Saturday, November 3, 2018

Little Things

A couple of weeks ago, we hosted what we hope will be the first of many events at our home. It was the Pitt County Historical Society's annual Fall Dinner, and we had about 50 attendees! We were nervous going into it, because the house is far from being finished, in either construction or decor. But, we had an overwhelmingly positive and supportive group of people, who couldn't say enough kind words about our efforts to date. It showed us that the community is routing for us and that many other people love the house just as much as we do and want to see it preserved. If nothing else, it proved that we can easily host all of our friends and family! To see photos from the day, check out Pitt County Historical Society's Facebook page, and if you are passionate about local history, become a member!

Our cozy front porch

Tiny spoon
While we were busy planning our own gathering, we thought it a perfect time to share evidence of past dining habits found in these walls. As you may have read previously, the dining room has produced some interesting tidbits, from historic paint to old newspaper. When we removed one floorboard to treat the underlying sill for termites, we found a sweet little pewter spoon, trapped between the two timbers. There is no telling how it got there, whether lost or placed there intentionally as a kind of offering (many times old house owners find bottles or shoes in specific locations).

In addition to being uncertain about how the tiny spoon made it into the wall, we are equally baffled about its purpose and origins. There is no maker's mark, unfortunately, but it does have a delicately beaded edge around the handle. Was this a very fancy child's toy, or was this a salt spoon regularly used by the Foreman's at meals? We may never know, but we will keep digging. Suggestions are welcome!

Bone handle fork

Another utensil we found while cleaning out the dairy building (more on that later), was a bone-handled two-tined fork. These types of forks have been found in various archaeological contexts, dating to the late 18th or early 19th century. Very similar forks were found at Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest, the site of Davidsonville in Arkansas, and at Plymouth, among many other sites in Colonial North America. The date of this type of fork suggests that it was among the first generation of Greenwreath Foremans' personal possessions. Whatever its story may have been, and however it ended up in a cardboard box in the dairy building, we were so excited to have found it. Once again, these little things tell us more about the life the Foreman family lived in their early days here in North Carolina.

This fork (or a similar one) was actually mentioned in an article in Greenville's Daily Reflector about the previous restoration of the house. It was among many artifacts discovered in Greenwreath's walls in the 1980s. While it's a shame to now have no knowledge of where the rest of these artifacts have ended up, we were thrilled to have rediscovered the fork. Greenwreath just keeps offering more and more little tidbits of its history with every new job we undertake!