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The Craftsmen and the Collector House Tour

Journey through the Federal era (1783-1830) then learn about the Colonial Revival movement in Talbot County on this exciting guided tour! The tour is offered April through November. Tours can be booked by advance notice and and cost $5 per person. Contact the museum at 410-822-0773 or email Museum Staff to book a tour.

Part One:
The Brothers Neall: Quaker Craftsmen in the World during the Federal Era

Our first stop is Joseph's Cottage, the original residence of Easton cabinetmaker Joseph Neall.Joseph's Cottage picture-click for larger image The cottage was built around 1795 and was home to Joseph, his servant, and his numerous apprentices. Joseph established a business shortly after the U.S. Revolution. This would have been a time of optimism both for the new country and for Quakers who hoped their persecution would end. Joseph was a good cabinetmaker and was able to cultivate the wealthiest residents of the county as his customers. He was also very active in the Third Haven Quaker Meeting.

This small house and workshop is very typical in size and design of an early tradesman's home. The building is almost medieval in layout, but very American in the material; wood was plentiful in America but rare in Europe. The organization of his shop and apprentices most certainly was medieval.

The next stop is The James Neall House, built between 1805 and 1810. When Joseph died at age 45, his youngest brother James took over the cabinetmaking business. Very shortly, James married and began to have children. He and his wife, Rachel, build a larger house on the property. It was built in a new style of architecture we now call "Federal." Neall House Image From room to room, this handsome brick townhouse is authentically furnished in the Federal Period style and is a unique and stunning example of Federal architecture. The Nealls were a prominent Eastern Shore Quaker family and, at the time of his home's construction, cabinetmaker James Neall (younger brother of Joseph) was one of the wealthiest men in the district.

The Nealls lived here until 1818 and the house changed owners several times over the years, until the Historical Society saved it from the wrecking ball in 1956. It is now a preeminent Easton landmark and a fascinating and vivid way to visit a Federal-era household.

Part Two:
Colonial Revival Movement: Sentiment for America's past during the 20th Century

The last stop on the tour is "Forman's Studio," a The Ending of Controversie picture-click for larger image partial reproduction of an early Talbot homestead. This reconstruction was built by architectural historian and archaeologist H. Chandlee Forman, who used it as his own personal museum and studio. Forman was fascinated with the Colonial era and collected thousands of artifacts. He was influential in the town of Easton's decision to create a colonial appearance for the downtown area.

Dr. Forman believed the original Ending of Controversie home belonged to early Talbot resident Wenlock Christison, a devout Quaker who suffered imprisonment, and exile in the Massachusetts Colony and his native England before arriving in Talbot County in 1669, but there is no proof that the house was Christison's.

Visit the Historical Society of Talbot County for a
The Craftsmen and the Collector Tour today!

To make group reservations, visit our Group Tours page.   

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Historical Society of Talbot County
25 South Washington Street
Easton, MD 21601
Telephone Number: 410-822-0773 

All rights reserved 2002.