Homes for Enslaved Families

Homes for Enslaved Families (HMFW0)

Location: Gaffney, VA 29341 Orange County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 13.11', W 78° 10.114'

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c. 1820s

Slaves who worked in the Madison's household lived in this nearby area known as the "south yard." The yards of these homes, where most of the household activities took place, were in direct sight of the mansion. As a result, the Madisons would have controlled not only the appearance but also the activities within this space. This artist's depiction shows the south yard during a work day, when all but the oldest and the youngest slaves were busy with assigned tasks.

Foundation of Chimney for Duplex Residence
Archaeologists have excavated the site of one of the houses in the south yard. The form of the foundation shows that the home was a duplex with a central chimney. Other evidence shows that the home had a wood floor, glass windows, and was well built - much different from the crude log dwellings that field slaves lived in just a quarter-mile away.

Personal Artifacts Recovered from a Home
Buttons, beads, ceramics, and glassware were excavated from one home in the south yard, and were among the few personal belongings of slaves. They would have purchased these items at local markets and stores. It was common for slaves to earn money by selling vegetables they grew or by working in their limited spare time. Dolley's niece recalls her aunt buying cabbages, sweet potatoes, chickens, and eggs from "Old Sawney," who might have lived in one of these homes.

1837 Insurance Map
In 1837, about a year after James Madison's death, Dolley insured the home and nearby outbuildings. The insurance company's map, to the left, shows these buildings. Three residences, each a duplex for two slave families, and two smokehouses once stood in this area. The kitchen (the brick structure in the painting above) is absent in this insurance map, suggesting that the structure was not of enough value to insure in 1837.
HM NumberHMFW0
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 at 9:59pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 747876 N 4233849
Decimal Degrees38.21850000, -78.16856667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 13.11', W 78° 10.114'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 13' 6.60" N, 78° 10' 6.84" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)864
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1017-1053 S Granard St, Gaffney VA 29341, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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