Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library Research Report Series - 1526
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library
This property is located on Nicholson Street just east of the point where Queen Street, running north, meets it. The buildings and grounds were restored between January, 1950 and April, 1951 by Colonial Williamsburg, Incorporated, with Perry, Shaw and Hepburn acting as architectural consultants and Cleverdon, Varney and Pike as structural engineering consultants. The Department of Architecture was in charge of the archaeological and architectural investigations and the preparation of the archaeological, measured and working drawings and the specifications required for the execution of the work. This last was the responsibility of the Department of Construction and Maintenance. The persons directing the project were:
A. Edwin Kendrew, Vice President and Resident Architect, Division of Architecture, Construction and Maintenance
Mario E. Campioli, Director, Department of Architecture
Ernest M. Frank, Assistant Director, Department of Architecture
Singleton P. Moorehead, Architectural Advisory Consultant
Henry O. Beebe, Director, Department of Construction and Maintenance
Charles E. Hackettt, Assistant Director, Department of Construction and Maintenance
Lincoln L. Peters, Field Superintendent
Sidney I. Benton, Job Foreman
The purpose of this report is to present facts concerning the architecture of the buildings on the Tayloe plot. More specifically, it will record the condition of the House, Office, Storehouse and Smokehouse before their restoration and what was done to them in the course of it and will describe their various architectural features, giving precedents in eighteenth century Virginia building practice for now work purporting to replace missing old parts. It will refer only briefly to new work which makes no claim to authenticity. In the case of the Kitchen, Laundry and Privies, which are wholly reconstructed, only the exteriors will be treated in detail, since no attempt has been made to keep the interiors authentic.
This report was prepared by Howard Dearstyne for the Department of Architecture during July and August, 1952. Certain corrections and additions were made to it in December,1952 and January, 1953.
|CONCERNING THE NEED TO QUICKEN THE DEAD (A Preface)||vii, viii|
|PEOPLE ASSOCIATED WITH THE TAYLOE HOUSE||1-38|
|ARCHITECTURAL ANALYSIS OF THE HOUSE||39-138|
|Age of the House||40-44|
|External Form of the House||49-58|
|The Restoration of the House||59-61|
|Walls and Wall Covering||74|
|Roof and Roof Covering||75-78|
|Wall and Roof Trim||79-86|
|Windows, Shutters, Grilles, Venetian Blinds||87-100b|
|Doors and Door Trim||101-104|
|South Porch and Porch-Kitchen||105-111a|
|Its General Character||114-115|
|Stair and Stair Hall||118-124|
|Wall Treatment - Paneling||125-131|
|Doors and Door Trim||132-133|
|Floors and Flooring||135|
|Paint Colors & Paint Color Research||136-138c|
|Persons Who Did Research and Made Drawings||138h|
The buildings of Williamsburg may be examined from a number of different standpoints all of them perfectly valid but some of them more germane than others to the purposes of the Williamsburg restoration project. The old houses of the town may be valued, for instance, for their intrinsic merit as architecture and, again, as representative of Virginian building in colonial times and in the early days of the republic. They have their importance, that is, viewed as examples of the art of architecture and as landmarks along the road of architectural history. But since the primary raison d'etre of the Williamsburg undertaking is to recall to the minds of the people of this country the sequence of great events which led to the establishment of the allied colonies as an independent nation and to impress upon them certain fundamental principles of human liberty and equitable government which were formulated here at this period, it seems reasonable to look upon the buildings of the town primarily as the setting, partially restored and partially re-created, for the life out of which these significant principles grew and in the midst of which the momentous events of colonial and, particularly, late colonial times took place. The great principles and those who shaped them and the great events and those who participated in them are, indeed, for us today the things of cardinal importance in Williamsburg. The restored town must be considered chiefly as an instrument, more graphic and more arresting than the written word upon which we are for our information and inspiration otherwise chiefly dependent--an instrument created to aid both the well-informed and the uninstructed to visualize the viii life and time of our history-making ancestors and to put them in a frame of mind receptive to the ideas of these men. In this program the architecture, therefore, plays an important role but it is not to be construed as an end in itself but, rather, a means to the end just outlined.
It is our intention, in this report, to give a complete and, as far as possible, accurate analysis of the architectural features of the building. In addition, in view of our interest in the life and times of colonial and post colonial Williamsburg we will tell our readers something about the lives and activities of the people who lived in it or owned it. Some of these people were persons of note and distinction. In the case of others who were less than illustrious, certain incidents in their lives are of interest and merit comment. Some, doubtless estimable people, have left behind them no epic log of their life's voyage, or, at least, this has not come to light. Whichever the case may be, the remarks we make concerning these people are intended to lend color and human interest to the house, which would otherwise remain, however fine it may be, an untenanted, lifeless shell. Unlived in dwellings have a forlorn aspect and so we people them with ghosts. To make this come to life we will furnish it with the memories of some of those whom it served as a pleasant and commodious town house or for whom it was well loved home. In attempting thus to infuse the breath of life into this honored relic we hope to add some missing stones to the still incomplete mosaic of life in eighteenth century Williamsburg upon which all of us are working.
LOCATION OF THE LOT AND ITS FIRST OWNER: FRANCIS TYLER
TYLER RETAINS THE PROPERTY BY BUILDING HOUSE UPON IT
The land on which the Tayloe House stands, colonial lot #262, is located on the north side of Nicholson Street directly behind the Ludwell-Paradise property. The first person to own it, apparently, was Francis Tyler, son of Henry Tyler of Williamsburg. Francis acquired it in 1715 from the trustees of the city by planking down 15 shillings and agreeing to build on it within two years a brick or frame dwelling 40 feet by 20 feet. He made this compact in conformity with a provision of an act passed by the General Assembly in 1705 to encourage the growth of the new town--Tyler had to build his house within the allotted time or return the building lot to the city. He apparently did this for he still owned the 2 property in 1720. We have no notion as to what sort of house he built, except that, to satisfy the legal requirements, it had to be a "Brick House or framed House with two Stacks of Brick Chimney's & Cellers under ye whole House bricked forty Foot long & twenty Foot broad ...."
TYLER HOLDS OFFICIAL POSTS IN GOVERNMENT OF COLONY
Tyler was a person of some distinction and in his day filled at least two official posts of importance, being at one time undersheriff of York County and at another marshal of the colonial Vice-Admiralty Court. It should be remembered that in the eighteenth century the sheriff's position was far more important than it is today, and a sheriff's deputy was a person of consequence. As for the mar shall of the Admiralty Court--he served as secretary to the judge of the court and traveled about with him. The Admiralty Court had jurisdiction over matters of trade.
TYLER SELLS BUILDINGS AND LOT TO A CLASSMATE, JAMES ROSCOW
STORY OF HOW THE SCHOOLBOYS "BARRED OUT" THE REVEREND DOCTOR BLAIR
In 1720 Tyler sold lot #262, together with, according to the deed, "all houses" on it, to James Roscow (or Roscoe), a William and Mary classmate of his, for they had been studentS together in the grammar school of the college. And thereupon hangs a tale--celebrated enough in its day, no doubt--which will bear retelling. The story has to do with a curious custom at the grammar school, which was located in the Brafforton, of "barring out" the masters from the building to sue for a longer vacation at the Christmas season. At the time of this incident, 1702, the practice had been forbidden by the testy president of the college, James Blair. Francis Tyler, James Roscow and their classmates, it seem, egged on by no less a functionary than Blair's hot-tempered rival, his excellency, Lieutenant-governor 3 Francis Nicholson, who went so far as to provide them with pistols and gunpowder but, apparently, no shot, revived the custom and locked out the president himself. We will let that redoubtable personage tell his version of the scandalous affair in his own pithy style:
BLAIR ACCUSES NICHOLSON OF INCITING BOYS TO KILL HIM
About a fortnight before Christmas, 1702, while I lodged at the College, I heard the School boys, about 12 o'clock at night, a-driving of great nails, to fasten & barricade the doors of the Grammar School. I was mightily surprised at it, for we had banished this custom & it was quite left off for some years.... they presently fired off 3 or 4 Pistols and hurt one of my servants in the eye with the wadd, as I suppose, of one of the Pistols; while I pressed forward, some of the Boys, having a great kindness for me, called out, "for God's sake sir, don't offer to come in, for we have shot & shall certainly fire at any one that first enters," Upon hearing of this, I began to think there was something more than ordinary in the matter and desired a parley with them .... The short of this story was, to the best of my remembrance, that while they had no thoughts of any such thing, the Govr Sent for him, & put him upon it, gave them money to buy victuals & Drink & Candles, & Powder, & Shot, and lent them 6 of his own Pistols.
THE GOVERNOR PUBLISHES "A MODEST ANSWER" TO DR. BLAIR'S ACCUSATION
James Blair, of course, saw to it that the story got around. But any gauntlet thrown down by Blair was sure to be picked up promptly by the Governor and the latter set the presses clattering with his spirited refutation, "A Modest Answer to a Malicious Libel against his Excellency Francis Nicholson, Esq." Naturally, he denied having had any design on Blair's life. Admitting the loan of the pistols and powder, he gave the lie to Blair's accusation that he had also furnished shot. The pistols and powder were perfectly harmless, he contended, and all according to accepted usage in such affairs. To back up his statements be appended to them the signed affidavits of several of the participants in the escapade. Among those who rose to defend the Governor were 4 Orlando Jones, Francis Tyler and James Roscow. And so, after much sound and fury, the matter died down, as such childish controversies generally do, but not until Blair had chalked up another item in his account with Nicholson which he was one day to settle by getting the king to recall his "Lieutenant and Governor General" from his majesty's dominion of Virginia.
NEXT OWNER, JAMES ROSCOW, IS RECEIVER GENERAL OF VIRGINIA
By the time, 1720, that James Roscow acquired the Tayloe House, he had, apparently, left his boyhood instabilities well behind him and had developed into a responsible and substantial citizen. He had become Receiver General of Virginia four years before this-- Roscow had, in fact, bought the office from William 5 Byrd II for the, in that day, rather formidable sum of £500, a clear enough indication that the post was for the incumbent a lucrative one. Such transfers of this post required the approval of the government, which was given to the Byrd-Roscow transaction, for the latter was commissioned Receiver In March, 1716 and admitted to the office in January, 1717. The nature of the position is made clear in the instructions issued to the new official:
Whereas ... you are Constituted Receiver Generall of all his Majesties Revenues arising within the Colony ... [it is required] on pain of his displeasure that fair books of Accompts be kept of all Receipts & payments of His Maj'ties said Revenues ....
HE BECOMES A BURGESS AND ACQUIRES TAYLOE LOT
JOHN COLLETT PURCHASES PROPERTY
James Roscow lived in Hampton when he was commissioned Receiver. The holding of that office did not necessitate his residing in Williamsburg, however much the exercise of its functions would probably have been facilitated had he been closer to the seat of government. It was, indeed, not until he became burgess for Warwick County that he saw fit to locate in Williamsburg and it was then, 1720, that he bought the Tayloe property. Roscow lived there, apparently, until his death, which must have taken place sometime before April 29, 1730 for he is mentioned in the minutes of a meeting held on that date as the "deceased late Receiver General of his Majestys Revenues." His family held the property until May, 1740, when his brother, William, sold it to John Collett. Collett was living on lot #262 when he bought it for the conveyance describes the property as "All that lot or half acre of land whereon the said John Collett now dwells ...."6
JOHN COLLETT, DOORKEEPER OF COUNCIL, RELATED TO THE FERRARS
John Collett (or Collet), among other things, concerning which we have no information, was Doorkeeper of the King's Council in Williamsburg, a position of some responsibility but, apparently, not a particularly exalted one. One of his functions, we know, was to deliver about town orders from the Council. John Collett was the third of this name, we believe-the son of John Collett, the son of John Collett who married Susannah, daughter of Nicholas and Mary Ferrar of London. It is a rather remarkable coincidence that our John Collett's wife also bore his grandmother's Christian name, Susannah.
THE FERRARS, CHAMPIONS OF VIRGINIA COLONY
One is reluctant to pass over the name, Ferrar without mentioning certain facts about this family. Nicholas and his sons, Nicholas and John, 7 were people of great distinction who had plantations in Bermuda and Virginia and who were unremitting in their encouragement and support of the colony in its early days. And Virginia Ferrar, the daughter of John, was, according to all accounts, a remarkable woman. Her uncle, Nicholas, Jr., had suggested naming his brother's infant daughter after the new land, "so that," as John writes in his Life of Nicholas Ferrar, "speaking unto her, looking upon her, or hearing others call her by her name, he might think of both at once."
VIRGINIA FERRAR PROTECTRESS OF SILK INDUSTRY
Virginia Ferrar (1626-1687) carried forward the work in behalf of the colony which her grandfather had began and her father continued. She is particularly remembered for the encouragement which she gave to Virginia's struggling silk industry, which centered about Middle Plantation midway in the seventeenth century. Her efforts to establish the silkworm in the economy of the colony were tireless and, though these were doomed to failure, they nonetheless entitled her to the verbal bouquets which, her sole reward, were showered upon her. One of these, addressed to her by John Collett, the father of our John Collett ran as follows:
VERSES IN HONOR OF VIRGINIA FERRAR
Come gallants, if yee wd be brave* * * * * *
And yet your pins and money save
Throw off those sheepshair-clothes, be fine clothes be fine,
Take silk, of [or?] if't like you, Satine.
Had not you, sweet Cozen, made known
How Silkworms feed and spin alone,
This your deserts hath so set forth
As that to match your matchless worth
Ambition dares not aspire,
Envie must sit still and admire.
I say no more lest that the Gods should hear:
For if they should, they'll women turn, I fear.
REFLECTIONS ON COLLETT AND VIRGINIA FERRAR
John Collett III, making his way about town on errands for the Council and, coming now and again upon a white mulberry planted, perhaps, in the days of Virginia Ferrar, must have recalled his father's admiring couplets and wondered what manner of woman she could have been who was able to inspire his parent to such extravagance of expression--this dedicated protectress of the lowly larva, the intestinal secretions of which, like ambergris and lac, were so eagerly sought after by mankind.
THE COLLETTS SELL OUT TO JUDGE WALLER; SUSANNAH'S WILL MENTIONS NEW ROOMS
For what reason we can only conjecture--it was probably the usual one, lack of cash--John Collett and his wife, Susannah, in 1744 sold the place at which they were living, i.e., lot #262 to Benjamin Waller. It appears from Collett's will and other documents that in selling the property the Colletts reserved the right to use it, much as today property owners in Williamsburg sell houses to Colonial Williamsburg, Incorporated and retain the right to life tenancy. At all events, John continued to reside in the Tayloe House until his death in 1749 and Susannah until hers, in 1752. Susannah left a will and a certain phrase in this is of interest to us. She says, "I give and devise unto George Gilmer ... utensils and every other thing that shall be found in the last new room (built by John Collett) at my decease." This tells us that, by that date (1752), at least two additions had been made to the house and that John Collett was author of the last of these, if not all of them. What these now rooms were we have no way of knowing.
THE JUDGE, IN TURN, SELLS HOUSE TO DR. CARTER
The very day, May 12, 1752, that Benjamin Waller came into full possession of the property he sold it to Dr. James Carter. Since Waller held the lot for so short a period this scarcely 9 seems the time and place for us to talk about him. The worthy judge's name however, will reappear anon, for it is inextricably bound up with that of his protégé, Littleton Waller Tazewell, a sometime owner of the house.
JAMES CARTER, APOTHECARY, PHYSICIAN AND SURGEON
Dr. James Carter who owned the Tayloe House and, presumably, resided there from 1752 until 1759, was one of those American men of medicine who, characteristically for the eighteenth century, combined the functions of apothecary, physician and surgeon. In other words, as apothecary he compounded the remedies; as physician he administered them and, if these proved inefficacious or if the distemper were, from the outset, of such a nature that health could be restored only through resort to the knife, he acted the part of 10 surgeon. He was, indeed, the colonial prototype of the much-venerated all-around family practitioner who, today, is fast being superseded by the medical specialist.
ADVERTISES HIS SHOP, THE UNICORN'S HORN
Dr. Carter first appears upon the scene in his role of apothecary in 1751 when he inserted the following "ad" in the Virginia Gazette:
Just imported in the Rachel , Captain Armstrong from London, and to be sold at a Reasonable rate at the Unicorn's Horn by the Subscriber in Williamsburg, A fresh Assortment of Drugs and Medicines … Coperas, Prussian Blue, Read and White lead ... Gold leaf and Dutch metal, Vermillion, beat London-made Lancets Smelling Bottles with and without cases, etc., etc., etc.
CONCERNING THE SHOP
The Unicorn's Horn was, at the time of this notice, located on Duke of Gloucester Street, next door to the Printing Office. In 1764 Dr. Carter bought lot #53 adjoining the Raleigh Tavern on the west and erected a brick building on it. He divided this into two shops and sold the western one to his brother, John, a merchant, and established his apothecary business in the eastern half. In 1774 he took another brother, Dr. William Carter, into business with him and sold out to the latter five years later.
PULVERIZED UNICORN'S HORN, SURE ANTIDOTE FOR POISON
Dr. Carter retained the name, Unicorn's Horn, for his shop when he changed its location. It was not merely the desire for a fanciful title which caused him to name his shop after fabulous one-horned horse. Whether or not he sold the stuff he chose the name because the horn of the unicorn, powdered or prepared as a drug, was used medicinally--it was thought to be an antidote for poison. Anybody who wishes to know where the alchemist-apothecaries of the Middle Ages procured the (very rare) 11 unicorn's horns which they ground up, will be enlightened by the knowledge that, when these were in short supply, the horn of the rhinoceros or the tusk of the narwhal was substituted for them.
DR. CARTER RECEIVES A STRANGE BEQUEST
Along with his manifold duties as general practitioner, Dr. James Carter, with his brother, Dr. William Carter, served as college physician. He must have been a good doctor and a good fellow, and, in his will of 1755, his friend and colleague, Dr. Kenneth McKenzie, made a bequest to him which probably gladdened his medical heart, although we, had we been the beneficiaries, might have received the gift with mixed feelings:
My good friend Doctor James Carter having behaved in a very kind manner to me in my sickness, I give and desire he will accept of my skeleton and injected child as an acknowledgement of the esteem and regard I have for him.
CARTER SELLS PROPERTY TO JOHN TAYLOE OF MT. AIRY
Dr. Carter sold the Tayloe property in 1759 to Colonel John Tayloe II of Mount Airy in the Northern Neck. It is to this gentleman of large fortune that the house owes its present name. The deed in this instance is worth recording because it contains information of interest to us:
CARTER'S DEED TO COL. TAYLOE
September 30, 1759
Carter, James--Surgeon of WilliamsburgTwo certain lots of ground lying and being in the city of Williamsburg designed [designated?]in the plot of the said city by the figures 262 and 231, also that part of the street marked with the letter M in the plans of the said city which bounds the west side of the above granted two lots 262 and 231 so as to leave open on the west side of the said street 14 feet in breadth, making the same passable for carriages and sloaping and turfing the west side thereof or such part thereof as he shall cut, dig and carry away for making level ground on his said lots. With all houses ... Recorded 21 April 1760 (York County Records, Deeds, VI, p. 234)
Hester, his wife
Tayloe, Hon. John of the County of Richmond
Consideration: 600 Pounds.
DEED INCLUDES A SECOND LOT AND MENTIONS SIDE STREET
The deed informs us that a second lot, #231, has been added to the original half acre, lot #262, fronting on Nicholson Street. We also learn from it that a street "marked with the letter M" bounded both lots on their west sides. Tyler's copy of the Williamsburg city map of about 1790 (see next page) shows this street, Queen Street, which does not exist today, running north and south between Nicholson and Scotland Streets. The Frenchman's Map (ca. 1782), on the other hand, shows, immediately west of the Tayloe plot, only a blank area, broken by a ravine running north and south.
As for lot #231--this, in order to have had Queen Street as its western boundary, must have lain directly north of lot #262, The former lot, however, its denoted on the Tyler map as-#261 so 13 14 that there is a discrepancy in the numbering of the lot on the map and in the deed.
