Maplewood: History and Mysteries
Depending on whom or what you read, the date of the building of the original Maplewood varies from 1755 to 1759. On Jan. 12, 1746 James Wood purchased the original 350 acres from King George II for thirty-five shillings. King George was busy fighting Charles James Stuart at the time. What happened between 1746 and 1755 is a mystery.
According to deeds, Robert Rollstone purchased “the house, building and orchard” in 1755; thus, the 1755 date seems accurate. Rollstone did a quick turn-over to William Castleberry who then sold it to Archibald Hopkins for five shillings in 1757. Why was everyone willing to take a loss on this property? The farm would remain in this Irish family for 122 years. Although one account states that Archibald passed it to his son William in 1799, then William passed it to his son John Hinton Hopkins in 1841, a different account says that Archibald’s brother, John, Sr., who lived two miles away, married Jean Gordon and built Maplewood in 1760. Either way, John Hinton Hopkins ended up with the property in 1841.
According to “A Chapter of Hopkins Genealogy” by George W. Fetzer dated July 17, 1936, the Hopkins (John and his daughters, and his brothers) were very wealthy and owned over 3,000 acres among them as late as August 1787. In contrast, a Daily News Record article printed in 1992 states that the Civil War “nearly bankrupted John; thus, his wife was forced to sell off their land. “ The better story is that John had a son William,(presumably named after his grandfather), who was a VMI cadet and ended up fighting in the Civil War. He was wounded in battle outside of Richmond, yet was transported back to Maplewood where, within a few days, he died. Is it his bloody footprint that stains the hardwood floors to this day? With no male heir, did John decide to sell?
Either way, in 1879, the estate was broken up, and William Chrisman bought the house. The Chrismans remained at Maplewood until 1951 when John Myers, Mrs. Shelvie Carr’s grandfather, purchased it. Mrs. Carr and her husband purchased the home and a few acres at auction in 1981.
Maplewood stands majestically on a rise before entering Singer’s Glen, which was known as Mountain Valley until 1860. The original driveway is gone, but the old mounting block remains at the front portico. Double chimneys grace the ends of the front and Flemish bond bedecks the side nearest the road--American bond covers the other side! The entire house has thirteen fireplaces, each with a different mantle. For more information, and the answers to some of the mysteries, attend the Massanutten Regional Library’s virtual tour of Maplewood on Thursday, Nov. 23rd at 7pm, presented by Mrs. Shelvie Carr and her granddaughter Emily Carr.
Cheryl L. Metz