Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory - Virginia


R R Moton House

R R Moton House, Rice, Prince Edward; (Pleasant Shade Kitchen-Quarter) (37.273802, -78.290555)

Felling Date: Winter 1745/6 Braces 1745(C), 1743, 1737;

Corner posts (0/2); Collar(0/1); Rafters (3/4) 1730, 1700, 1632. Site Master 1564-1745 RRM (t = 7.1 TUVA; 6.2 WVVAP; 4.7 PHWV).

The centre-chimney kitchen-quarter at Pleasant Shade was the boyhood home of prominent African-American educator Robert Russa Moton in the late 19th century. It has a classic two-room plan, with exterior doors opening into the lower spaces, both of which have large work fireplaces. A single ladder leads up through unfinished space to an occupiable but unheated attic. Close observation reveals that the building began as a higher-status 18th-century house, probably built for a white landowner, and was remodelled and possibly moved to provide service to the main house at Pleasant Shade, itself a relatively small planter's house. In its earliest form, the secondary building had centred front and rear doors, opening into a hall from which a stair ran along an off-centre partition. The house had a steep gable roof with tilted false plates, a means of roof framing that fell from prominence for house construction in late colonial Virginia. Ceiling joists were planed, beaded, and left exposed, an approach that declined for houses of this scale in south-central Virginia in the early 19th century. Given these factors and the era when planters settled Prince Edward County, the building was thought to date to the 3rd quarter of the 18th century. Thus the single felling date of 1745/6 is slightly earlier, and hence significant.

Miles, D H, and Worthington, M J, 2006 “The Tree-Ring Dating of the R R Moton House, Pleasant Shade Kitchen-Quarter, Rice, Prince Edward County, Virginia”, ODL unpubl rep 2006/59

Link details about Robert Russa Moton here




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Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory

Michael Worthington
Jane Seiter, Ph.D

25 E. Montgomery St.
Baltimore, MD 21230