FLUCTUATIONS IN VALUE OF TAYLOE PROPERTY
A further item of interest in the deed is the sales price of the property--£ 600. When Carter had purchased lot #262 seven years before, the price had been £200. The addition to the plot of lot #231 would account for part of the increase in value but by no means all of it, for, so far as we know, no buildings stood on this lot. The rise in value can most logically be accounted for by assuming that, during his tenure of the plot, Carter had made further additions to the house or built more outbuildings on it. Contrary to what might be expected, the value of lot #262 had not, before that, risen uniformly. In 1720 five years after it was given him by the city, Tyler had sold it to Roscow for £80. When, however, the latter in 1740 transferred it to John Collett its value had fallen to £25. Four years after this, when Collett deeded it to Benjamin Waller, it was valued at £ 45. Then, with Waller's sale to Carter in 1752, comes a big jump, from £45 to £200. Such fluctuations during this period are apt to have been due, not to changes in the value of the pound, but rather to material changes in the property. A decline in value might have been occasioned by damage to or destruction of some building or buildings by fire or to their deterioration as a result of neglect. A rise in value would probably have been brought about by additional construction or other improvements made to the property. With the £ 600 paid by Tayloe to Carter we have the peak price given for the property in the eighteenth century, of which the record exists.15
JOHN TAYLOE, THE BUILDER
If Colonel John Tayloe II were the man of the week and Artzybasheff were called upon to make a cover for Time carrying as its chief motif his none too handsome physiognomy, he would have to read up on Tayloe, as we have done in preparation for this "profile," in order to determine what facet of his personality or aspect of his career to fix upon for the background of the portrait, Artzybasheff would probably consider showing the Colonel in consultation with his master builder (this was, possibly, John Ariss) concerning some matter appertaining to the building of Mount Airy, his great home on its bluff overlooking the Rappahannock, which a rich inheritance from his father, John Tayloe I, enabled him to erect. This background picture might show the mansion with its columned entrance porch and semi-circular forecourt in process of construction with Ariss, plan in hand, indicating with his dividers, some feature of the stonework. This latter detail would be important because it would call attention to the fact that Mount Airy, unlike most Virginia mansions which were typically of brick, 16 was built of stone--stone of the vicinity mostly, with trim of pink Acquia or imported Portland.
In using this background Artzybasheff would be playing up the theme of John Tayloe II, the Builder. And it may well be that Tayloe would have wanted himself remembered as the builder and master of one of the finest houses of the colonial period in America.
JOHN TAYLOE, COUNCILLOR
The pictorial background of the portrait, on the other hand, might emphasize Colonel Tayloe's career as a public servant, for he held for two decades or more (down to the outbreak of the Revolution) one of the highest Virginian offices in the gift of the King, viz., a seat on the council, that body of well-to-do and influential planters who sat with and advised the royal governor. In this case the artist might show Tayloe, gathered with his peers around the oval table in the Council Chamber of the Capitol, listening to some pronouncement of Governors Fauquier or Botetourt or, possibly, himself addressing the governor.
JOHN TAYLOE, THE PLANTER
If the artist, again, intended to portray Tayloe as a characteristic example of a wealthy Virginia planter and to suggest the social life which the planters led, he might show Tayloe, renowned for his hospitality, with smiling dignity, receiving guests at his country mansion or in his town residence (our present house) in Williamsburg. As council member he will often have received at the house on Nicholson Street persons of note and distinction and the governor, himself, and his lady will often enough have crossed his threshold. Even as the Revolution approached the governor and other representatives of the English crown would have been welcome 17 in the Tayloe House since, though he eventually became a supporter of American liberty and though he was elected by the convention of 1776 a member of the first republican council of state, he was less vehemently opposed than many to his English overlords and hoped for less than complete separation from the mother country.
JOHN TAYLOE, KING OF THE RACE TRACK
There is, moreover, always the possibility that Artzybasheff, with his eye on the circulation of Time Magazine, might decide that the greatest number of readers would be intrigued by a presentation of Tayloe, the wealthy landowner, as King of the Race Track. Having determined upon this course, and possessing as he does, great facility with the pencil and the brush, Artzybasheff's task would not be difficult. He could show a knot of horsemen burning up the track with, maybe, our boney Old Regulus and a 18 couple of other stragglers bringing up the rear. The track, we would be given to understand, would be the one mile course near Williamsburg or, perhaps, his own private race track near Mount Airy. For, to many a sports-loving reader of the magazine Tayloe's accomplishments as first importer to America of foreign race horses (he brought from England the celebrated Childers) and one of the first professional breeders of fine horses would count more heavily than any decisions he may have participated in around the council table or influence he may have wielded in affairs of state. Many, indeed, seeking information about John Tayloe, would be apt to consult--not the Calendar of Virginia State Papers--but, rather, the stud books and horse histories of his period.
HIS RACING VICTORIES IN WILLIAMSBURG
Official business--the meetings of the General Assembly--brought Tayloe to Williamsburg each fall and spring and it was during these months that he lived in his Williamsburg house. It could hardly be expected of so ardent a horse fancier that on leaving Mount Airy, he would leave his equine interests behind him. It is, indeed, evident, from certain notices which we find in the Virginia Gazette that he brought more horses to the capital than were required for his sumptuous equipage:
WILLIAMSBURG, April 25.Yesterday the Williamsburg purse of 100£ was run for, and won with ease by Traveler, the property of the Hon. John Tayloe, Esq; the horses that started against his were John Disinal and Janus, the former belonging to Lewis Burrell, Esq; the latter to Francis Whiting, Esq; who was withdrawn after the first heat. (Virginia Gazette, Purdy and Dixon, Eds., 1766)
WILLIAMSBURG, April 23.... This day Bellair, a horse belonging to the Hon. John Tayloe, Esq; galloped over the course, near this city, for the Williamsburg purse of 100 £, no horse appearing to dispute the prize with him. (Virginia Gazette, Purdy and Dixon, Eds., 1767)
VIRGINIANS ARE STILL HORSEY PEOPLE
It should be noted in closing this piece on Tayloe that the love of Virginians for fine horses and equestrian sports, encouraged in the Colonel's day by his importation of blooded animals and his sponsorship of horse racing, has persisted down to the present day.
AN HIATUS IN THE RECORDS THROWS DOUBT ON OCCUPANCY OF HOUSE
At this point we come to a gap of from 30 to 40 years in the records on the Tayloe property. Concerning the period from 1759, when John Tayloe bought the lots from Dr. Carter, to 1801 when Littleton Waller Tazewell conveyed them to William Tazewell, we know nothing positive about them. It is reasonable to suppose that Colonel Tayloe used the dwelling as his town house for a considerable length of time for he retained his seat on the Council until the approach of hostilities with England and, consequently, he would have had need of it. In his will of 1773 (he died six years after making it), however, there is no mention of the property so that we may assume that he had sold it by that date. We have, furthermore, no proof that Littleton Waller Tazewell who, so far as our information goes, next succeeded Tayloe in the ownership of the two lots, actually occupied them, but, again, it is likely that he did. According to his own statement in an autobiographical sketch entitled An Account and History of the Tazewell Family, which he left behind him, Tazewell returned in 1796 from Richmond, where he had been studying, to Williamsburg, rented a house and office and set himself up in the practice of the law. At this point Tazewell's manuscript ends abruptly so we are left in the dark as to when he acquired the house and lots which in 1801 he sold to William Tazewell.20
THE LOST DECADES; ONE WAY TO RECOVER THEM
Four decades (1759-1801) is a long time and many things of which we have no knowledge could have happened to the Tayloe House and in the house and many persons whose one-time presence there has been forgotten could have been there and departed. George Washington might have slept there, for example, for, after all, John Tayloe and he were friends. Generals La Fayette and Rochambeau may have been honored guests, and Cephus Sicklemore, that wholly imaginary character, probably passed there many a time and oft on his way to an imaginary Widow Huzzitt's for some imaginary pastry. Something less than complete knowledge is a good thing because it leaves room for speculation--thus, we can insinuate whom we will into the house so long as we don't insist upon the reality of our imaginings. It's pleasant, after all, to romanticize a bit about a place.
THE ABYSS OF DOUBT AND ITS PERILS
When on the other hand, we venture to get serious and to suggest that such and such a noted figure crossed the Tayloe threshold or ruled the Tayloe hearth, we begin to tread on shaky ground and the least misstep may plunge us into the Abyss of Doubt where the carping critics, descending in force upon us, will rend us limb from limb. The gate being so strait and the chances of our getting through it, if we manage it at all, with our scroll charged with punishments being so good we have to be very chary about placing Cyrus Griffin and William Wirt so much as within cannon shot of the Tayloe House.
We have said of Littleton Waller Tazewell that we know only that he sold the house in 1801 but not whether he actually lived in it. Far be it from us, by introducing two further individuals 21 concerning whose place of residence in Williamsburg we have no exact information, to seek to multiply our uncertainties. There is, however, a kind of method in our madness and a few grains of fact mingled with what may appear to be our fiction and these may help to justify our rashness.
CYRUS GRIFFIN ONCE LIVED IN PRUDIE'S DWELLING
It should be noted at the outset that we have proof in an advertisement offering the house for sale, which James Davis placed in The Virginia Gazette and General Advertiser (Richmond) on April 23, 1794 and in an insurance policy (#119, Mutual Assurance Company) taken out by Davis on April 19, 1796 that Cyrus Griffin lived in the house on the south side of Duke of Gloucester Street which has recently been known as "Purdie's Dwelling," since both the advertisement and the policy speak of it as the house then occupied by Cyrus Griffin. We know from the above that Griffin occupied the house from April, 1794 to April, 1796 but we don't know how long he lived in it before this and after it. There is nothing to prove that he did not live elsewhere in Williamsburg and certain evidences to indicate that he did.
TYLER SAYS THAT GRIFFIN OCCUPIED TAYLOE HOUSE
Lyon Gardiner Tyler in his book, Williamsburg The Old Colonial Capital (Richmond 1907) gives the following brief sketch of the Griffin (Tayloe) House:
On the same side of Nicholson street, behind the Paradise house, on Duke of Gloucester street, is the former residence of Judge Cyrus Griffin, member of the continental congress, and first judge of the district court of the United States for Virginia. His wife was Lady Christine Stuart, daughter of the Earl of Traquair. William Wirt, the celebrated attorney-general of the United States, lived here for a few months. It is now the residence of Mrs. Cynthia B. T. Coleman.22
MRS. YOUNG PLACES HIM ON YORK STREET
Tyler wrote his book nearly a half century ago and may have had access to sources of information which now elude us. Another writer, Mary Stuart Young, in her historical novelette, The Griffins, written about the same time (1904), locates Cyrus Griffin's residence elsewhere in the town:
Christmas day of 1799 rose fair and bright in old Williamsburg, which had settled down to the quiet respectability of a small city; but in the house on Woodpecker Street bustle and activity were seen in kitchen and parlor, as on the day when our story opened thirty years before ....
FICTION-LIKE ROMANCE OF CYRUS AND CHRISTIANA
HOW THEIR GRANDSON, JAMES, LOSES AN EARLDOM
The story, it should be noted, is in large part the history of Cyrus Griffin and his wife the former Lady Christiana Stuart daughter of the Earl of Traquair, a descendant of the Scottish royal family. The tale is romantic enough in spots to be pure fiction and yet it is founded on fact however much this may be decorated and embellished in the interest of readability. Take, for example, the beginning of the story where Cyrus, a dashing young law student at the University of Edinburgh, elopes with the lovely scion of royal blood (Lady Christiana) and carries her proudly back with him to Virginia. This follows the accepted pattern of the beat romantic fiction and yet it's all true. What is more (we are now beyond the limits of the book) through this matrimonial alliance Cyrus and Christiana transmitted the blood of Scottish kings to their son, Samuel (Dr. Samuel Stuart Griffin) and through him, in turn, to their grandson, James (Dr. James L. C. Griffin) in such strength and purity that upon the death at Traquair House in her one hundredth year of Lady Louisa Stuart, the last direct descendant of Scotland's monarchs, Dr. James was heralded by Virginia newspapers as the next Earl of Traquair. 23 Either because he was reluctant to press his claims or because some legal technicality deprived him of his Scottish inheritance, Dr. James never succeeded to the earldom but remained the schoolmaster he had always been until, in 1878, he died leaving behind him no children to dream of English lords and ladies and to keep alive the forlorn hope of succeeding to a great estate across the seas.
LOCATION OF GRIFFIN HOME REMAINS AN ENIGMA
DISTINGUISHED CAREER OF CYRUS GRIFFIN
To return to the question of whether Cyrus Griffin, the Virginia youth who married into royalty and thereby set his short-lived race somewhat apart from ordinary mortals, ever lived in the Tayloe House on Nicholson Street as Tyler says or On Woodpecker (York) Street as Mrs. Young states--this remains a subject for further investigation. Both historian Tyler and novelist Young are estimable people but both, it must be added, have, on occasion, allowed inaccuracies to creep into their writings. We are pretty certain that Cyrus maintained a residence in Williamsburg for many years. It would add no little interest to the Tayloe House if we could demonstrate that this was his residence, for Cyrus Griffin was a person of distinction. Two or three years after completing his law studies at Middle Temple in 1774, he was elected to the Virginia state legislature. In 1778 he became a member of the Continental Congress and in 1780 the Congress appointed him judge of the Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture, a court which was abolished in 1787. He was returned to the Virginia legislature in 1786. Elected a second time to the Continental Congress he served as its president from January, 1788 until in the following year he turned over the reins of government to the first president 24 of the United States. President Washington appointed him Federal Judge of the District of Virginia and in this capacity he helped to preside at the famous Aaron Burr trial in Richmond, of which we will hear more later. He died in 1810.
Cyrus Griffin's official duties were such as to keep him away from Williamsburg for long periods, but nevertheless, we believe he made the town his headquarters for two or three decades. The Tayloe House record, as we have seen is blank between the years 1759 and 1801 (those lost decades), so that Griffin could have lived there any time from the middle 1770's to the turn of the century. It is to be hoped that further research will either establish the fact of his residence there or definitely disprove it. In the meantime, like a patent which is pending but which may eventually be disallowed, we will capitalize on the possibility that Cyrus Griffin actually lived in the house.
SAMUEL AND JAMES GRIFFIN ARE KNOWN TO HAVE OWNED THE PROPERTY
Whatever may have been the case with Cyrus, we are positive that his son, Dr. Samuel Stuart Griffin owned the Tayloe House and lived in it and that the property descended to the latter's son, Dr. James L. C. Griffin, Virginia's "earl apparent." But we are getting ahead of our story.
WILLIAM WIRT BECOMES CHANCELLOR AND MOVES TO WILLIAMSBURG
As we have seen, Tyler, speaking of the Tayloe House in his book on Williamsburg, says that "William Wirt, the celebrated attorney-general of the United States, lived here for a few months." We have no good reason to doubt this even though we have found no original source which sustains it. Wirt came to Williamsburg in 1802 to assume his duties as chancellor for the district which included the eastern shore of Virginia and the 25 tidewater counties below Richmond. He had been clerk of the House of Delegates when the legislature divided the chancery jurisdiction into three districts and placed him at the head of the one just mentioned. This was the court for the trial of equity cases over which George Wythe had formerly presided alone and from which he had derived his title of chancellor.
HE RESIGNS THIS OFFICE TO JOIN TAZEWELL IN NORFOLK
Wirt retained his new Office for little more than a year, resigning it in the spring of 1803 to accept the invitation of his friend, Littleton Waller Tazewell, to join him in Norfolk in the private practice of the law. Following his resignation he repaired to Norfolk but, according to John Preston Kennedy, from whose engrossing Memoirs of the Life of William Wirt (Second edition, Philadelphia, 1851) we have gleaned many facts about the author-jurist, he maintained his Williamsburg residence until the ensuing winter.26
HIS CONNECTION WITH TAZEWELL SUGGESTS THAT HE OCCUPIED TAYLOE HOUSE
For us, seeking to establish the fact of Wirt's residence in the Tayloe House his close association with Littleton Waller Tazewell is of considerable significance. As we have seen (p.19) Tazewell deeded the house to William Tazewell in 1801. It seems likely that Wirt would have been well acquainted with a dwelling once owned and, perhaps, occupied by his close friend. It is even possible, assuming that William Tazewell did not live in the house (we have no information as to this) that Littleton Waller arranged for Wirt's rental of it for, that he concerned himself with the latter's affairs is evident from the fact that he advised him about his law practice and invited him to share his own Such reasoning remains in the realm of speculation but, nevertheless, it lends plausibility to Tyler's assertion that Wirt once lived in the house.
DISTINGUISHED CARERR OF WILLIAM WIRT
Space does not permit us to present here more than certain of the highlights of the life of William Wirt. From humble beginnings in Maryland he progressed step by step to a position of great eminence in the legal world of his day. He attained the pinnacle of his career when in 1816, President Monroe appointed him attorney-general of the United States, an office which he held with distinction until 1829. It is upon his opinions as attorney-general that his reputation largely rests.
TWO CASES IN WHICH HE FIGURED; 1. THE TRIAL OF SWINNEY
Two legal cases in which Wirt participated stand out with sufficient prominence to merit some attention in even so curtailed an account of his career as this. Of these the trial in 1806 of Swinney, nephew of George Wythe, captures our interest because of the latter's long identification with the affairs of Williamsburg. 27 It will be recalled that Swinney was accused of murdering his uncle by putting arsenic in his coffee. Wirt, as is evident from his letters, agreed to defend Swinney only after much soul searching. He was able to obtain Swinney's acquittal but not to convince the bulk of his contemporaries or posterity of Swinney's innocence since the testimony of colored servants, the only eye-witnesses to the man's alleged criminal acts, was disallowed by the court.
2. THE TRIAL OF AARON BURR; SOME FACTS ABOUT BURR AND HIS ALLEGED PLANS
If Wirt reaped no glory from his defense of a man whom so many believed a murderer, his reputation was considerably enhanced by the role which he played in the following year as a prosecuting attorney in the trial of Aaron Burr in Richmond, one of the most celebrated cases in the history of American jurisprudence. Burr, soldier, lawyer, United States senator and third vice-president of the United States (he had tied with Jefferson in the vote of the electoral college and lost the presidency to the latter in the House of Representatives) was suspected of a series of treasonable conspiracies remarkable for their audacity--deposing the president of the United States and seizing the reins of government; setting up an independent confederation of states beyond the Mississippi and, finally, liberating Mexico from Spanish rule and making himself dictator there. It was this last venture which, apparently he had actually embarked upon and he was brought to trial in Richmond on suspicion of having violated the clause in the constitution of the United States which prohibits states (and, therewith, individuals) from 28 keeping troops in time of peace and engaging in war. He was, by the way, eventually acquitted.
MAJORITY OF ATTORNEYS IN CASE CONNECTED WTIH WILLIAMSBURG:
JOHN MARSHALL, CYRUS GRIFFIN, WILLIAM WIRT, JOHN WICKHAM AND EDMUND RANDOLPH; JOHN RANDOLPH OF ROANOKE
FIVE OF THESE ASSOCIATED WITH HOUSES ON NICHOLSON STREET
The trial of Aaron Burr makes fascinating reading. What interests us here particularly, however, is the fact that of the galaxy of legal talent involved in the case, the majority of the most prominent personages were at one time or another connected with Williamsburg. Chief Justice John Marshall, who presided over the trial, had in 1780 attended a series of lectures given by George Wythe at the College of William and Mary, and these constituted the great jurist's only formal education. Marshall was assisted in the conduct of the proceedings by Cyrus Griffin concerning whose residence in Williamsburg we have spoken. William Wirt was one of the several prosecuting attorneys. Two of the most brilliant lawyers for the defense were John Wickham and Edmund Randolph. The former had studied law in Williamsburg with Judge Henry Tazewell, had opened his law practice there and had lived for a time in the Archibald Blair House. The latter, who became attorney-general and secretary of state under Washington, as well as governor of Virginia, was born at Tazewell Hall in Williamsburg, had studied at the College of William and Mary, had once owned the St. George Tucker property--he had sold it in fact, to St. George Tucker--and had been mayor of Williamsburg. Finally, the foreman of the grand jury for the case, the gifted but erratic John Randolph of Roanoke, was the stepson of St. George Tucker, was educated under the latter's direction and attended Walker Maury's school in Williamsburg as well as the College of William and Mary. This trial brought forth some of the most brilliant legal reasoning of the 29 last century and it was in large measure Williamsburg-trained talent which produced it. And it is a further striking fact that five of the six eminent attorneys cited above at one time or another were associated with three neighboring houses on Nicholson Street-Edmund and John Randolph with the St. George Tucker House; John Wickham with the adjoining Archibald Blair House and Cyrus Griffin and William Wirt we believe with the Tayloe House a few doors to the east.
TWO OTHER NOTED JURISTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE TAYLOE HOUSE
It is interesting to consider that, in addition to the barristers who participated in the trial of Aaron Burr, lawyers of conspicuous talents and lasting reputation, Benjamin Waller and Littleton Waller Tazewell, were associated with the Tayloe House-both of them, in fact, have already been cited as owners of the property.
WALLER WAS ONCE THE OWNER
As we have seen (p. 8) Benjamin Waller sold the property in 1752 immediately after coming into full possession of it. It appears likely therefore that he never lived in the Tayloe House.
