History of 137 & 203 S. Seton Avenue
The brick residence at 137 S. Seton
Avenue and the Carriage Factory adjoining at 203 S. Seton are located on
lot #75 and #76 of the original survey of Emmitsburg. They are located
in the Emmitsburg Historic District. Both buildings date between
1858-1873, with at least one of them built before 1868.
These structures were associated in
ownership for most of their history, and it is believed that the early
owners of the home operated the next door carriage-wagon making
facility. Since 1909 Sebold House has been owned by three generations of
the Sebold family.
The 1858 Bond Map of Frederick County
shows no buildings on the east side of the Frederick Road (S. Seton
Avenue). In 1855 David Gamble a brickmaker who owned 400 acres
in-and-around the town, sold 4 lots, 74,75,76 and 77 to Charles A. Shorb
for the sum of $190.00. Shorb also purchased lot #73 separately for
$60.00 from David Gamble (Fred. Co. Deeds ES8-267 and 268) Following
Shorb's death in 1863, ownership of the lots descended to John Smith.
Some improvement, (whether house or
factory or both is unclear) had taken place by 1868 when the same 4 lots
were sold to Nicholas Baker for $650.00. Nicholas Baker is mentioned in
of Emmitsburg" as a wagon maker. He was born 1837 and died in
1906, leaving his widow, Isabelle who was his second wife.
On the Titus "Atlas of Frederick
County", drawn in 1873 "N. Baker" is occupying lot 75 with Black Smith
Shop and Carriage Shop adjacent on lot 76. At this time the Blacksmith
shop was separated from the main carriage making facility. Between 1896
and 1903 Nicholas Baker placed a $1,500 worth of notes and mortgages his
properties. These debts and mortgages was still unpaid at the time of
his death of 1909. Frederick County Equity Case #8152 concerns the
partition and sale of these lots.
137 S. Seton
This home is a fine example of late
Greek Revival residential architecture. Of two and a half storied, brick
with a balanced facade and raised center entry, it originally was nearly
square. The 1890 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows it with a full width
front, probably a late Victorian addition. Following its purchase by
Attorney Vincent Sebold in 1915 a large two-story brick addition was
made to the west or rear. There is evidence in the brickwork that some
of the long, narrow Victorian era windows on the southside have been
filled-in and replaced by fashionable shapes. The interior was modified
to create a large office-study where Mr. Sebold conducted his law
practice and his management of the
Emmitsburg Railroad. Additional alterations included new porches
on two sides. The front porch was replaced by a columned portico more
consistent with the building's original architectural style.
201 S. Seton
The carrriage factory was originally
covered with random-width, rough-cut board-and batten (vertical) siding
which remains under the later German, lap siding. Some of the original
six-over-six windows remain on the east side. Carriage-making required
metal work from the blacksmith shop as well as a large facility to paint
the wagons-carriages. This latter process required as many as 14 coats
of paint, and was quite time-consuming. The building on the north side
marked "repository" on the 1890 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map may be the
place that the carriage or wagon "reposed" between coats of paint or
The larger south building with three
sections is marked Carriage Factory and Black smith. Entry for the
vehicles was provided by a wide, sliding door on the ground floor, still
Between 1873 and 1890 the space between
the "repository" and the main factory had been filled in to create a
center bay. From 1927 to 1995 it belonged to the Hubert L. Joy family
having been altered to comprise a family residence. The home entry in
the south building is balanced by a shallow bay widow fronting the
former "respository"; a three bay centered porch has four slender
columns on raised piers, The original porch behind the repository
remains as shown in 1890 Insurance Map. In 1890, the brick residence is
identified as McDavitt residence, although it was owned by the Bakers.
It is not know whether Mr. McDavitt had any connection with the adjacent
factory. It is known that in 1887 there were at least three carriage
factories in town.
The McDavitts, like the Sebolds, Roddys
and Bakers were a longtime Emmitsburg Catholic Family. The archives of
Mount St. Mary's mention that Mr. McDavitt had collected $600 in
contributions in 1824 to pay for construction of the Seminary Building.
In 1906 lot owner, Nicholas Baker died without a will. His heirs
petitioned the court for a partition of his estate complicated by the
outstanding debts. Equity Case #8152 was filed, and trustee appointed
for the sale. The "Emmitsburg
Chronicle" advertised the sale to be held on July 3rd, 1909.
Isabelle Baker, widow of Nicholas
purchased Lot # 1 (137 S. Seton, aka The Sebold house) for the sum of
$2,000. She also purchased the Carriage Factory lot for $735.00. The
deed mentions a 10' "public alley" dividing the two lots. The following
year she sold the carriage factory site to the family of Edwin Chrismer
Attorney Vincent Sebold purchased the
brick house in 1915 for the sum of $2,500. (Deed 312-272). Mr. Sebold
was well acquainted with the house, having been a party in the 1909
sale. There is some family tradition that Mr. Sebold lived in the house
after 1909 and may, in fact, have been renting with some sort of
agreement to purchase it. Mr. Sebold and his partners had already
purchased the a 3 and 1/2 acre unimproved lot behind the house, (Lot #5
of sale) which also had use in common to the alleyway. This acreage was
known as the "Ball Field", and adjoined the lands of the Sisters of
Charity. The Vigilant Hose company may had some claim in the court
The biography of Mr. Sebold is given in
William's "History of Frederick County". He was the grandson
of Peter Sebold who emigrated from Germany in 1822, Peter appears on the 1850 Census, farming in the Emmitsburg District.
Vincent was born in Sabillasville and
following his entry into the law profession he attained prominence.
Among his services to Frederick county was as cousel to the Board of
County Commissioners. In Emmitsburg he was instrumental in saving the
bankrupt railroad for Emmitsburg and became its general manager. This
railroad, only 8 miles long was vital to the town, linking it to the
main Western Maryland line at Rocky Ridge. After his death, his daughter
Louise and son-in-law Joseph Alvey would manage the railroad until it
ceased in 1940.
Vincent Sebold married Annie I Roddy
of Mechanicstown (Thurmont.), the 11th child of Abraham and Hannah Roddy.
The Roddy's came from Ireland just after the Revolution and resided in
the Mechanicstown to Mount St. Mary's neighborhood after 1820 Roddy's
Bridge at Owens Creek is one of the several historic structure
associated with this family.
articles on histories of homes in Emmitsburg
articles by Anne Cissel