Samuel Hough House

Samuel Hough was the great-great-grandson of Richard Hough, a Quaker who fled religious persecution in England. Samuel built this federal house in 1819 for his mother, the former Lydia Hollingsworth; he had paid $240 for the land in 1817. That same year, Samuel married a non-Quaker, and in 1818 he became a Justice of the Peace. For these actions Samuel was disowned by Waterford’s Fairfax Meeting. Lydia paid Samuel $3,500 for the house—an enormous sum at that time. The high price may have been her way of providing her son with funds to finance his many entrepreneurial activities.

His business ventures had been affected by America’s first boom-and-bust cycle, the Panic of 1819, the first major peacetime financial crisis in the United States, its effects reaching even to this small town not far from the nation’s capital. Samuel Hough and other Waterford millers
were producing the world’s best flour, “American Superfine”; and shipping it to Europe, the West Indies and South America. Samuel himself points out that the price of his flour fell sixty percent in 1819, as it did for all other Waterford flour millers.

The house was probably built by the same person who built the William Hite Hough House three doors up the street. William was Samuel’s first cousin. The houses were constructed at about the same time, and both have the same three-bay two-room first floor plan. The interior
woodwork decoration in both houses was likely carved by the same hands, but in Samuel’s house “it is quite remarkable—much more elaborate than one would expect in an otherwise simple village house.”

It remained in the Hough family until the 1830s, when Samuel moved west and Israel T. Griffith lived here. By 1875, Jacob Scott, secretary of the Loudoun Mutual Fire Insurance Company, owned the house

This is one of the more elegantly embellished buildings in Waterford. The original kitchen, which was separated from the main house, was in what is now the basement level. A cold cellar built of stone in the shape of a beehive is now a sub-basement.

The brick façade is laid in Flemish bond. Façade openings are topped with wooden keystone lintels cleverly carved to look like stone. The corner carving under the eaves is unusual and striking. The front door has six panels (a “cross and bible” pattern).

This house is one of the very few that has an interior as well as an exterior preservation easement, protecting the house in perpetuity from inappropriate change.

The Samuel Hough House is open through the courtesy of its current owners, Mr. and Mrs. Neil Hughes.