What remains of the plantation known as Plenty overlooks the valley of the Port Tobacco Creek on the North-eastern fringe of Port Tobacco village. While much of the land had been farmed since late 17th Century, the history of the current property dates from 1787 when Thomas Stone combined the properties then known as Chandlers Hill and Welcome into Plenty. Stone and his heirs owned Plenty until 1827 when inheritance issues regarding the Stone’s properties were finally settled and the property could be sold. General (Maryland militia) John Matthews purchased Plenty from the Stone heirs in 1828. Matthews built the existing house around 1830. The Matthews family owned the property until 1874. During that time the nature of agriculture changed dramatically and Plenty, which had been the most valuable of Stone’s holdings, continued to be challenged not only by the change in agriculture but also as a result of the turmoil surrounding the Civil War. Dr. Robert Digges was the next owner. During his years at Plenty, Digges was a part of the efforts to help improve the health of Port Tobacco town residents who were plagued by the health issues associated with poor sanitation and the nearby swamps. Digges’ great, great, great grandfather’s brother built the Mill that is the subject of another painting in this series and Digges, himself, owned a mill in Mason Springs. Plenty stayed in the Digges family until 1938. Charles and Anne Wright, George and Evangeline Gardiner, Melvin Q and Helen Downs owned Plenty in the years from 1938 to 2002 until the current owners Chris and Nancy Welch acquired the home and the 15 acres of remaining property. Because the house has remained basically unchanged since John Matthews built it, the existing house may be one of the best examples of a last-days-of-slavery plantation home in the county.
Oil on canvas 30x30 inches