Press, 2008. p. 385): "Located in the center of the village, the Eliza Huffington house repeats a common form of vernacular dwelling built across the region throughout much of the 18th and 19th centuries. The two-story, side hall/parlor plan house form suited families on farms as well as smaller town and village sites." He goes on to describe the side entrance as being "marked by a two-light transom and heavily molded four-panel door," which "opens into a modest sized hall fitted with a late 19th century staircase. The hall provides direct access to the adjacent parlor to the right and to the dining room, which is located in a rear wing. The back room was used as a kitchen, and it contains a secondary, more utilitarian staircase that rises to the back bedroom."

 

THE VILLAGE OF ALLEN AT THE TIME OF THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE HUFFINGTON-POLLITT HOUSE

 

Since the new home of Eliza Pollitt Huffington was being built in the year 1883 and probably became her permanent residence at the death of her husband in 1886, I thought it would be of s to explore what was going in the village during that time period. Fortunately for us, an Allen news column made an irregular, but frequent, appearance in the local newspaper, the Salisbury Advertiser. We do not know who the writer of the column was at that time, though there is some hint that by the end of the century Dr. John Long, village physician, was writing the column.

 

The village of Allen booming in 1883 according to the news columns. In addition to work beginning on the Eliza Huffington house, a new house was being begun for Benjamin Franklin Messick. That house still stands on the right of Allen Road going south, two houses down from the Eliza Huffington house. Sadly, it is abandoned and in very poor condition and may well not be saved in the future. The writer of the column on September 15, 1883 states, " Allen has assumed new life and bloomed out upon the astonished and delighted vision beyond any period of its existence. I simply mean that there is more improvement being made in this place at this time than at any period of the village's existence. Mr. B.F. Messick's dwelling is being pushed forward to an early completion and promises to be the most commodious and inspiring structure in the village." In the same column the writer notes that Simeon and Levi Malone " have also caught the spirit of the age, and after having moved the old building back a short distance from the original site, have begun an addition in front that promises to contribute much to the aspect of that end of the village." The spacious Malone house still stands in excellent condition on Post Office Road and is the residence of Mrs. Lula Lee Fields. It wasn't just architecture that our writer admired, however, for he closes that column with these words, " In conclusion, the number of young ladies in this village, blooming and blushing into sweet womanhood must be appalling to the older girls. Their rosy, pink-tinted faces and winsome smiles illuminate every nook and corner of the village. Twould seem that the atmosphere was laden with the fragrance. You girls with fading teens - Well, a hint to the wise is sufficient."

 

Local industry was also bustling during the period. In the January 10, 1885 column the writer notes that W. W. Disharoon and Sons were about to begin work on installing a steam mill, and that the local grist mill was running constantly. In the same column it is clear that the building boom as continued. The reporter notes that work on the church has been discontinued until spring, and he continues, 'Then, I hear, it will be pushed to completion. When done, it will be an ornament to our village." Further news is that Mr. M.T. Disharoon "has erected a very commodious dwelling here," and that "There have been many other improvements made during the past year." Repairs to the church resumed in June, as reported in the Allen News column on June 20. Here more details are given as to what was being done: "The church, when completed, will be a gem. It has an entirely new and modern roof. A recessed pulpit has been added. It will also have a large tower and steeple, which when completed, will be about 75 feet from "tip to tip." They also expect to add a large bell." The work was apparently completed rapidly, for in the July 25 column the reporter described a festival held to celebrate its completion:

 

To begin with, we had a lovely day. The large crowd present surpasses, I suppose, the turnout on any former occasion of the sort ever held by our people, and perhaps by any people in the county. We were somewhat disappointed in our speakers; some were prevented from coming by sickness, some by the session of the Princess Anne court, and others still were disappointed in themselves in getting conveyances. Late in the afternoon, however, Revs. J. H. Amiss and J. T. Whitley of Salisbury arrived. The audience up to this time had been entertained by vocal and instrumental music by the ladies and young gentlemen. The band also acquitted itself well, to the entertainment and delight of all present. As the day, on the arrival of the speakers, was growing old, the time for speechmaking was limited. Rev. J. H. Amiss, however, was induced to take the stand, and in a brief but interesting manner set forth the worthiness of the object which solicited their sympathy and patronage. At the close of this interesting appeal, he made an assault on the stingy young men and old widowers. He said, “If there is a young man on the ground, who does not give his sweetheart her supper, I hope she will discard him before the sun goes down; and if there is an old widower here who does not treat his lady-love to everything she wants, I hope he will have to make his own bed, do his own cooking, and pour out his own coffee for five years to come.” When Mr. Amiss had finished, Rev. Mr. Whitley was invited by the pastor to make a few remarks. Mr. Whitley said he had no speech to make, but as soup was a mixture, he would give them a small dish. Among others he gave them a very amusing matrimonial ingredient, his own experience in marrying a very remarkable couple. After Mr. Whitley had served successfully his dish of soup, Rev. J.T. Routten arose amid the ringing of the dinner bell, and said, “Now you have had the soup, I invite you up to the table to get the meat and greens.” And they accepted the invitation too. In a few minutes the table was crowded. A large number was fed, and well fed at that. We are under many obligations to the people of Salisbury, Princess Anne and the surrounding country for their presence and patronage. One of the most pleasing results was the large sum realized. After a neat calculation, it was found that the net proceeds footed up the handsome sum of $203.31. The statement is authoritative.

 

There were other references to the active social life in Allen during this time period. The January 10, column reports on the Christmas Day masquerade parade in which 50 or 60 persons "passed along the principal roads of our village." He goes on to say that the masqueraders were mounted on horses and mules as well as being seated incrts and wagons. The parade was led by the village coronet band. In the evening there was a "basket auction" for the benefit of the church. We can assume, I suppose, that there was food in the baskets! The following week, according to our reporter, the pastor of the church received a "pounding" at the hands of his parishioners, "in the shape of many good and substantial things to tickle the palate and replenish the larder."

Weddings were another important part of the social calendar in Allen

The Allen Historical Society, Inc.

P.O. Box 31

Allen, MD

21810

TO CONTACT US:

Historian

 

Phone: 410-778-3696 (Chestertown)

Phone: 410-749-9064 (Allen)

Cell Phone: 443-523-0983

E-mail: gshivers2@washcoll.edu

Huffington-Pollitt House