Michael O. Bourne
Cooper Road (MD 309), Allen, Wicomico County
Bennett's Adventure is a 1 1/2-story gambrel-roofed house, five bays wide and two deep. It is built of brick laid in English bond. On the north side is a central doorway with a pedimented portico supported by square fluted columns. There is a 12/12 light window with three panel shutters in each of the remaining four bays. Between the windows, glazed headers form interlocking diamonds. Above the door and the end bays are tall, narrow pedimented dormers with 9/6 sash windows. There is a modillion cornice along the slate roof. The house also has a brick watertable. The original segmental arches over the windows have been replaced by 20th century brickwork. The west end has two windows on the first story, each with 4/2 sash and two-panel shutters. Between these windows is a small, projecting, pedimented entrance. There is a two-course belt between the first and second stories. In the gambrel are two windows also with 4/2 sash and two-panel shutters. There is a flush chimney in both the east and west ends. The common bond on this end has three courses of stretchers to every one of headers. The south side, facing the Wicomico Creek, has a screened porch which extends across the first story to within approximately three feet of the east end and has a railing along the roof edge. The brick that was visible was laid in Flemish bond with glazed headers and whitewashed to approximately the ceiling line of the present porch. There are five pedimented dormers on this side. The east gambrel is identical to the west, a one-story hyphen connects the 1 1/2-story wing with a gambrel roof to the main block. Both the wing and hyphen are 20th century additions. The hyphen is one bay wide, and is covered with beaded clapboard. Along the edge of the gable roof is a dentil cornice. The wing is two bays wide, and constructed of brick laid in Flemish bond. There is a 6/6 sash window in each bay on the north and south sides with a 6/6 light gable-roofed dormer directly above each window. There is a screened porch across the east end of the wing. Bennett's Adventure has a two-room plan with central hall. The west room has full paneling on two sides. Fluted pilasters flank the mantelpiece which has dentil molding on the soffit of the mantel shelf. Closets flank the fireplace. The central hall is paneled on three sides.
Bennett's Adventure gains architectural significance from the interlocking diamond patterns in the brickwork and the original paneling in the west room and central hall, and historical significance from its association with one of the governors of the Virginia colony and with the prominent Dashiell family of Maryland. In 1721 George Dashiell (1690-1748) bought the land from one of Richard Bennett's grandchildren and had it resurveyed and patented for 1740 acres under the name of Dashiell's Lot. The patent, issued in 1734, mentions "a marked pine standing west from the aforesaid Dashiell dwelling house," and additional research on the chain of ownership indicates that the house referred to (which was probably erected by George Dashiell), is the one now standing. Dashiell, a wealthy planter, was a member of the Lower House of the Assembly in 1724, 1745, and 1746. He attained the rank of Colonel in the Maryland militia by 1736.