225 Years in the Making
by “My Father’s Son”
Founded in 1794, after Joshua Delaplane purchased six hundred acres, lying in both Carroll and Frederick Counties, straddling its namesake waterway, is the former village of Double Pipe Creek. Delaplane expertly harnessed the opportunities of the energetic waterway intersecting his tract—a confluence of Little and Big Pipe Creeks existing for two miles before pouring into the nearby Monocacy (the “river with many bends” as translated from the indigenous Shawnee language)—by stationing a dam allowing him to power three large mills that he had constructed: a grist mill for grinding grain, a saw mill to plane lumber, and a woolen mill for fulling cloth. Known today as Detour, the town later became an active hamlet on the Western Maryland Railroad, leading to its 1905 name change to accommodate character-limited railroad signage.
Nearly thirty years after Delaplane’s purchase, George Henry Waesche left his parent’s Lower-Saxony home at Eddesoe in Hanover Kingdom, Germany. Fourteen years old, he traveled to America to live with half-brother Frederick in Baltimore. Arriving stateside in 1821, George Henry worked on his brother’s clipper ships. After a spell of sea-life, George Henry resolved to learn farming and relocated to the Carroll County Farm of David Cassell in Wakefield, outside of Westminster. George Henry paid Cassell to teach him agriculture, an investment worth the return as George Henry eventually wed Cassell’s niece, Catharine, and purchased the whole “Wakefield Farm” from his bride’s Uncle.
Come 1832, George Henry Waesche and wife Catharine, along with their first of nine children, purchased from Joshua Delaplane the tract “Prosperity” along Double Pipe Creek. Here, on the Frederick County side of the parcel—a division distinguished by the banks of the mighty creek—Waesche inhabited the impressive Delaplane stone manor house. Waesche’s holdings included the handsome dwelling, three established mills, and many stores and tenements situated where Detour stands today along Maryland’s Route 77. The mills continued to prosper under their new ownership.
Between 1834-1849, George Henry and Catharine welcomed the last eight of their children, resulting in a family of eight sons as their fifth-born and only daughter, Mary Elizabeth, died at six months of age. This daughter was buried on the property alongside a stone Chapel built by George Henry for his wife—now in ruins within a wooded area along Detour Road. In 1849, Waesche assembled a company of men (nephews and second eldest son, William Henry, included) and set off for California, upon the Schooner “Creole” after the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill. In route, on a riverboat passing through the Isthmus of Panama, George Henry contracted Malaria and was buried within twenty-four hours. George Henry, while on the river Chagres, kept a journal describing the banks of the river as similar to those at Double Pipe Creek—unwritten was the undetectable cholera, raging through the jungle, to which he would become host. George Henry’s body was interred in Panama, a grave that would be resumed sixty years later to allow construction of the Panama Canal.
Widow Catharine Waesche managed the mills and manor until they were divided and conveyed to both Daniel P. Saylor and Henry McKinstry by 1854. Prosperity sold, Catharine Cassell Waesche and her youngest children (presumably Thomas Repold, Charles Albert, Leonard Randolph, and James Theodore, ages five to thirteen years old) moved to the previous Key farm Terra Rubra, just over one mile away. The family lived in the original Key home, F.S.K.’s birthplace, where the Gentlemen’s song “To Anacreon in Heaven” may have one day been hummed for four years before a hurricane “wrecked and twisted” (as stated by Waesche family records) parts of the home so badly that the widow deemed it uninhabitable. Mrs. Waesche razed the entire structure and by 1859 had built a new home: the Terra Rubra. Terra Rubra stands today on the original home’s stone foundation, reusing certain features like the basement and attic summer beams (which she simply had flipped over for fresh use) and decorative trimmings such as the front stair newel-post. The Waesche Terra Rubra is of a traditional Maryland-Germanic brick stretcher-bond pattern and built in the liking of Mrs. Waesche, not that of the Keys before her. Unlike most of their siblings, youngsters Leonard R. and James T. “Theo” Waesche would more remember this Terra Rubra as their childhood home opposed to Prosperity. Theo found what he considered to be one of his most treasured possessions: a spoon of the Key’s silver, while plowing fields on his mother’s farm as a boy. Accustomed to great homes, there is no wondering how these brothers would come to start a homebuilding company in Thurmont.
In 1887, Joseph Abraham Waesche repurchased his birthplace from Saylor’s estate and, in 1910, sold it to brother Charles Albert. Joseph never re-inhabited the manor, but acquired the beloved family home only to satiate his sentiment. Charles, however, moved his family to Prosperity from Baltimore only to be convinced by the ladies of the home—displeased at their absence from the city’s social happenings—to return to Baltimore five years later. Charles greatly improved the home, extending all levels to connect the house to its rear kitchen, ‘back building’ using native stone, seamlessly matching the exterior of the existing house structures. The Waesche home at this time was supposedly of fourteen rooms, three staircases, and a terraced front yard. All surviving U.S. Waesche blood hails from Prosperity.
Prosperity held a healthy 93–acres from the time of Joseph Waesche’s purchase through the purchase of Hoyt B. Deshields, Jr. in 1944. By 2002, Deshields had shed 73.74 acres, reducing the property to the 19.26 acres now remaining with the manor. With fifty-eight years, Mr. Deshields was the longest resident to inhabit Prosperity. Prosperity has withstood many events over the past two hundred twenty-two years, most notably Tropical-storm Agnes of 1972 and Hurricane Eloise in 1975. Well above the reach of flood waters, Prosperity watched as Detour below—a basin between the foot of the home’s hilltop perch at the south and risen rail-bed of the W.M.R.R to the north—was filled by the swell of the Double Pipe tributary. Flow obstructed by the muddy-Monocacy, water levels rose over the porch roofs of Detour’s modest dwellings. Purchased last in 2003, 11309 Rocky Ridge Road, “Prosperity Farm,” is presently listed for sale at an admirable $1.2 million.
Extensive is not suitable enough a word for the restoration completed at the home, which has fallen in and out of disrepair over the past one hundred years. Owner Deborah Donohue, working with contractor Sam Wivell, has exquisitely implemented modern amenities, bringing the home up to both the formal and casual living standards of a 21st century estate-home. More thoroughly, all electrical and plumbing utilities have been updated, replacement windows fashioned where necessary, and the rotted front porch replaced with a federal-style, elliptical-colonnade. Finishes include traditional marble, repointed brick and stone by Emmitsburg masonry artisan Nevin Eiker, and 150-year-old oak barn-planks replacing the severely deteriorated flooring of the home’s back section, closed off at Donohue’s time of purchase. On the grounds are several porches, patios, and manicured lawns and gardens—one bearing a replica of “Little Wendy,” the Trosdal family statue made famous by the 1994 true-crime novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
Overlooking the entirety of Carroll County’s Detour, this listing is an opportunity to purchase not only one of Frederick County’s first-wave Manors, but also to become part of its deeply steeped history.
Prosperity Manor House, reigning over the Historic town of Detour from its hilltop site at the intersection of Rocky Ridge and Detour Roads, just south of crossing Double Pipe Creek into Carroll County.
Photo by “My Father’s Son”