My Family’s Journey to Timberleigh Springs
Welcome to Timberleigh Springs, a Maryland farm preservation estate nestled in Western Howard County. This vast estate is adjacent to two historic landmarks – the historic home of Andrew Ellicott, one of the founding fathers of Ellicott City, and Annapolis Rock, a majestic stone mountain made of solid white quartz that towered over the region and provided a perfect view of Maryland’s Capital City, Annapolis, some 50 miles away.
Mining through the 1950’s brought the loss of that great natural landmark. Thinking of this, inspires us at Timberleigh Springs to embrace responsible stewardship of the land and uncover the natural beauty that awaits those who visit here. Here, you can behold new vistas in every corner and discover natural wonders in every valley, like the Dry Falls rock formation or the glade at Horse Shoe Meadow.
Hi, I am Matt Martin the seventh son of eleven children and I want to share with you the story of my family’s journey to Timberleigh Springs as well as a few fond childhood memories. Our 18th century ancestors called Saint Mary’s County, Virginia their home, but the family history as I know it begins with the birth of my Grandfather Oscar Clifton Martin.
His mother (my Great Grand Mother) died while giving birth to him (my Grand father – Oscar), leaving him and his two sisters as orphans. Though the Governor of Virginia adopted one sibling, Oscar and his other sister were on their own.
My grandfather found his way to Washington DC in the 1890’s and began to work for Bowels Dairy, located just a few blocks from our nation’s Capitol. Under the fatherly help of Mr. Bowels, Oscar grew up and married his sweetheart Barbra Beuchert, and the young couple was able to buy 200 acres in Olney, MD in 1922 – making their name famous with Martin’s Dairy. They bottled milk and delivered throughout homes in the District, but it was their Olney Ice Cream Shop that became a favorite destination for generations of families.
The Martin’s Dairy and Ice Cream Shop was sold in 1956 at the passing of Oscar and Barbra, and divided among their seven children. My father William, an experienced milkman and ice cream maker, purchased this land determined to try his hand as a dairy farmer. With his wife Phyllis, my beloved mother, and their six young children, they ventured into the unknown. One can only imagine the challenge facing both of them with the purchase of these 200 acres. The dairy operation was outdated with barns dating back to the 19th century and my father would be the first to say he knew little about dairy farming when he started. Yet he “plowed on.”
By 1963, the family increased to eleven children, eight boys and three girls, when the farm witnessed a devastating calamity. The main barn caught fire and was lost along with most of the dairy cows. Pressing forward out of the rubble and ashes, singed timbers were used to construct a makeshift barn. The dairy, and the family, endured.
My earliest memories at Timberleigh always revolved around the chores and work at hand. We learned that hard work, though tiring, was something rewarding and enjoyable. If we were behind a tractor and wagon picking up rocks in the field, it was called a rock picking party. One of the greatest joys I think my parents found in all of us was the quote that still rings true: “There’s not a lazy one in the bunch!”
Another constant while growing up was placing buckets throughout the family farmhouse to catch the leaking rain. Yet along with the leaky tin roof came the breathtaking sound of rain’s rhythm on metal. That sound is hard to forget along with the sound of, “The cows are out!!” Day or night, rain or shine, this duty took the whole family to bring all 75 of them home again.
Through the years, mornings brought forth my father’s familiar voice echoing up the stairway. All eleven names were called, followed by some sort of sound from each of us. Then the litany of work to be done was announced, followed by, “Come on down, your breakfast is ready!” I can still recall how at bedtime, from each room, was the sound of “Good nights!” to those in other bedrooms. Those moments were timeless.
My mother first coined the word “Timberleigh” upon seeing the trees framing our new found home in 1956. In the mid-1990s, after her passing, my father dedicated the estate to farmland preservation and shortly after, also died. These past years I have worked diligently to honor their memory, restoring the main farmhouse and the last remaining original barn, creating trails that explore the backwoods, building hand-crafted stone walls and unveiling the beauty of these abundant natural springs.
My belief is that, in doing so, many like you will come to relax and enjoy this beautifully maintained land which started three generations ago with a little orphan boy from Saint Mary’s County, VA.
So on behalf of the Martin family, “Welcome to Timberleigh Springs!” I am thankful to all of you for choosing us as a venue.
Enjoy your stay, may we see you again soon!
You now share our journey of Timeless Provenance.