tv [untitled] May 6, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
youtube and other video internet distribution sites have been instrumental, actually, in changing how we capture ads. before when we would capture ads we were kind of dependent on what people would donate. so we might not get a complete run of ads, for example, one political party might donate their materials in a given year and the other one wouldn't. and now we can get a much more complete set of videos because we can go out and capture that material ourselves rather than being dependent on donations from campaigns or television stations when they're done with material. that being said, we would still like to get donations of material from the original source because it's generally higher quality. i think the value of the collection in one or two political ads, anyone can get those these days on the internet or record them off your tv if you've still got the older
recording devices or new tivo. but when you have an ad, a number of ads like this, 95,000 together, you really get a sense of the depth and breadth of information that's being presented by the candidates. and i think that i'd like visitors to get an appreciation for our collection in that sense. >> stay tuned all weekend long as american history tv features observing city, oklahoma. learn more about c-span's local content vehicles at cspan.org/loc cspan.org/localcontent. next month we feature wichita, kansas. you're watching american history tv on c-span 3. madison's montpelier is a national trust for historic preservation property located about 90 miles south of the nation's capital, near orange, virginia. in addition to the fourth president's restored home, the 2,600 acre estate includes the
cotz cabin, built in the 1870s by one of mr. madison's former slaves. american history tv visited the restored friedman's farm to learn what life was like for an emancipated slave and his family. >> welcome to the cotz cabin, friedman's farm here at james madison's montpelier. my name is christian cotz. this farm was built in the 1870s after the civil war and if you follow me around i'll show you around. george cotz was a slave for james madison born in 1810 from the family's oral tradition. what happens to georgia after dolly madison had to sell
montpelier we're not sure. the slaves were broken into three distinct groups at that time. one group was sold with the plantation to henry moncure, first group after the madisons, one group of slaves was sold outside to other owners all over and one group of slaves accompanied dolly to washington, where she had moved. we believed george cotz were among the slaves sold with montpelier and stayed on the property after its sale. the next time george gilmore appears in the record is 1870 when he shows up in the united states federal census living right here on this property. these trees weren't cut down until 1873 so it's pretty likely george didn't build this cabin until late 1873 or early 1874.
we know that through denver chronology, the study of logs, if you look right here you can actually see a core that's been taken out of the log by studying the tree rings in that core sample exactly what year that tree was cut down. george gilmore showed up in the 1870 census as a farm laborer living here. this land did not belong to him. this land belonged to dr. james madison, who is the great nephew of the president, dr. james madison had been a surgeon in the confederate army and had a medical practice in orange. but he also owned a 300, 400-acre plantation on this side of the highway and he needed people to work that land. after the civil war, there were no slaves, and most landowners didn't want to pay laborers to do their farming. so what was the solution?
the solution was tenant farming and sharecropping. we don't know the details but we believe george gilmore lived on this property in return for work that he did on the doctor's farm. by 1880, george is listed as a farmer, not a farm laborer. in other words he's no longer working for the doctor. he's working for himself. how is he still living on this land, if he's not working for the doctor anymore? george had five children, and the three oldest of them were sons, and those three sons were still living here and those three sons would be working for the doctor. there was a succession of three buildings on the property. the first was a small hut the confederate army built in 1863-1864. they camped here from december, january, until late april of '64, when they went off to the battle of the wilderness.
