As we work towards opening Belle Grove Plantation, discoveries keep showing up at our door steps! As we have cleared the debris of the three trees we recently cut down, we have found some really nice artifacts! We have taken them to Ferry Farms to be reviewed by Mara. Here is what we found out!
Mara : Hatchet head is a carpenter’s or roofer’s hatchet: They are fairly common and still in use today. The notch was for tearing out nails. No date on this, could be 19th century or from modern era. I would say it has not been in the ground long, though, given that the wood is still present in the hole where it was hafted.
This is the second Large Copper One Cent Piece we have found at the plantation. The first was dated 1817 which is still our earliest artifact.
As we are uncovering information around the Civil War and the Union Army’s encampment in and around Belle Grove and Port Conway, we are beginning to believe a lot of these lead pieces we are finding could be those that were carried by soldiers to make their own lead shots.
Looking at this piece, we are thinking it might be part of a spoon. But the one piece that has us stumped is there is a hallmark on it. It looks like a willow tree with a circle around it. We will need to do more research to find out what it truly is.
Mara: Ceramic shard with blue transfer print: Blue print on early whiteware. Dates to between 1815 and 1860. Likely flatware.
Mara: Pocket watch with plastic crystal (watch cover: Plastic crystals made their appearance in 1916 so this watch post-dates that. The motif appears to be art deco so one can assume it predates WWII, after which time Art Deco as a style dies out.
This one I wanted to see if anyone could guess what it is. Make your best guess than go to our Facebook Fan Page and look at our Artifact Album to see if you are right!
On a different front, we received a new map from Elizabeth, curator of the King George History Museum. It is a survey map of our area (Belle Grove and Port Conway) in 1856. What is so exciting about it is that it places the enslaved quarters for us! I have long thought that the enslaved quarters ran along the road way leading to what use to be a barn. Now it is confirmed! These quarters were later turned into tenant farmer houses. You can also see in the field at least two more enslaved homes. This is something we have always heard, that there were homes in the field.
In 1856, Carolinus Turner owned Belle Grove. According to a Federal Census in 1860, he owned 92 slaves. This is the largest number of enslaved people we have been able to confirm on the plantation.
To see more artifacts we have discovered and to find out if you know what the mystery artifact is
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You will find them in our Albums under Artifacts