Skip to main content

tv   Burgwin- Wright House  CSPAN  March 18, 2017 5:43pm-6:01pm EDT

5:43 pm
museum. announcer: at 6:30, historian catherine clinton, author of the book "harriet cubin, road to freedom." >> following her retirement from the army, tubman returned to her wheren upstate new york, she settled into the role of activist, philanthropist. she solicited funds for benefits. she remained active in suffrage and other important crusade. announcer: for our complete schedule, go to c-span.org. we are standing next to two old jail cells that date back to the 1740's. they are some of the oldest structures here in wilmington. today they are part of the brca coming up, we-- go inside this old colonial home and take you on a to her.
5:44 pm
-- take you on a tour. >> is a small colonial out post. this would have been the outskirts of town. or 5thg above fourth street would have been the wilderness. it was kind of a cd little town -- kind of a seedy little town. on this property on the corner was three stone and brick buildings that we still have today that have been incorporated into the property and the house. you had general population, a subbasement that is underground for the more grievous crimes like murder and horse thieving, and debtor's prison. intact thee mostly jailers quarters where he and his family would have lived. beenthen, there would have
5:45 pm
gallows where people were hanged. that is the original property. once wilmington became more prominent, obviously the quarter is still the busiest intersection of town. it became really important to have a townhouse here in wilmington, and the jail is relocated up the street on the outskirts of town, and this house incorporates the walls of the jail as its foundation. >> welcome. you are in the center of wilmington on the kroner of -- on the corner of third and market on the original property of the city jail of wilmington from 1744 to 1768. this property and the stone building you see behind were part of the city jail compound.
5:46 pm
tophouse that it's built on of the jail was built in 1770 by a man that uses the wall of the jail as the foundation for the house. lot closer,s a that's why we have a front street and a water street area -- and a water street, which continuously floods today. it goes as far as 2nd street during high tide. it was really important for him to elevate his house and keep it protected when the floods came through or there was a lot of rain or hurricanes. was aeant that when this jail, it often flooded with prisoners inside. the jail had been relocated in , the wooden fire roof that would have been above where the houses today was burned. had beenme, wilmington here for about 30 years and more
5:47 pm
and more prominent families were moving into town. more people want to turn this area and to residential rather in -- rather than industrial. the fire burned the roof and the jail is relocated and one of the most well-known parts of town is up for sale. instead of demolishing the walls, they reuse them to incorporate them into the house. let me take you inside the house. this would have been the first space you are introduced in, the great hall. at the time, these halls would have been considered massive. ae sheer size of this hall is footprint of a regular middle-class home. for homes during this era lower and middle class would have been one or two rooms where
5:48 pm
the whole family share the space. to have halls this large in the center of your home was the only purpose to greet people and lead to 90 other rooms -- lead them into other rooms was to impress people. built this home in 1771 with one purpose, parties. parties translated into business. the more you entertain, the more you make. a emigrant here. he worked for the crown. it was the secretary to three royal governors and the treasurer for the colony. he married into a wealthy planter family and became a planter and merchant. when he moved here, he had connections to charleston. he joined a company that inputted -- imported goods. he had a ship that went to england, and one that went to new england.
5:49 pm
a couple went to the caribbean, where he would import goods into north carolina and back to europe. we know he didn't actively buy and sell slaves to make money, but we knew no -- but we do know he transported. someone in wilmington said they had slaves are just in the caribbean, someone of your ships take them up and transport them, and he would do that. over 300overall people. we know he actively bought and sold them on a regular basis. but to make money, that was not his trade. this house is the little different. this is southern port, and owned by a wealthy georgian. this is a georgian society. unlike later on, houses were used a little differently. this not being the primary home, it's only purpose being business, what have been built with that in mind.
5:50 pm
the first thing to note is the walls are white, the trim is colored. we do the opposite today. that's because, during the colonial area you relied on natural light. going up to the second floor, to the west would have been the public rooms where you entertain, and to the right what have been the private rooms. this is the dining room. this room was meant to really impress you. you notice the columns on the walls are similar to the ones outside. you got the crystal chandelier and the view. this is the room he would've invited you in for dinner. keep in mind, dinner was three or four hour ordeal. would take some air and stretch your limbs. this room was used in the summertime around 8:00 or 8:30.
5:51 pm
the yellow walls are very common, like in monticello and mount vernon. it also has a purpose. he keeps the room bright late into the evening. at the peak of the season, the sunsets around 9:30 here in wilmington. the yellow turns into an almost white, so it is functional. he would have wined and dined you, showed you his private , once theorchard gallows for the jail. he would show you he was in the and at the time was right across the street. all status symbols. the view of the shiver -- of the river and his ships. he would not have shown you the back of the property. once upon a time, we did have
5:52 pm