when george gilmore moved into that hut, he moved in working as a tenant farmer or sharecropper for dr. james madison. over time, he cobbled together a few of those other confederate huts to build a larger structure. if you look at this photograph, what you can see is the hut site, here is the chimney base from the hut site with the hut extending this way. it's not outlined on the picture, and then the first structure that george built for he and his family to live in, removing the chimney base and rebuilding a stouter chimney here, and then if you looked at the 1920s photograph that we have here, you can see that second structure behind the cabin, which was built in the mid 1870s. 1874. so a series of three structures. between the second and third structure there's a period of
ten years. george comes here after the civil war and why this delay? why wouldn't he have built a bigger, nicer home for his family before 1874? the reason lies in the relationship between tenant farmers or sharecroppers and the landowners that they worked for. the freed slaves, the emancipated slaves and the white landowners in the south had very tenuous relationships, uneasy at best, and the history between these two groups of people was not a good one. for an emancipated slave to be able to trust a white landowner to the extent that he would put time and energy into a home like this required a great deal of
trust. most friedmans homes are no longer standing because most friedman didn't expect to be in one place for very long. they didn't expect the relationship with the landowner they worked for would last. george, on the other hand, gives it time, waits the ten years, finally decides that, yes, indeed, i am going to be able to trust this man, and builds his home in 1874. compared to other friedman's homes in this period, this cabin was built to last. this cabin has stood for over 100 years. there are very few friedman's homes left in the united states, by the 1880 census, george gilmore is listed as a farmer. he is 70 years old, and he is finally stopped working for the doctor. his sons have taken over the agreement. his sons are doing the labor required for the doctor, and george is here farming his own
land. he has 16 acres that belong to, well that don't belong to him but that he has the right to farm. you see some of it's in orchard, some of it's in pasture, some of it's in crops. we know from the 1880 census that he had approximately five acres in corn, five acres in wheat. he had four hogs, an old horse, a milk cow and some chickens. the yield levels he reported from his corn and wheat crop wouldn't be enough to feed the horse so this was really hand-to-mouth living, very subsistence level living. we also through archaeology know that polly, george's wife and their two daughters most likely did piecework, had a piecework sewing business out of the house. we found all of these buttons, beads, straight pins and safety pins under the floor of the cabin, and it's far more, thousands and thousands of these
glass beads, far more than just one garment breaking or just a normal household's need for sewing material. by 1901, george gilmore is 91 years old, and the doctor is about the same age. these two guys, being in their 90s, finally decide they're going to die soon, and that they need to wrap up their estates. so in 1901, dr. james madison sells george gilmore this property. land was going for $1 an hour. george bought 16 acres from the doctor and this cabin that he built himself. the doctor charged george $560 for this cabin and 16 acres. fwh 1905 both george and the
doctor died and in 1908 polly died and the this was turned over that-to-their children. the children built an addition in 1910, a frame off the side of the house extending it a little bit and a lot of the family still lived here in the 1920s, at which time the grandchildren just couldn't agree on who outrightly owned the property. they argued and squabbled and wound up suing and went to court in gym crow, virginia. of course an african-american family wasn't going to get a fair shake from the judge so the court system decided to take the property from the family, reimburse them for its value, which was negligible, and which they split amongst themselves, and then the county auctioned the property and of course the dupont family wound up buying it. at that time the gilmore cabin
and farm came into the montpelier trark, then owned by the duponts and the duponts kept people living in this cabin until the 1960s. that i a lot of their laborers lived here, so this cabin saw use until the mid '60s, when it was abandoned and when the national trust acquired the property in 1984, you can see that the woods had just about overtaken the cabin. when the trust acquired montpelier in 1984, they acquired 140 structures, and it took us a good 15 or 20 years to get around to this one, a lady named rebecca gilmore coleman, the great granddaughter of george gilmore, retired to orange, and she came to at foundation and told us about her great grandfather's house. >> my great grandfather was
george gilmore, who built a cabin, his wife, polly, were my great grandparents. >> once we learned the story we decided we needed to restore it, so in 2001 we started reclaiming the gilmore cabin from the woods, and by 2005, we had a restored cabin. for the gilmore family, an emancipated family in the late 19th century, currency was used as a premium. most of the possessions that the gilmores had in their house fell into three categories can. they were made, they were found, or they were bought, and very few of their possessions would have been purchased, so if you look at the table, the table itself and the chairs and the benches around it would have been made by george or one of
his sons. many of the cooking implements and bowls would have been made by george or his sons, using the gourds as bowls or cups, wooden bowls, wooden spoons. the checkerboard made by hand. candles made by hand. found items might have included the ceramics. if you notice the pitcher on the table, it's not in the best shape. how did they get that pitcher? well, a wealthier white family might have gotten rid of that pitcher. they might have decided that that was no longer of good enough quality to keep in their home and so out it went. for an african-american family that pitcher was still absolutely usable so we find it here in the gilmore cabin. the oil lamp, however, would have been an item that they bought. many houses in the late 19th century would have included three or four oil lamps.
