Marietta House Museum, Glendale, MD

Marietta is a historic house and former tobacco plantation located in Glenn DalePrince George’s CountyMaryland. On the National Register of Historic Places and the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, Marietta House Museum includes a federal era house, a cemetery, the original root cellar, and harness room, as well as Judge Gabriel Duvall’s original law office building. The historic site sits on 25 acres of Marietta’s original 690 acres. Today, visitors can walk the grounds and tour the plantation buildings and sites where free and enslaved people lived and labored.” – Wikipedia

While visiting my daughter’s family in Maryland for Thanksgiving, we all took a guided tour of Marietta House and learned more about slavery in Maryland. My daughter’s husband stayed home working on the Thanksgiving dinner. It was fabulous.

According to the website, “Marietta was built for Gabriel Duvall, one of Prince George’s County’s most outstanding citizens. Born in 1752, Duvall pursued a career of public service which lasted for more than 60 years. After serving in several positions during the Revolutionary War, he served in the Maryland House of Delegates, the United States Congress, the Maryland Supreme Court, and as Comptroller of the Treasury under Thomas Jefferson. Soon after 1812, when he was appointed by President James Madison to the U.S. Supreme Court, Duvall began the construction of Marietta. Over the next 20 years, he developed the 325-acre plantation and constructed a substantial rear wing for added living space. He served on the Supreme Court until 1835; in January of that year, he retired to spend the rest of his life at Marietta, where he died in 1844. Marietta remained the residence of his heirs until 1902.”

My granddaughters have visited a lot of museums and other sites, so they’re used to tours, displays of historic furnishings, and signage that describes the exhibits and the importance of the place. I do believe they liked the Christmas tree, toys, and cards that showed a very different era than they are familiar with. I’m less sure they were enthusiastic about the simulated food displays on the table in the kitchen. As for the irons lined up on the hearth–well, I wonder if they had a clue what those things would be used for what with today’s no-iron clothes.

If you like history, you might put this destination on your list of places to see if you live in or travel to Maryland.


Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Conjure Woman’s Cat.”