Heritage Weekend Tile 2008
The history of the house revolves around wealthy landowner George Casey Harness and his stubborn disapproval of the marriage of one of his daughters, Mary Catherine, to John Francis Williams.
Harness forbade the marriage, but the equally willful couple defied him and eloped. In retribution, Harness refused to build a house for Mary Catherine, as he had done for his other daughter, Anne Rebecca, whose brick home on Main Street is called Rosedale.
Five years after the marriage, Harness died and Mary Catherine’s mother, Sally McNeill Harness, had the house built for the couple next door to Rosedale. Construction started in late 1853 or early 1854.
Mary Catherine’s first husband died in 1865 and in 1868 she married William Cameron and moved to Ohio. No longer needing her Moorefield residence, she sold the house to the Trustees of the Duffey Methodist Episcopal Church South (now Duffy United Methodist Church) on September 26, 1874. Thirty-seven ministers and their families used this home as a parsonage it was sold in 2004.
The house is a Greek Revival brick structure in a “T” design, probably built in two stages. The composition of the bricks led historians to believe the entire structure was finished before the Civil War.
The exterior and interior walls are of 14-inch brick construction with interior walls covered with horse-hair plaster. The upstairs ceilings are still the original 12 feet high while the downstairs ceilings were lowered to 10.5 feet to allow for electrical wiring. The front staircase includes one of the more graceful banisters in the Valley, making for an impressive entrance hall. The house has three chimneys which shared eight fireplaces.
It is important to note the Acantha leaf brackets that enrich the front porch. The south facing side porch is original, while the north porch (now enclosed) was added around 1874.