Getting Around
When Disaster Strikes
Old Sandy Spring
Where History Happened
Early Families at Work and Play
Time Line
About Our Museum
Sandy Spring
Laytonsville/Mt. Zion
Spencerville/Brown's Corner

   Brookeville: Gem from the Past

Perched like an epaulette on the shoulder of Parr's Ridge, Brookeville preserves the flavor and charm of Sandy Spring past. Quakers Richard Thomas and Deborah Brooke founded the town in 1794, and Thomas named it after her family. That same year he established a mill on Reddy Branch, which curls moatlike around Brookeville and whose water power fueled the town's prosperity, as did progressive neighboring farms. In 1802 Caleb Bentley opened a store and post office. By 1813 the market town throbbed with activity: 14 houses on quarter-acre lots lining Market and High Streets, two busy mills, two tanyards with their vaporous vats, two stores, a smithy, the renowned Brookeville Academy, two doctors, even a town constable. In 1825 half of the Quakers of the Sandy Spring Meeting lived in Brookeville.

Fame came on August 16, 1814, when President Madison fled invading British troops and spent the night with Caleb Bentley, whose wife Henrietta Thomas was a friend of Dolley Madison. Madison's guard camped in the meadow, and legend tells that sacks holding the assets of the U. S. Treasury heaped the floor of the Brookeville Academy.

Still shaded and serene except for its heavy traffic, Brookeville stands with Unity as the two oldest villages in the greater Sandy Spring area--older by 15 years than Sandy Spring village itself.

Calm of yesteryear hovers over the Brookeville of 1890, looking east from Shaw's (earlier Newlin's) Mill on Brookeville Road. A blacksmith shop and the Brookeville Grange Hall stand at the intersection of the old Union Turnpike--today's Georgia Avenue.