In 1794, when James Price purchased Lot 28, there was a wooden dwelling on the property. He erected the brick portion of the house in 1808 on Lot 27 to expand his residence.
Records show that he hired a black nurse named Grace in 1795 for an orphan in his care. It’s likely this was Grace Brooks, a founding member of Easton’s free black community. There is ample evidence that the lives of Price and Brooks were intertwined. Their paths crossed often, and she chose him to be the executor of her will.
By 1820, Price had married and owned several enslaved persons, most of whom worked on a farm he owned outside of town. After the Civil War, Mordecai Dawson’s family bought this house. Enslaved domestic workers were replaced by paid African American servants in the house during this time period.
The house at 18 Talbot Lane is now home to the Talbot County Women’s Club. This group acquired the property in 1946 and embarked on much needed renovations. The University of Maryland, College Park conducted an archaeological dig at this site in 2013 that focused on the yard area.
The excavation identified a kitchen that would have been used by both enslaved and hired black cooks. There was also evidence of cramped conditions that would have been experienced by tenant families between 1891 and 1946 when the property was rented to several white families. Children’s toys including a toy fire truck, a toy gun, and numerous marbles were found among the household trash. This investigation has invited questions about how children were raised in different time periods. More details from this dig are featured on the INTERPRETIVE PANEL to the right of the house.