Ancestral Homes · Walnut Grange

Walnut Grange


Family tradition says that John Herbert proposed marriage to Mary Snowden in the summer house, surrounded by boxwood, at Montpelier, her parents' home. Immediately following their marriage, on March 7, 1805, they visited the Herbert family in Alexandria, VA. Following the visit, Anne Herbert, John's sister, wrote to Margaret Herbert Fairfax, another sister, about the visit:

"Her mild unassuming manners gave general satisfaction, I think she has one of the most amiable dispositions I have ever met with, every wish of my heart is gratified in her, she appears to have been made for our Brother. They made but a short visit. Mary was anxious to return to her mother who was alone."* (Major Snowden had died in 1803)

Shortly after the wedding, the Herberts built a country mansion not far from her mother's home and named it Walnut Grange after his home in Virginia. Here they raised 13 children.

Mary Snowden was the descendant of many of the earliest settlers in Maryland, including the Ridgleys, the Dorseys, the Warfields and the Thomases. John Carlyle Herbert was the son of William Herbert and his wife Sara Carlyle, who was the daughter of Major John Carlyle, one of the early merchants in Alexandria, VA. He and his wife, Sara Fairfax, of Belvoir, VA, built the Carlyle House in Alexandria.

John Carlyle Herbert graduated from St. John's College in Annapolis in 1794. Among his classmates were Richard Snowden, his future brother-in-law, and Francis Scott Key, who later wrote the "Star Spangled Banner". Following studies in law he went into practice in Richmond, VA, served in the Virginia House of Delegates in 1798 and 1799, was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates, served as the Speaker of the House in 1812 and 1813 and was a Federalist member of the 14 th and 15 th Congresses. In 1820 he retired to Walnut Grange, resumed his practice of law and was Presidential Elector at Large from Maryland from 1824 to 1832.

The Herberts, who were very active in the affairs of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, enjoyed a long and happy married life. John died in 1846 and Mary in 1857. They are buried next to each other in Greenwood Cemetery in Baltimore.

*Letter Courtesy of the Carlyle House, Alexandria, VA

Excerpts taken from Chapter 3, "A Church and Its Village", St. Philips, Laurel, by Sally Buckloe.


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©2005 George A. Scheele MD