Tuesday, September 18, 2018

An Unexpected Find

We get asked pretty often if we find anything cool in the house or around the yard. Every once in awhile, something pops up unexpectedly. We know that people have metal-detected the property, so there may not be much left to find. But, luckily some of the coolest things aren't metal...

When we gutted our dining room (that story to come), we found a couple of things in the walls. One stud had been sistered to give it more strength. However, the previous owners did not remove the wainscot and didn't realize that the new sister stud was not actually sitting on the floor. It was instead resting on a lump of old plaster that had been dropped into the wall when the room was constructed or remodeled previously.

Stud resting on a lump of plaster.

Paper and plaster - there's even horse hair still in the plaster.
Unbelievably, there was old newspaper stuck to the plaster, which had worked its way into the fiber of the paper and preserved it pretty well. The type is even still legible. By some twist of fate, there are a couple of historical figures mentioned: Henry Clay, a General Sanders and Governor Joseph Kent of Maryland. Henry Clay, if we reach way back into the recesses of our mind (and Wikipedia) to recall middle school history, served as the Secretary of State under John Quincy Adams, ran for president several times, and was a founder of the Whig Party. Governor Kent only took a little bit of googling. Kent served as Governor of Maryland from 1826-1829. General Saunders, not to be confused with the beloved grandaddy of fried chicken, was a bit harder to track down. The paper is referring to Romulus Mitchell Saunders, a prominent politician from Milton, NC. Saunders was a man who wore many hats: lawyer, legislator, judge, and minister to Spain under President Polk.

After a bit more research, I found that the paper tells of a very public altercation between Clay and Saunders about the upcoming 1828 election. Judging from articles in newspapers around that time, it seems that the squabble happened in the summer of 1827. Saunders backed Andrew Jackson, while Clay supported Adams for re-election. In the end, Jackson won. The date of the newspaper (1827) coincides with the date brick in our living room chimney - the year that the house was extended for the third and final time. I love it when things all tie together!

On closer view, you can see the three named gentlemen.
We have so many more discoveries to share, so stay with us! Maybe with some digging, I can even figure out exactly what newspaper this is...

No comments:

Post a Comment