Mount Pleasant (1763-1797)

Research & Collections

Following the move to the Montpelier mansion, the original dwelling at Mount Pleasant fell into disrepair and was soon stripped of any usable materials and intentionally burnt.  The wall plaster, burnt clay wall-infill and the cellar attest to this being a well-built home.

Although the original homestead of Mount Pleasant had been razed in the 1760s soon after the Madisons took up occupancy of the new mansion, the complex of structures remained in use throughout the 18th century.  One example of this was the co-opting of the detached kitchen as a home for a family of enslaved field laborers.

During their occupation of the former kitchen, the inhabitants used the cellar from the original main house as a place to dump their domestic trash and hearth ashes.
 

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Overhead shot of the stone-lined basement from the original homestead of the Madison family at Mount Pleasant.

Overhead photograph of excavations at the kitchen cellar.  Note the series of post holes in the upper portion of the feature.  These appear to be in the area of the collapsed wall and indicate a repair to the structure after the cellar was backfilled with the clay deposits.

Photograph of ceramics recovered from upper deposits of kitchen cellar.  These crossmended vessels represent the total ceramics that were owned by the enslaved household.  Archaeologists assembled over 1200 sherds to reconstruct the vessels from the kitchen.