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  • Caroline Davis Brown

    Sometimes an enslaved woman would transition into paid employment in this Dairy, as did Caroline Davis Brown. Caroline was 4 years old when she arrived at Hampton in the 1840s with her enslaved family from Frederick County. Following emancipation in Maryland, Caroline was described as a (paid) and accomplished dairymaid. According to Ridgely family memoirist James McHenry Howard, writing in 1894:

    "For many years she had charge of the dairy and kept up the standard of the Hampton butter so well that she has been missed ever since she gave up that department."

    Helen West Stewart Ridgely, the wife of the fourth owner of Hampton, took over the management of much of the Hampton Home Farm in the late 1800s. Her written records provide us further insights into what the dairy was like under her eye and what Caroline Davis Brown's daily work involved. In Ridgely's diary from 1882, she writes:

    "Inside the dairy we saw Caroline printing butter & Tom Lloyd churning. The churn is like a barrel turned on its side with a handle on the end of it to churn the butter with. Caroline opened the top of the stove and put in a long log of wood & she put a iron pot with water in it right in on top of the wood to get warm." 

    The chimney to this stove can still be seen along the wall surrounding the Dairy.

    Walk over to the Long House Granary to learn about Ridgely strategies for presenting and preserving their farm buildings.