This tour starts at the Charles Merchant House.

Charles Merchant Property

The land on which this house stands was originally purchased from the “Mahlon Janney Estate” auction in 1814 by Isaac Walker. Later owners included Robert Braden and then William Nettle, the master joiner of Waterford, who died in 1855. The lot then passed to his wife, who died in 1879.  The first indication of a building on the property is noted on the 1875 Survey of Waterford, which shows an agricultural or work shop building on the lot. Possibly this initial building was the work shop of Waterford’s master joiner. In 1891, Franklin and Mary Steer sold the property to James T. and Sarah Merchant, who then sold the property to his son Charles A. Merchant in 1906. He and his wife, the former Anna Mary Berry (“Mamie”), who had moved to Washington D.C., returned to Waterford for the health of their infant son Leo and purchased the lot in 1906.

Charles Merchant, a carpenter and painter, contracted with John Spinks, of nearby Paeonian Springs, to build a house. It seems quite possible that the main section of the house was constructed on the foundation of the prior building, and a new stone foundation was constructed for the rear portion of the house. Merchant lived here until the early 1930s. Herb Edwards, a later owner, lived here from 1943 until his death in 1987.

The renovations done by the present owners, Antonia Walker and Timothy H. McGinn, were designed and built by Mr. McGinn. The back of the house, which originally had only one window, has been opened up with two windows and a door to a back porch, orienting the view to the farmland to the west and allowing access to the flagstone patio and herb garden.

There is a new two-story addition just off the kitchen which includes a winter studio for Ms. Walker and bathroom on the second floor. Whenever possible, vintage building materials have been used or recycled to retain the character of the original house. The back door came from the Thomas Moore house on Bond Street and the balustrade of the porch was fashioned from the old kitchen cabinets.

The Charles Merchant House is open through the courtesy of present owners Antonia Walker and Tim McGinn

Mahlon Schooley Property

Enter tour at the Charles Merchant Property.

Mahlon Schooley (b. 1788), who later helped establish a Quaker community in Iowa, built this brick dwelling in 1817 as part of the “New Town” development along Second Street. The original portion is a three-bay brick building with a metal gable roof and a dogtooth cornice. The house retains an architectural integrity that belies the changes that have taken place within. The large west wing was added before 1854.

In the early part of the 20th century, a fire necessitated the rebuilding of the south wall, at which time longer windows were installed. In the 1920s, the James Carr family replaced an earlier front porch with a large wrap-around version, which itself was removed in the 1960s. The foundation of the present brick stoop at the front door was part of the first porch. The Brown Morton family also restored a number of interior details, including an exact replica of the first entrance, an unusually wide nine-panel door.

The current owners undertook an extensive restoration focused on retaining as much original material as possible, while assuring the structural integrity of this house for its next two hundred years.

In the field directly behind the house, study revealed the existence of one of several brick kilns along Catoctin Creek where much of the soft brick used in village buildings was made. The pond at the bottom of the field was created in the 1960s. The small white frame building at the far corner of the field adjacent to the mill race was built in the 1920s as the village slaughter house.

The Mahlon Schooley House is open through the courtesy of Richard and Susan Rogers. The Rev. and Mrs. W. Brown Morton III, previous owners, protected the house from inappropriate change in perpetuity by the grant of a preservation easement to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Mahlon Schooley

Ephraim Schooley Property

The oldest part of this house is the south end, which John Morrow, a weaver, built between 1821 and 1825, shortly before his death. Quaker Ephraim Schooley (1786-1867) acquired the property in the 1830s.

Renowned saddler Asa Brown (1794-1872) lived here in the 1850s and 60s. The Civil War split his large family down the middle. “Plucky” Asa, a veteran of the War of 1812, was a loyal Unionist, as was his son Turner and two daughters. Sons Charlie and “Ab” were “rabid secesh”
as was wife Aurena and a third daughter. Turner and Charlie had to be kept from killing each other, but all managed to survive the war, though Charlie took a Yankee bullet at the First Battle of Bull Run.

William F. Myers built the northern end of the house in 1850, and both halves (two separate dwellings) were sold to H.C. Bennett in 1876. From 1919 to 1959 the property belonged to the H.B. Parker family, another feisty bunch. Harvey, a blacksmith, came home from WWI, feuded with his brother Fred, who had run the smithy in his absence, and the two never spoke again. Mr. and Mrs. John G. Lewis purchased the property in 1959 and restored and finally united the two residences as one called the Parker-Bennett House.

Mr. and Mrs. William Chewning added a west wing in the 1970s, granting an easement to the Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission.

Mr. and Mrs. John J. Donovan built a second western addition in 1989.They also purchased three and one-half acres of pasture at the rear of the property in 1991 and granted a protective easement to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Ephraim Schooley House is open through the courtesy of its current owners, the Manch family.

Ephraim Schooley