Judge Morris Estate

This estate, now owned and operated by Delaware State Parks, was once known as Chestnut Hill and contains a manor house and approximately 500 acres of land. John Barclay acquired the property after the American Revolution and in 1792 built the main five-bay, two and a half story stone house. In 1808 the land was sold to Andrew Gray, a Delaware State Senator (1817 to 1821) and a founder of the University of Delaware. During the 1820s Gray added the one and a half story west wing of the house. The estate remained in the Gray family until 1865 when it was sold to Robert Cook who farmed the land for nine years until his death in 1874. For the next 60 years the house was occupied by a series of tenant farmers and it fell into disrepair. In 1934 Hugh M. Morris, a native of Greenwood, Delaware, bought the property as well as an adjoining 30 acre farm. He restored the structure in a Colonial Revival style and added the modern kitchen wing to the north side of the main house. Morris was a prominent lawyer and was appointed Judge of the U.S. District Court by President Woodrow Wilson. He served on the University of Delaware Board of Trustees from 1929-1959 and was the President of the Board for 20 years. After his death in 1966 Judge Morris’ estate was left to the University of Delaware. In 1998 the State of Delaware purchased the estate and incorporated it into White Clay Creek State Park.

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The Delaware Public Archives operates a historical markers program as part of its mandate. Markers are placed at historically significant locations and sites across the state. For more information on this program, please contact Connor Graham at (302) 744-5019 or via email at connor.graham@state.de.us..

LOCATION: Polly Drummond Hill Rd. @ Judge Morris Estate (WCCSP), Newark