Mansion Cellars (1797-1801)

Research & Collections

The addition of the duplex onto the mansion extended the underlying cellars by an equal amount.  The archaeological and architectural evidence for the 1797 cellar is similar to that of the original 1760s basement in that it was used in a similar fashion—storage and temporary living spaces.

Archaeological investigations of this space revealed a number of ash pits that would have been used for the production of lye for soap, as well as a barrel-lined root cellar that would have been used for storing vegetables.  In addition to these, on the north-east of the mansion stood a hearth, mirroring the position of a similar hearth in the 1760s cellar, which would have made this a viable temporary living space for enslaved domestic servants.  It would not be surprising that the two separate households formed with the addition of the duplex was mirrored by the use of two separate groups of enslaved servants.

Unlike the 1760s cellar, however, the archaeological evidence was for a raised wooden floor rather than the tamped clay floor that one can see restored in the mansion today.  One further difference can be noted in the basement: it was not possible to access the secure storage area from this side of the mansion.

You may also be interested in the Cellars during:

The cellar underneath the new duplex addition to the house.  Unlike the other parts of the cellar, this one had a sill-laid wooden floor (pictured here with white paper).  Note the rectangular ash pits to the left.

Archaeologist recovers charred material from one of the ash pits found in the cellars.  These pits were full of hearth ash from the main house and were used to produce lye for soap.