The Oakley Cabin African American Museum and Park
The Oakley Cabin is a living history museum located in Brookeville, Maryland. The cabin was the center of an African American community that began in Brookeville after the emancipation of slaves. Being one of the three original cabins that were built, the Oakley cabin has been restored by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission after a devastating arson fire in 1988. The dwelling presents a Swedish design that was introduced after European Colonization along with many activities children or adults can be involved in.
Backstory and Context
The Oakley Cabin, located in Brookeville, Maryland is the center of African American History post emancipation. The cabin was occupied until 1976 before the department of parks, Montgomery County and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission converted it on to a living history museum. Before 1988, the cabin retained its original historic features before it was set ablaze by arsonists. It was one of the three original dwellings that once housed African American families when the first African American community emerged after emancipation in Brookville, Maryland. The Oakley cabin itself was not built until the 1820s but the land and two other cabins that once lied adjacent to the Cabin were occupied and cultivated. The cabin received its name from the colonial manor farm house which was located on a large piece of land that was cultivated by slaves. The farm land the Oakley Cabin now lies on was originally owned by Quaker fighter, Colonel Richard Brooke during the American revolutionary war until 1788 when he passed away, handing down his property to his only daughter, Ann Brooke. Neither Ann nor Richard lived on the Oakley farm, instead they owned and inhabited a larger home nearby. Ann married a man named William Hammond Dorsey and had five children together. Dorsey sold all of his property in Georgetown and moved in to the cabin after Ann passed away in 1802. After Dorsey died in 1818, His son Richard B. Dorsey managed the Oakley farm with the help of 23 enslaved laborers. During this period was when the original Oakley Cabin built and physically occupied by Richard Dorsey. In 1836, the farm was sold to a local doctor, William Bowie Magruder, who treated both white and black families. He owned 19 slaves to assist with farming the land until he died in 1873. The land was sold to Josiah J. Hutton and records indicate decedents from his family also occupied the land and home until it was converted in to a living history museum in 1976. There is no specified detail on who occupied the home from1880-1920, but records indicate 22 to 37 people once occupied the home with inhabitants being white and black. Records show decedents from Josiah J. Hutton lived in the dwelling until Montgomery County converted it in to a living history Museum. Occupants acquired diverse skill sets that were once vital to have in a community. Many were carpenters, blacksmiths, or laundress. Speculation is also high that some worked in the Newlin’s mill nearby. Black and white cultures were linked through the sale of produce and products that created diverse community in Brookville, Maryland.
Bedard, Andrea. "Discover Maryland: Historic Oakley Cabin." Active Rain. 27 Sept. 2012. Web. 20 Apr. 2016. Berton, Valerie. "Log Cabin Restoration to Be Subject of Montgomery County Historic Preservation Program." Montgomery Planning Board. 20 May 2008. Web. 20 Apr. 2016.