Summer Hill
Mehixton Plantation
44Hn94
 


Overview

History

Images
• Artifacts
• Site


Broaddus Flats
Assassquin Plantation
44Hn254

Dover Steam Mill
44Go327

18th Century Cellar
44Hn121

19th Century Kitchen Cellar
44KW236

Rock Springs
Native American Camp Site
44Hn51
 
Summer Hill Overview

Site 44Hn94 is a single-component (Anglo-American) Virginia colonial dwelling, built ca. 1720 and razed by fire ca. 1780, but with strong evidence of occupation into the second decade of the 19th century. This brick house site lies in a hardwood forest fifty feet above sea level on a small flat hilltop near the Pamunkey River in the Studley Quadrangle map. It is now part of a 1,000-acre farm known as Summer Hill, so named after the 1792 home located near the River Road and Hanovertown (old Page’s Warehouse). Excavations on this site began in June, 1978, and continued, using entirely student and adult volunteer labor, until 1992. Approximately one third of the basement and a small fraction of the 'yard' have been excavated. A test unit placed into a brick stack behind the main house hinted that this may have been the location of the separate kitchen. There is no evidence for brick confiscation on the site in the years following the fire. Indeed, archeologists must excavate a thick layer of building rubble (four feet or more) and late artifacts in order to get down to an 8” layer of black ash and burned artifacts that overlies early basement debris.

Diagnostic artifacts, such as ceramics and English kaolin pipes, have clearly shown us that the occupants of this home could afford possessions ranging from everyday English earthenwares and stonewares (none locally-made) to costly European porcelains, spanning practically the entire 18th century. Archeologists have unearthed good samples of Rhenish stoneware jugs, mugs, and chamber pots. Interestingly, English pearlwares start just before the fire, but continue to be the predominant pottery fragments found in the trashy top of the cellar, cutting off about 1820. Someone may have been living in the kitchen and throwing their trash into the old cellar for decades after the demise of the house. Fragments of a small pearlware bowl, found in both the kitchen yard and the cellar top, mend together.

The substantial brick house, whose basement section measures 42’ X 24,’ may have been built by a grandson of Col. John Page, who had immigrated in the 1650s and who was soon called “merchant and planter.” This property at Summer Hill, originally known as the much larger property of Mehixton, was acquired in 1672 and passed down through the generations until 1853, when the last Page children (girls) were married and moved away. The Newton family bought about 1,000 acres of the original 3,600 and their generations have resided in this 'newer' house (1792) ever since. Mrs Ruby Newton, the present owner, has been very kind to allow me and my diggers to excavate on her property over the years.

Date posted: 7.24.03

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