HIS CAREER; CHIEF JUDGE OF COURT OF VICE-ADMIRALTY
In his unfinished history of the Tazewell family (p. 19, this report) Littleton Waller Tazewell gives an account of the life of Benjamin Waller and from this we will transcribe a few salient facts. Waller was born in King William County in 1716 and was brought as a boy to Williamsburg by John Carter of Corotoman, secretary of the colony, who had taken a fancy to him. Carter put him through the College of William and Mary and then gave him a job in the secretary's office. On Carter's advice he studied law and obtained his license in 1738. Carter continued to advance young Benjamin's interests procuring for him the clerkship of 30 the James City Court and that of the General Court. He was early elected member of the Assembly for James City County and continued to represent this constituency until 1769. He became chief judge of the Court of Vice-admiralty which, for his convenience, continued to be held in Williamsburg even after the seat of government was removed to Richmond in 1780. He resigned this office shortly before his death in 1786.
SUPPRESSION OF PIRACY A FUNCTION OF THIS COURT
Benjamin Waller's chief distinction without question, aside from his being the tutor of George Wythe, derives from the service he rendered as chief judge of the important Court of admiralty. This court composed of not less than seven judges of whom one was the governor and the others persons of consideration--merchants, planters and officers of ships--determined matters relating to trade and the interference therewith by pirates. According to John Fiske, the period from 1650 to 1720 was the golden age of these marine cut-throats and robbers, who waxed mighty and defiant at this time, particularly along the coasts of the Carolinas. It was in no small part for the purpose of combating this serious menace to commerce that the Virginia Court of Vice-admiralty was originally established.
LITTLETON WALLER TAZEWELL REARED BY GRANDFATHER, BENJAMIN WALLER
Benjamin Waller was a man ripe in years and experience when in 1774. Littleton Waller Tazewell was born in his house in Williamsburg. Littleton's mother, Elizabeth Waller Tazewell was the daughter of Benjamin and Martha Waller and she had gone home to have the baby. Henry Tazewell, Littleton's father, was a lawyer, judge and United States senator--a man of high reputation who, according to Robert B. Tunstall, was probably the most popular Virginian of his day. Elizabeth Tazewell died three years after her son's birth and 32 Littleton was taken to live with his maternal grandparents. To the close relation between him and his grandfather, Tazewell later attributed "whatever worthy of imitation there may be in any part of my character."
TAUGHT BY GEORGE WYTHE
STUDIES WITH JOHN WICKHAM
Littleton Waller Tazewell came into the world with excellent prospects of making a success of his life if, believing in the inheritance of intellectual gifts, one considers that his father was a distinguished lawyer and his mother the daughter of one. To the initial good fortune of his birth were joined the circumstances of his training which were eminently favorable to the development of his natural endowment. From his third to his twelfth year, when Benjamin Waller died, he was under the latter's tutelage. From his twelfth to his fifteenth he was personally instructed by 33 George Wythe, with whom he for a time made his home. In his eighteenth year he graduated from the College of William and Mary and following this he went to Richmond to complete his legal studies in the office of John Wickham. He, thus, once more came into close contact with a man of the highest caliber, for William Wirt, in his Letters of the British Spy, says of Wickham: "This gentleman ... unites in himself a greater diversity of talents and acquirements than any other at the Bar of Virginia." In 1796 Tazewell obtained his license and returned to Williamsburg, rented a house and office and set himself up to practice law. Whether the house he rented was the house he sold five years later--the Tayloe House (p. 19)--we do not know.
TAZEWELL'S BRILLIANT CAREER: THE WEBSTER OF THE SOUTH
Tazewell's rise was rapid. In 1798 he was elected to the House of Delegates and two years later to Congress, to succeed John Marshall. In 1802 he removed to Norfolk and established a practice there. As early as 1805 William Wirt describes him as head of the local bar. In 1824, following in the footsteps of his father, he was elected to fill a vacancy in the senate and a decade later he became governor of Virginia. He resigned this post and for nearly 25 years thereafter lived in retirement in Norfolk, where he died on the threshold of the Civil War (May, 1860)--Norfolk's first citizen and almost apotheosized. John Randolph of Roanoke held him "second to no man that ever breathed" and William Wirt placed him, as a lawyer, first in the Southern estimation, as Daniel Webster was in the Northern.
BLACKSTONE'S SHADE SHOULD RESIDE IN TAYLOE HOUSE
Herewith we bring to a close our discussion of the legal luminaries who, in one way or another, were connected with the 34 Tayloe House. The list is so impressive that the spirit of Blackstone should inhabit the house forever, or, possibly, spend some part of each season there and in the neighboring houses on Nicholson Street. That so many important lawyers were associated with so small an area becomes more understandable, however, when one considers that Williamsburg was so long a city of law makers, law interpreters and law defenders. It was natural enough that one should open a practice there.
THE LATER OCCUPANTS TO RECEIVE BRIEFER TREATMENT
We have already turned the corner and are striding away from the eighteenth century As we move onward toward our own time people and events lose little by little the glamour of age and distance and actual1y, or, seemingly only, become less heroic. In any event, and at the risk of doing them an injustice, we will deal with the later occupants and owners of the house in a more summary fashion.
SARAH MADISON ACQUIRES TAYLOE PLOT AND DEEDS IT TO SON-IN-LAW AND DAUGHTER
Sometime in the year 1812, probably, William Tazewell deeded the Tayloe property to Sarah Madison. She, in turn, in the same year gave the western part of it to her son-in-law, Robert G. Scott, "in consideration of love and affection and $1.00." in 1815 she devised her residence to her daughter, Susan Scott to use during the latter's lifetime, after which it was to devolve upon Susan's son, James and his heirs.
THE MADISONS ONE-TIME RESIDENTS OF ARCHIBALD BLAIR HOUSE
Sarah Madison was the wife of the Reverend James Madison, eighth president of the College of William and Mary and first Episcopal bishop of Virginia. The Madisons had lived for over four years in the nearby Archibald Blair House after a fire in 1781 had severely damaged the interior of the President's House of the College, which was at the time being used as a hospital for the wounded of Count 35 Rochmbeau's army. Madison remained president of the College until his death in 1812 and, since it is likely that the couple lived until that time in the restored President's House, it must have been sometime during that year that Sarah Madison moved into the Tayloe House.
DR. SAMUEL GRIFFIN OCCUPIES TAYLOE HOUSE FOR OVER FORTY YEARS
We have already noted (p. 24) that Dr. Samuel Stuart Griffin, son of Cyrus Griffin, lived in the Tayloe House. He acquired the property from Robert G. Scott in 1819 but did not move into it until 1823. Dr. Griffin occupied the place for over forty years and at his death in 1864 it became the property of his son, Dr. James L. C. Griffin.
A RESPECTED PHYSICIAN AND CITIZEN OF THE TOWN
Dr. Samuel Griffin was born in Philadelphia in 1782 at the time Cyrus Griffin was serving there as judge of the Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture (p. 23). He attended the College of William and Mary while the Reverend James Madison was president and in 1804-1805 studied medicine in the University of Edinburgh. He practiced his profession for more than half a century in Yorktown, Gloucester and Williamsburg and when he died in the one-time colonial capital he was one of its foremost citizens.
DR. JAMES GRIFFIN, SCHOLAR AND TEACHER, SPENDS YOUTH IN HOUSE
PROPERTY CONVEYED TO CYNTHIA COLEMAN
Dr. James Lewis Corbin Griffin, Dr Samuel Griffin's son, was he who was hailed by Virginia newspapers as the rightful heir to the earldom of Traquair (p. 22). How long Dr. James Griffin lived in the Tayloe House is uncertain but he states in his diary* that he came from Gloucester in his ninth year, probably with his father when the latter moved from there to Williamsburg in 1823. It is 36 likely that he lived in the Tayloe House until his graduation from the College of William and Mary, after which he removed to Philadelphia where he took a degree in medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He never practiced as a physician but, being of a scholarly turn of mind, preferred teaching. After holding professorships in languages in colleges in Mississippi and Illinois he returned to Lansdowne, Gloucester County, his birthplace, and established there a co-educational school (the Berkeley Male and Female Academy) which he ran until his death in 1878. He came into possession of the Tayloe House in 1864, as we have said, but there is no evidence to indicate that he ever returned to it after leaving it to attend college in Philadelphia. In 1869 he, his wife and a Mary L. Wright conveyed the property to P M. Thompson, trustee of Cynthia B. T. Coleman and her children.
CYNTHIA B.T. COLEMAN LIVES IN TAYLOE HOUSE FROM 1869 UNTIL 1908
Mrs. Cynthia Beverley Tucker Coleman who, with her husband Dr. Charles Washington Coleman, was next resident of the house, was the daughter of Judge Nathaniel Beverley Tucker and the granddaughter of St. George Tucker. Her first husband, Henry Augustine Washington, had been a nephew of the general. She had lived with her second husband, Dr. Coleman, before the Civil War in what is now the Waters-Coleman House. The original of this house was burned to the ground during the war and upon Dr. Coleman's return from the Confederate service in 1869 the two moved with their children into the Tayloe House which Cynthia's mother, Lucy Tucker, presented to them.
OWNERSHIP PASSES TO ELIZABETH COLEMAN
Cynthia Coleman, who outlived her husband, occupied the house until her death in 1908, whereupon the property was 36a divided equally among her four living children, Nathaniel Beverley Tucker Coleman, George Preston Coleman, Charles Washington Coleman and Elizabeth B. Coleman. In 1923 and 1924 the three sons conveyed their interest in the property to their sister, Elizabeth.37
CYNTHIA B.T. COLEMAN'S WORK IN THE PRESERVATION OF COLONIAL BUILDINGS
Mrs. Cynthia B T. Coleman, who was noted for her great beauty in her younger days, later became deeply interested in Virginia history and the preservation of colonial buildings and monuments. She organized the Williamsburg branch of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities and in the latter half of the 1860's entered zealously into the campaign for the restoration of the Wren Building of the College, which had been destroyed by fire during the Civil War.* She was also instrumental in raising funds for the restoration of the tombs in the yard of Bruton Church and 38 in having this work executed. She was widely read and wrote extensively on historical subjects, many of her articles appearing in magazines. The Department of Research and Record has in its possession a typewritten copy of her Williamsburg Essays, a series of accounts of Virginia people and events of the colonial period, couched in a lively and readable style.
ELIZABETH COLEMAN, LAST PRIVATE OWNER OF PROPERTY
MISS KELLY PRESENT OCCUPANT
Elizabeth B. Coleman, the daughter of Cynthia B. T. Coleman, as it eventuated, was the last private owner of the Tayloe property. She conveyed the property in 1928 to Dr. William A. R. Goodwin, representing Colonial Williamsburg, reserving for herself and a friend, Jeannette S. Kelly, the right to life tenure. Miss Coleman, after whom the dwelling was until recently called the Elizabeth Coleman House, shared the building with Miss Kelly until she died in 1948. Miss Kelly, who continues in residence there, has lived in the house since 1911, with the exception only of the years 1949 and 1950, during which the property was being restored.
ELIZABETH COLEMAN, LOVER OF BOOKS AND CHILDREN
Elizabeth Coleman, like her mother, was a leader in civic and church affairs. Like her also, she was a lover of books and of children and the latter were frequent guests at her home. Many of her one-time juvenile adherents, now grown to manhood or womanhood, will long cherish the memory of the reading and story-telling parties which Elizabeth Coleman gave for them in the fine old house on Nicholson Street.
NO RECORD DATING THE HOUSE EXISTS; FIRST HOUSE BUILT ON LOT BETWEEN 1715-1717
No record has been found which establishes the date of the construction of the Tayloe House so that the most we can do is to draw certain tentative conclusions from the scraps of information which we have. We believe that Francis Tyler, the first owner of lot #262, built a house on the plot between 1715 and 1717 because the Act of 1705 required him to do this in order to retain possession of the land (p. 1). To satisfy the condition of the trustees' grant to him of the lots he had to erect a brick or frame dwelling at least 20 feet by 40 feet in external dimensions with a cellar beneath the whole building. A one story and basement house would have satisfied these requirements. Our house is a story and a half structure (in reality, it may more properly be considered a two story building for the gambrel roof yields nearly, if not quite, vertical walls on the second floor). The plan dimensions of the house are approximately 30 feet by 41 36 feet. In height, therefore, the present house exceeds the minimum requirement and the total area, also, more than fulfills it, even though the longer dimension is four feet less than the statute length. If, therefore, this were the original house built by Tyler, it would have been more than sufficient to secure the lot for him.
FIRST HOUSE NOT EXISTING ONE, WHICH SEEMS LATER IN PERIOD
We have good reason to believe, however, that the present house was not the one built by Tyler. In the first place, its character, and more especially, the refinement of the detailing of the interior woodwork, is suggestive of a building period later than the second decade of the century when, by and large, such detailing was generally somewhat simpler, heavier and less elegant. The gambrel roof, on the other hand, which is taken by some as indicative in a house of relative lateness of origin, is no sure guide to age and period since many gambrels have been found in Virginia and others of the colonies which are believed to antedate the eighteenth century.
DOCUMENTS ARCHAEOLOGY INDICATE PRESENT HOUSE WAS SECOND ON SITE
In addition to the more or less convincing evidence furnished by the character of the interior, both documentary and archaeological findings tend to support our belief that the house was built around the middle of the century. As for the archaeological evidence--in the course of excavations made immediately east of the house following the removal of the late two story addition, James M. Knight discovered foundations, earlier than those of the present house, and basement backfilling which indicated that a structure of considerable size (possibly 30 by 40 or more feet) had at one time existed on the plot within a few feet of the site 42 43 of the present house. It seems reasonable to believe that these remains were the remnants of the foundations and basement of Tyler's original house or, at least, of that house with whatever alterations and additions had been made to it by 1752 when Benjamin Waller sold it to Dr. James Carter. We know that certain additions had been made for Susannah Collett, as we have seen (p. 8), speaks of "the last new room" which her husband had built between 1740 and 1749. We believe that John Collett's new rooms were added to the old house because there is no evidence of eighteenth century additions having been made to the existing dwelling If, in spite of what we have said, changes were made to the present structure, these must have been in the attic but it is not very likely that Susannah Collett would have spoken of these as new rooms "built" by her husband.
SHARP RISE IN VALUE OF PROPERTY SUGGESTS THAT NEW HOUSE WAS BUILT IN 1750'S
So, it seems, the fact of Collett's having made additions to a house on the Tayloe lots needn't deter us from accepting the probability that Dr. James Carter, who purchased the property from Benjamin Waller in 1752, demolished the then existing original house and built himself a new and more sumptuous dwelling a few feet west of the old site. It is only in this way that we can explain the tripling in the value of the property between 1752 when Carter bought it and 1759 when he sold it to John Tayloe II. (It will be remembered that Waller's sales price was £ 200 and Carter's £ 600). There was, we believe, no inflation of the value of the Virginia pound which might have caused the sharp rise in price in so brief a period and the addition of a second lot at the rear of the property could account for it only in small part.44
JAMES CARTER, REAL ESTATE OPERATOR, THE PROBABLE BUILDER
It would not have been unlike Carter to have built himself a new house for both he and his two brothers, William and John were active in the real estate field both as owners and builders. James, as we have seen (p. 10), in 1764 built a brick shop building next to the Raleigh Tavern in which his two brothers also later came to have an interest. John was at one time owner of the King's Arms Tavern building and William was proprietor of the Brick House Tavern a few doors west of this.* So, James Carter might well have built the house, and it is quite reasonable to believe that the opulent John Tayloe II would have found in the new and sumptuous dwelling, the kind of town house which befitted his station as a member of the Council. Though Carter undoubtedly built the house for his own use he would not have passed up the chance to sell it for a whopping big price when it was offered him, for £600 was a very considerable sum of money in those days.
It seems well, in conclusion, to remark that while we have found no positive statement to that effect, all the evidence points to the fact that the present Tayloe House was built between 1752 and 1759 by Dr. James Carter.
This house has certain outstanding characteristics in plan and elevation which it would be well to discuss before analyzing it element by element.
PLAN IS SIDE HALL TYPE; ITS FEATURES
The plan (see next pages) is one of those rather remarkable layouts, of which several are found in Williamsburg, which can be designated as "side hall" plans. Leaving out of consideration the kitchen which, for the convenience of the occupant, was added during the restoration of the house at the north end of the first floor hallway and certain other modern features, the plans of both the first and second floors consist of a hall running along the east side the full depth of the building flanked on the west by a pair of rooms, the whole forming an approximate square (30'-0" x 36'-0"). Of these two room, the southern or street room is slightly more than three feet deeper than the northern room. The second floor is approached by means of a U-shaped stair one flight of which runs along the western wall of the hallway. The stair stands, otherwise, free in the space of the hallway in such a manner as to permit circulation around it in the upper hall and to give easy access to both of the upstairs rooms.
THE PAIRED CORNER FIREPLACES
The plan has, in addition, another feature of interest, which is characteristic of these side hall houses in Williamsburg, viz., paired corner fireplaces serving the rooms on each floor. These fireplaces are placed in adjacent corners of contiguous rooms, their faces running diagonally across the corners of the rooms. They are back-to-back or, more accurately, side-to-side so that one chimney stack serves both fireplaces.46
OTHER SIDE HALL PLANS FOUND IN WILLIAMSBURG
As was remarked above, the Tayloe House plan has close relatives in the plans of other Williamsburg houses. Three of these side hall plans are shown for purposes of comparison on the next page together with the Tayloe House plan. It will be noted that all of these sister houses, the Lightfoot, the Powell-Hallam and the Orrell, closely resemble the Tayloe House as to type, however much they may differ from it in details such as the placement of the stair, room sizes, etc.
THEORIES CONCERNING ORIGIN OF THIS PLAN TYPE
PEYTON RANDOLPH HOUSE A MIXED TYPE
THE SIDE HALL HOUSE A SEPARATE BUILDING TYPE IN VIRGINIA
As has been pointed out in the architectural report on the Lightfoot House (pp. 6-9) the side hall plan was not a unique development of Williamsburg but was used in other parts of the country in colonial and post-colonial times. It has been claimed that this type of plan is derived from the city row house built on a narrow lot and sharing party walls with its neighbors on either side.* This theory has its appeal and, possibly, validity but we have no proof that the Virginia side hall plan had its origin in the town house. It may also be suggested that side hall houses were erected with the intention of completing them later by the addition of a second pair of rooms corresponding to the first pair adjacent to the free side of the hallway, and a few central hall houses have been found in Virginia which, clearly owe their bilateral symmetry to additions which were made to buildings of the side hall type. In the case of the Peyton Randolph House on Nicholson Street, a short distance west of the Tayloe House, we find the interesting case of a house built quite evidently in two stages, one part of which (the western) has a 48 more or less typical side hall plan while the adjoining eastern part resembles the typical one room deep plan with one of the two room, which in these plans flank the hallway, omitted. The house, in other words, represents a mixture of the two plan types and certainly furnishes no support to the theory that the side hall plan was meant to be made symmetrical by adding the two "missing" rooms. It is altogether possible, on the other hand, that the side hall plan had an independent development in Virginia and that it was an alternate to the "typical Virginia plan" (the central hall type with a single room on either side) which was used when a less elongated, more compact house was desired or was required by the narrowness of the building lot. Whatever its origin may have been, it was a distinct building type in colonial Virginia.
GAMBREL ROOF THE SALIENT FEATURE; DISCUSSION OF THIS ROOF TYPE
TRAVIS HOUSE HAS GAMBREL ROOF
The most striking feature of the exterior of the house or the one, at least, which contributes most to the character of the exterior is the roof, which is of the gambrel* type. This is a "jointed" roof of two slopes the lower of which is considerably steeper than the upper. (In the case of our roof the lower slope is approximately 72° and the upper about 35°). The gambrel was probably devised as a means of obtaining more headroom in the second story than is afforded by the common "A" roof. In some instances, indeed, as in that of the Travis House, an original eighteenth century Williamsburg house which has been moved to a temporary site on Francis Street, the lower slope of the gambrel is nearly vertical. The difference between this treatment and that of a medieval type house like Birmingham Manor, 1690, Anne 50 Arundel County, Maryland (now destroyed), in which the upper story overhangs the lower somewhat and is shingled or clapboarded, is not great. The similarity of the two types, however striking is probably accidental, but it is interesting to consider that this medieval type might have contributed to the development of the gambrel.
ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES IN WILLIAMSBURG
MOORE HOUSE IN YORKTOWN
There are, in Williamsburg, other colonial houses with gambrel roofs--the Orrell, Powell-Hallam, Ewing and Lightfoot Houses--and also some reconstructed ones--the Waters-Coleman Prentis and others. In the case of the last mentioned house however, only the front half of the roof has the gambrel form. A famous example of the gambrel roofed house outside of Williamsburg is the restored Moore House in Yorktown, the building in which Lord Cornwallis signed the articles of surrender to General Washington. The lower slope of this gambrel is also relatively steep although not so close to the vertical as that of the Travis House.
