Quaker emancipation of slaves in the early 1800s gave Sandy Spring the county’s largest pre-Civil War population of free blacks. Some acquired land at Holly Grove on Norwood Road but the majority clustered in the village of Cincinnati, a community of small homes stretching for a mile along Brooke Road near Brinklow.

The Annals give glimpses of early Cincinnatians. A 1901 entry records the passing of Henson Hill at 91: “He was among the founders of Cincinnati, and one of the first of his race to own his home.” A 1902 obituary notes, “In Remus Q. Hill, Sandy Spring lost one of its old and valued citizens. He was born in 1816; his parents, Hazel and Margery Hill, were manumitted by ‘Mars Dickey’ Thomas. He was among the first to purchase land in Cincinnati, and there he built a house…in 1842; there he and his wife Ruthy lived for the sixty remaining years of their married life…he followed the trade of a carpenter.” And an 1899 entry notes, “March 5, Warner Cook, an aged and well-known colored man, died at his home in Cincinnati leaving 108 descendants.” By 1882, 54 blacks lived in Cincinnati, compared to 50 whites in Sandy Spring village.

In neighboring Brinklow, Hallie Lea and George Stabler opened a store around 1890 and a post office a few years later. Successive owners included Richard Cuff, Charles E. Hill, and Wilbur Dayton. Homes rose that still stand – Grove Hill (1796), Waters House (1825), Springdale (1837), Homewood (1843), Riverside (1855), Osceola (1874), Eldon and Enderley (late 1880s), and Argyle, today Springdale South, (1900).

For two centuries Brinklow/Cincinnati boasted the oldest of all Sandy Spring houses, hilltop Charley Forrest, built on the frontier by James and Deborah Brooke in 1728 and tragically leveled in 1913.