Wishing to provide his family with a refuge from the yellow fever epidemics sweeping Philadelphia, Anthony Morris (1766-1860), a wealthy politician and merchant, purchased just over 200 acres of land in Whitemarsh, Montgomery County, in 1794. Construction of the elaborate country estate, “The Highlands” was completed by 1796. Morris suffered extreme financial difficulties and in 1808 was forced to sell The Highlands to Daniel Hitner (1765-1841). Hitner sold the property and its accumulated 300+ acres to a Philadelphia wine merchant, George Sheaff (1779-1851) in 1813.
During the Sheaff family ownership, which spanned more than a century, there were numerous improvements made both to the Georgian mansion and to the landscape. After George Sheaff’s death in 1851, his heirs sold part of the estate and the youngest son, John, retained 59 acres which the mansion and adjoining outbuildings.
In 1917, two years after the death of the last Sheaff heir, the property was sold to Miss Caroline Sinkler (1860-1949), a native South Carolinian with strong ties to Philadelphia.
The house and gardens had deteriorated and, through the efforts of Miss Sinkler, the property regained its elegance and prominence as an historical treasure in Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic.
On 44 acres, this beautiful Georgian Mansion embodies a past way of life. Activities like historical tours, Girls Scout programs, concerts and much more help to bring this mansion to life for the public. A two-acre formal garden adjoins the mansion.
Your donations help:
Your shopping donation will help us to continue to preserve the mansion and gardens as well as the surrounding outbuildings.
There are many ways you can get involved.
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