Michael O. Bourne
Howell Point Road, Trappe, Talbot County
Compton is a relatively simple, two-part brick dwelling, laid in Flemish bond, which is the result of two major building periods and subsequent minor alterations. The main part sits above a basement which has segmental arches above the windows and a quarter-round molded water table. Its southwest facade is five bays long with a three-brick belt course between floors. The gables have the remains of a two-brick beltcourse slightly lower than that on the facade. Three dormers light the third floor rooms on both sides of the gable roof. Within both gables is a single chimney servicing two fireplaces each. The 1 1/2 story kitchen/dining room wing is built close to the ground and is set back from the main facade by about 12 feet. Its northeast wall is even with the back wall of the catslide extension of the main house. The fenestration is irregular, and there are two chimneys asymmetrically placed. The brick color and joints are reminiscent of the 1790 wing of Myrtle Grove, Talbot County, with considerably more refinement than the main block.
Architecturally, Compton is important because it has elements of early 18th century vernacular architecture which have been largely incorporated in the early 19th century additions. As such it contributes greatly to the knowledge of early Maryland domestic buildings. The type of house it became during Samuel Stevens’ ownership indicates something of the man who was to be one of Maryland's Governors. Also of importance is the existence of a two-story brick milkhouse, with the first story standing below a moat-like retaining wall, and the allee of large old maple trees on the north side of the dwelling. Compton was the home of Samuel Stevens (1778-1860) 18th Governor of Maryland. He intermittently represented Talbot County in the House of Delegates from 1807 to 1820. On December 9, 1822, he was elected to the first of three terms as Governor. Stevens' tenure is remembered for the enfranchisement of the Jews, the abolition of a religious test for Maryland office holders, the extension of the civil liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights to State law, and the creation of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. After Stevens’ last term in Annapolis he returned to Compton which he had inherited from his father in 1794. He gave the building its present configuration adding the 1 1/2 story east wing and raising the initial stage of the house to two stories.