The land of The Grove is fairly unique in that for 363 years, only four families have owned it. The Bailey-Taylor family has been in residence since 1799.
The Grove was part of a 1000 acre grant made on October 13, 1653, by Governor Robert Bennett acting for the Commonwealth of England (Cromwell’s government) to John Earle. Earle’s land was what is known
as Horn Point on the Yeocomico and extended northwest some vague distance. The year before, Richard Nelms received a 400 acre grant extending from below Kinsale Northeast and northwest on the Maine
Woods.” Naturally the two grants overlapped and there was the usual lawsuit. In 1658 Nelms grudgingly sold Earle, “who hath seated upon land belonging to me by patent”, 50 acres which probably was part of the present Grove property. As bad as the surveys were in the 1600s, it is remarkable that a corner of The Grove’s western boundary today almost perfectly matches the intersection of Nelms in 1652, Earle in 1653 and Hopkins in 1661.
The Earle family held the land until around 1739, when they seem to have moved to Frederick County, Virginia. Samuel Earle sold the land to Charnock Cox (2). The Cox family owned probably about 1000 acres at that time.
There would have been a house on the land when the Earles had it. A 1740 Earle deed of the adjoining 28 acres referred to ? joining the land whereon I now live.” Charnock Cox (2)’ will in 1744, mentioned ? my dwelling Plantation” on the 253 acres that he left to his son, Presley. The Cox family did not stay there long. Presley sold the land to Samuel Rust in 1751.
Along with the Coxes, the Rusts were one of the premier families of the area. Samuel was one of the "Gentlemen Justices” of Westmoreland County. He was a member of The Revolutionary Committee of Safety of Westmoreland County at its establishment in 1775; a vestryman of Yeocomico Church, Cople Parish in 1785; and in 1790 was commissioned by the Governor as High Sheriff of Westmoreland County. To get started in life, he married a Cox.
The Grove was in the Rust family from 1751 to 1798, when it was sold by Samuel Rust’s grandson, Daniel Crabb, to Stephen Bailey. The amount sold was 150 acres, which more or less matches the size of the Grove in modern times. In the meantime it had been conveyed to Samuel’s son and grandson and apparently back to Samuel. One of these deeds in 1771 said it was where the owner lived, therefore there was still a house on the land.
Stephen Bailey, from another 17th Century family, came from the adjoining Horn Point land of the Baileys, who had obtained it by the traditional act of marrying upwards. Stephen was very successful. He ran the tobacco warehouse and a store located on The Grove side of Kinsale Creek. He served as a militia Lieutenant in the War of 1812. He was a member of the Virginia Legislature from 1803 to his death in 1816. His purchases and the disposition of his estate reveal that he had about 1193 acres in Westmoreland County and 504 acres elsewhere in Virginia.
Stephen died in 1816, leaving a will that granted his wife, Ellen MNU, "a life estate in the place where I live.” The acreage was 150, and the description matches The Grove property. The main problem as far as the future was concerned was that when Ellen Bailey died around 1820, there were five children, almost all of whom were minors among whom had to be divided about $213,000.00 modern dollars worth of land. This was a huge figure, as land was still very cheap then. Litigation over the division went on for years.
While that was transpiring, Stephen’s daughter, Frances (Fanny) married David Ball Taylor. In 1829, a court decree awarded Taylor the land known as residence of late Stephen Bailey.” Obviously there was still a house here. Taylor officially bought the property in 1831. He was the great-great grandfather of the present owner, Susan H. Taylor and the Rev. William B. Taylor, Jr.
By 1831, the house would have been nearly 100 years old. Chances are that it was a frame house, and no doubt time and termites had taken their toll. In 1832, David Taylor built the present house. It was one of very few brick houses in the county that was on the water. Susan S. Bailey, one of Stephen’s daughters lived there in 1850 with her sister, Fanny, and David Taylor. For some reason in 1859, Taylor sold her the land. It definitely was not a gift, as the $4,500.00 price equaled about $125,000.00 in 2012. Three years later, Aunt Susan gave it to her nephew, Charles Taylor.
The house was described in the Westmoreland County History by the late architect, Harry Lee Arnest, III, as:
"A center-hall single-pile plan, this Federal-style house has a full basement. The brickwork is Flemish bond throughout with queen closers at all corners, windows, and doors. The flat arches over the windows and doors are in painted wood; further ornament is found under the eaves where a corbeled brick saw tooth cornice is seen. The windows with nine-over-nine light sash on both floors are typical of the period. There are two bedrooms on the third floor as well as the second.
The portico on the north facade is original to the period, showing use of rope molding prevalent in the area. This portico is upheld by four Tuscan columns along the front, with two engaged against the house wall. Between the engaged columns the house front was stuccoed and scored to resemble ashlar to highlight the front doorway."
The old kitchen building with its huge chimney is next to the house. The 1799 deed to Stephen Bailey from Crabb stated: "Burial ground reserved.” It has not been located.
The house was renovated by Mr. and Mrs. William B. Taylor in the 1980s, and has withstood the test of time, the British burning of Kinsale and the neighboring Bailey warehouse in 1814.