Side view of the house at Latta plantation. In this image, you can see the outbuildings on the Latta plantation used for storage and often for cooking. The Latta family, while successful, were never rich, and their home is representative of the types of homes prosperous families lived in during the antebellum period. There were few families that could afford to build homes on the scale of Orton or Stagville.
The main living room at Latta Plantation. This room showcased several important symbols of wealth, including the mirror and the clock. The large windows also signified the wealth of the family, since glass paned windows were expensive.
The Kitchen at Latta plantation. The large fireplace was used for cooking as well as heat. Notice that this room is absent of ornaments. The kitchen was a functional room and servants worked here to prepare the meals for the family.
These outbuildings at Latta housed animals, feed and bedding for animals, and farm equipment. Today the grass is mowed, but during the antebellum period the grass would have been left long for animals to graze.
This is an example of the type of house a slave family lived in on the Latta plantation. Each slave house on the Latta plantation housed two families.
The inside of a slave cabin on Latta plantation. It is much cruder than the kitchen in the main house. The windows did not have paned glass like the glass in the main plantation houses.
A canopy bed and dresser at Hope Mansion. This canopy bed and the dresser with a mirror were luxury items and a sign of Governor Stone's wealth and success.
The main room at Hope Mansion. Notice the carved wood door and paneling. The couch and chairs are typical of the type of furniture owned by wealthy families.
A second view of the Orton house. The main house with the pillars is the original structure, with the wings added later. The extensive gardens at Orton add to the majesty of the house. Although the plants and flowers we see today at Orton were not the ones of the antebellum period, wealthy plantation owners kept extensive gardens to showcase their wealth and prosperity.
The herb garden on the Mendenhall plantation. The herb garden was maintained by the resident doctor in Jamestown, North Carolina, Dr. Madison Lindsay. Herbal medicines were the primary form of treatment in antebellum America, and Dr. Lindsay and his medical students made their own medications.
The outhouse at the Mendenhall plantation. Rich or poor, people used an outhouse in the nineteenth century.
This is the main room in the Mendenhall house. Notice that this room was used for weaving and quilting and was a more functional room than the house at Latta Plantation.
Medical supplies on a desk at the Mendenhall plantation. Medical doctors in the antebellum period often mixed their own medications for their patients. The images above the desk show human anatomy.
The fireplace in the kitchen of the Mendenhall house. On the mental are a variety of household objects.
Floor plan of the Hayes Plantation in Edenton, North Carolina. The Hayes Library is highlighted in the bottom left corner.
This is the tabletop from Hayes Library in the North Carolina Collection Gallery. It contains several personal effects of James Cathcart Johnston, including the illuminator, fingertip extensions, and scales. The maroon tin box contained all of these items, plus many more souvenirs from Johnston’s life, such as lockets of hair from some of his deceased relatives and friends.
Closeup of items from the table in the Hayes Plantation Library.
The Hayes Library included nearly 2,000 books, including history, legal texts, literature, and bound volumes of magazines.
On the mantel of the Hayes Library are plaster busts of James Petigru and Chancellor Kent, believed to be James Kent, chancellor of the law courts of New York in the 1800s. Also pictured is a clock, which is not part of the original Hayes collection, but is authentic for the time period, and is symbolic of the clockwork James Cathcart Johnston is believed to have had an interest in.
The couch in the Hayes Library is typical of nineteenth-century upholstered furniture.
Chairs with attached desktops could be used to write letters. In the antebellum period, written letters were the only means of communicating with distant friends, family, and business partners.
Like most families of their moderate wealth and social standing, Bennitts had a few well-kept pieces of fine furniture.
The bed at Bennett Place.
Most people who could afford it used a separate building for a kitchen. Cooking in an outbuilding kept the main house cooler in summer and reduced the risk of fires.
The Bennitts cooked at a fireplace. Few families had cookstoves until after the Civil War.
Side view of the Allen House in Alamance County, N.C., showing the back porch, cellar door, and stone chimney.
The fireplace in the Allen House in Alamance County, N.C., where John and Rachel Allen lived with their family in the late 1700s. On the floor of the fireplace, two andirons stand in the ashes holding a log. To the right of the andirons, a kettle hangs from a hook. Various cooking and fire-tending tools hang from the left and right walls of the fireplace, and lanterns sit on the mantel above. To the right of the fireplace, a straw broom leans against a wooden cupboard that holds clay dishes and jars.
At the Allen House in Alamance County, N.C., herbs hang to dry above a wooden colonial-era dresser. Rachel Allen, who lived in the house with John Allen and their family in the late 1700s, used herbs as remedies in her medical practice. To the right of the dresser, stairs ascend to the house's loft.
Inside view of the Allen House in Alamance County, N.C., showing the kind of furniture and household items that would have been present when the house was occupied in the late 1700s. In the center of the image is a wooden-framed bed with a straw mattress supported by rope. A trundle bed underneath provided additional sleeping space for children. To the right of the bed is a wooden chest with a basket and a checkers set on top. This bed was much more typical of what people in antebellum North Carolina slept on, compared with the more elaborate bed found in the Hope Mansion.
Log smokehouse behind the Allen House in Alamance County, North Carolina. Without refrigeration, meat had to preserved. The two most common methods were salting meat and drying meat in a smoke house.
Photo of a colonial-era broom leaning against an outside wall at the Allen House in Alamance County, North Carolina. The broom, made of sticks, was used to sweep dried leaves from the yard surrounding the house as a way of preventing the spread of fire.