slaves quarters here that burnt down in 1939 and the carriage house for the horses that we lost to hurricane hazel in 1954. what you don't notice as the very large courtyard directly below it. the house is built at an angle to omit the view of that courtyard that connects the house and the kitchen. during a busy party, the kitchen doors were usually closed where all the bustling is going on to get ready for the party. he is omitting your view of the workers getting the food up using a train system. keep in mind the outdoor kitchen is to flights down, and the enslaved workers would have had to carry the food to flights of stairs across the courtyard. on the doors hear what have been the entrance to come in and serve the guests. we are standing in the courtyard that was omitted from your view of the dining room on the top floor. what you are seeing here is debtor's prison. originally there would have been to windows into a larger room
5:53 pm
similar to the one we are about to walk into four general population. colonial justice was very swift. you go to jail, held there into the judge can see you, and in four to six weeks he would come from a colonial outpost and try you. essentially that day, you were proven guilty or innocent. however, if you owed money or had been fined or public drunkenness, you would be held in an outdoor cell. the purpose was for people to come visit you and rate your labor. if you owed money, your family can pay your debt. you can rent your labor to a farmer to plow their fields, and the money they pay you goes to the sheriff towards your debt. as you work off your debt, you are eventually freed. behind your desk behind this area is the larger building. the left side would have been
5:54 pm
cages, and the right was the sheriff's office. the jail's quarters -- the jailers quarters was here. he was on the property 24/7 making sure the prisoners are taken care of, fed, not escaping. the compound itself and the orchard would have been the beginning of the gallows where people were hanged. there would have been stocks and calories and an outdoor cage -- ories and anill outdoor cage. what we are about to walk into is the jailers quarters that then became his kitchen. the original lot is still here and functional from 1739. have the replica here. the original is inside the house. we don't want to use it because we love to make sure it continues being functional. originally this was the jailers quarters, about the same size as the great hall inside the house.
5:55 pm
he would have lived here with his family, possibly a wife and children. that was pretty typical. you were either not doing so , so it was not uncommon for families to live in rooms no bigger than this. this was the original hearth used to cook their meals. later on, it is here that can accommodate two cooks who will live and work here and use the space as a kitchen. war, hehe revolutionary is essentially a loyalist. he has connections to the crown. he is working for the crown. that's where his alliances are. a lot of the wealthy planters in the area showed that line as long as possible between being part of the cause and fighting with the english because there is money involved. making business deals with people who consider themselves rebels and patriots.
5:56 pm
he is also doing business with the crown. ultimately, when it came time to really make a choice, he went back to england, used the medical excuse for that departure. we can infer from the letters that he is accused of being a loyalist. he has to come back after the war, which he does several years later. when he came back and got pardoned and became an american citizens, his three children and second wife also became american, and he stayed here until his death. rights are a prominent family during the colonial era. they are prominent here in wilmington to this day. several streets around town are named after them. many of the oldest families are connected to the wrights.
5:57 pm
when john left to go back to england during the revolutionary war, he rented the house to one of his good friends wright, his business associate. he rented the house here during the revolution, and when he got part in after the war, he sold it to the wrights. from 1799 until the 1870's, and this became the primary home. three generations lived here, the third sold it. the house was being threaten with demolition. it was in a prominent location, and there was money to be made if you sold it. starting to buy corners in downtown area for their gas stations. in 1930, when the last owner passed, the property transferred to the bank. the heirs wanted the bank to sell the property.
5:58 pm
to buy thisyou corner and demolish the house. it took eight years for the national society campaign throughout wilmington to purchase this property instead of standard oil. it's an eight years of campaigning and making counteroffers. finally, in 1930, they were able to acquire it. in 1951 when the house was restored to its colonial glory, it was opened as a museum. is one of the oldest historic houses to the public in the south. it opened march 30, 1951. what i hope visitors learn by visiting this house is the rich history that is here. a lot of people come initially for the architecture and furnishing. it is beautiful, but learning who the people were. we had three types of people here on this property. we had prisoners, enslaved manle, and the wealthiest
5:59 pm
-- one of the wealthiest men in the southeast. it is interesting to bring the house to life by talking about these people and what their lives were like. announcer: our cities to her staff recently traveled to wilmington, north carolina to learn about its rich history. learn more about wilmington and other stops on the tour at c-span.org/citiestour. you're watching "american history tv" all weekend, every tv.end on c-span3 this april marks the 100th anniversary of america's entry into world war i. on april 1, american history tv will be live from the national world war i maciel -- world war i museum and memorial to explore the role and fighting and the impact on the home front.
6:00 pm
it will take you inside to see artifacts that tell the world war i story. saturday, april 1, beginning at 10:30 a.m. eastern on "american history tv" on c-span3 tv. "american history tv" was at ford's theater in washington, d.c. today for the symposium by the abraham lincoln institute and the ford's theater society. speakers addressed topics covering is that lincoln's life, career, and legacy. it was there that actor john wilkes booth mortally wounded the 16th president on april 14, 1865 as the civil war was drawing to a close. coming up, all of today's symposium coverage. paul: good morning ladies and gentlemen. welcome to ford's theatre and the abraham lincoln institute annual symposium.

5 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on