Tyaskin: Brown Cabin

Brown cabin_02_ 11-07-10The history of this structure, located near Tyaskin in Wicomico County, Maryland, is not entirely known.  But I am honored to apparently have been the only outsider to see the inside of this historic structure in decades.  I have driven past the little house a couple of times since I got to peek inside back in 2010 and I am pleased to see it still there.  And I am so grateful to Skip Brown, the structure’s owner and one-time occupant for allowing me the tour.  Even Skip had not been inside for a long time.

There does exist one historic photograph of the same building taken by the late local historian, Joe Hopwood.  Skip told me that Hopwood did not go inside, and learning of this made my experience even more special, knowing I may have been the only outsider inside this place in a long time.    This house is reported to have been moved to this location from Nanticoke over 90 years ago.  The age of the building is uncertain but maybe dates to the early 1800s.

Brown cabin_03_ 11-07-10The building is now unused except for some storage placed there long ago.  The building is one of three on Skip’s property on Jesterville Road.  Skip told me that the chimney had been added after the structure was moved to this location, in order to have a stove, although he did not know when the house was moved.  But Skip, a relative youngster, born in 1959, had actually lived in this house which has no electricity, plumbing or running water.  He lived in it as a child until he was six years old, when they moved out in 1965, moving into the newest of the three houses, where Skip continues to live.  His father was born in this cabin, in 1919.  Skip’s father was Leonard Brown, his mother Lettie Cornish Brown; both were from the area.  At the time Skip was living in the old cabin, the family living there included his parents and four of his siblings.

Leonard Brown’s father was Orgie Brown. Leonard’s mother was Cecie Dashiell Brown who moved into the second-oldest house on the property, built next door to the cabin.   Skip told me that the property had once been the property of James Dashiell, an African American who had owned a large piece of property in the area which was eventually subdivided.

Brown cabin_int_01_ 11-07-10Although the old house was unused by the time I visited it, and contained old litter and was deteriorating, it was still an awe-inspiring experience going inside, climbing the old steep steps to the space upstairs that had long ago been subdivided into two rooms.  Downstairs was only one room.  I pondered where that building had been before, who first lived in it, and more.  I very much thank Skip for having given me this special experience.

–Linda Duyer

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