Freed in 1822, Robert Bryan came to The Hill Community from Dorchester County. He purchased Lots 104, 105, and 106, where the vacated Masonic Lodge No. 6 was located. These lots spans the entire block on your right as you walk from Stop 7 to Stop 8. After Bryan’s death, his widow Caroline divided the lots into parcels and sold them. The proceeds enabled her to retain her own home until her death in 1872.
The Bronco Theatre stood on Lot 86, the empty lot at the southwest corner of Locust Street and South Street. It was built in 1884 as four attached two-story dwellings. The building later served as a funeral home, an apartment building, and home to the Knights of Pythias. The building was demolished in 2010, fueling the effort to preserve The Hill Community and its architectural landscape.
The house at 308 South Street is the first home to be restored and offered for sale through the Town of Easton’s Housing on The Hill initiative. A total of seven homes in The Hill Community — six purchased by the Town and another owned by Easton’s Housing Authority — are scheduled to be restored. This effort is helping revitalize this historically significant section of town.
The family with the deepest roots in this community can also be found near this stop. The Stewart-Sprouse-Hines-Coxen-Sewell-Gale family land history in The Hill Community can be traced back to 1805 when Abram Stewart, a free African American and father of Peregrine “Perry” Sprouse, originally purchased Lots 64, 66, and 84.
Caroline Hines Coxen divided Lot 84 in 1912 so her daughter Elizabeth “Emma” Coxen Sewell could build a home at 29 South Locust Street. This house was the birthplace and lifelong home of Emma’s daughter, Lillian Rosalee Sewell Gale, who was born in The Hill Community on March 12, 1922, and graduated from Robert Russa Moton High School in Easton in 1941.
Rosalee married Charles Gale in 1944, and they had two children, Charles Samuel Gale and Catherine Anne Gale. Rosalee was the matriarch of The Hill Community and the Bethel A.M.E. Church until her death in 2016 at age 94. More than four generations of her descendants still live here today.