Francis Pierpoint House
40138 Main Street
In 1785 Quaker Joseph Janney sold several lots to Richard Richardson of Frederick County, Maryland, for ten pounds “lawful money of Virginia.” Mr. Richardson divided the land and sold two lots to Francis Pierpoint, Sr., who had married into the Richardson family. Mr. Pierpoint built the existing residence (seen on the left) characterized by its Flemish bond brickwork sometime after 1795, as well as a neighboring two-story wood-over-stone building that has since vanished.
In 1809 Samuel Pierpoint purchased the house and operated a dry goods store in the building next door. After his death three years later, his widow Margaret married cabinet maker Sanford Edmonds who used the dependency for his shop. He in turn died nine years later (“from eating too many cherries and swallowing the seeds,” according to one account). Margaret died in 1838. Six years later, both buildings were sold at auction (the brick portion for $295, and the smaller building for $44) from the second floor porch to Ann Taylor Ratcliffe, a Quaker widow with four young children.
Mrs. Ratcliffe operated a shop on the first floor of this dwelling, selling lace, fabric and notions. As was the custom of the time, she and a sister, Mary, lived above the shop. During the late 1840s and 1850s, two of her daughters, Mary and Sarah, taught many local children here in the ground floor rooms.
Subsequent owners added an interior staircase in the 1950s—until then the only access to the second floor living quarters was from the outside stair case and front porch. The large stone wing at the rear was built in 1960. During the latter renovation, the living room, dining room and kitchen were moved upstairs to the second level. Other restoration work includes the second floor library, and third floor living quarters in the 1990s.
In 2005 the stone addition was built on the land which was the site of Mr. Richardson’s original dwelling. That was a wooden building and the only portion of the dwelling that remained was the fireplace. The stone mantel from that fireplace now serves as the large stone step into the kitchen. The docents will give details of this stone addition.
The Francis Pierpoint House is open through the courtesy of the owner Cate Magennis Wyatt.
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