Skillington's Right

Exhibit at the Museum of Rural Life

Once the “finest specimen of colonial architecture on the upper Choptank”

[Adapted from Earle Swepson, Maryland’s Colonial Eastern Shore, 1916]

When “Skillington’s Right” was surveyed in 1663, and “Richardso’n’s Folly,” 1,400 acres, in 1667 for John Edmondson, they were “reputed to be in Talbot” and John Richardson, later taking up “Willenbrough”, 982 acres, surveyed November 14, 1678, invoked the aid of the Colonial Land Office to straighten out a tangle of boundaries.  A tax return for Great Choptank Hundred of Caroline County in 1782 assessed 13,944 acres of the tracts named “Skillington’s Right,” “Richardson’s Folly”, “Barnett’s Purchase”, “Plain Dealing”, and “Sharp’s Cost” to William Frazier. 

The area fronting on the Great Choptank River between Skillington’s and Edmondson’s Creeks has long been known as “Frazier’s Neck.”  Dover Bridge, the sole one across the river from the Chesapeake Bay to Denton [in 1906], is a short distance above Edmondson’s Creek.

Capt. William Frazier came from Talbot, and was a militia officer of the Revolution. He figured largely in Caroline affairs after taking up his residence east of the Choptank; was a justice of the Caroline County Court for some years prior to 1790; long in the commission the peace, and died in 1808.  He was a leader in organizing Methodist societies in lower Caroline, and the second house of Methodist worship in the county was “Frazier’s Chapel,” said by Capt. Charles W. Wright to have been located on the site of the town of Preston, and to be been the forerunner of Bethesda congregation, out of which grew Preston M. E. Church.  The Bethesda records are continuous from 1707.  

An intimate friend of Francis Asbury, the greatest of Methodist itinerants in his journeyings along the Atlantic seaboard was often the guest of Captain Frazier.  “Dover Ferry,” across the Choptank, named from the old town of “Dover” on the Talbot side, joined the road from Easton with that leading from the eastern Choptank bank to lower Delaware, and this road ran across the front of the Frazier plantation, the house standing a mile from the entrance gate.  Dover Bridge is some distance above the old ferry.  Jesse Lee, traveling with Asbury in May, 1809, from Easton, over “Dover Ferry,” speaks of their spending the night at William Frazier’s:

“This place was once a home for me when I rode this circuit, almost fourteen years ago. I was truly thankful to the Lord for bringing  me here once more.”

Asbury’s journal of the same date says “We held meeting in [Frazier’s] dwelling house,” and further records:

May, 1801.  We had a long ride [from Cambridge] to William Frazier’s through dust and excessive heat. It was hard to leave loving souls, so we tarried until morning.

April, 1805.  We came to brother Frazier’s.  The fierceness of the wind made Choptank impassable; we had to rest awhile, and need had I, being sore with hard service. March, 1806.  I stay at Captain Frazier’s, Caroline County.  My hoarseness is afflictive, but my soul is filled with God. . . . I only exhorted a little at Frazier’s Chapel.

May, 1807.  At Easton we met Joseph Everett, who conducted us to William Frazier’s to dine.

April, 1913.  Rode 15 miles to preach in Frazier’s Chapel.

Since the time of Capt. William Frazier, the plantation upon which this house stands has been called “Frazier’s Flats.”  A colony of Hollanders was established on the property two decades ago [1890s] and named “Wilhelmina,” after the Dutch Queen.  The plantation is now [1906] divided into eight farms, the one upon which the house is located being owned by George W. Lankford.

The house, the finest specimen of colonial architecture extant on the upper Choptank, is traditionally said to be one of eight pretentious brick dwellings of contemporary construction in this region.  Another, (one of four that have been destroyed by fire), stood on “Poplar Grove,” on the lower side of Skillington’s Creek, the home of Capt. Charles S. Carmine, father of Capt. G. Creighton Carmine, U.S. Coast Guard, and of Mrs. B. Washington Wright, the present owner of “Poplar Grove” homestead.  A third is the ‘Uamaic’a Point” house, on the opposite side of the Choptank in Talbot, and a fourth the “Warwick Fortune” house at the mouth of Warwick River, Secretary’s Creek in Dorchester.  Much of the original furniture of the “Frazier’s Flats” house, remaining in it until a generation ago, was made in Drury Lane, London.

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16 N. Second St., Denton, Maryland

Open Saturdays 10 am to 3 pm

April 1 thru November 30

Museum of Rural Life

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Skillington’s Right

Skillington’s Right was built circa 1795, home of the Fraziers, a wealthy planter family.  Once said to be the finest specimen of colonial architecture on the upper Choptank.  The area along the Great Choptank River between Skillington’s and Edmondson’s Creeks has long been known as “Frazier’s Neck.”  It was first surveyed in 1663 for John Edmondson.  

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