Perched like an epaulette on the shoulder of Parr’s Ridge, Brookeville preserves the flavor and charm of Sandy Spring past. Quakers Richard Thomas and Deborah Brooke founded the town in 1794 and Thomas named it after her family. That same year he established a mill on Reddy Branch, which curls moat-like around Brookeville and whose water power fueled the town’s prosperity, as did progressive neighboring farms. In 1802 Caleb Bentley opened a store and post office. By 1813 the market town throbbed with activity – 14 houses on quarter-acre lots lining Market and High Streets, two busy mills, two tan yards with their vaporous vats, two stores, a smithy, the renowned Brookeville Academy, two doctors, and even a town constable. In 1825 half of the Quakers of the Sandy Spring Meeting lived in Brookeville.
Fame came on August 16, 1814, when President James Madison fled invading British troops and spent the night with Caleb Bentley, whose wife Henrietta Thomas was a friend of Dolley Madison. Madison’s guard camped in the meadow and legend tells that sacks holding the assets of the U. S. Treasury heaped the floor of the Brookeville Academy.
Still shaded and serene except for its heavy traffic, Brookeville stands with Unity as the two oldest villages in the greater Sandy Spring area, older by 15 years than Sandy Spring village itself.