At Home in Poplar Grove
"This front room was my mom and dad's formal parlor where they entertained. Perhaps the preacher would come over after services and have some tea. They did not allow me and my five brothers in this room very often. I guess my mom wanted to keep the furniture clean."
All the furniture was made in the 1850s, and all of it sits lower than today's chairs and tables. The average height of a woman was 4'11" and the average height of a man was 5'4".
The back parlor was the children's play room, or occasionally it was used as a sick room. "My father had a very strange rule that only family members and servants were allowed upstairs on the bedroom level. When any of us were sick we were brought down here and the doctor would visit us in this room. All my brothers were born in this back parlor."
She said her father suffered from gout and to relieve his pain he sat in a rocking chair and put up his feet on a rocking stool to improve his circulation. "It made him not very happy so we actually called this his grouch chair. We knew not to mess with him. We knew if we had something to ask him to wait until he was done using his grouch chair."
Also in this room is Henrietta's engagement chair where her suitor, Dr. Joseph Christopher Shepard, got down on bended knee and asked for her hand in marriage. "When I accepted his proposal he was allowed to sit in the chair next to me and we got to hold hands. We used to have to sit across the room from each other."
On Saturday nights the family hosted square dances. They opened the pocket doors between the two parlors, which instantly gave them the largest room in the Scotts Hill area, invited the 14 other families that lived nearby and hired a fiddler and a caller. "We would roll all the furniture out into the back porch. All the big pieces have wheels on them. We rolled up the carpets, sprinkled cornmeal on the floor and had ourselves a good old-fashioned square dance."
The Foys were good Methodists and attended the church across the street. It was against the rules to dance on Sunday, so the party had to end at midnight. "My brothers didn't like that rule very much, so if they were having a really good time one of them would turn back the clock an hour. We'd get an extra hour of dancing and no one ever knew."
She said her nephew Robert installed oak flooring throughout the downstairs in 1920 but left the pine flooring in the dining room because the natural resin in pine is stain resistant, and wouldn't allow any spillage to seep into the wood. This same nephew put up a windmill over the well that pumped water up and into the house, and added a kitchen.
Henrietta very meticulously points out the salt cellars on the dining room table. "We harvest our own salt on the plantation. We have a three-pan saltworks system and each pan doubles in size as it goes up. Our largest pan holds about 1,800 gallons of water and that is on a permanent foundation that we built out of brick."
Slaves went with wagons to the ocean, filled up barrels with water, and hauled them back to pour them into pan number one. The sun evaporated the water to a certain brine level, and they pulled the plug to empty it into pan number two. Again the water evaporated down to a certain brine level, and lime settled to the bottom of the pan. The water was moved to pan number three and the lime on the bottom was used to make paint or as fertilizer. They put a flame under pan number three and the salt crystallized and rose to the top.
During the Civil War, the Union army went up and down the coast destroying saltworks that typically were found all along the coastal shores. "Ours was further inland and the Union soldiers looked for those big smoke plumes. Ours wasn't taken out, plus we used the drier woods so it didn't create as much smoke."
Terms: Poplar Grove Plantation Page 2
Poplar Grove Plantation Page 2