The House and Its History

No more perfect building could be chosen as a future Museum of Women’s History. The young woman who received it from her grandfather just before the Civil War, Mary Edwardine Bourke, ultimately became one of our earliest female historians in Maryland. Further, her son Frederick was also an Eastern Shore, Queen Anne’s County historian and journalist. The writing of history was a serious part of life in Mary’s household.

Bloomfield circa 1900

Bloomfield circa 1900

Her grandfather built the house in about 1760. Through the years he had set the heritage for the house to ultimately go to Mary. She received the house prior to her marriage to Blanchard Emory but at a point towards the end of the 1800’s when her husband needed funds, she sold her beloved Bloomfield Manor to aid him. Then came her longing for her old home with all its precious memories, thus determined to get it back she wrote her own history of the Eastern Shore, actually of Queen Anne’s County. Where her son had filled his book with the stories of men and their politics and wars, she wrote of the plantation owners and those at all social levels who kept that kind of life alive. Her book was filled with many stories of women, of servants, and of African Americans who were at the time of her book learning what it meant to no longer be slaves.

For all these reasons the present Bloomfield Manor holds much of the history of Queen Anne’s County and Maryland within its framework! The photo here is the photo taken for her book and is how the house looked in 1900.

One of the 20th Century owners, John Chambers took on the complete remodeling of the house, including adding the second and third story to one end, and many interior changes as well. What is seen today is a combination of the changes he did in 1917 and the changes done during the 1950’s and forward to the end of the 20th century.

It was at the point, going into the 21st century, that Queen Anne’s County became the owner of the farm on which the historic house stands. Unfortunately, no decisions were possible for the best use of the house, so with benign neglect, the house has deteriorated considerably.

Now the process is underway to save it and turn it into the Maryland Museum of Women’s History. We need all possible help for this endeavor. Please contact the foundation at the mailing address of P.O. Box 557, Centreville, Md. 21617 if you would like to donate or offer services to help us.