EARLY EXAMPLES IN PRINCESS ANNE COUNTY
As we remarked earlier, the gambrel roof existed before the beginning of the eighteenth century. It became very poplar in certain parts of Virginia; in Princess Anne County, for-instance, in 1931, at the time Sadie Scott Kellam and V. Hope Kellam 51 published their book, Old Houses in Princess Anne Virginia there were twenty-some gambrel roofed houses standing, "every one of which," they say, "was used as a home before 1800." The Kellams, in fact, show numerous pictures of gambrel roofed houses in the old county on the Atlantic seaboard and these houses and their roofs bear all the earmarks of age. In their discussion of this mode of roof (p. 82 of the book) they give us the following interesting explanation of the vogue of the gambrel:
A REASON FOR POPULARITY OF GAMBREL ROOF
It is said that one paid tax in colonial times on a dwelling in ratio to the number of stories under the roof. This is often given as an explanation of the extreme popularity of the gambrel roof, when our colonial gentlemen and their good wives felt the need of more space in the sleeping quarters of the family. For legally and technically the gambrel is a story-and-half, with the advantage of greater clearance in the overhead.52
PROPORTIONS OF SIDE HALL HOUSE ARE USUALLY NOT PLEASING; REASONS FOR THIS
Although questions of aesthetics, in general, are matters of personal opinion, it seems to us that the effect of the mass of the Tayloe House is not particularly pleasing. The building has that appearance of stubbiness and bulkiness which is inherent, probably in the side hall house. In the first place, the side hall plan, in itself, usually produces a house which is more or less square. This, in turn, creates a roof problem which is difficult to solve aesthetically-difficult, at least, when a gambrel or an A roof is used. The depth of the house or, better, the width of the sides, is such in relation to the height of the roof that both slopes of the gambrel tend to flatten out in a 53 manner that is not pleasing and the facades themselves appear squat In the case of the one room deep house covered with a gambrel roof, on the other hand, the width of the sides being much less in relation to the height of the roof, the pitches of the gambrel slopes are much steeper, so that the ends seem taller and more aspiring and the result is far more satisfying. An excellent example of the "raciness" of effect which results when the height of the end decisively dominates the width is seen in the case of the east end of the Travis House.
BOTH GRAMBREL AND A ROOFS ACCENTUATE FRONT AND REAR OF HOUSE
Both the gambrel and the A roof, by their nature, accentuate the two sides of the house (usually the front and rear facades) which lie beneath their sloping faces. This emphasis is heightened by the fact that the house entrances are generally placed in these facades. The gable ends, on the other hand, are usually further subordinated in consequence of the location in them of the chimneys, which may be either exposed to view from the outside or built within the house walls. In either case the chimneys reduce the size and number of the openings in the end walls and, in so doing, render the facades less active, for it is the openings (windows and doors) which, more than anything else, give life to a facade. The door openings, particularly, activate the facades because it is they which permit bodily movement between the interior of the house and the exterior.
DISCUSSION OF THE FACEDS; SOUTH AND NORTH ARE ASYMMETRIC
The side hall plan, being asymmetric, renders the two elevations which are at right angles to the axis of the hallway asymmetric as a matter of course. The fact of their being asymmetric does not signify that these facades must necessarily be out of 54 55 balance and, indeed, they are not so in the case of the Tayloe House. The location of the main entrance doorways, front and rear, with their covered stoops or porches, near the ends of the south and north facades naturally accentuates these ends. In cases like these where the facades are not bilaterally symmetrical balance or the lack of it depends upon the proportioning of the elements of the facades--the relationship of the openings to the unbroken wall or roof areas, as well as the size and placement of other features, such as, in this instance, the porches. These relationships in our two main elevations seem good and the elevations are satisfying in their effect.
SPACING OF OPENINGS IN THESE SHOW CAREFUL PLANNING
There is, it is interesting to note, a surprising regularity case of the south and north elevations the total length of the front is almost exactly 36'-0". In each of these facades the basic relationships are the same. The axis of the door opening is 6'-0" from the east end of the elevation and, moving westward, the door axis is 11'-0" from the axis of the first tier of window openings. From the latter axis to that of the west tier is again 11'-0". Thence to the west end of the facade the distance is 8'-0". The three dormers of each facade as well as the two basement grilles, are exactly on the axes of the doorway and the first floor windows respectively. Although the dimensions given above may not be absolutely accurate, as, for that matter, they cannot well be in an old house such as this, it is evident that the builder's intention, in relating the elements of his facades, was to work in whole feet, which is noteworthy. Furthermore his 56 feeling for proportioning was correct when he placed more wall area between the western window opening and the west end than between the door opening and the east end. Thus, he reinforced the asymmetry of the facades already rendered asymmetrical by the end placement of the doors, and this is good aesthetics.
WEST FACADE COMPLETELY SYMMETRICAL
The western end facade is completely regular; the two tiers comprising the first and second floor windows are each about 8'-0" from their respective corners and thus are symmetrically arranged in relation to the center axis of the facade. This regularity is maintained in the placing of the two identical attic windows equidistant from this axis.
SECOND FLOOR WINDOWS OMITTED IN EAST ELEVATION
In the eastern facade we meet with some anomalies It will be noted immediately that second story windows, which are present in the other Williamsburg side hall houses--the Lightfoot, Orrell and Powell-Hallam--are missing here. Light for the second floor hallway is obtained, therefore, only from the dormers at the ends. To our present day way of thinking, at least, the upper hall would have been a more pleasant space had the usual side windows been installed. The omission of the two windows in the upper hall might suggest that the builder had had the intention, which was never realized, of one day enlarging the house by an addition on the east side. This does not seem likely, however, for, in such a case, to be consistent, he should likewise have omitted the attic openings and those of the first floor hallway and have lighted the latter by transoms over the front and rear entrance doors as is commonly done in central hall dwellings. It is barely possible, of course, that Dr. Carter, if, as we feel 57 58 confident he was the builder, had planned the upper hallway for certain uses or to receive certain furniture which required an unbroken east wall.
SYMMETRY IMPAIRED BY LOCATION OF NORTH WINDOW AND GRILLE IN THIS ELEVATION
The two attic windows are found here as in the west facade and, following the treatment in the latter, they are both placed at the same distance from the central axis of the east elevation. The upright bulkhead housing the outside steps to the basement is also centered on the main axis. The symmetry of the facade is broken only by the fact that the north first floor window is two feet closer to the north end of the facade than the south window is from the south end. This departure from symmetry was necessitated by the circumstance that, although the upper flight of the U-shaped stair runs free in the space of the hallway rather than against the east wall, the beams supporting the intermediate landing are carried across to the east wall for support and the soffit is furred down. Thus, the underside of this landing, extended, cuts across the wall area where the window would fall if it were to be located in the same relative position as the corresponding south window. Since the soffit is lower than the top of the window, it was necessary, in order to maintain a uniform window height, to move the north window about two feet north of the position it would otherwise have assumed. It should be noted that the two basement grilles which are found in this elevation line up with the first floor windows above them and are, in consequence, also at different distances from their respective ends of the building.
CONDITION OF HOUSE BEFORE ITS RESTORATION; THE "MODERN" ADDITIONS
Like so many colonial dwellings which survived into the twentieth century in Williamsburg, the Tayloe House, in the course of its two centuries of existence, had acquired appendages, useful, no doubt, to the occupants but of uncertain style and dubious appearance. These--a rambling east wing two full stories in height (ill., opposite title page) and a single-storied west extension (above)--were added by Dr. and Mrs. Charles Washington Coleman (p. 36) not too long, probably, after they moved into the house in 1869. Our oldest photograph of the building (p. 1) does not show the wings.
REMOVAL OF THESE PERMITS RESTORATION OF FACADES
FRONT PORCH RECONSTRUCTED; REAR PORCH CONVERTED INTO KITCHEN
It is not incumbent upon us here to discuss these appendages since they were late in period and have no bearing on the colonial house, which is our primary interest. They were demolished at the outset of the restoration of the house and those walls of the original building which had been altered when the additions were built were restored to their original condition. This involved 60 the removal of doors communicating with the east wing on both floors of the hallway as well as that leading from the northwest first floor room to the west wing, and the restoration of the windows in the east and west facades which had been removed when the doors were installed. Indications in the framing of the walls made possible the restoration of these windows in their correct positions. It was also necessary, of course, to reconstruct the basement bulkhead and to replace the weatherboarding of the east and west walls where this had been removed at the time the wings were erected. The only other alterations of consequence which were made to the exterior of the house in the course of its restoration involved the porches. The front porch was late in period and a new one of authentic eighteenth century design and based upon archaeological and architectural evidence was substituted for this. The rear porch existed but this was converted into an enclosed space by erecting walls between the posts and then equipped for use as a kitchen.
FEW CHANGES MADE TO INTERIOR OF HOUSE
Relatively few changes were made to the interior of the old house in the course of its restoration so that this, as it stands today, is in large part original. In addition to the now kitchen, certain other modern conveniences were installed: the closet in the west wall of the northwest first floor room, for example, was converted into a lavatory and a second toilet room was created in the southeast corner of the basement. Otherwise, the changes made within the house were chiefly a matter of repair and replacement of certain worn or missing parts. These will be discussed later in the detailed treatment of the various features of the building.61
STRUCTURAL FRAMEWORK REPAIRED AND STABILIZED
The structure of the dwelling is in large part original but when the building was taken over for restoration this was in need of attention. The wood sills were partly rotted out so that these, as well as a number of the studs had to be patched or replaced by new members. The framework of the house had tended to spread outward at the bottom which caused its weight to be applied in a diagonal direction outward rather than vertically upon the brick foundations. In consequence of this these walls had tended to buckle inward slightly and bulges in them were visible in the basement. To insure that in the future the weight of the building would bear vertically upon the foundation walls and, thus, to arrest any further deformation in them, horizontal tie rods were run between the first floor joists in the north-south direction across the basement, securing the north and south walls against further spreading.
Brick (and terra cotta block) are found in the Tayloe House in the following locations (both exterior and interior brickwork will be considered here):
The brick, old and new, varies in character in accordance with the use to which it is put, so that it will be necessary to discuss the different types individually. We will follow the order established above.
FOUNDATIONS: PATCHING WITH NEW BRICK
The house foundations are in large part old and original. Some patching of the old walls was necessary, mainly directly 63 beneath the house sill and around the basement grilles. The brick used in this work was made by Colonial Williamsburg in the eighteenth century manner in its own kiln at the edge of town. This new brick is of the approximate size and color of the original brick.
BRICK BOND AND SIZE; MORTAR AND MORTAR JOINT
The foundation walls are laid up in Flemish bond throughout. The brick size varies as is customary in old brickwork but is approximately as follows: length, 8 ¼" to 8 5/8"; width, 4 1/8" to 4 ½" and height, 2 3/8" to 2 ½". The brick is laid up in mortar made to match in color and texture the original oyster shell mortar in the walls. The joints are approximately ½" thick and are tooled.
BRICK COLOR; EVIDENCE OF GLAZING
When the surface of the brick is scraped the color beneath is found to be the salmon pink typical of eighteenth century brickwork in Williamsburg. The south and side walls, however, were at one time painted a deep red and large areas of this pigment remain to obscure the true color of the brick of these walls. Weathering has, furthermore, darkened the surface color where the brick is not painted--on the north wall, particularly, where the surface tone is much deeper than the essential, internal brick color. The foundation wall surface least affected by time or treatment is the north portion of the west wall which, for many years, was covered and protected by the west addition. Here the color, more than elsewhere, recalls what must have been the old surface tone of the brick and remains of glazing are also clearly visible on header brick.64
FOUNDATIONS OF SOUTH (FRONT) PORCH
Old brickwork found in place when the stone floor of the nineteenth century south porch was removed gave the size of the original porch platform and the position of the steps was indicated by their still existing old foundations. In the reconstruction of the platform and steps the foundations supporting these were rebuilt in the old locations using old brick salvaged from the original porch foundations. This brick was laid in Flemish bond and set in cement mortar made to resemble the old mortar by the addition of ground oyster shells and sand selected for color, the joints being aligned with the joints of the house foundation wall.
FOUNDATIONS OF NORTH PORCH-KITCHEN
The north porch, when its restoration was begun, was supported by brick piers which, since they were not original, were removed. Archaeological investigation brought to light the original foundations so that the exact location and size of the porch were known. The foundation size corresponded exactly with the dimensions of the existing portions of the old wood porch so that the porch-kitchen 65 was rebuilt over the position of these foundations, the old brick walls being replaced by new brick made by hand to resemble in size, texture and color the old brick of the house foundation wall. The new brick was laid in Flemish bond and set in the simulated oyster shell mortar mentioned above the courses being aligned with those of the house foundation. An access opening large enough to permit a man to crawl into the space beneath the kitchen to inspect or repair the wood framing of the floor was placed in the west wall of the foundation. This opening is spanned by a segmental brick arch and closed off by a board and batten door set in an unmolded wood frame. Screened ventilation openings were also left in the three sides of the porch-kitchen foundation.
The position of the bulkhead was established, after the east addition was removed, by the discovery of the brick foundations of an old bulkhead and the remains of brick steps leading to the basement. The existing outside basement steps adjacent to the north wall were, therefore, eliminated and the door opening in the foundation wall was closed up with new brick. A new upright bulkhead was built in its stead on the lines of the old foundations adjoining the east wall. The steps and the part of the foundation below the ground surface were for practical reasons, reconstructed of concrete, only the small part of the wall appearing above ground being laid in brick. This portion of the foundation wall is two brick courses high.
CHIMNEY & FIREPLACE BRICKWORK
The single square-sectioned chimney stack, built, below the level of the roof ridge, inside the west wall of the house, serves a pair of corner fireplaces on each of the two main floors. The bulk of the brickwork composing the stack within the house is 66 original and this includes the two rather striking arched piers in the basement.
FLUE LININGS; NEW BRICKWORK OF FIREPLACES
Flue linings were installed, however, to render the chimney more fire safe. These were in some places inserted in existing flues but also, throughout much of their length, carried through new channels brick lining these new flues, therefore, had to be relaid. In addition to this the condition of the existing brick facing the back and sides of the fireplaces and of that surrounding the fireplace openings made necessary the renewal of this brickwork. Wherever such fireplace surfaces are exposed or, as in the case of the surrounds of the fireplace openings, plastered over, new handmade face brick was employed. Dampers were, by the way, installed in all four fireplaces where none had existed before.67
REBUILDING OF UPPER PART OF CHIMNEY
The portion of the chimney stack-above the second floor ceiling--the part, that is, running through the attic and appearing above the roof, was taken down and rebuilt. In the reconstruction of the part of the shaft above the roof, chimney details visible in the enlargement of an old photograph (ill., p. 1) were followed. This rebuilding was necessary for the sake of authenticity since the upper part of the shaft with its cap had been altered from its eighteenth century condition.
BRICK USED IN THIS NEW PORTION OF STACK
The brick used in the rebuilding of the shaft above the roof line is no handmade brick which resembles very closely the quality an appearance of the old brick. The corner brick and the sloping brick of the wash of the chimney cap are of rubbed brick. The headers on the vertical center lines of the four sides are glazed as are occasional additional headers on the chimney faces.
The chimney cap is of the stepped variety found so frequently in the architecture of Tidewater Virginia. In this case two corbelled courses support a projecting double course surmounted by the sloping brick wash mentioned above. Above this is a single course lining up with the main shaft below. A cement wash protects this top course from the penetration of rain water. This chimney cap design is based upon that of the cap visible in the old photograph on p. 1.
BRICKWORK OF HEARTHS RENEWED; METHOD OF LAYING
The four hearths and their structural supports were completely rebuilt. In all cases, in this reconstruction work, the dimensions and positions of the old hearths were retained. The new hearths were made of new handmade brick of the size of the brick found in the old hearths (approximately the size of the house foundation brick). The brick were set in a bed of soft mortar and the joints 68 filled with a mixture of dry sand and cement. Following this, since these handmade brick have uneven surfaces, the hearth was rubbed smooth with harder brick. This manner of laying the brick departs from the colonial method only in that no mortar and cement were used in the latter. These were added to hold the brick firmly in place.
The pattern followed in the laying of the brick was that found in the old brick hearths. The two hearths on the first floor are enframed on their three outside edges by narrow wood strips, a feature omitted in the second floor hearths, where the flooring runs up to the hearth brickwork.
REBUILDING OF HEARTH SUPPORTS
The weight of the brickwork of the old hearths was supported by cantilevered brick half arches known as trimmer arches. These were considered insecure and were replaced by a modern equivalent, viz., 4" thick reinforced concrete slabs projecting beyond the face of the chimney the same distance as the hearth, to sustain the otherwise unsupported area of hearth brickwork. It is on this slab that the mortar bedding of the hearth brick rests.
Brick drips have been placed level with the surface of the ground about a foot away from the north and south walls of the house, except, of course, where the porches prevent this. Remains of old drips were found in the course of the archaeological investigation of the house site and these gave the authority for the reinstallation of this feature. The purpose of the drips is to break the force of the rain water falling from the roof and thus prevent it from pitting the ground adjacent to the house. They were unnecessary at the sides since most of the water is carried down the slopes of the roof. It may be well to note here 69 that similar drips have been laid adjacent to all of the outbuildings, with the exception of the privies. Brick drips represent a simplified alternative to the brick ground gutters which were also frequently used in the eighteenth century. They consist of new machine made brick known as Virginia pavers, 8 ¼" long, 3 ¾" wide and 2 5/8" thick, placed long side by long side to form a continuous band one brick wide. These pavers were used as an economic substitute for handmade brick.
BRICK WALKS AND OTHER PAVED AREAS
Brick sidewalks have been used extensively in the area adjacent to the Tayloe House and its outbuildings as a means of approach to the individual buildings and as communicating ways between the buildings (see plot plan, p. 141). In the service area, comprising the Kitchen, Laundry and Smokehouse with the ground surrounding them, these walks have been expanded into paved outdoor working spaces where, in another day, many of the tasks assigned to the outbuildings, might well have been performed in part in the open air. A good original example of such a paved working area is the one which, in an excellent state of preservation, was found between the back of the Brush-Everard House and the kitchen and shop just east of it.
METHOD OF LAYING BRICK PAVING
These sidewalks and paved areas are made of the same Virginia pavers used for the drips. Their color, which varies, of course, could be described as ranging from a medium red to a dark red. They are laid in running bond, in this instance, with the joints of adjacent courses staggered and, in general, with the long sides of the brick parallel to the length of a walk or paved area. To 70 facilitate drainage the walks are laid with a slight elevation along the center line and sloping off toward the sides, and the other paved areas are also inclined in one direction or another to aid in the disposal of rain water. A few miscellaneous fragments of stone, mostly limestone, have in the court areas, been dropped in amidst the brickwork, a practice followed in colonial times.
OLD MARL WALK AND ITS GRAVEL SUBSTITUTE
A rectangular marl walk enclosing what may have been a planted area was discovered directly south of the house in the course of the archaeological investigation of the site (see archaeological plan, p. 42). On the basis of this certain of the walks before the house (see plot plan, p. 141) were executed in a material, stabilized gravel, which is intended to suggest marl. Stabilized gravel is gravel as it comes from the pit or bank and it contains enough clay or other cementing ingredient to cause the tamped gravel particles in time to adhere to each other sufficiently to create a hard and immobile surface. This material 71 was substituted here for marl because it is less expensive and requires less maintenance than the latter.
REASON WHY OLD WALK PATTERN WAS NOT RESTORED
The question arises as to why the hollow rectangular walk was not restored in the form in which, as is evident from the archaeological plan, it at one time existed. The reason for this was that the entire walk lay outside of what has been determined to have been the south colonial property line and represented an encroachment upon city land. Such encroachments became frequent toward the latter part of the eighteenth century and, apparently, were tolerated by the city. Since, however, it is a policy of Colonial Williamsburg, Incorporated to re-establish the colonial lot lines and, as far as is practicable, to retain all restoration work within them, it was thought feasible in this instance, not to attempt the restoration of this rather unusual arrangement of walks.
TERRA COTTA TILE WALL
A new 4" thick terra cotta tile partition has been erected in the basement, dividing the area west of the stair hall into two nearly equal spaces. This runs from the projecting chimney pier eastward to the west wall of the stair hall. It separates the north space containing the heating equipment from the south space which is intended to be used as a maid's room. Since this is a purely modern addition with no eighteenth century basis it will not be discussed in further detail here.
Stone is employed at two points only in the exterior house design--on the front and rear porches. This is in part old stone found in place and in part now stone selected to match the old.
SOUTH PORCH PLATFORM COMPOSED PARTLY OF OLD STONE
The front (south) porch as we have remarked, p. 64, has a brick foundation, laid up out of old brick salvaged from foundations which, at the time the restoration of the house began, served as the support for a nineteenth century porch. The platform of this porch was set together partly of stone more recently quarried and partly of flagging which, it was believed, had at some time been brought from the Capitol, because it is similar to the Portland stone which was used there for paving. This Portland stone was imported from England in colonial times for use in several Williamsburg buildings. When the late porch was demolished the old stones were salvaged and nine pieces were incorporated in the platform of the restored porch, forming its center portion. These stones are laid on a bed of white cement mortar which, in turn, rests on a 4" slab of reinforced concrete.