the gilmores might have had one. one of the other unique features of the gilmore cabin is the fact it has two fireplaces. remember that george, a 70-year-old man or 65-year-old man i suppose when he built the cabin, built this cabin by himself with only the help of three teenaged sons. the fact that he could build the cabin tells us about his carpentry skills but the fact that he could build a working chimney with two fire places, one downstairs and one upstairs, really lends credence to his ability as a craftsman. building a stone chimney is no easy feat and building one that has two fire places, two functioning fireplaces is really quite astounding. this ladder stair is very common
in cabins of this period. the upstairs is divided into two rooms as you can see, probably used both for storage and for sleeping quarters for the five kids that the gilmores had. this back room you can see the second fireplace that george built. of course the cabin has no insulation, and if you saw the floorboards and the gaps between them downstairs, you can imagine how chilly this would have been in the wintertime. chances are good that especially in the wintertime, when it got cold, all five kids huddled around this fireplace to sleep and stay warm. george and polly, of course, had the bed downstairs, and that was actually a mark of status,
having, you know, showing that your bed was a way to show off what wealth you had and who knows, maybe in the cold weather they, too, moved their bed closer to the fire. very little of the cabin had to be replaced during the restoration. you can see a few boards up here in the ceiling that are new material but most of the ceiling here is original, as are the partition walls and the floors. in fact, when we go back downstairs i can point out just the very few elements that did have to be replaced downstairs. the fireplaces were the only means of heating this cabin, the gilmores, the wood stoves were available, the gilmores certainly couldn't afford one. you'll notice how low these ceilings are. i have to duck to get between
the ceiling joists. we know from oral history that george gilmore was, indeed, a tall man. so why build your ceiling so low? a lot of people will say, oh, well people were shorter back then. that's just not true. you built your ceilings low to retain the heat, the higher your ceiling, the colder your room. the only heat you're getting is from that fireplace, which does not shed nearly the heat that a wood stove will, and so you want to have minimal doors, minimal windows and as short a ceiling as you can stand, if you want to stay warm in the wintertime. you'll notice this floor, this is all new wood. this did have to be replaced, the original floor had completely rotted away by the time we restored the cabin. most of this wood came from a shipyard in new england, as i recall, finding these wide sawn planks was very difficult. otherwise, there's only one
ceiling joist that needed to be replaced in the entire cabin, and that's right here. you compare this to this, you can sort of see the difference, and the only other thing that needed to be replaced on the cabin was the doors and the front porch. so after george and polly died, their children inherited the cabin and the farm, and the next, one of their sons, william, built an addition onto this side of the cabin. it was a frame addition, and he wasn't near the carpenter. his father was, and over time, it fell apart rather, in more dire estate than the rest of the cabin did, so it was unfortunately unsalvageable. one of the things that i found interesting when i started researching the gilmore cabin and the reconstruction era was the political history of this time period. i think many of us feel like, after the civil war, lee
surrendered to grant. the slaves were freed and everyone lived happily ever after, and that's just not the case. lee surrendered to grant in april of 1865, and yet the 13th amendment to the constitution, which outlaws slavery in the united states, wasn't passed by the federal government until december of 1865. it took them eight months to determine whether or not slavery really should be outlawed. it's hard for us to believe that, that it would take that long in today's day and age. the 14th amendment, which granted african-americans equal protection under the law, was not passed until 1868, so they had to wait another three years for that right, and african-american men weren't given the right to vote until 1869. so even another year for that. the freedman's bureau, which was
a very, very small federal agency, was in charge of sort of managing the south, and making sure that african-americans did receive fair and equal treatment in the south. by the late 1870s, early 1880s, all of the confederate states had written new state constitutions and had been readmitted to the union and as each state was readmitted to the union, the freedman's bureau left the state and left the state in the hands of its own governments. it didn't take long for those state governments to start passing different laws and different state constitutions, and to find loopholes in the constitutions that they had written, and by the mid 1880s, the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments, while they still existed in the constitution, were virtually null and void in
