Cheverly History Part 2: The British March Through Cheverly

british_march_from_benedict_to_bladensburg_19_august_1814

The area selected by Mr. Marshall for his community development was almost as primitive as it was on. August 24, 1814 when General Ross and his British army marched up old Adison Chapel and River Roads to the Battle of Bladensburg, or when the Anacostia Indian tribe, which had a settlement on the easterly bank of the Anacostia River, roamed through these forested hills and valleys. It is interesting to note that on the night of August 25th, General Ross and his troops, after their capture of Washington, actually marched through what is now Cheverly, over the old Bladensburg-Marlboro Road, on their return to the Patuxent River. Mr. Marshall related to the writer that for the purpose of exploring the suitability of the area for development before purchasing any lands, he and Mrs. Marshall secured summer board with a family in the Tuxedo Colony and rambled on foot over the entire area. In these wanderings, they found more interesting landmarks. One was the old Fielder-Magruder plantation house on the crest of a hill, erected about the year 1815, with its massive old stone chimneys, barn and stone milk house, and with an old cedar-lined lane leading from this house to the remains of an old slave blockhouse, then standing back of what is now the Hawkins home on Cheverly Circle. This old house gave evidence of a past prosperous and peaceful farm life. Farther to the east, on an elevation high above the railroad, halfway between the Fielder-Magruder house and the Landover railroad station, stood the Susan Magruder house. To the west, slightly to the north of the Tuxedo settlement stood the old Mills house with its ancient fruit orchard. On the northerly end of the area, near the Bladensburg-Marlboro Road on the Whipple tract was located the , old Crawford Spring, dating from Colonial days, which is referred to as a boundary marker in the old land records at Marlboro. In fact, there were numerous other walled-up springs, such as the still existing Cheverly Spring on lower Cheverly Avenue near the railroad station. This spring, now in an unsanitary condition, supplied cool water for the earlier Cheverly inhabitants when the wells went dry. The few roads which traversed the area, such as the old Post Road from Columbia Park through Tuxedo to Kenilworth, Cedar Road from Tuxedo Railroad Station (then known as Magruder Station) to the Sheriff Road, the old Bladensburg Marlboro Road ‘and’ two old trails, one along the easterly boundary adjoining Cheverly Manor and leading to the Susan Magruder house sand another extending from the Fielder-Magruder house down the hill to the Post Road, were mere trails which were hardly passable in bad weather. There were also evidences of previous attempts, in remote times, at real estate developments in this vicinity, which, however, seemed to have produced nothing more than a few scattered houses. Among such undertakings were Crawfords Adventure, Columbia Highlands, Oaklyn and Landover Park along Landover Road, Tuxedo and the “Colony”, and a more recent one along the railroad near Landover Station known as “Cheverly Gardens”. Most of the area, which had been a large tobacco plantation, was grown over with second growth timber.

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