Hoyt Barnum House
Hoyt Barnum House
The Hoyt Barnum House has recently been cleaned and refurbished with 17th and 18th century furniture. The early 17th century painted pine, six-board storage chest retains its original compass-drawn decoration in red, green and white pigments. It was found in an early Wethersfield house and has been attributed to a Wethersfield area craftsman, perhaps one named Peter Blin. The staple hinges are original. The 18th century Hanging Lantern lighting fixture with its distinctive onion-shaped glass globe would originally have held a candle, but at some point it was electrified.
Made in Connecticut, 1750-1820, the Queen Anne Maple Armchair has a serpentine crest, a solid vase splat, sausage and ring-turned legs with flaring feet which are joined by a ball and reel-turned front stretcher. Made in Connecticut, circa 1780, the maple Queen Anne Drop-Leaf Table has D-shaped leaves and a shaped skirt which is raised on slightly cabriole legs with pad feet. It is painted red with possibly old green paint underneath. Small tables were widely used in early homes as they were portable and could easily be moved from room to room or even outdoors on a nice day.
Many cooking utensils and tools were needed to prepare family meals. Most homes would not have had all of the ones shown at the fireplace. While none of the metal items are believed to be made by Samuel Hoyt, the builder of the house, he was, by profession, a blacksmith and was occupied in making similar utensils.
The early maple Folding Rope Bed features a headboard with simple pineapple finials. There is no footboard. Ropes supported the straw tick or feather mattress and had to be pulled taut to hold the bed frame together. There would undoubtedly have been a trundle bed under this bed to provide sleeping room for young children. It would be pulled out at night and slid under the bed in the daytime to allow more space for daily household activities. The 1738 inventory of Samuel Hoyt's estate lists a trundle bed.
The Buttery is a small room adjacent to the keeping room holds many of the utensils needed for food preparation. One of the major household jobs was making butter and cheese. Butter was churned from the heavy cream which rose to the top of fresh milk after standing for some hours or days in shallow earthenware or tin dishes on cool pantry shelves. After skimming it off, the cream was put in the churn, which was often made of wood as well as stoneware. It was “churned” by moving a wooden dasher up and down—a tedious job often assigned to younger family members. The butterfat in the cream eventually formed into clumps. It was then transferred to a bowl where it was “worked” with a butter paddle to remove any remaining liquid (buttermilk). This ensured that the butter would keep well and remain sweet. It was then packed into containers—crockery or wood. It was sometimes packed into fancy molds with carved designs to imprint the butter.
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