the american south, and this ushered in the period of jim crow. welcome to the 1910 train depot at james madison's montpelier. we're located between route 20 and the norfolk southern railway. in 1910, this rail road belonged to southern rail and mr. dupont, who was the owner of montpelier at the time, wanted the train to stop for him, and in order to have that happen, he needed to build a train station, so he did. come on inside and i'll show it to you. the history at montpelier is very interesting in the dupont era, because of course, the duponts were not a southern family. the duponts especially william and annie dupont, had actually lived in europe for a number of years before coming back to
america, were they chose to settle out here in western virginia. so they were coming into a different social atmosphere than what they were accustomed to, either in delaware, where the family was, or in europe certainly. and in the south, things were segregated. they were in the north as well, but not to the same extent and certainly they were not in europe, but because he was living in the south, he had to abide by social customs here with a segregated set of waiting rooms for the people who worked on his estate. there were segregated kitchens, and segregated dining rooms for the laborers. there were segregated housing, and yet when it came to work, it gave people autonomy that was based on their merit. his building coreman on the
property was mitchell jackson, a black man, descended from one of the slaves at montpelier. another african-american gentleman was one of the dupont's chief horse trainers. so they did not segregate when it came to jobs and getting the best man for the job. as we leave this space and go over to the other side of the building, we have to remember that we have the freedom to do that today, but from the 1880s, until the 1960s, separate but equal was the way it was, was the law in the south. imagine leaving this room and not being able to enter the next room. so as you can see, this waiting
room, the white waiting room is twice as large as the colored waiting room, has more space, a bigger stove, windows that look out on the tracks, nice view, and an actual door to access the stationmaster's office. one of the interesting things about the montpelier training depot is the fact that the waiting rooms are segregated, but the thing that traveled most frequently on the trains across america was not passengers or freight. it was mail, u.s. mail ran, you know, was delivered by train, and train stations became post offices, almost universally. so because the post office was the federal space, it had to be secti sectioned off to itself. the wire cage you see there is
historically accurate to the 1910 period. the u.s. postal service, though, was never segregated, and so if you were coming to buy a ticket to ride the train and you were an african-american, you had to walk through the colored door, but if you were an african-american who lived in the montpelier station area, you walked through a separate door along with your white neighbor and came in through the same door to the same space and got your mail together. the station agent at montpelier didn't just sell tickets to passengers who wanted to ride the train. the station agent was also in charge of the telegraph and later the telephone, to make sure that the trains were safe to travel down the tracks. remember, there's only one set of tracks, and there are trains running in both directions.
so if there's a train coming north from the charlottesville area, the station agent has to make sure that his track is clear from here to charlottesville with trains heading south. the restoration of the train station started in 2008, after the mansion was finished. we received funding through the transportation enhancement act. we got a grant from the federal government to help us do this. private donations, especially from the family of russell coffin childs. the restoration was quite an effort, the station was really fallen down. the post office had been moved to the colored waiting room. in fact, about a dozen years ago, when i started working at montpelier, the postmaster had this space as his office, this wire cage was still in place, and where this box of mail slots
was, was his little window to speak to the people who came into the post office. what we decided to do was the montpelier post office was very important to the local community and we didn't want to lose that, so what we decided to do was move the post office to the far room of the station, which is beyond this wall, which is what was called the freight room and that's where all the freight from the trains was stored until it was placed on the trains themselves, so it was a big, empty room. we moved the postmaster and the post office over there, and we decided to open this up as an exhibit space. the decision to whether or not to put the white and colored signs over the doors of the train station was a very contentious one. we consulted any number of people, including the african-american historical
society here in orange, and a number of consultants, people like roger wilkins, rebecca gilmore-coleman, lenny sorenson, people who were in the field of african-american history. i would say overwhelmingly, the response we got was yes, put them back. people need to be made aware of what life was like not all that long ago. there were, however, a number of people who were, who did not want to see us put the signs back over the doors. the jim crow period was a very painful part of our history, and a lot of people who lived through it didn't want to relive it. i guess the montpelier foundation and the majority of the people that we talked to decided that, in the end, it was better to show the history than to hide it. people stopped me at the mansion and they asked me what th