The tombstone of the founder of the family in Maryland, Capt. John Worthington, is to be found in a vacant field not far from Annapolis and still in good preservation. From it we learn that Captain John died in 1701. His son, John, styled “Merchant” in his will (in which he disposes of a great fortune), married Helen Hammond, daughter of Thomas Hammond and his wife, Mary Heath, and had, among other children, Samuel Worthington, who married Mary Tolley, daughter of Walter Tolley, of Joppa, Baltimore County, Maryland, and built Montmorenci.

From Samuel Worthington the homestead descended through Edward, his son, to John Tolley Worthington, first, to John Tolley Worthington, second, his greatgrandson, who married Mary Govane Hood, daughter of James Hood, of Hood’s Mill, Baltimore County, Maryland. From him it descended to his daughter, Mrs. Sarah Worthington Conrad, now an invalid, whose daughter (who married Louis C. Lehr, Esq.) is the present mistress of Montmorenci.

Colonial Mansions of Maryland and Delaware
by John Martin Hammond
Philadelphia & London
J. B. Lippincott Company
School of Architecture
Harvard University
Copyright, 1914, by J.B. Lippincott Company
Published September, 1914
Printed by J. B. Lippincott Company
at the Washington Square Press
Philadelphia, U.S.A.

Montmorenci, In search of ….

November 15, 2010

In 2007, I gave a presentation on a historical house in Maryland.

This is Montmorenci as it is today. This property was part of other property purchased by John Worthington, Jr (1688-1763) in the Valley that bears his name. Worthington Valley. This property was willed to he son Samuel (1734-1815).

John Worthington, Jr, was the oldest son of “Capt” John Worthington (1650-1701), my ancestor. However, I am a descendant of the youngest son, Charles Worthington.

The presentation was not on the history of the house, but the story of those who lived in this house and their impact on the area. But that’s another story.

This house, from my research, was in the Worthington family until about 1918.

While there, I took this picture.

It was a cool picture for me, at that time, and not much more. However, when I got home, I did a little research for Montmorenci and discovered that there was a Montmorenci that was in Delaware and it wasn’t this one.

Fast forward to the summer of 2010, July 2nd to be exact, I answered a phone call: and blogged about that telephone call.

Our visit was documneted in this blog: During the visit to the Cheyney House:

I was introduced to that Delaware Montmorenci Staircase. The owner of the Cheyney house is a tourguide at Winterthur.

This past weekend we traveled to Winterthur to see “the other staircase”.

Some pictures of the Grounds

Some pictures of the Enchanted Forest

Some pictures of the Gardens (in the fall)

Although I grew up, not far from here, I do not remember visiting Winterthur.

We took one of the tours of this 7 story mansion, now museum, of the du Pont family to see the Montmorenci Stair.

As the story goes, the family was on a cruise and on their return that former marble staircase was replaced with a 360-degree turn staircase. This staircase was fashioned from an 1822 plantation home called “Montmorenci” built in Shoocco Springs, North Carolina. The original staircase, as was told by our tour guide, was not structurally sound to be uses, so Thomas Waterman redesigned the one-story staircase to two stories and widening the circular shape to an elliptical oval that now reaches to the ceiling or to the current 7th floor.

A return visit to see this Staircase, all decorated for the Christmas holidays are in the plans. The photos at Winterthur are awesome.

So now there are two questions.

1) What is behind the fact that there are two Montmorenci homes. One in Maryland and the other in North Carolina?

2) Why do both have these beautiful, might I add unique, staircases?

During a slide show orientation, there is a photo of the North Carolina Plantation. Not knowing it was coming and moving quickly, I need to find a photo of that house to compare to the one on this Blog. The other side of the house, not show here, may be similar to the one in North Carolina.

So, I am now “in search of” … the history of the Montmorenci Staircases.


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