Mt. Pleasant History


Historic Mt. Pleasant farm was donated for preservation by Ruth and Frances Brown, former Howard County schoolteachers. It is now used for our educational programs, special events and is open to the public for hiking, visiting our nature center and the 3-acre John L. Clark Honors Garden.

The History of Mt. Pleasant Farm
Presentation on history and archeology of Mt. Pleasant

In 1692, Thomas Browne, a Patuxent Ranger, was commissioned to survey the headwaters of the Patuxent and to keep watch on the Indians in Woodstock. He received Ranter’s Ridge as a land grant and built a log cabin on a pleasant knoll overlooking two streams. This farm, which became known as Mt. Pleasant, remained in the Brown family for eight generations until Ruth and Frances Brown died in 1992.

Approximately 50 mature hardwoods, gardens, farm, fields, and streams, frame the historic house. Nine historic outbuildings – the carriage house, blacksmith shop, bank barn, wagon shed, corn crib, smokehouse, two hen houses, and more – surround the house as well.

In 1993, The Howard County Conservancy received Mt. Pleasant. A portion of the property is jointly managed with The Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The Conservancy agreed to permanently preserve the land in its natural state. Check the Calendar of Events & Activities for public activities and volunteer opportunities at Mt. Pleasant.

Imagine life on Mt. Pleasant back in the 1750s as a blacksmith, with this script written by one of our volunteers. This script is used currently in our middle school field trips to students to rural farm life long ago.


1651 Thomas Browne migrated from Virginia to Maryland and settled in Anne Arundel County.

1692 Thomas Browne, the Patuxent Ranger and son of the first Thomas Browne, was commissioned by the governing body of Anne Arundel County to survey the lands at the headwaters of the Patuxent River and its tributaries, and to keep watch over the activities of the Indians in the Woodstock area. Thomas constructed a one room log cabin, which is believed to be the dining room of the existing house.

1715 The Patuxent Ranger dies, leaving four sons. The lower part of Ranter’s Ridge was left to Joshua, the youngest son.

Joshua later acquired 100 acres of Good Fellowship. which had been granted to Christopher Randall in 1728. In the course of numerous land exchanges and transfers, the “e” was dropped from the Browne name, making Joshua one of the first Browns in Upper Arundel.

Joshua’s son Benjamin became the father of Samuel, a lieutenant in Colonel Charles Hammond’s Elk Ridge Militia in 1778. Before the Revolution ended, Joshua became a general. John Riggs Brown, son of Samuel, served in the War of 1812.

Samuel Brown, son of John Riggs Brown, bought part of Ranter’s Ridge in 1838 and by a combination of inheritance and purchase, acquires 40 acres of Good Fellowship in 1858, thus creating the farm as it exists today. During this time, Samuel also added a second floor to the log cabin and constructed an addition at the rear. Samuel was elected to three consecutive terms as Commissioner of Howard County, and during his tenure the jail in Ellicott City was constructed. His name, along with those of the other two commissioners, is inscribed in stone under the front gable of the jail.

1865 Samuel and his two sons add a front wing onto the house.

1880 Samuel Brown dies leaving the farm in trust for his wife, and subsequently to his seven children, including the youngest son, Frank deSales Brown. From then until 1903, Frank acquired the shares of his brothers and sisters and eventually became the sole owner of the farm. At age 46, Frank marries S. Louise Davis.

1902 The barn, carriage house, granary and corn house which had been constructed by Samuel Brown, were destroyed by a fire of suspicious origin. Frank Brown constructs the existing outbuildings, with the exception of the metal equipment shed by the entrance drive.

1911 Frank deSales Brown dies, leaving the farm to his three children: Samuel Brown, Ruth Davis Brown, and Frances Louise Brown. His wife S. Louise is to retain a life interest. Samuel Brown is to become a Civil Engineer with the Baltimore Water Department. Ruth and Frances both become teachers and spend 49 and 48 years, respectively, teaching Howard County children.

1953 The circa 1715 addition to the rear of the original log cabin was removed, and the existing rear wing constructed.

1962 S. Louise Brown dies.

1974 Samuel Brown dies, leaving his one-third interest in the farm to his two sisters.

1990 Ruth Davis Brown dies.

1992 Frances Louise Brown dies.