Red Brick Courthouse

The Red Brick Courthouse was built in 1891 and is the third courthouse to stand in this location. While this building saw many cases involving African Americans’ legal rights, the previous building, built in 1840, was where the Freedmen’s Bureau worked with the Montgomery County courts to protect the rights of Rockville’s African Americans immediately following the Civil War.

In one notable case, the Freedmen’s Bureau succeeded in recovering funds that had been raised by Rockville’s African Americans to construct a church. In 1858, freedmen and possibly slaves had raised subscriptions for the church and entrusted the money to John M. Kilgour. Soon after, Kilgour left Rockville to join the Confederate army and did not return. The Freedmen’s Bureau tracked down Kilgour, who had moved out of state, and recovered the money. The funds were returned to the black community in 1867 to pursue construction of a church and school.

The receipt for the return money is signed by Henson Norris and Daniel Brogdon of the Rockville Colored School Board. Their signatures indicate the ambition among newly freed slaves to learn to read and write, rights that had been denied to them during slavery. Hillary Carroll, like most other recently freed slaves, was illiterate, but by his mark, endorsed the school so that future generations could be educated.

Return to the African American Heritage Walking Tour

Directions to the next stop: This Tour starts in front of the Red Brick Courthouse at 29 Courthouse Square.  Continue the Tour west on Courthouse Square to see stop 2 (1931 Courthouse).