BORDER AND STEPS OF INDIANA LIMESTONE
The platform is completed by a border on the sides and front composed of blocks, 7" high and 14" deep of Indiana limestone, which is similar in texture and color to the old stone. Four new solid steps, also of Indiana limestone, lead from the porch platform to the ground. These are likewise bedded in white cement mortar and the joints of all the stonework of the porch and steps are filled with the same material.
THESE HAVE NOSINGS BASED UPON PRECEDENT
The outside edges of the steps and of the peripheral stones of the platform have ornamental nosings carved from the blocks. 73 These consist of a half round above a fillet and a cove. Nosings with profiles similar to this have been found on old steps of other Williamsburg buildings, a good original example being that with which the two stone stoops at the south entrances of the John Blair House are provided.
NORTH PORCH HAS SINGLE UNMOLDED STONE TREAD
EXISTING FRAGMENT WAS BASIS FOR THIS
The stonework of the rear (north) porch is confined to the unmolded tread of a single step at the base of a flight of wooden steps leading from the porch-kitchen to the ground. Stone was used for this bottom tread because a length of old stone was found in this position in the existing porch. The old stone, when trued up, was 3'-4 ½" in length so that, since the flight of steps, as indicated by the old brick foundations, was 5'-4 ½" wide, a two foot length of stone had to be added to it to complete the tread. This was selected from the stock pile of stone at the Colonial Williamsburg warehouse to match the piece found on the site. This stone tread is set on a bed of white mortar which rests on a brick base and since the tread is about brick height it lines up with the adjoining brick course of the porch-kitchen foundation.
The condition in which the old framework of the exterior walls was found and the steps taken to strengthen it have been discussed on pp. 60 and 61. It should be added here that old framing members or parts of them were replaced by new only when the condition of the old timbers made this imperative. The objective was to preserve intact as much as possible of the old work.
MUCH OF OLD WEATHERBOARDING REPLACED BY NEW
SOUTH FRONT FACED WITH OLD MATERIAL
The major part of the existing weatherboarding on the house was in so bad a state of repair that it had to be replaced by new material. Where the two nineteenth century wings had abutted the house the siding was for the most part completely absent, a few fragments only still remaining in place on the west wall where the west (kitchen) wing had adjoined the building. The weatherboarding was removed from the entire building and the still usable pieces were salvaged and placed on the front face so that the siding here is old throughout. The walls of the other facades were covered with Northern white pine, cut to match the old weatherboarding.
NATURE OF BOARDS AND MANNER OF APPLICATION
INSULATION OF WALLS
The weatherboards, old and new, have an exposure of from about 5 ¼" to 6 ¼". They terminate at the bottom in the ½" bead which was so common a feature of colonial weatherboarding in Williamsburg. They have been secured to the studding with modern galvanized cut nails, the heads of which have been hand hammered to make them resemble old handmade nails. For insulation purposes aluminum foil has been nailed to the inside faces of the studs and rigid insulation board (Celotex) has been inserted between them. This insulation material, of course, did not exist in the eighteenth century.
STRUCTURE GENERALLY SOUND BUT SOME NEW MEMBERS WERE ADDED
The roof shape has already been discussed at some length (p. 52 et seq.). The roof structure was in a good state of preservation so that relatively little replacement of framing members was necessary because of deterioration (see photographs, next page). Although we usually think of old houses as being more sturdily framed, in general, than our own today, this was not the case with the roof structure of the Tayloe House. The roof rafters, for example, were lighter than we would make them or, at any rate, since they were nearly square in section (about 4 ¾" x 4 ½") they were not as strong as the 2" x 6" members which we would use in a like situation, but they were, nevertheless, sturdy enough to support wood shingles. With the substitution for the latter of asbestos cement shingles, it was deemed advisable to strengthen these members by placing new supplementary rafters beside them. New plates were also laid on top of the second floor ceiling joists to receive the upper roof rafters.76 77
NEW TIES, BRACES AND BRIDGING
A number of now horizontal ties were likewise used to reinforce the existing ones where these were too light. In addition to this the upper roof structure was further strengthened by the use of new 2" x 4" diagonal knee braces which did not exist previously, and new bridging was inserted between the joists of the second floor ceiling.
As can be observed in our photograph of the existing structure at the second floor level, the studs (vertical wall framing members) varied greatly in size, some of them being surprisingly light. Reinforcing was evidently necessary in this quarter also this was accomplished by placing new 2" x 4" studs beside a number of the old ones.
CONDITION OF ROOFERS; LAYING OF SHINGLES
As is also evident from the photographs, the roofers, or boards which, resting on the rafters, receive the shingles, were in very good condition considering their apparent age. They were repaired where necessary and left in place. It was assumed, from a few old shingles found on the job, that the roof had originally been covered with round-butted wood shingles. Because of this, round-butted shingles were returned to the roof. But, as is customary with all but the smallest buildings in Williamsburg, the new shingles are not of wood but, rather of a fireproof material--this case, as in most others here, asbestos cement. They were laid on 30 lb. felt 5 ½" to 6" to the weather, with a minimum head lap of 3", and secured in place by nailing to the roofers. The dormer roofs were covered in the same manner with round-butted asbestos shingles. Copper flashing was used about the chimney and at other danger points where it is commonly used 78 today, although there is no evidence that metal flashing was used in colonial times to prevent roof leakage. The flashing is concealed, however, and does not affect the appearance of the building.
INSULATION OF SECOND FLOOR
The rooms of the second floor were insulated against external temperature changes by placing rigid insulation board between the rafters of the lower roof slope and between the joists of the second floor ceiling.
Before concluding our treatment of the roof we should not omit mention of an old feature which was somewhat unusual for the eighteenth century and which suggests technical developments of a later date--the lightning rod which was in position when the house was taken over for restoration. Rising to a height of about 5 feet above the chimney top this runs down the west side of the chimney and the face of the house below and is grounded a foot or so below the surface. The character of the rod indicates that it is old. It is of hand hammered iron having, at the base of the chimney, a thickness of about ¾". It tapers toward the tip to about half this thickness.
TRIM IS BASICALLY FUNCTIONAL, BUT IT ALSO SERVES TO ORNAMENT A BUILDING
Our discussion of the details of the trim, perhaps, should be prefaced by the statement that the underlying purpose of the trim is to cover the junction line of two surfaces meeting at different angles, such as the upper and lower planes of the gambrel roof; the lower slope of the roof and the wall beneath; two walls meeting at right angles, etc., and, thus, to effect a smooth transition from one to the other. As is so frequently the case with architectural elements which in their origin are purely functional, these trim members are generally given ornamental shapes so that they serve in addition to embellish the building.
MODILLION CORNICE IS MOST ELABORATE TRIM MEMBER ON HOUSE
The most richly ornamented trim member on the exterior of the Tayloe House is the main cornice a horizontal band occurring both front and rear at the eaves line, the point, that is, where the lower edge of the roof projects beyond the face of the wall. In keeping with the relatively sumptuous character of the house the cornice is of that more complex variety which includes, along with the usual top and bottom moldings (the crown and bed molds, respectively) and fascias (flat vertical surfaces) a band of rectangular blocks known an modillions. Each block in about 6" long, 3" wide and 3" high, exclusive of the 5/8" cyma reversa or ogee (a reverse curve) which ornaments the top of it and their spacing from center to center is about 9 7/8". The blocks are fastened to the overhanging soffit board by nailing from above.
ITS SIZE MAKES IT A PROMINENT FEATURE
That this cornice is a feature of some considerable prominence is evident from the fact that its overhang, measured from 81 the surface of the lowest fascia. whose beaded end overlaps the top weatherboard, to the line of the outer end of the crown mold, which touches the underside of the lowest roof shingle is about 15" and its vertical dimension about the same.
ROOF "KICK" UNUSUAL
Attention should be called to a rather unusual feature which, though part of the roof treatment, is so intimately associated with the cornice that it will be discussed here. The roof edge at both ends of both the north and south fronts of the building curves both outward and upward forming what is known as a "kick." Kicks, or changes in the roof slope near the saves line are not unusual in Virginia architecture, a good example being the pronounced one on the roof of the east dependency at Shirley in Charles City County. These kicks in most cases, however, run the length of the roof, whereas, in this instance they start at the ends of the building, run a short distance only toward the middle and then gradually merge once more with the flat incline of the roof. No very plausible explanation of this treatment of the roof ends has thus far been advanced.
CORNICE REPAIRED BUT LARGELY OLD
Both the north and south cornices of the Tayloe House were found more or lose intact at the beginning of the restoration of the building. It was necessary to repair or replace certain parts of them but they still remain largely old.
TREATMENT OF CORNICE AT CORNERS WAS PROBLEM IN GABLE ENDED HOUSE; VARIOUS SOLUTIONS
In the case of every gable ended house like the Tayloe House, the problem arises of how to treat the cornice at the ends of the house. This problem does not exist in the hip roofed house since this roof type slopes toward all four sides and the cornice is 82 carried uniformly along the eaves of all of them. In certain instances in the Virginia gable ended building, the cornice is continued across the gable ends, forming a pediment. This is the case with Archibald Blair's Storehouse (the printing shop at present) in Williamsburg and with the above-mentioned east dependency and the stables at Shirley. This is a relatively late eighteenth century treatment, however, which suggests classical influence. In other cases the cornice is returned around the ends of the building but stops short after running a couple of feet. The Henley House in Princess Anne County is one of many Virginia houses in which this detail can be observed.
STOPPING CORNICE MOST USUAL PRACTICE; THREE WAYS THIS WAS DONE
In by far the greater number of colonial gable ended houses in Williamsburg and Virginia generally, however, the cornice is stopped when it reaches the ends of the building. There are two or three methods of accomplishing this all of them illustrated in Williamsburg buildings. Sometimes one or more cornice moldings return on themselves, that is, they stop against a fascia board before reaching the ends of the building. The bed molding of the front cornice of the Brush-Everard House does this. In certain other cases such as Captain Orr's Dwelling and the Archibald Blair House, weatherboards of the building ends are continued out to receive the cornice, the ends of the weatherboards being out to follow the profile of the latter.
CORNICE END BOARD WAS DEVICE MOST OFTEN USED
THIS TOOK VARIOUS FORMS IN COLONIAL BUILDINGS
The commonest method of all of terminating the cornice, however, is by the use of a feature known as the cornice end board, 83 a flat piece of woods, cut partially or wholly to conform to the profile of the cornice, which projects out from the end of the building. This is the device used in the Tayloe House where the upper part of the end board follows the cornice profile but where the lower part swings free in an elliptical arc (see cornice detail, p. 80) which extends to the corner board of the building which it overlaps. From this point it runs vertically upward until it meets the diagonal lower leg of what is known as the "rake-" or "barge board," with which, except for a joint between them, it is continuous. A great deal of variety is revealed from building to building in the architecture of colonial Virginia in the form given to the cornice end boards. These, again, served both a practical and an ornamental purpose and in the case of this detail the eighteenth century builder apparently felt himself free to follow his fancy.
RAKE BOARD AND ITS FUNCTION
The rake board is a trim member placed at the junction of the side faces of the building with the roof to cover up the ends of the weatherboarding, in the case of a wood house, and to render more smooth the transition from the weatherboards to the slightly overhanging shingles. Since our roof in this case in a two sloped one the rake, following its contour, in jointed about midway up the end of the building. The rake consists of a flat board about 4" wide with a half inch bead at the bottom which overlaps the weatherboarding. It is ornamented with a ogee molding at the top.
RAKE AND END BOARD CONTINUOUS
In actuality the rake and the cornice end board form a single continuous member, starting at the roof peak and following 84 the two slopes of the gambrel down to the cornice level where it expands into the decorative element which masks the end of the cornice.
PARTS OF THIS MEMBER IN TAYLOE HOUSE ARE OLD AND OTHERS NEW
Parts of this combined trim member, the rake-cornice-end-board, are old pieces found in place on the Tayloe House and parts are new, copied after the old. Thus, the two cornice end boards at the southeast and southwest corners are old while their counterparts on the two north corners are new. In like manner, certain legs of the rakes are new and others are old, if not the original boards.
JUNCTION OF WEATHERBOARDS AT CORNERS REQUIRED MEMBER KNOWN AS CORNER BOARD
Effecting a transition at the corners of a building between weatherboards running at right angles to each other, since they were never mitred in the eighteenth century as they are today, required a special vertical member, the corner board. This was a rectangular piece of wood against which the weatherboards abutted, the long side, generally, paralleling the length of the building. The free end of this board was almost always beaded.
THIS OFTEN COMPOSED OF TWO PIECES FORMNG CORNER "POST," WHICH WAS THE CASE IN TAYLOE HOUSE
Frequently this corner member was made up of two such pieces the ends of which met at right angles, so that it had the appearance of a solid corner post. Such is the case with this feature on the Tayloe House. The meeting ends of the L-shaped member were sometimes joined in a mitre covered by a bead out in the outer edge of one of the pieces and also in other ways. In this instance a portion of the side opposite the free end of the beaded piece is rabbeted out to receive the end of the other board which is a simple rectangular piece of wood about 4" wide. The flat face of the beaded piece is the same approximate width but the 85 piece is actually about ½" longer than the other because it carries the bead which is ½" in diameter. The boards are 1 ¼" thick.
CORNER "POSTS" OLD AT SOUTH, NEW AT NORTH ENDS OF HOUSE
These corner "posts" are old on the two south corners of the Tayloe House whereas on the north they are new copies of the old ones. This is due, as in the case of other building elements which have been renewed, to the fact that the north ends of the east and west facades of the building suffered alteration more than the south, since the nineteenth century wings were attached to the former.
UPPER CORNICE RUNS ALONG MEETING LINE OF ROOF SLOPES
Another junction line between two planes meeting at different angles, which requires the aid of trim to effect the transition, is that between the lower edge of the upper roof slope and the upper edge of the lower. This is quite simply treated by the use of what is termed the upper cornice which consists here of a molding similar in character to the crown mold of the main cornice below, though it is somewhat smaller in size. This, a typical molding found in eighteenth century Williamsburg, is made up of a cyma recta curve over a cyma reversa, with a fillet between them.
THIS MOLDING CONTINUOUS WITH DORMER CROWN MOLD
The upper cornice is on the same level as and is continuous with the molding which runs between the roof edges and the vertical sides of the dormers and in the case of the south dormers of the Tayloe House continues across their fronts to define the pediments above the windows. Thus, on the south front, beginning at one end of the building, the upper cornice runs along the meeting line of the two roof slopes until it strikes a dormer side, "encircles" the dormer and continues along the junction of 86 the roof slopes to the next dormer, and in this manner proceeds the length of the building. On the north side it does likewise, except that it is interrupted at the front faces of the dormers. The upper cornice is stopped at each end of the house by a simple end board out to match the molding profile. The end board is on the same plane as the face of the rake board.
UPPER CORNICE MOSTLY OLD BUT REPAIRS WERE NEEDED
Parts of the upper cornices on both the front and rear of the house being in a position where they would in the course of time inevitably suffer from the effects of moisture, were found to be in poor condition when the restoration of the building began, so that the cornices had to be patched with new pieces. It was not difficult, however, to reproduce the exact profile, since so much of the old molding remained intact on the roof and the faces of the dormers.
ROLE OF WINDOWS IN DESIGN OF FACADES
The part played by the window openings in the design of the facades has been discussed on pp. 55, 56 and 58 and the elevation drawings, pp. 54 and 57 should be examined in this connection. It is the character of the windows and their detailing which is the present subject.
OLD WINDOWS OF HOUSE WERE OF DOUBLE HUNG VARIETY; THEIR METHOD OF OPERATION
All of the windows of the house (with the exception of the three six light wood casements in the north and east sides of the porch-kitchen and six wood basement windows) are of the double hung type, that is, they are equipped with vertically sliding sash, the operation of which is facilitated by the fact that their weight (in most cases) is counterbalanced by lead weights or balances hung over pulleys and moving up and down in concealed chases cut in the window casings, or by modern spring balances. As was customary with double hung windows in eighteenth century Virginia, only the lower sash of these windows were originally movable, the upper ones being fixed. With the exception of the dormer windows, in the case of which, to provide better ventilation in the second story, both sash have been made to operate, the upper sash of the windows still remain fixed.
FIRST FLOOR WINDOWS HAD SASH WEIGHTS
OTHER SASH NOT BALANCED
WOODEN LUGS WERE USED TOHOLD UP WINDOWS
The movable sash of all of the first floor windows are balanced, as they were in the eighteenth century, by suspended lead weights, while those of the dormers and the two second floor windows of the west side are hung on modern clock spring balances. These windows originally had no sash weights and the installation of spring balances entailed much less cutting of the old woodwork 88 than that of weights would have. The four third floor windows of the sides were also never counterbalanced and they remain this way today. These are provided with notched wooden lugs to hold them in place when they are opened. This is, in fact, true of the other windows also, although counterbalanced windows do not require the lugs, but the windows were found to be equipped with them. The latter circumstance suggests that, in the case of the first floor windows which were, evidently, equipped originally with weights, the balancing system had failed at some time or other, probably because the sash cords had broken and, because of the difficulty of getting at the weights to repair them, the simple device of the lug had been installed.
WINDOWS ARE OF THREEE TYPES, ON BASIS OF NUMBER OF GLASS PANES
Considering the double hung windows of the house from the standpoint of the number of lights or panes of glass which compose them, there are three window types on the house--18 light windows on the first floor; 15 light windows on the second (dormer windows and windows of the west end) and 8 light windows on the third or attic floor. The number of lights in the three types determines the relative sizes of the windows since the panes are roughly of the same size--about 10 ½" x 11".
ARRANGMENT OF LIGHTS IN THESE TYPES
The windows are all three lights wide except those of the attic which are two lights wide. The first floor windows are six lights high, those of the second floor five and the attic windows four. In the latter windows and those of the first floor there are an equal number of lights in the upper and lower sash, while the windows of the second floor have nine panes in the lower sash and six in the upper.89
MUCH OLD GLASS STILL REMAINED IN PLACE; SOME BROUGHT FROM OTHER BUILDINGS
Many of the old lights now in the windows were still in place when the restoration work began. These had the characteristic unevenness of eighteenth and early nineteenth century glass and were easily distinguishable from the later glass. The modern glass panes were removed and old glass, salvaged from other colonial buildings, put in their place, so that all of the glass in the windows above the basement level is old, though not all of it belonged originally to the house.
CONSTRUCTION OF SASH FRAME; DESCRIPTION OF MUNTINS
The sash lights are held together by the customary framework of wood members consisting of the outer rectangle formed by the stiles(vertical) and rails (horizontal) and the lighter divisions of that rectangle known as muntins which, with the outer frame, support the glass. The muntins in this case are of the relatively heavy type current in the eighteenth century and have a thickness along each axis of the cross section of about 1 ½". They are cut to a shape which these members frequently took in colonial Williamsburg, being rabbeted out on either side of one face to receive two panes of glass and having on the room face a profile composed of circular arcs and fillets suggesting the outline one would get by superimposing a Greek cross on a circle, except that one arm of the cross and half of the circle are omitted.
ALL BUT THREE DOUBLE HUNG WINDOWS OF FIRST FLOOR ARE ORIGINAL
Five of the eight double hung windows of the first floor are old, having been repaired and rehung. The north first floor window on the west side and both first floor windows on the east side are new replicas of the old sash. It was at these points that the wings joined the house and the windows had been removed when these 90 were built. Notches in the old studding, and indications in the hallway paneling, however, gave the exact location of the missing windows of the east side and stud notches alone in case of the west window.
EAST ATTIC WINDOWS MISSING; THESE WERE REPLACED
All of the windows above the first floor, except the two attic windows of the east side, are old and have been repaired. The two east attic windows, again, had been removed when the two story east wing was built and these had to be replaced by new copies of the attic windows on the west side. the exact location of the old windows was apparent from notches in the studding.
ONLY EXTERIOR TRIM IS SHUTTER STOP OR BACKBAND
In the case of the old windows of the house, exterior trim, in the present day sense of a series of molded pieces applied to a structural frame and forming the external enframement of the opening, does not exist. The exterior trim is here restricted to a shutter stop only in the case of all the windows except those of the dormers and this consists of a simple rectangular strip which is applied to the frame and which receives the weatherboarding. In the case of the dormer windows the strip, known in this case as a backband, has an ogee mold on the sash side while the outside, against which the dormer sheathing strikes, is rectangular.
WINDOW FRAME SERVES USES OF STRUCTURE AND TRIM
In the absence of other applied trim the timber frame at the sides and head of the window serves the purpose of trim in addition to performing its structural function. It is rabbeted out on the window side to create a channel for the sash to slide in and on the concealed opposite side to provide a chase for the sash weights, where these exist. It is ornamented to the extent 91 of having a bead carved in its free outer edge.
