Darnall's Chance was built between 1741-1742 by James Wardrop, a Scottish immigrant, who amassed a fortune as a merchant and entrepreneur in the bustling port-town of Upper Marlborough, Maryland. In 1748, he married Lettice Lee, daughter of Phillip Lee, the progenitor of the Maryland branch of the illustrious Lee family of Virginia.
1857 RemodellingThe Wardrops managed a large residential complex that included a substantial brick house, outbuildings, orchards, livestock and an ornamental garden. Their household included 32 slaves - house servants, skilled craftsmen and field hands. Following Wardrop's death in 1760, Lettice married Dr. Adam Thompson (creator of the "American Method" of smallpox inoculation) and later Col. Joseph Sim (ardent supporter of the American Revolution). She died on April 3, 1776 and willed her children the property, including the family burial vault.
The house was remodeled in 1857 and produced such a drastic change that the original Georgian appearance of the Wardrops' home was soon lost to common knowledge. In 1986, the house was saved from demolition and returned to its 1742 appearance.