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This is a contributing entry for Somerset Place State Historic Site and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.
In 1839, more than 400 hams and pork shoulders hung in this unusually large Smokehouse (c. 1830). It is thought that Josiah Collins III provided meat both to his own family and to his siblings living in Edenton. Somerset Place has an unusually large number of domestic dependencies or household service buildings. These highly specialized structures functioned solely for the purpose of supplying goods and services to the Collins family. There were approximately 25 enslaved house servants on this plantation working in and around these buildings seven days per week.

  • Interior of Smokehouse showing horseshoe hearths
  • Smokehouse

Enslaved people preserved meat for the Collins family by smoking it in this smokehouse. They shoveled hot coals into the three brick hearths and used different types of leaves to create various flavors that the Collins family desired, including hickory leaves. The 1839 inventory of the Smokehouse included 434 smoked hams inside this structure, which had been smoked over the course of five years.

Self-Guided Tour Brochure, Somerset Place State Historic Site.

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Somerset Place State Historic Site

Somerset Place State Historic Site