Bayley House, 1976. Photo from the Maryland Historical Trust.

Public Call for Information about Historic Bayly Family in Dorchester County

08/04/2018
By Preservation Maryland

The Heart of the Chesapeake Heritage Area is coordinating a crowdsourcing effort to identify and contact descendants of the Bayly family and descendants of those enslaved on the Bayly property.

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Historians are requesting assistance from the public with finding descendants of the families and enslaved peoples who lived on the Bayly property at 207 High Street in Cambridge in Dorchester County, Maryland over the past 250 years.

According to information found in the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties, the Bayly House is probably the oldest dwelling in Cambridge, dating from the 1740s. But what has the attention of historians, architects and archaeologists now is the small structure in the backyard. They are working to document its provenance and verify whether it was once used as slave quarters. If confirmed, it would be a rare finding for an urban setting.

Update: Dorchester County is a recent recipient of a Heritage Fund grant by Preservation Maryland and the Maryland Historical Trust to assist in efforts to stabilize, preserve, and interpret what is thought to be the slave dwelling on the Bayly property. The $10,000 grant will immediately support stabilization efforts including temporary shoring, work to prevent water damage, masonry repairs, restoration of the foundation and other deteriorated building components.

Integral to the on-site work is documentation of family histories of those who lived in the main house, as well as any descendants from enslaved people who may have worked for the Bayly family

We are asking for assistance with our research. We encourage anyone who has connections to the house or may be descended from its owners or descended from those who were enslaved on that property to contact us. We want to document as accurately and thoroughly as possible the history of that property because it will aid our researchers in their work to confirm the original purpose of the little building in the back yard.” – Julie Gilberto-Brady, Manager, Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area

Contact Heart of the Chesapeake

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