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Darnall's Chance


Darnall's Chance was opened to the public as a historic house museum in 1988 and is owned by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. The house was built in 1742 by James Wardrop, a Scottish immigrant, who amassed a fortune as a merchant and entrepreneur in the bustling 18th century port-town of Upper Marlborough, Maryland. Wardrop's 20-acre residential complex included a substantial brick dwelling house and outbuildings, orchards, livestock, and an ornamental garden. Throughout its history, the site has served as the town-home of many prominent tobacco merchants.


Darnall's Chance is significant to Underground Railroad history because the site depended on the labor of enslaved African Americans for more than a century. Through runaway slave advertisements, historians have been able to identify eight enslaved individuals who ran away from Darnall's Chance. John Hodges who owned Darnall's Chance from 1799 until 1825 placed two runaway slave advertisements for a man named William and his wife Nancy who ran away from Darnall's Chance in 1820. Horatio Scott who owned the house from 1832 until 1857 placed fourteen advertisements in the local newspapers calling for the capture of five individuals who ran away from Darnall's Chance: Basil Duppin, Leander, Camilla Dent, Louisa and John Dent. Mr. Edward Grafton Washington Hall who purchased the house from his father-in-law Horatio Scott owned Darnall's Chance from 1857 until 1899. He, too, placed an advertisement for the return of John Kettle in 1860.

Visitor Information: Currently open to public.

Location: 14800 Governor Oden Bowie Drive, Upper Marlboro, Prince George's, 20772

National Register/National Historic Landmark Status: Buck House

National Park Unit: No

Ownership: Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning

Location Type: Site

Freedom Seekers: Basil Duppin,Camilla Dent,Leander (MD, 1832-1857),Louisa and John Dent