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The Gilmore Cabin and Farm, the home of freedman George Gilmore and his wife, Polly, will open to the public on Saturday at James Madison's Montpelier page 2
The Gilmore Cabin and Farm, the home of freedman George Gilmore and his wife, Polly, will open to the public on Saturday at James Madison's Montpelier


Date published: 4/14/2005

By eorge Gilmore

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Archaeologists discovered evidence of Confederate huts in the yard of the Gilmore Cabin, so it's possible the family lived there before the cabin was built, Reeves said.

According to the 1880 census, George and Polly Gilmore, lived in the cabin with five children: Phillip, 19; Jerry, 17; William, 14; Mildred, 12; and Ida, 9.

With one common room downstairs and two rooms in the loft upstairs, the home would be a tight fit by today's standards, but "in terms of space, it was very typical of white and black families of the time period," Reeves said.

Archaeologists also uncovered numerous sewing implements and hundreds of tiny glass beads that probably fell through the floorboards of the house. These artifacts indicate that Polly Gilmore or the Gilmores' two daughters may have been seamstresses.

It was fairly common for freed slaves to take up residence so near the former owners' homes, Reeves said.

"This is where their social or economic contacts were," he said. "They knew folks that could provide them with labor, or access to land in the case of the Gilmores."

More research needs to be done on this family and others in Orange County at the time, Reeves said, in order to accurately compare the Gilmores' experiences with those of other freedmen.

The Gilmore Cabin and Farm is of great value in this regard, Bowen said.

"We'll be able to open it to the public and explain to people the historic transition from slavery to freedom for African-Americans in the South following the Civil War."

To reach EMILY GILMORE: 540/374-5426 egilmore@freelancestar.com


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