The oldest recorded house in Montgomery County is located in Silver Spring. This mid 18th century home that was built in 1742, is now a home to a family of five who loves their old house. The Historical Society agreed to let the owners repair and restore the exterior of their home. The owners have trusted Hyre Expecatations Inc. with the repairs and restoration since we have helped them in many projects in the interior of their home. We are honored to be working on this project with the family and the Historical Society.
A deed was executed by Richard Snowden on March 10, 1742, passing plots of land to Philip Thomas, who was marrying a daughter of Snowden`s. The plots of land stated in the deed added up to 1000 acres. The House which is now known as the Clifton was built shortly after. The foundation is built from soapstone found locally with two courses of brick atop of the stone. The bricks used to build the home were brought over from England where the Thomas Families originated. The bricks were laid in a Flemished bond pattern. This Gambrel roofed styled house was more commonly seen in southern Maryland where the Snowden Families had vasts amounts of property. The house has many unique features to include, three fireplaces that run to one single chimney, large 18 pane windows located in the front of the house, a funeral door, and no upstairs hallway all the bedrooms open from landing on the stairs. There are also H and L hinges which were believed to bless the house standing for the Holy Lord. The Clifton is associated with the first settlement in the area and was a major part of the Quaker community holding meetings and gathering until the meeting house was built in 1819; Thomas families donated to help fund the new building. An addition to the original home was added in 1846. In 1919 the Clifton was a working corn, wheat, hay, and apple farm but was downsized to 500 acres. The Thomas`s lives in the house for five generations. The house was then bought by the Wellens who lived in the house up to 1958. The Wellens were recognized by the historical society for restoring the home as close as they could to the original state, keeping many of the original features but modernizing to everyday necessities. The historical society was alerted by realtors hired to sell the house in 1965. On July 15, 1974, the Clifton was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
With a house over 200 years old, it, of course, comes with a creepy history. One of the unique features of the home is the Funeral door located at the west side of the house just a few feet away from the front door. By tradition, it was considered unlucky to carry a corpse through the same doorway the living used. There are also many reports of the oldest recorded ghost, Aunt Betsy. Aunt Betsy was a slave owned by the Thomas`s in the 19th century who went insane. She was considered not dangerous and was allowed to roam the fields, later she was confined to the basement of the Clifton where she died. Aunt Betsy is believed to still live in the basement where she has been heard moaning and making unexplainable noises. She also has blown out candles, slammed doors and has flickered the lights in the main house and out in the barn. The Wellens have confirmed some of the reports. There is supposedly a whipping post in the basement where Aunt Betsy is believed to live. Hyre Expectations was warned about the possibility of Aunt Betsy when we started working with the current owners. Many other contractors have attempted to work on the house but have been knocked off ladders, tools were moved from where they were placed, and tool malfunctions were reported. We have not had any encounters with Aunt Betsy; perhaps she likes us.