SILLS ARE OF FOUR TYPES; SILLS OF FIRST FLOOR WINDOWS
The sills are of four different types and they are much heavier than the wood sills in use today, running from about 2 ½" in thickness in the case of the attic window sills to nearly 4" in the sills of the first floor windows. The latter sills are, of all the four types, the most elaborately molded. Their outside profile consists of an approximately semicircular curve about 2" in diameter, beneath which are, in succession, a fillet, cove and bead. All of these moldings return against themselves at the sill ends. These sills are similar in character to two old first floor sills on the north elevation of the Taliaferro-Cole House, though the moldings of the latter are not the exact counterparts of those of the Tayloe sills.
SILLS OF SECOND FLOOR WINDOWS
The sills of the two second floor windows of the west façade are much simpler in treatment. Here the sloping top of the sill ends in a lip which projects about a half inch beyond the face of the sill. This is cut off abruptly at the ends of the sill which are flush with the outer edge of the shutter stop.
The sills of the dormers are simpler still, the only refinement being a curve which unites the sloping top of the sill with the front face. The ends of the sill line up with the dormer sides and the face is flush with the flat outer part of the backband of the window frame. These sills are new, the ones found in place having been later replacements. The precedent followed in the sill design was the old sills of the dormers of the south wing of the Benjamin Waller House.
SILLS OF THIRD FLOOR WINDOWS
In the case of the attic window sills the sloping top surfaces 92 terminate at their outer edges in half rounds which project about ½" beyond the front faces of the sills. These are cut off at the sill ends flush with the backband.
PARTS JOINED BY WOOD PEGS
The parts of the window members discussed above--sash and frames and sills--are joined together by means of hardwood pegs driven through mortise and tenon joints. This method of joinery was also followed where new window members were installed.
TRIM, FRAMES AND SILLS LARGELY OLD
The trim, frames and sills of the windows are in large part old. Where windows had been removed these members, of course, did not exist and had to be replaced with copies of existing old parts. And the latter in some instances, of course, were defective and had either to be repaired or replaced by new pieces.
INTERIOR TRIM TO BE TREATED HERE
Although this section of the report deals with the exterior of the house in the interest of simplicity we will complete the treatment of the windows here by discussing the interior trim and certain other interior features relating to the windows.
FIRST FLOOR TRIM EXTENDS ACROSS BOTTOM COMPLETING WINDOW ENFRAMEMENT
The interior trim of the first floor windows is applied in the manner current today. It is set together out of either two or three molded pieces of wood which combine to form an ornamental frame. This extends across the bottom of the window where we would today normally have an interior sill or stool, so that it forms a complete open rectangle surrounding or "trimming" the window opening as a picture frame "trims" a painting (see photo. p. 128).
DESCRIPTION OF MOLDINGS FORMING TRIM
In all but the two west windows which open into closets off the north and south first floor rooms, the trim measures about 6" across and is composed of an outer, backband member cut to an ogee profile and superimposed upon a piece about 5 ¾" high having two flat faces (fascias) joined by a smaller ogee. The 93 trim ends in a smaller horizontal piece on the inside, the outer end of which is out to the shape of a bead or half circle.
SIMPLER TRIM IN CLOSET WINDOWS
The two windows lighting the closets have a simplified version of this molded frame composed of two trim members only. The trim here measures about 4 ½" across. the second ogee and fascia having been omitted.
TRIM OF WEST WINDOWS OF SECOND FLOOR
The two second floor windows on the west elevation have interior trim of about the same character as the two first floor closet windows just discussed. These two windows likewise serve closets directly above those on the first floor. In the case of this trim, however, the fascia terminates on the sash side in a quarter round rather than a bead. Furthermore, only the backband continues across the bottom of the window being applied to the bottom of the inside face of the sill, which is left exposed in the room. The fascia member with its quarter round is stopped when it reaches the sill, by a rectangular sectioned horizontal strip let into the top of the sill. This also functions as a sash stop.
TRIM OF ATTIC WINDOWS IS VERY SIMPLE
The interior trim of the attic windows, as one might expect, is of the utmost simplicity. This consists of a flat strip, 3¼" in width, which has a ½" bead on the sash side. This trim member completely enframes the opening.
LIKEWISE THAT OF DORMER WINDOWS; WINDOW SEATS
In the case of the dormer windows, because of the fact that the sash confined within a recess nearly two feet deep, great elaboration of the trim was neither possible nor desirable. Thus, the trim, as in the case of the attic windows, consists of a flat strip only, beaded on the edge toward the opening. Because of 94 the depth of the dormer recess the horizontal shelf or stool at the bottom of the panel which occurs beneath the window opening is ample enough to be used as a window seat and, since its surface is at about the proper height from the floor, 1'-6 3/8", it makes a comfortable enough place for sitting (see photos, p. 131).
SHUTTERS EXCEPTIONAL ON DORMER WINDOWS BUT EXIST IN TAYLOE HOUSE
Since the side walls of a dormer recess tend to intercept the direct rays of the sunlight, the problem of light control is not as critical in the case of these windows as in that of windows placed in the thickness of a building wall. Dormer windows were, therefore, in the eighteenth century generally unequipped with shutters or blinds. Instances of the use of outside shutters on dormer windows, though rare, have been found in old Virginia buildings. More common, probably, though they were still very exceptional, were inside shutters which when not in use, swung into depressions prepared for them in the sides of the dormer recess. The dormer windows of the Tayloe House were all equipped with such shutters and they still exist (see photos, p. 131). These shutters are two paneled ones, the stiles and rails of which have a quarter round on the panel side, and the edges of whose panels on their inside faces are out on a diagonal (bevelled), forming a tongue which fits into grooves provided in the frame to receive them. The panel surface is on a level with that of the frame.
LIGHTFOOT AND NELSON-GALT HOUSES HAVE INTERIOR SHUTTERS ON DORMERS
The only other examples of dormer shutters in old frame houses in Williamsburg are the pair found on the south dormer window of the stair hall in the Lightfoot House and those of the dormer windows of the Nelson-Galt House.95
INSIDE TRIM AND DORMER SHUTTERS ARE LARGELY OLD
These dormer shutters in the Tayloe House are old as is most of the inside trim which has just been discussed. Naturally, where windows no longer existed and had to be replaced, new trim was likewise required. This was in all cases patterned after old trim which existed in the house.
PURPOSE AND NATURE OF THE DORMER
Since a number of the parts of the dormers have already been discussed it seems feasible at this point to complete the subject of the dormers. The dormer, it should be stated, is a device used to bring light and air into the rooms of a building story which may have n vertical outside walls at all but which, typically is enclosed by two vertical end walls and two roof slopes. Since the light and air which can be admitted by normal windows at the ends is frequently insufficient, the roof is penetrated by these "light boxes," as they might be termed. These are started high enough up the roof slope and are carried out far enough toward the face of the building (the fronts of the Tayloe dormers line up with the faces of the building below) to permit a vertical window of the desired height to be inserted in their ends. The windows are usually two or at most three lights wide and the jamb structure is thin. These factors combine to give the dormers the slender appearance which they generally have.
DESIRE FOR VERTICAL WINDOW PRODUCED CHARACTERISTIC DORMER SHAPE
The desire for the upright window was the circumstance which gave the dormer its characteristic shape--the vertical glazed front and the two vertical sides which, because of the slope of the roof from which they rose, were invariably triangular. We today also very frequently penetrate inclined roofs to bring light and ventilation through them and particularly in the case of metal factory windows, we do not hesitate to make the window, 96 raised somewhat off the roof, parallel with the roof slope. The eighteenth century architect evidently hesitated to attempt this, preferring the vertical window which was no problem to make watertight and which was not so subject to rotting as inclined wood windows would have been. And, thus, these singular appearing, cabin like projections which help to give the restored area of Williamsburg its particular atmosphere, resulted.
VARIOUS TYPES OF DORMER ROOFS; EXAMPLES OF THESE
Dormers were roofed in various ways. In the case of a few gambrel roofed houses in which the lover roof slope in nearly vertical and, in consequence, the dormer projection slight, they had no roofs at all but were capped by the overhanging upper cornice between the two roof slopes. A dormer treatment of this sort is visible in the pictures of the dilapidated old house between Bowling Green and Fredericksburg photographed by a Colonial Williamsburg architect in 1940. Frequently the dormer roofs were hipped as in the John Blair House here in Williamsburg and the Moore House in Yorktown. Sometimes, as in the Ewing and in the south wing of the Benjamin Waller Houses, they were single plane extensions (sheds) of the house roof. Again, they were A-roofs with rake-boarded gable ends as in the Coke-Garrett House, Casey's Gift (now demolished) and in the three north dormers of the Tayloe House, or with pedimented ends such as in the dormers of the Lightfoot and Powell-Hallam Houses and the south dormers of the Tayloe House. In the case of pedimented dormers on gambrel roofed houses the upper (roof) cornice is, as we have said, carried along the sides of the dormer at the eaves level and across the front. The slope of the two halves of the dormer roof is generally the same 97 as that of the upper plane of the gambrel roof. The covering of the dormer roofs is like that of the main house roof, which in the case of the Tayloe dormers, means round butted asbestos cement shingles.
COVERING OF SIDES AND GABLE ENDS; TREATMENT OF LATTER
The sides of the dormers are covered with flush boarding which is sometimes laid horizontally but which, more typically, as in the Tayloe House dormers, parallels the slope of the house roof upon which the sides rest. Flush boarding is also placed on the gable ends of A-roofed dormers, but here it is always horizontal. When these are pedimented the dormer cornice or crown mold is carried horizontally across the front above the window and also along the junction line of the dormer roof with the face of the pediment triangle. When the dormer cornice is not carried across the front the gable end is treated in a manner similar to that of the gable ends of many houses, i. e., flat rake boards are carried along the inclined upper edges of the gable face. These terminate at the bottom against the flush boarding frequently in an ogee curve. The lowest of these flush boards is carried out to receive the ends of the crown mold which runs along the eaves of the dormer roof and this is cut at either end to follow the profile of the crown mold. The treatment of the gable end just described is that found in the north dormers of the Tayloe House. It should be added that the rake boards, here, are beaded on their lower edges and taper sharply toward the peak of the gable.
DORMERS OF HOUSE ARE OLD
As with so many other features of this house, the Tayloe dormers are old, except for the sills which had to be renewed. It should also be noted that the interior of the east dormer on the south side of the house had been altered. This was restored to its original appearance with its window seat and other features.98
EXTERIOR SHUTTERS; THEIR TYPES AND DETAILS
Three-paneled solid wood exterior shutters are found on the eight windows of the first floor and two-paneled ones on the two second floor windows of the west elevation. These shutters are all similar in the profiling of the frames and the panels the inside edges of the stiles and rails having a quarter round molding and the panel edges having a quarter round between the flat face of the panel and the bevelled tongue which fits into the groove of the enclosing frame. The three-paneled shutters have similar rectangular panels top and bottom with a square panel between, while the two-paneled ones have two equal rectangular panels. The stiles and rails of the panels are joined by mortise and tenon joints which are secured in place by hardwood pegs.
THREE PAIRS OF OLD ONES STILL EXISTED
Three of the eight pairs of first floor shutters are old, viz., the shutters of the north elevation and the south pair of the west elevation. The remainder of the first floor shutters and the two pairs of the second floor are now reproductions of old examples.
The three old pairs of shutters of the first floor still retained their old 7" x 8" x 1" wrought iron offset H & L hinges which were repaired and reused. The remaining first floor shutters were provided with reproductions of old hinges of the same size and type. The second floor shutters were given new wrought iron hinges patterned after the old ones. The shutter holdbacks, surface bolts and cabin hooks and staples are new reproductions of old examples found in this vicinity.
BASEMENT GRILLES AND WINDOWS
Basement grilles and windows are found on all but the west side of the house and these are in all cases centered on the axes 99 of the first floor windows above and have approximately the same width as the latter. The grilles are set in the brick foundation midway in its width, with their heads directly beneath the house sills.
DESCRIPTION OF GRILLES
The frames of the grilles are composed of solid stiles 3 ½" square and head pieces 3 ½" wide and 2 ¾" high and they are divided in the middle by a 3 ½" x 3 ½" mullion. The edges toward the opening have been given a ½" bead. The frame parts are held together by pegged mortise and tenon joints, which are also used to join the vertical members with the sill. The latter is a wood piece about 4 ½" wide and 3" high, the top of which within the confines of the frame, slopes to the outside. Being wider than the frame proper the sill projects beyond this and the projecting top edge has been chamfered off at an angle sharper than that of the wash of the sill.
HORIZONTAL BARS OF WOOD AND IRON
Between the vertical members of the frame are inserted five 1" x 1" square bars set horizontally with the edges rather than the faces turned toward the front and back and top and bottom respectively. The top, bottom and middle bars are of wood while the other two are made of iron.
SOME GRILLES REPAIRED; OTHERS ARE NEW COPIES OF THESE
Old grilles were found in a number of the basement openings and these were either repaired or replaced, where this seemed necessary, by new ones, copied after the old. A nineteenth century bulkhead with cellar steps had been built against the north wall in the position of the basement opening at the center of the facade and the opening with its grille had, on this account, been destroyed. The bulkhead was removed, the opening restored 100 to its original size and a new grille, patterned after the old one was installed in it.
Behind the grilles on the basement side of the openings have been placed new bottom-hinged two-light wood windows. These have a single vertical muntin centered on the mullion of the grille. The stiles, rails and muntin of these windows have been given moldings of an eighteenth century character, but the windows themselves are without precedent in Williamsburg and were installed to facilitate the control of the temperature of the basement. Glazed basement windows are known to have existed in the eighteenth century; Scotchtown, the Hanover County house of Patrick Henry between 1771-1777 had them, as well as Rosegill, the Wormeley mansion in Urbanna in Middlesex County, where they still exist. Glazing of basement windows was, however, exceptional the openings normally being equipped only with the grilles which permitted a free flow of air through the basement, which was highly desirable in the damp Virginia climate.
CASEMENT WINDOWS ARE NEW AND WITHOUT BASIS
A word remains to be said about the three now casement windows which, as we have noted, were placed in the north and east walls, respectively, of the porch-kitchen on the north side of the house. Their use is not based on the previous existence of such windows in the house, since the porch was open in the eighteenth century rather than walled in, as at present. The use of wood casements, on the other hand, is justifiable since these existed in Williamsburg in the eighteenth century. Examples of them are found in the gable ends of the St. George Tucker House wings and kitchen and in the ends of the Archibald Blair House.100a
DESCRIPTION OF THESE
These windows are two lights wide and six high. They have simple rectangular wood frames, beaded on the edge toward the window opening, and unmolded projecting sills. The inner edge of the sash frames, like those of the double hung windows, have a quarter round molding on the room side and the muntins are also similar to those of the old sliding windows.
VENETIAN BLINDS PUT ON FIRST FLOOR WINDOWS
Provision was made in the Tayloe House for the insurance of privacy and the control of sunlight by installing Venetian blinds and window shades. Venetian blinds with 1 ¾" wood slats and linen ladder tapes were placed on all of the first floor windows except the three casement windows of the porch-kitchen. The two west windows of the second floor were also provided with them. There was ample precedent for the installation of Venetian blinds, since these were in widespread use in Virginia and the other colonies in the eighteenth century.*
ROLLING SHADES ON SECOND FLOOR WINDOWS
With the exception of the two windows of the west front, all of the second floor windows have window shades. More or less similar window shades were in use in the eighteenth century. In fact, self rolling window curtains or shades, made of fabric and operated by means of helical springs coiled about a wood shaft, were invented in the 1750's or 1760's, for Denis Diderot speaks of them in Volume 15 of his Encyclopaedia (1765) as being a recent invention. Plates 38 and 42 of the Encyclopaedia's Volume 100b 9 of plates (issued 1771), furthermore, carry detailed drawings explaining the operating mechanism of these automatic shades. We do not know when self-rolling shades actually reached this country but it is not unlikely that some Virginians had them before the end of the eighteenth century.
SHADES USED IN OFFICE AND KITCHEN
The only two outbuildings which are used for residential purposes, the Office and the Kitchen, are equipped throughout with window shades similar in character to those of the house.
ALL WINDOWS OF HOUSE, OFFICE AND KITCHEN HAVE SCREENS
All of the windows of the house are provided with window screens, consisting of hollow metal frames, channel guides and bronze insect screening. The screens cover the lower halves of the windows only, except in the porch-kitchen where they are full length. The screening was installed, of course, for the comfort of the occupant of the house and makes no claims to authenticity. The Office and the Kitchen are likewise provided with insect screens.
TWO MAIN DOORS ARE IMPRESSIVE IN SIZE; DESCRIPTION OF THESE
The doors with which we are here chiefly concerned are the two old entrance doors at the front and rear of the main hallway. These doors, 7'-8'½" high by 3'-7" wide, are stately and impressive in their amplitude (see photos, p.118). They are both eight-paneled doors, paneled both sides. The panels are of two sizes, which, in two tiers, alternate in the height of the door, the smaller ones being somewhat too low and the larger ones a little too high to be square.
MOLDINGS OF FRAME AND PANELS
As is becoming enough for doors of this size, the moldings of the stiles and rails and those of the panel edges are somewhat more complex than ordinarily. Though the profile is more delicate on the inside than the outside, the frame moldings are similar on both sides and consist of an ogee, followed by a quarter round toward the panels. The panels are, of course, bevelled and molded both sides, the profile on the hallway side, again, being less 102 bold than that on the outside. The molding is a recessed quarter round with a cove effecting the transition to the slope of the bevel.
DOOR TRIM AND SILLS
The architraves or frames around the door opening, though wider on the outside (ca. 7 ¾") than on the inside (ca. 6 ¾"), are identical in the character of their profiling and they are also similar to the profiling of the window architraves of the first floor. The moldings consist of an ogee backband followed, toward the door opening, by two fascias separated by an ogee and the frame ends, on the inside, in a bead. The sills have molded ends similar to the first floor window sills except that the bottom element, the bead, is omitted here.
The doors swing on H & L hinges 11 ½" x 14 ½" in size. The two on the front door are original and were found in place. Those on the rear door had at sometime been replaced by "T" strap hinges. These were removed and new copies of the old hinges of the front door were installed in their place.
BRASS LOCKS, ORIGINAL OLD PIECES
Each door is equipped with a handsome original old brass rim lock 6" x l0" in size. These have been remounted with new countersunk brass screws to replace the bolts which as is seen in our picture on the previous page, held the locks in place before the house was restored. The huge brass keys are new ones made after the pattern of old keys. It will be noted from the picture on p.119 that the lock on the rear door is mounted upside down, while that on the front door in right side up, so that, inasmuch as the locks are in similar positions on the two doors, they must be of different hands. An explanation for the position of the 103 lock on the rear door could be that, in ordering these looks from England, the builder anticipated that the rear door would be hinged on the side opposite the present hinged side which would have permitted the lock to be used right side up. The brass knocker on the front door was given to Miss Elizabeth Coleman between 1890 and 1900 by two Williamsburg residents who purchased it in Italy. Its age is uncertain.
NEW LOUVRED SCREEN DOOR
A two valve louvered screen door has been placed at the south entrance in front of the main entrance door. Each valve has four "panels" of fixed louvers arranged vertically, the panels corresponding approximately in size and position to those of the door behind. Each panel has a series of horizontal louvers on either side of the door with bronze insect screening inserted between the two sets. The screening in this door had no eighteenth century precedent but the design of the door itself is based upon that of old louvered doors which existed in colonial times, except that, of course, the old doors were not double louvered as here. Examples of eighteenth century louvered doors can still be seen in Alexandria, Virginia and New Castle, Delaware.
SHEATHED DOOR OF KITCHEN
There in no counterpart to this louvered screen door at the old rear entrance doorway since the porch leading from this has been enclosed and converted into a modern kitchen. The latter is provided with a new colonial type double sheathed door, with vertical boards on the outside and horizontal inside. Each board is beaded on one edge so that when they are joined a bead intervenes between their surfaces. The two board "layers" of this door are held together with nails having hand wrought heads driven in from the outside and clinched on the inside. These are placed 104 regularly so that the heads form a horizontal-vertical pattern on the outside. The door is equipped with a modern Reading rim look of colonial character and a modern screen door has been set before it. There is precedent in Virginia for such double sheathed studded doors, a good example being a door of the barn at Mount Stirling, Charles City County. The pattern of nail heads is different in this case, however.
The doors of the bulkhead will be discussed under that subject.
SOUTH PORCH WALLS ALREADY DISCUSSED
LATE PORCH HAD REPLACED ORIGINAL ONE; THIS REMOVED AND NEW ONE ERECTED
The A roofed front porch found on the house when its restoration was begun was a late one with Greek Revival characteristics. The one which had preceded this (probably the same porch in an earlier condition) was, judging by the old photograph of it, p. 1, even more correctly classic in its detailing. The original porch evidently, had been removed sometime in the nineteenth century and there was no evidence, other than of its size, as indicated by the old foundations, as to what this porch had been. A porch had to be designed, therefore, following eighteenth century precedent, which would be appropriate for the old building. This was done and the following is a brief description of it.
