The Mauchline property is located in the city of Wilmington, New Castle County,
Delaware. The city of Wilmington was founded in 1735 on land bounded by the
Christina River to the south and west and the Brandywine Creek to the north and east.
- end was laid out across this land but not in a true north-south fashion. Beginning at the
banks of the Christina River, streets were placed parallel to it running from northwest to
southeast. The grid was completed by placing streets perpendicular to the river running
from southwest to northeast.
Mauchline is located on a continuation of this original grid about fifteen blocks
northwest from the center of the city. The property occupies the southwest third of a
block and is bounded by: North Broom Street on the southeast; West Tenth Street on the
southwest: North Rodney Street on the northwest and a neighboring property on the
northeast. The property is approximately 0.8 acres in size.
During the nineteenth century, the Mauchline property and the immediately
surrounding blocks were farmland owned by Thomas M. Rodney. In 1864, the
Wilmington City Railway Company opened several horse-car lines including one that ran
from "center city»* northwest along Delaware Avenue. With this transportation advent,
prosperous Wilmingtonians began to move from center city to the "avenue region.
This migration away from center city continued in the 1880s when electric trolley cars
replaced the horse. The trolley lines provided connections to center city and other areas
where middle class and skilled laborers worked. As a result, real estate speculation
developed throughout the westem section of the city. Some of the farmlands were
converted into blocks with tenement-style row houses. Other blocks, particularly those
closest to Delaware Avenue, were developed with larger lots and structures (fig. 3).
These patterns of development in the western section of the city are evident in the
built form and property boundaries documented in a 1901 property atlas produced by the
Baist Company. A map from this atlas shows that the block bounded by North Broom,
West Tenth, North Rodney, and West Eleventh was owned by Caesar A. Rodney and F.
Taylor. The map shows neither owner had built a structure on his property (fig. 4).
Reviewing deed records for the Mauchline property provides specific evidence of
transactions and contradicts some of the information documented on the Baist atlas (table 1)
In his will dated April 20, 1872, Thomas M. Rodney directed that each of his sons-
Caesar A. Rodney, Henry Rodney, and John M. C. Rodney receive a quarter of his
• estate. The remaining quarter of the estate he left in trust to his daughter, Celeste O.
Rodney. The trust was to be managed by Caesar and all profits made from the use or sale
of the property were to be transferred to Celeste.
On June 23, 1884, Caesar A. Rodney died. His will instructed that half of his
estate be divided between Henry Rodney and John M. C. Rodney. On August 13, 1884,
the Chancellor of the State of Delaware appointed John M. C. Rodney trustee of Celeste's
property. On October 20, 1884, John M. C. Rodney purchased all of Henry Rodney's
property bequeathed to him by Thomas Rodney and Caesar Rodney.
As a result of these transactions and trusteeships, John M. C. Rodney legally
owned the property identified as belonging to Caesar A. Rodney on the 1901 Baist
property atlas. On November 26. 1886, John M. C. Rodney sold a 100 by 150 foot lot in
the southem corner of the North Broom, West Tenth, North Rodney, and, West Eleventh
Street block to J. Ernest and Josephine Smith. On that same day, the Smiths sold their
property to Franklin Taylor, presumably the same person identified as "F. Taylor" on the
The Taylor parcel and an adjoining piece owned by Rodney were purchased in
1912 and 1913 respectively by Russell H. Dunham. On June 30, 1915, Annie Dickie
Tallman, Frank Gifford Tallman's wife, purchased the property from Dunham. Mrs.
Tallman's father, Henry Dickie, was born in Mauchline, Scotland and this name was
bestowed upon the property as a new house and landscape were constructed.10
A letter dated December 2, 191S, from the firm of Wilson Eyre and Mcllvaine to
Frank Gifford Tallman shows that design work was well under way for the Mauchline
property. The architects concluded the letter by stating. "the drawings are progressingrapidly,
and we expect to start the model this week" ."' On March 29. 1916, a
trade publication reported that a $50,000 contract for the residence, garage, and garden of -
Frank G. Tallman was awarded to Edward Johnson & Son in Wilmington "? Receipts
from the architects to Mr. Tallman show that work was still in progress in carly 1917
Additional receipts from the landscape architect show that plant materials were being
purchased and shipped between April and October 1917 .
The exact date that construction of the house and landscape was completed is also
uncertain. However, letters retained in a collection of Mr. Tallman's personal papers
indicate that the general contractor completed work around June 3, 1917. In addition,
the general contractor legally guaranteed his work for a period of one year starting on
June 30. 1917.
In August 1919, pictures of the recently completed property were published in
The Architectural Forum . On July 28, 1922, Annie Dickie Tallman died and
bequeathed the property to her husband. Seven years later, on June 25, 1929, Mr.
Tallman married Mrs. Julia Hays Ashbrook in New York City, " On April 1, 1938, Mr.
Tallman died. His will named the Wilmington Trust Corporation as executor of this
estate. It also established a provision permitting his second wife referred to by the
family as "Aunt Julia"_-to remain at Mauchline for a period of three years.' During this
three-year period, Aunt Julia had a home constructed at the Westover Hills subdivision
and moved into it in 1941
Following Aunt Julia's departure, Mr. Tallman's eldest daughter, Marian Tallman
Warner, purchased the property from the Wilmington Trust Corporation in 1941. Mrs
Warner remained the owner of the property until her death on August 23, 1970. Her
children are named the executors of her estate and in 1971, they sold the property to St.
Anthony's of Padua Roman Catholic Church.