Across form Union Chapel is Ellerslie, one of the county's most charming residences. The house is hidden partially behind some of the finest growth of boxwood in the country, believed to have been taken from Birmingham Manor. The original section of Ellerslie was built and used as a two-room hunting lodge by the Snowdens, Warfields and Ridgelys on what was called Ridgely's Range. These families were interrelated by marriage and used the lodge during the hunting and fishing season.
Before the Civil War the hyphen and west wing were added forming the H-shape. This stone constructed home of three rooms on each floor has been stuccoed in white. Some of the previous owners are Thomas Hobbs, who had taken an active part in the "Burning of the Peggy Stewart", Amelia Hobbs, who married Jasper Peddicord, Basil Crapster in 1847 and in 1943 the present owners, Mr. and Mrs. Jesse F. Hakes.
In the 1830s Ellerslie was purchased by Richard Snowden, son of Major Thomas Snowden and Ann Ridgely Snowden of Montpelier, Prince George's County, for his son Richard Nicholas Snowden, who married Elizabeth Ridgely Warfield, daughter of Dr. Gustavus and Mary Thomas Warfield of Longwood, on January 1, 1835. On March 13 Martha Ann Warfield, sister of the bride, wrote of the wedding in a letter to her relative, Elizabeth Coultas Leiper of Pennsylvania.
My Dear Cousin,
Ever since the invited guests were all assembled, on New Year day, I have intended that you should receive a memento of affection from me. Among the guests was the Rev. Mr. Gilliss in full canonicals, the white gloves and guards duly distributed - All preliminary observances properly gone through and the Groom who in excess of proud rapture seemed transported out of himself, led down My Lovely Sister, about to be made his own, followed by their five Brides-Maids and Groomsmen. Sister was dressed in figured blond gauze over white silk. A handsome veil partly covered her face, there was a tremulous radiance in her down-ward glance - the soft flush of maiden timidity on her cheek and yet she came forward with an easy air. I thought of Milton 's lines as applicable:
Grace was in all her Steps - Heaven in her eye
In every gesture, Dignity and Love
As we entered the room Mr. Gilliss stepped up; the ceremony was soon over. The fitting vows had been spoken, the young Couple were pronounced Man and Wife and Elizabeth R. Warfield was no more! Then came the pleasing bustle of kissing! And wishing joy. We had a very handsome collation, were lively - did not retire to our downy couches 'till 4 o'clock. We kept the wedding up for four Weeks. Maryland is the place after all, for frolic and fun - Sister and Brother are now settled down quite like old married folks. We see each other nearly every day; it is delightful having her settled so near us. Last Sunday a company amounting to sixteen persons, were dining with them. While we were at dinner, a servant came in and told us the house was on fire. We all simultaneously rushed to the front door, and discovered that it was a large house in the yard, the roof was in a light blaze, all the servants clothes and a good many tools were in there. It is a great loss to Brother Richard as he expected to board his workmen in the house this Summer. After they had done all the good they could he invited the White men into the house and sent Whiskey out to the Blacks. We felt thankful it was no worse. Every one of us thought when we first heard it, that it was the dwelling house. Uncle Perry Warfield left here yesterday morning. He spent a week with us, was there on Sunday and said he should take the fire as a Conflagration in honour of his first visit to Ellerslie. I am as ever your Fondly attached cousin,
Martha Ann Warfield
Unhappily the couple's joy was short lived. Within a few years Richard Nicholas Snowden is said to have lost his home in a gambling venture, after which it was sold to Basil Crapster in 1847.
The story of the much publicized card game in which Richard N. Snowden lost Ellerslie is told under "Oaklands" below. In 1849, cousins Richard N. Snowden and Charles Snowden Fairfax sailed around Cape Horn in South America to join the California Gold Rush. Richard Snowden Samuels, a Journalist in Chicago, has written a fascinating historical review of Snowden and Warfield descendants who struck out for the promise of the California Gold Rush and endured the hardships which accompanied such ventures. Elizabeth Ridgely Warfield Snowden's long-estranged husband, Richard Nicholas Warfield, known in the west as "Uncle Dick", was stabbed to death in a bar in Unionville, Nevada, in 1863. His grave may be seen today in the Unionville Cemetery.
A brief synopsis may be viewed in this website under Family Stories:
Snowden and Warfield Descendants in the California Gold Rush
The complete story may be viewed on Richard Samuel's website.
The genealogy of the Crapster family has been detailed by Richard Warfield Faber, a Warfield and Crapster descendant. Rich has developed an impressive genealogy chart of numerous descendants from Richard Warfield, the progenitor of the Warfields in Maryland, who later settled across the United States. Visit Richard Faber's website.
Excerpts taken from:
"Old Homes and Families of Howard County, Maryland", by Celia M. Holland, 1987, p 246.
Montpelier & The Snowden Family, 1976, by William G. Cook