Laytonsville/Mt. Zion

Laytonsville lies beyond Sandy Spring’s indefinite boundaries, but the two enjoy strong ties of land and kinship. The town lies on the vast estate once owned by Quaker pioneer James Brooke but was never “Quaker country.” From early days, however, Laytonsville’s Anglicans and Methodists attended Sandy Spring social events, maintained business relationships, joined Sandy Spring farmers’ clubs and other organizations, and intermarried.

When John Layton built his brick farmhouse around 1785, his farm occupied the land of today’s town, and the nearest commercial center lay a mile to the east. There a tavern, store, tailor shop, and St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church made up short-lived Cracklin Town. Surrounding Layton were other farmers with other familiar names – Gaither, Griffith, Riggs, Dorsey, Penn, Warfield.

“In the 1840s the town began to take shape,” wrote lawyer/historian James C. Christopher. “Stores, business establishments and homes came into being. Laytonsville was a post office in 1861…A Methodist Church was established in 1867.” Today Laytonsville stands with Brookeville as an oasis of charm and preservation.

Mt. Zion prospered as a black community after the Civil War, when Stabler-family owners of surrounding farms gave land to emancipated blacks.