An Old House Inside A New, In “Poor Jamaica Man’s Plague” (Brooklandville)

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Hot House: 10134 Falls Road, Brooklandville, MD 21022

cockey:front

american land titleReconstructed Cockey house, circa 1725, relocated and expanded in 1988 by Baltimore builder Martin Azola for his own home.  4,407 sq. ft., over three stories with large finished basement. 5 bedrooms, 5 and a half baths, many architectural details unique to house.  One acre lot, with large deck overlooking protected communal land. New cedar shake roof, two car garage, garden shed: $1,395,000

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What:  This is the original Stephen Cockey house, which once stood about a mile away from here on a 300 year old tract curiously named  “Poor Jamaica Man’s Plague.” Back when 100 acres in the Greenspring Valley could be had for a pound of tobacco, Stephen’s father Thomas Cockey acquired nearly 2,500 acres of land in these parts. Although a vestryman of “good character” at nearby St. Thomas Episcopal Church, his wife Prudence accused him of  “atrocious acts.” This included “cruelly whipping, stabbing with a knife and shooting” both “his Negro men” and his own sons, as well as offering his daughter Achsah 1,000 pounds sterling to shoot her mother. He also three times unsuccessfully attempted suicide by hanging – and much, much, more…His “beloved” son Stephen, inherited the land and built this house. Stephen, perhaps wisely, never married, but the Cockeys lived here in an unbroken line until 1924.

By the time Baltimore developer Martin Azola bought this house in the mid 1980’s, it was overgrown and abandoned.  He took the house apart, stone by stone, beam by beam, carefully numbering the parts, and moved it across Falls Road to what had been the Johnson estate and is now called Historic Rockland. He and his family planned to live here, and the house has all the attention to detail typical of a builder’s own home. It is much more luxurious than the photos show — the best of both the 18th and the 20th centuries. Random width floors, but new windows. Log walls and original fireplace,  but full insulation and central air.  Old ship beams in the vaulted ceiling, but hot tub on the deck, steam shower in the master bath, big closets, good storage, and more. The layout is traditional. The master bedroom suite is large and full of light, with views over the fields, and an encircling loft above. There’s another great bedroom on the third floor under the eaves. Big, comfortable, finished basement. In any event, the Azolas lived here only one year. Then the market crashed and they sold to the current owners, who have lived there ever since. Lots of history, but no ghosts and at last check, no “atrocious acts.”

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Where: Historic Rockland is a private neighborhood of historic homes, accessed by a tiny road leading off Falls, just north of Old Court Road. There is a sign, but drive slowly or you’ll miss it. The land behind the house is protected from development, owned and maintained communally by a neighborhood association. Views of wooded pasture, horses in distance. Kids can attend top notch Riderwood public schools. Shop at Wegman’s, Graul’s, Greenspring Station. Location hard to beat, except maybe trying to get downtown at rush hour.

Why:  Valley Inn will eventually reopen, and it will be your local.

Why Not:  “Never want to live in a house that other people have lived in.” This is actually quite common.

Would Suit: Pragmatic connoisseur.

NB: The Greenspring Valley, It’s History and Heritage is an amazing resource for Baltimore history buffs. Out of print now, Amazon has two vintage copies at @$100 each. Check The Book Thing first.

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Hot House is sponsored by Towson-based American Land Title Corporation, commercial and residential settlement agents.

 



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3 COMMENTS

  1. This has got to be the coolest (weirdest?) story ever. A plague, atrocious acts and a glorious house? What else is there?

  2. Poor Jamaica Man’s Plague (929 acres) was originally owned by my ancestor Jonathan Tipton who was born in Jamaica and died in 1757.

  3. just found this for future reference by someone, Baltimore County Court records from 1836…

    BALTIMORE COUNTY COURT
    (Chancery Papers)
    Dates: 1836/03/02
    C384: Charles Nicols vs. Clara E. Gilles and Henry F. Gilles. Petition to sell Bucks Purchase, Selsed, Poor Jamaica Mans Plague
    Accession No.: 40,200-1763-1/9
    MSA No.: C 295-1772
    Location: 2/15/12/67

    Great looking house above.

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