DESCRIPTION OF PRESENT PORCH; THE SHED ROOF WITH SIDES BOARDED
RAKE BOARDS AND CORNICE
The porch roof is of the shed type, that is, with a single slope which, in this case, in about 25°. The triangular sides formed between the sloping roof and the horizontal beams resting on the column heads are covered with flush, beaded boards laid horizontally. The junction lines between the roof edges and these triangular faces are covered by flat rake boards which taper from 5" in width at the front of the porch to 4 ½" at the house roof. The lower ends of these rake boards receive the crown mold or cornice which runs across the porch front at the eaves line and these are cut to the cornice profile. The cornice, a commonly used colonial molding 5" high, is made up of a cyma recta curve, a fillet and a cyma reversa. Its lower edge strikes against a 106 fascia board 4" high which is beaded at the bottom. The porch ceiling consists of ¾" beaded boards nailed to the underside of the rafters, except that, near the top, it becomes horizontal to receive a recessed lighting fixture. The roof is covered with round butted asbestos cement shingles.
THE TURNED COLUMNS
The porch roof is supported by two full columns at the front and two half columns applied to the house walls. These have a 4" high square cap and a square base 3'-0" high. The shaft is circular in section and tapers from a diameter of 4 ¾" at the bottom to 4" at the top. The transition from the square top and bottom to the an ovolo next to the cap and base, followed by a fillet, with a small cove to join this with the shaft. The half columns are identical in treatment with the full columns.
TREATMENT OF WALL BENEATH PORCH ROOF
The wall surface between the half columns and the door frame and between the headpiece of the frame and the cornice has been covered with flush beaded boards applied horizontally. It was not unusual to emphasize an important feature of a house by treating the wall area in proximity to it differently from the remainder of the house. There were indications in the framing at this point that the covering material here had been other than weatherboarding. It was considered likely that the surface had been covered with flush boarding which was in frequent use in the eighteenth century, so this was used.
A railing 3'-0" high is, on either side, suspended between the column and half column bases. This is composed of a handrail 2 ¾" high which is squared at the bottom and rounded in a semi-circular curve at the top; a bottom rail 2 ½" high, square, but 107 with edges beaded at the bottom and sloping each way from a center ridge at the top, and square balusters with two of their four edges beaded. The beaded edges are turned so that their center line parallels the building face.
PORCH DETAILS FOUNDED ON PRECEDENT; BASIS FOR SHED ROOF
The various features of the porch are securely enough based upon colonial precedent, even though the porch, as a whole is not a copy of any particular covering for porches were common enough during this period. The porch roof of the place known an Rose Garden in New Kent County, for example, is of the shed type. This starts at a point on the main roof a few feet above the eaves line and sloping at a flatter angle than the main roof, runs down to cover the porch. In the case of Farmington, five miles east of Charles City Court House, on the other hand, the shed begins at the edge of the main roof and continues down at a flatter slope to cover the porch.
PRECEDENT FOR COLUMNS
Turned columns, though not the rule in colonial times, were not unusual. The full and half columns of the south porch of the Tayloe House follow closely the design of the posts of the porch of the eighteenth century Mayo House which once stood in York Street. Although the house no longer existed when the Tayloe porch was being reconstructed, the designers had access to a Coleman collection photograph which shows the details of the porch distinctly. Another Williamsburg house of the colonial period which has since disappeared and which also had a porch with similar turned columns and square caps and bases was Green Hill, also called the Prentiss House, which once stood at the corner of 108 Scotland and Henry Streets. Two old photographs from the Jones collection show the front of this house with the porch. The latter had four full columns at the front and two half columns only, applied to the house wall. Both the Mayo and the Prentiss Houses had hand railings of the same general character as that which was used on the south porch of the Tayloe House.
PRECEDENT FOR RAILING
Handrails with simple rounded tops existed in many variations in the eighteenth century. The upper rail of the top flight of the old stair in the Nicholson Shop of Gloucester Street, is rectangular with the top somewhat rounded. Another more closely similar to ours, once existed on the stair of the Travis House. A porch railing, semicircular on the top, was also found by architects of Colonial Williamsburg, Incorporated at Bel-Air in Charles City County.
PRECEDENT FOR BALUSTERS
As for the square-sectioned porch balusters turned on the diagonal - the balusters of an old stair at Woodville, Essex County are precedent for these.
The foundations of the north porch-kitchen have been treated on pp. 64, 65 and the windows and door have been discussed under their respective subject headings. We have still to speak of the main features of the superstructure.
REASON FOR CONVERTING PORCH INTO KITCHEN
As we have already noted, what was once the old north porch has been walled in and converted into a kitchen for the convenience of present day living. Originally, of course, the separate outside kitchen east of the house was the center of culinary activities and the food had to be carried across the intervening court and in the rear door to the dining-room. As time went on 109 this arrangement came to be viewed as too inconvenient and a kitchen wing was attached to the west end of the house. This opened directly into the dining room and was convenient enough. But this had to be removed in the course of restoring the house to its eighteenth century condition and another place, still conveniently close to the dining room, had to be found for a kitchen. The only place available for this, and the one which would disturb the old character of the interior least, seemed to be the north porch. So, what was once an open porch is now equipped as a kitchen which, though smallish (ca. 6'-6" x 11'-6" on the inside) is ample enough for the uses of the house.
POSTS AND SHEATHING OF GABLE END MOSTLY OLD
Certain features of the present porch-kitchen are old and belonged, undoubtedly, to the original porch. This is true of the majority of the posts and the half posts (pilasters) applied to the building, and with the sheathing of the triangular gable end formed by the two slopes of the A roof of the porch. These features were repaired and reused and new members (the two posts enframing the door, for example), patterned after the old, were installed where this was necessary.
DESCRIPTION OF POSTS
The posts are of a frequently employed colonial type which was simple enough in its treatment to permit any competent to make them. They are cut from square pieces of timber 4 ¾" on a side and the tops and the bases to a point about 2'-7" above the floor, have been left square. Their modest refinement consists in having the shaft for a length of about 3'-6" above the top of the base chamfered to an octagonal shape. The transition from the square of the base and top to the octagon of the shaft is effected by surfaces at the four corners which, in 110 profile, are cyma rectas. These cuts were given the name of "lamb's tongues" for the obvious reason that they are tongue shaped.
TREATMENT OF GABLE END
The old sheathing in the gable triangle is flush and unbeaded. The diagonal junction lines between the slopes of the roof and the gable face are covered by new, flat, tapering rake boards, beaded on their lower edges. The lower ends of these receive the new crown mold which runs along the top of the two sides of the porch and these are cut to match the profile of this mold.
CLOSURE OF WALLS & ROOF COVERING
The three wall faces of the porch-kitchen are covered with new random width flush beaded boards of colonial character, the use of which at these points was a concession to utility for the porch was originally open. It should be stated in this connection that even though this porch was not enclosed in colonial times, there is precedent for the enclosing of eighteenth century porches. The walling-in of what was once a porch at the southeast corner of the John Galt House is an example. This porch may have been enclosed in the first part of the nineteenth century rather than in the eighteenth but it represents a practice sufficiently early to justify its use here as precedent for the enclosing of the Tayloe porch. The roof covering of the north porch, like that of the house roof, is round butted asbestos cement shingles.
FOUNDATIONS GAVE POSITION OF STEPS, WHICH NO LONGER EXISTED
New wood steps lead from the porch door to the ground. The position of these was evident from foundations uncovered on this site (see archaeological plan, p. 42). The original steps, however, no longer existed when the house restoration began, except for a piece of the lowest, which was of stone (p. 73). A flight 111 of steps with a handrail on one side only was accordingly designed and made to fit the situation. Colonial precedent was, of course, followed in the detailing of this.
TREADS AND RISERS
There are seven wood treads and risers the ends being closed by the carriage which supports the steps. The treads are 9 ½" wide exclusive of the nosings, and the riser height is about 6". The nosing is a half round which has a cove beneath it which is returned around the ends.
The porch railing consists of a top handrail 4" high and separated by a space of 8", an "8" high lower rail. The top of the handrail, like that of the front porch, is rounded to a semicircle and the lower edges are beaded. The lower rail has the edges beaded top and bottom. At the upper end the railing strikes against the boarding of the house but its lower is received by a newel which rests on the tread of the lowest wood step. This novel is square in section but the top is turned to a cap whose profile, above a necking, consists of a semicircle merging into a depressed curve which in turn joins a near semicircle at the top.
PRECEDENT FOR DETAILS OF RAILING
The precedent for the handrail is the same as for that of the south porch. Lower railings consisting, as here, of a flat board beaded on the four edges, were plentiful in the eighteenth century. The old stair railing of the Nicholson Shop, spoken of in connection with the south porch railing, had two such beaded rails beneath the handrail and the old stair railing of the Travis House had one. Many newel caps similar in general character to this one were used in colonial times on the posts of stair- and fence railings, and a number of old ones are found in Williamsburg. The 111a old stair of the Carter-Saunders House has newels with caps which, although they are more elaborate, represent the same period and spirit in design.
FOUNDATIONS GAVE POSITION OF BULKHEAD
Old bulkhead foundations determined the location of the present upright bulkhead which was reconstructed in the position of these walls, against the east side of the house (p. 65). The bulkhead is entirely new since the original one had been demolished when the east wing was erected. The new bulkhead, however, in its design follows the form and detailing of many colonial bulkheads.
DESCRIPTION OF BULKHEAD
It is an A roofed little cabin set up against the side of the house with a pair of round topped board and batten doors in the east end giving access to the basement steps which the bulk head encloses. It is covered on the sides with beaded weather boarding matching that of the house. The four top boards line up with the four lowest boards of the east face of the house while the five boards beneath these strike against the house foundation wall. The entrance face of the bulkhead is largely occupied by the doors but the tympanum above them and the sides on which they are hung are covered with flush boarding. Tapering rake boards cover the line of junction between the roof slopes and the flat triangle above the doors The lower ends of these receive and-are cut to the profile of the crown mold which runs along the top edges of the sides. The doors are built up of vertical random width beaded boards held together at the back by horizontal battens with chamfered edges. Each door swings on two strap hinges The roof material is round butted asbestos cement shingles.113
PRECEDENT FOR VERTICAL BULKHEAD
Vertical bulkheads known to have existed in Williamsburg may be cited as precedent for the upright form and detailing of this one. The Carter-Saunders House had such a bulkhead but this had been considerably altered prior to its restoration. Old photographs of the Wythe House show the old bulkhead at the south side of the building, although it was of brick, to have been of the vertical type, and these pictures enabled the architects to restore this feature of the Wythe House. An old upright bulkhead at Mount Prodigal may also be cited as precedent for the present one
QUALITIES MAKING IT ONE OF FINEST INTERIORS IN WILLIAMSBURG
The interior of the Tayloe House possesses qualities which make it one of the finest colonial dwellings in Williamsburg. It should be observed first and foremost that its most notable features principally the fine stair and woodwork, are original and have suffered relatively little alteration through repair or replacement. The house, furthermore, because of the amplitude of the stair hall and the free standing placement of the open stair well in this two-story space, as well as the generous size of the door and window openings, has an air of freedom and spaciousness which is scarcely matched in any other house in the town. It should be added that the faithful reproduction of the authentic old colors of the woodwork has added much to the harmonious effect of an interior which, prior to the restoration of the house, lacked warmth because the walls were painted a uniform white. The house which, as it now stands, is very much as it was 115 in the eighteenth century with its beautiful terraced garden, might well have appealed to John Tayloe as capable of serving the needs of a Virginia gentleman and worthy to be made the town dwelling of a member of the Council of the colony.
THE STAIR; ITS SHAPE AND POSITION
The most interesting feature of the stair hall is the staircase itself, which is U shaped with an intermediate landing between the first and second floors. The initial flight of 13 risers starts just to the right of the door to the living room and runs along the west wall of the stair hall to the landing. This landing, about 4'-0" wide and 9'-O" long, is supported by beams which span the stair hall The second flight of six risers springs from the landing and runs free in the space of the hall to the second floor. The two flights are separated laterally by an opening about 15" wide.
A railing, starting at a newell standing on the lowest tread, runs up the stair on its free side, toward the center, to the landing, along this a short distance and then continues to the second floor where it turns west and runs along the edge of the stair well to the wall. A similar rail at the second floor level runs along 120 121 the top of the east side of the stair well and thence along the north side to the wall. At each change of direction in the stair railing a newel, similar to the one at the base of the stair, receives the hand rail.
HAND RAIL AND NEWELS
The hand rail (see photos, p. 122) is of a characteristic colonial type found among other places in Williamsburg, in the Moody House. The newels are about 3 ¾" square with molded caps square in plan, the profiles of which recall those of the hand rail.
There are three balusters, square at the top and bottom and turned in the middle, to each step. These are of a characteristic colonial design. Certain of the balusters were replaced in the course of time by balusters of the same general character, in which the parts, however, are different in proportion from those of the older ones. These were left in place when the house was restored because, though different from the others, they were thought to be of eighteenth century origin.
STEP ENDS BRACKETED
The ends of the steps are covered by flat brackets, the free ends of which are cut to a curved profile. Although these are not so elaborate as the stair brackets of the Brush-Everard House and Carter's Grove, they are nevertheless effective as ornament.
PANELED DADO RUNS UP STAIRCASE
The triangular area of wall beneath the first flight of steps is paneled to match the paneled dado which runs about the walls of the hallway. This dado is carried up the first flight of steps along the west wall, continues around the intermediate landing and follows the second flight to the second floor, 124 diminishing to a triangular panel at the landing. An interesting feature, in the east wall of the landing, is the small paneled door which opens into a storage space beneath the floor above.
HALL DADO AND FIXTURES
The paneled dado of the stair hall will be discussed under the next subject heading and two interesting pieces of equipment found in the hall the hanging lamp and marble shelf are described in the captions of the pictures of these items on p. 120.
INTERIOR UNIFIED BY WALL TREATMENT THOUGH EXTENT OF WOODWORK VARIES
The interior of the Tayloe House is given a certain unity by the treatment of the walls of the different rooms, since, although these differ in the extent and richness of the panelling and trim used in them, a certain similarity in character is preserved throughout. The greatest degree of enrichment through woodwork is reserved for the first floor, the three rooms of which (considering the hallway as a living space), are either fully paneled from floor to ceiling as in the south (living) room or have a paneled dado 4"-6" in height, as in the north (dining) room and the hallway. These three rooms are likewise all provided with a rather prominent or, in the case of the living room, almost ornate cornice. Above stairs both the paneling (except in the dormer recesses) and the cornice disappear, leaving only a simple chair rail and base and, in the south room, a picture mold in addition, to embellish the walls while serving useful purposes.126
FOUR HOUSES IN WILLIAMSBURG OTHER THAN TAYLOE HAVE ROOMS WITH FULL PANELING
There are numerous fully paneled rooms in colonial houses throughout Virginia and four old houses in Williamsburg, in addition to the Tayloe House, have this wall high woodwork in the majority of their rooms. These buildings which have been made, in this way, more rich and sumptuous are the St. George Tucker House, Tazewell Hall, the Market Square Tavern and the Peyton Randolph House. The latter, of course, is a near neighbor on Nicholson Street to the Tayloe House. Comparing the living room of that house with the living room in this the woodwork of the former appears more plain by virtue of the fact probably, that the constituent moldings of the cornice and of the window and door architraves and those used on the paneling are simpler and less bold.
DESCRIPTION OF PANELING OF LIVING ROOM
The panel arrangement of this room which like the other rooms of the first floor, is 10'-2" high, consists of a series of vertical panels about 5'-6" high (exclusive of the frame) between the cornice and the chair rail and a second series between the rail and the base composed of panels about 1'-9" high. Because of the necessity of working the panels in between door and window openings, these vary considerably in their width, the narrowest being about 1'-2" wide and the widest about 2'-2". Above each door are two elongated panels and the overmantel consists of two horizontal panels about 5'-10 ½" in width by 1'-3" and 2'-0" high, respectively. The panels line up with the panel the panel framework. The inner edges of the latter are ornamented with an ogee and a quarter round, while the panel edges have a recessed quarter round joined by a cove with the beveled end. The panel moldings are the same 127 in the north (dining) room and the hall.
LIVING ROOM CORNICE
The most prominent trim feature of the living room is the cornice which is about 10" high and projects about 9 ¾" from the face of the paneling. It is built up of a complex series of moldings which, starting at the top, include a cyma recta, an ogee, a fascia, soffit, quarter round, dentil band and an ogee. Aside from its size, it is the dentil band which lends this cornice its chief interest and vivacity. An old interior cornice having about the same profile as this one but lacking the dentil band and being, furthermore, of plaster rather than of wood is that of the southeast bedroom of the Carter-Saunders House. The old wood cornice of the dining room of the same house is of about the same degree of elaboration as ours but has modillion blocks rather than a dentil band.
CHAIR RAIL AND BASE
The chair rail between the upper and the lower row of panels, with its top about 3'-0" off the floor, is 4 ½" high and consists of a half round with an ogee above and below and a bead at the bottom. The base found in all the first floor rooms is 5" high and has an ogee and a bead at the top.
DADO IN DINING ROOM AND HALL
The dado of the dining room and hall is composed of a series of paired panels, the upper one being about 1'-2" high and the lower about 2'-0". These vary in their width as the room conditions require. The dado is capped by an inch high nosing consisting of a half round and a cove. There in no chair rail in either room.128
THREE VIEWS OF SOUTH (LIVING) ROOM OF FIRST FLOOR BEFORE ITS RESTORATION.129 130
CORNICE IN THESE ROOMS
The cornice in the dining room and hall is made up of about the same moldings as those found in the living room cornice, the chief difference being the omission of the dentil band. It is somewhat less prominent than the other since, though it is about as high, it projects only about 8 ¼" from the wall.
SECOND FLOOR PANELING
As has been stated above, the paneling on the second floor is confined to the dormer window recesses. Here are the two-paneled shutters spoken of earlier and in the walls below each of these and under the window opening and in the apron before the window seat are single panels. The moldings are here much simpler than on the first floor, the frames having only a quarter round and the bevel of the panel edges being slightly depressed but having no further ornamentation.
CHAIR BOARD, BASE AND PICTURE MOLD
The same chair board 4 ½" high and beaded top and bottom is used throughout the second floor. The base in all the rooms is also a flat board, 4" high, beaded at the top. The only other wall trim is the 1 ¾" picture strip which is let into the plaster in the south room at a height of about 6'-3" above the floor. This is beaded top and bottom. It was retained because it is a rather unusual feature in colonial architecture. The ceiling height of the second floor is about 9'-2".
OLD PLASTER REMOVED AND WALLS AND CEILING REPLASTERED
The walls where there in no woodwork and the ceilings are plastered throughout the two floors with new plaster over metal lath. The existing plaster was of a period later than the eighteenth century and was removed. In this process a plaster ceiling ornament of about 1835 in the living room was eliminated.131
INTERIOR DOORS ARE LARGELY ORIGINAL
The old front and rear entrance doors have been discussed, along with the new porch-kitchen door, on p. 101 et seq. The remaining doors on the first and second floors are old except for the double valve door between the two bedrooms, which is modern but which was allowed to remain in place.
NUMBER OF PANELS IN DOORS OF FIRST FLOOR
The doors leading from the hall to the living and dining rooms and the one between these rooms are six-paneled doors, paneled both sides. The doors to the closets off these rooms are also six-paneled doors but paneled only on the side toward the rooms. The door from the hall to the basement is a four-paneled door, paneled on the hall side only.
PANELS IN DOORS OF SECOND FLOOR
On the second floor the doors leading from the hallway to the bedrooms are six-paneled doors, paneled both sides. The closet doors off the bedrooms are both six-paneled doors, paneled on the bedroom side only. The two-valve door between the bedrooms is paneled both sides with two panels to each valve. This door is late in period but was retained at the request of the life tenant. The two hall doors (to closet and attic stair) are both four-paneled doors, paneled on the hall side only.
The door architraves on both floors are all the same with the exception of those on the two entrance doors, which are of the same character as these but wider. The architraves of the interior doors are about 7 ¼"" wide and have an ogee backband followed by a fascia, another ogee and fascia, and a bead.
HINGES MOSTLY OLD
Except on the late two-valve door and the door between the living and dining rooms the hinges are old 8" x 10" H & L hinges. The bedroom door has modern butt hinges and the living-dining room door new H & L hinges similar in design to the old ones.133
MAJORITY OF LOCKS ARE NEW
Two wooden "box" locks on the basement door and the hall closet door on the second floor, are old, as are the brass rim locks on the doors from the hall to the living room and between the living and dining rooms. The other doors, except the late pair between the bedrooms which has a modern mortise lock, and the door to the attic which has a new rat tail latch only, have been provided with modern reproductions of old rim locks. The door to the basement and that of the closet in the second floor hall have, along with their old wood locks, new rat tail hinges.
