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.
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.
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."
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
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.
Colonial Revival Movement: Sentiment for America's past during the 20th Century
The last stop on the tour is "Forman's Studio," a
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
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