Field Complex (1801-1817)

Research & Collectiona

While changes were being wrought in the landscape around the mansion, at the Tobacco Barn Quarter and Mount Pleasant life continued on much as it had done in previous years.  Families would go to work in the fields at the rise of the sun in the sky, and would continue to work until the sun would set.  Children would be borne, and elders passed away and were respectfully buried in the Slave Cemetery.

By this time, the former detached kitchen at Mount Pleasant had burned to the ground and no other structures from the original home site remained.   Adjacent to the old Mount Pleasant site a new overseer's house was built and the former tobacco barn across the road was used as a residence for field slaves.  The only remaining landscape feature at Mount Pleasant was the Madison family cemetery.

Archaeologists located a large depression at the site that was filled with trash debris including animal bone, ceramics, and a large amount of hearth ash.  This depression originally served as a source of clay that slaves used to daub the chimney and structure that served as their home.  These pits were often strategically located to serve as a sump to draw water away from the home and work yards of the quarter.

Archaeologists found the remains of a tobacco house that was later used as a slave quarter during the Washington years.  Enslaved residents used the central fire pit as a hearth to keep warm and cook their meals.  They deposited their trash in the nearby borrow pit (see photo above).