OLD DOOR IN BASEMENT
There is one old door in the basement, viz., the one leading from the hallway to the south (maid's) room. This is a board and batten door with three battens and it is of unusual proportions, 3'-11" wide by 5'-7 ½" high.
DOOR FRAME HAS STEP-OVER SILL
The frame of this door merits some comment. It is a complete open rectangle, having, that is, a bottom piece as well as jambs and head. This bottom piece forms a raised "step-over" sill at this door. Door frames of this sort, connected at the bottom, are strong and they were not infrequently used in the eighteenth century. The front entrance door of the Brush-Everard House is believed to have had at one time such a frame and step-over sill.
OLD DOORS OF ATTIC
The basement lavatory door is a new board and batten door. There are two old board and batten doors in the attic, at the head of the stair and in the wall dividing the two spaces of that floor. These doors have been patched and repaired. The one at the stair has two old 8" x 10" H & L hinges and the other one old and one new hinge as well as an old lock.
MANTELS: LIVING ROOM
Each of the four corner fireplaces has a mantel, and these are in large part new. When the late wood mantel shown in our pictures on pp. 114 and 128 was removed, a patch of mortar underneath suggested that this fireplace had at one time had a marble mantel, held in position with the aid of mortar Accordingly, a marble facing was given to this mantel. The marble selected was Breche Rose, the slabs of which are held in place by concealed anchors. The upper stone has a segmental arched curve and all three pieces are decorated on the inside edges with a cavetto terminating in a bead. Enframing this facing is a 2 ¾" wide wood molding which consists of a fillet, quarter round and a bead. This is a new copy of an old molding found in place around the opening of the dining room fireplace.
DINING ROOM MANTEL
The dining room mantel is of great simplicity consisting only of an oyster shell lime plaster surround with a 2 ¾" molded wood frame on the outside. This is the original frame which was found in place and which served as the model for the wood surround of the living room mantel.
The two bedroom mantels are identical and are new pieces. Next to the opening is a 4" segmental arched plaster band. Above this is a 10" high panel and surrounding the whole, a molded wood enframement consisting of a crown mold composed of a cyma recta and an ogee. This is followed by an ogee, a fascia, another ogee and fascia and a quarter round. A ½" board shelf caps the mantel. This mantel was modeled after pieces once in the collection of old mantels in the Colonial Williamsburg warehouse.
MOST OF FLOORING IS OLD BUT REPAIRED
The flooring throughout the house above the basement with the exception of the kitchen, lavatory and bath, the floors of which are covered with linoleum, is old yellow pine found in place when the house was taken over for restoration. This has been repaired where repair was needed and some boards have been replaced by old boards taken from other eighteenth century houses. The floor boards vary in width from about 3 ¼" to 8". They are face nailed and, where new boards were inserted, old type nails were used. The floors are finished with wax in accordance with eighteenth century practice in the finishing of such floors.
The floors in the basement are of cement.
OLD SHELF BRACKETS OF CLOSET
Another feature worthy of brief mention in the brackets holding up the shelving in the closet off the living room. These are out from wood pieces 10" wide and they are, individually, about 1'-7" high. The sides toward the room have been cut out to a depth of over 5" to a profile made up of two ogee curves meeting in a point. The edges of the cut out have a 3/16" chamfer. These are used, in the closet, in series of three brackets one above the other. The brackets are old as is the shelving they support.
The present colors of the woodwork of the house, both exterior and interior, are thought to be quite authentic since they were determined in each ease by scraping off superimposed later layers of paint and exposing the original paint coats. Paint samples closely approximating the original colors were then made and these colors were used on the woodwork of the various parts of the house. The following are the schedules of colors used on the exterior and interior of the house. The number, in each case, is that under which the color is recorded at the Colonial Williamsburg paint shop.
|Weatherboards, Trim, etc.||White||Usual|
|Exterior Doors, including Bulkhead||Brown #205||Usual|
|Shutters||Dark Green #945||Usual|
|All members except handrail and bottom rail||White||Usual|
|Handrail and bottom rail||Brown #205||Usual|
|Posts, gable end, apron, stair string and risers||White||Usual|
|Flush boards between posts, sash and frames||Grey #210||Usual|
|Handrail and newel posts||Brown #205||Usual|
|Frames and bars||White||Usual|
|Sash||Dark Green #630||Usual|
|Doors and door trim||Dark Brown #437||Satin|
|Baseboard||Dark Brown #358||Satin|
|Plaster ceiling||Very light tint of # 397||Flat|
|Paneling and trim||Light Buff, #397||Satin|
|Woodwork, except baseboard||Light Buff #397||Satin|
|Walls and ceiling||White with tint of #397||Flat|
|Baseboard||Dark Brown #358||Satin|
|Woodwork, trim, baseboard||Green #914||Satin|
|Plaster walls and ceiling||White with tint of #914||Flat|
|Lavatory off Dining Room|
|Same as Dining Room|
|Woodwork, doors, casework||Grey Buff #280||Satin|
|Walls and ceiling||White with light #280||Satin|
|Baseboard||Dark Brown #386||Satin|
|Woodwork, except baseboard||Dark Green #904||Satin|
|Baseboard||Dark Brown #386||Satin|
|Plaster walls and ceiling||White with light #904||Flat|
|Treads and risers||Natural||Waxed|
|Wood details except wall string||Dark Green #904||Satin|
|Wall string||Dark Brown #386||Satin|
|Woodwork, including doors||Grey Buff #280||Satin|
|Baseboard||Dark Brown #386||Satin|
|Plaster walls and ceiling||White with light #280||Flat|
|Closet off Hall|
|Same as Hall|
|Baseboard||Dark Brown #437||Satin|
|Plaster walls and ceiling||White with light #914||Flat|
|Same as Bedrooms|
|Plaster walls and ceiling||White with light #384||Satin|
|Baseboard||Dark Brown #437||Satin|
|Stair to Third Floor|
|Treads and risers||Natural||Waxed|
White Dri-Wall on new plywood. Existing woodwork painted white at time of restoration touched up. Existing natural woodwork cleaned and left natural.
The following is a schedule of the paint colors found on the exterior and interior of the Tayloe House when the paint layering was scraped off in places so as to lay bare the wood or the plaster. The color found in each one of the succession of superimposed paint coats is recorded in the order in which it appeared, beginning with the deepest, which is, of course, the earliest. In most cases the color of the earliest finish coat, exclusive of the primer, was reproduced in the repainting of the exterior and interior of the house during its restoration. In the listing below the paint colors corresponding to the ones used in the final repainting are denoted by an asterisk (*).
|Location and Surface||Color Sequence|
|Cornice ( under South Porch )||*1. Weathered white|
|Weatherboards||*1-3. Several coats of white|
|4. Buff (modern)|
|Outside surface of South Entrance Door||1. White|
|*2. Reddish Brown #205|
|3. Lighter Red Brown #1028|
|4. Green (modern)|
|Door Trim||*1-3. Several coats of white|
|2. Green #630|
|*3. Dark Green #945|
|4. Light Green|
|5. Dark Green|
|Location and Surface||Color Sequence|
|Panel Stiles, Rails and Cornice||*1. Light Buff #397|
|(No Red Primer found on above)||2. Buff #135|
|3. Light Green #493 but more bluish|
|4. Buff #581 but more yellow|
|Doors and Door Trim||1. Red Primer|
|2. Light Buff #397|
|3. Buff #315|
|4. Light Green #493 but more bluish|
|*5. Dark Brown #437|
|Baseboard||1. Red Primer|
|*2. Dark Brown #358|
|3. Light Color, probably Buff #397|
|4. Dark Brown|
|Woodwork||1. Red Primer|
|*2. Green #914 but deeper|
|3. Dark Blue #356|
|4. Gray or Glaze over Blue, possibly Gray #282|
|5. Brownish Buff between #495 and 845|
|Door and Trim of Door between Living and Dining Rooms||1. Red Primer|
|*2. Green #914, but deeper|
|3. Dark Brown #386|
|Door and Trim of Door to Lavatory||1 Red Primer|
|*2. Green #914|
|3. Blue Black #356|
|4. Gray or Glaze #282|
|5. Dark Brown #386?|
|Baseboard||1. Red Primer|
|*2. Green #914|
|3. Dark Brown, many coats, #386|
|Hall (First Floor)|
|Woodwork||1. Red Primer|
|*2. Dark Green #904|
|3. Dark Brown #386|
|4. Light Gray #760|
|5. Buff #265, but Yellower|
|Newels||1. Red Primer|
|*2. Dark Green #904|
|3. Dark Brown #386|
|4. Reddish Brown #1028|
|5. Buff #265, but Yellower|
|Balusters||1. Red Primer|
|*2. Dark Green #904|
|3. Dark Brown #386|
|4. Reddish Brown #1028|
|5. Light Gray #760|
|Door to Living Room||1. Grayish Buff #280|
|*2. Dark Green #904|
|3. Dark Brown #386|
|4. Reddish Brown #1028|
|Cut-outs at ends of stair steps||1. Red Primer|
|*2. Dark Green #904|
|3. Dark Brown #386|
|4. Light Gray #706|
|5. Buff Gray #265, but Yellower|
|Woodwork||*1. Gray #280|
|2. Green #914|
|3. Bluish Green #366|
|4. Gray #282|
|Doors to Hall Closet and Attic Stair||*1. Gray #280|
|2. Green #914|
|3 Dark Brown #437|
|4. Gray #282|
|Woodwork||1. Red Primer|
|*2. Green #914|
|3. Dark Blue #561|
|4. Gray. between #282 and 845.|
|Door to Closet||1. Red Primer|
|*2. Green #914|
|3. Dark Brown #358|
|4. Gray #845|
|Baseboard||1. Red Primer|
|*2. Dark Brown #437|
|3. Gray #282|
|Woodwork||1. Red Primer|
|*2. Green #914|
|3. Blue #561|
|4. Gray similar to #1044|
|5. Ivory or off white (modern)|
|Door to Bath and Door Trim||1. Red Primer|
|*2. Green #914|
|3. Dark Brown #437|
|4. Gray, between #282 and 845|
|5. Ivory or off white (modern)|
The following is a listing of the lighting fixtures used inside the Tayloe House and on the south porch. Only three existing fixtures were reused. The most interesting of these is the pendant fixture with the inverted bell shaped glass globe which hangs in the first floor stairhall (see photographs pp. 119 and 120). The other two, modern wall sconces each of which supports three candle-lamps are attached to the north wall of the living room. These are shown on p. 128 in our pictures of the living room. The three fixtures were repaired and, in the case of the hall lamp, rewired and in the case of the sconces, wired for electricity.
The remainder of the fixtures are new. These are listed in the schedule below:
|A-3||Dining Room||1||Bennet Chandelier, furnished by Industrial Arts Shop, Boston. This consists of a wooden core and tin arm bearing candlelamps.|
|A-4||Hall, 2nd floor||1||Hanging lamp, Tudor Art Galleries, Inc., fixture C-9. This fixture has a wrought iron frame and four inclined glass sides.|
|B-1||South Bedroom||1||Ceiling dish of tin. Edward F. Caldwell Co., fixture A-97993|
|B-1||Hall, lst floor||1||Ditto|
|B-2||Southwest closet, 1st floor||1||Ceiling star of tin. Edward F. Caldwell fixture K-6357|
|C||Kitchen||1||Ceiling plate. Fullerton Manufacturing Corporation CP-100.|
|D||Lavatory, 1st floor||2||Bracket with polished chromium finish. Keyline Co. RL 1159|
|D||Bath, 2nd floor||2||Ditto|
|E||Basement Hall||2||Porcelain ceiling light, keyless. Alabax AL-898, General Electric Company|
|E||Hall, 3rd floor||2||Ditto|
|F||Basement and 3rd floor rooms||3||Porcelain ceiling light with pull chain. Alabax AL-859, General Electric Co.|
|G||South Porch||1||Recessed door light in porch ceiling, flat surface. R. & W. Wiley Inc., drawing No. 2059.|
|H||Lavatory, Basement||1||Porcelain bracket pull with outlet. Alabax AL-9234, General Electric Co.|
"SPLIT SYSTEM" IN USE
The heating system of the Tayloe House is known as a "split system." The name signifies merely that the first and second floors are heated by different methods, the former by hot air and the latter by hot water.
FIRST SLOOR HEATED BY HOT AIR
A single boiler, fired by an oil burner, provides the heat for both the hot air and hot water phases of the system. Hot air for the heating of all the rooms of the first floor except the modern kitchen and the bathroom is prepared in a hot air unit by circulating a mixture of return air and fresh air over coils containing hot water from the boiler. The heated air is forced through ducts hung from the basement ceiling to points directly beneath the outlets in the rooms above. These air supply outlets are located under windows and are provided with finned grilles located in the baseboard. Exhaust grilles with return ducts leading back to the hot air units are placed on the inside walls of the room.
HOT WATER USED ON SECOND FLOOR
The hot water for the heating of the second floor and the new kitchen and the bathroom on the first floor is forced by a pump from the boiler through copper tubing to convectors under the seats of the dormer windows or in enclosures under the windows in the case of the first floor kitchen and the bathroom. Air from the rooms is heated by circulating over the convectors, passing to and from them through cut outs in the baseboard. There are no exhaust ducts or grilles in this hot water heating part of the system.
SYSTEM DICTATED BY NEED TO PRESERVE CHARACTER OF INTERIORS
This division of labor between two different methods of heating is being followed in the design of the heating systems 138g of all of the larger residences in the town and in exhibition buildings like the Palace and the Capitol. Its use has been dictated by a concern for the preservation of the eighteenth century character of the interiors of these buildings, for by virtue of it visible radiators and radiator enclosures are avoided, only the inconspicuous baseboard grilles and cut outs being in evidence.
HEATING OF OFFICE AND KITCHEN
To conclude the discussion of the Tayloe heating, it should be stated that the Office is heated by hot water piped to convectors from the house boiler. The kitchen has its own hot water boiler in a pit under the storage room just north of the modern kitchen. All of the other Tayloe outbuildings are unlived in and consequently are unheated.
The Research Report on the Tayloe property was written by Mary A. Stephenson of the Department of Research and Record in January, 1949 on the basis of information obtained from eighteenth century documents.
James M. Knight examined the site, investigated large areas of it by means of cross trenching and recorded his findings in archaeological drawings in 1949 and 1950.
Architectural Investigation and Drawings
Finlay P. Ferguson made preliminary measured drawings of the Tayloe House in 1930.
When the work was begun in 1950, Ralph E. Bowers, as job captain, took field notes on the site and made measured - working drawings for the restoration of the House . He was assisted in the making of certain of the working drawings for the House by Rudolph C. Jensen, Carl T. Prior, Paul Buchanan and Robert C. Taylor. Under Bowers' supervision working drawings for the Kitchen were made by Rudolph C. Jensen, John W. Henderson, Robert C. Taylor and Carl T. Prior; for the SmokeHouse by Carl T. Prior; for the Laundry by George Bennett; for the Office by Rudolph C. Jensen; for the Storehouse by Paul Buchanan and Carl T. Prior and for the Privies by Rudolph C. Jensen.
All working drawings were checked by Joseph F. Jenkins.
Mechanical drawings were made by E. N. Goodson.
The specifications were written by Vernon Knapp.
The landscape design was done by Alden Hopkins and Donald Parker who also prepared the landscape drawings.
Listed below are my comments concerning the above report.
Opening page concerning credits:
This should be revised to be more specific in the responsibilities of the Architectural Department as well as other departments credits or perhaps omission of some of the persons associated with the work, and confine this to strictly architectural work. This portion should perhaps mention the purpose of such a report, viz., to record accurately the architectural facts.
These pages completely unessential in a factual architectural report.
Pages 1 through 38:
The people associated with the house are covered briefly in the House History prepared by the Research Department. Therefore this portion could be omitted and a reference to the research report could be included but not duplicated. The maps and other pertinent illustrations of this portion could be included in some other part of the report.
Pages 40 through 44:[Handwritten note: This concerns the dating of the house and is not the place for this material.]
O.K., but a word or two concerning the state of preservation, modern additions which were removed, This treated on p. 59 would seem appropriate there.
The statement concerning the porches should state that the North Porch was original and was retained with the addition of the infill between the posts to form a space for the Kitchen; a necessary compromise for modern living. An example of a porch being filled in is the Galt Cottage.
South Porch based on archaeological and architectural evidence.
Under General, it would be well to clarify the statement of Brick (and terra cotta block) so that the use of terra cotta block was understood to have been used only in basement partition.[Handwritten note: This corrected on original sheet by adding word "only" so that it now reads: 5) Terra cotta tile (in basement partition only)]
Page 63 - Second Paragraph:
The brick is laid up in mortar made to match in color and texture the original oyster shell mortar in the walls.
Page 64 - First Paragraph:
"...and the position of the steps was indicated by existing old brick foundation for the steps.
Page 64 - Last sentence, First Paragraph:
"...ground oyster shells and sand selected for color ,
Page 64 - Last Paragraph, Revise:
The piers holding up the existing North Porch were not original and were removed. The location and size of the original porch and step foundations were found during archaeological investigations. The dimensions of these foundations exactly fit the existing wood portions of the porch and new foundation walls were built to support the porch. In this instance however, the...
Page 65 - Second Paragraph:
"A new upright bulkhead was built in its stead on the lines of the old f-----."
"Chimney cap based on Photograph.
Hearth bricks are set in a bed of soft mortar and the joints filled with mixture of dry sand and cement and then the surface is rubbed.
Virginia pavers are used as an economic substitute for hand made bricks.
Is the description of how the walks are laid necessary? The strips will rot out shortly and not be seen. This is but a method of construction.
Photo caption incorrect. The ties are secured with W.I. nails. The roofers are also nailed in place.
The strengthening of roof framing was necessary to hold the heavier asbestos cement shingles. It was adequate for the original wood shingles.
Since flashing is concealed it does not effect appearance but does help preserve the structure.
Shouldn't only original 18th century examples be cited rather than reconstructed buildings, viz., James Anderson is a reconstructed building.
All but three windows of First Floor are original; two on East Elevation and one to North on West Elevation.
Notches and Panelling indications showed location of windows on East Elevation. Notches for window on West Elevation.
East attic windows indicated by notches in framing.
Exterior trim on all but dormer windows, is a shutter stop and not a back band.
The sill of the dormer windows were later replacements and were removed and a simple sill of local precedent (Benjamin Waller House South Wing dormers) was followed for this detail.
First Floor window trim extends.... or "trimming" the window opening as a picture frame.
Nelson-Galt House has interior shutters on dormer windows.
The thin jamb structure adds considerably to the tall thin appearance of Virginia colonial dormers.
Sloping windows of wood construction would rot very rapidly.
Waters-Coleman House is reconstruction: Original 18th century example should be cited.
The report on "dormers" gives much detail and could have been referred to here and this discussion could have been confined to Tayloe House only.
Page 97 - Second Paragraph:
East Dormer on South Elevation had been altered on interior and was restored to original appearance with window seats, etc. All others were intact except for sills.
Page 98 - Third Paragraph:
Provided with "Reproduction" hinges (not old).
Page 98 - Second Paragraph:
Last sentence should read "...are new 'Reproductions ' of old examples...".
'Scotchtown" had glazed basement windows. Infill of porch was done because of utilitarian reasons but is based on similar early porch infill such as Galt Collage.[Handwritten note: see p. 111 for addition]
The brass knocker is of ca. 1890-1900 gift and was imported from Southern Europe. (See SPM)
Screen doors are based on colonial louvered doors. Examples can be seen at New Castle, Delaware, Alexandria, Virginia, etc. The screening detail is an adaptation.
Page 105:[Handwritten note: See new p. 106]
There was evidence in the framing for the boarding of wall at the Porch.
Refer to Coleman Collection Photo for Porch on House in York Street for South Porch precedent.
Also see photo of House in Coleman (?) Collection for further turned columns; Green Hill, Williamsburg, Virginia.
Precedent for railing - "Lee House" should refer to Nicolson Shop and it still exists.
Page 107 - Last Paragraph:
The Stoop on the Bracken House is not an original 18th century example - Stair Balusters at Woodville, Essex or K and Q. County have the squares set diagonally.
Page 109 - Last Paragraph:
Precedent for Porch infill - Galt Cottage.
Precedents should be 18th century examples.
Exterior examples of newels, caps, etc., would be better precedents maybe the English Books would help and fence pictures, etc.
[Handwritten note: also enclosing of porch-kitchen]
Let's not presume it is as it was - let's be more positive with as complete an old building as this.
The majority of the rooms in the Peyton Randolph House are paneled, also St. George Tucker House, Tazewell Hall and Market Square Tavern. Panelled wainscots in Ryland House, Semple House, Travis House, Carlton House, etc.
The plaster work throughout was of a later period and was removed including the late (ca. 1835?) ceiling ornament in the living room.
Page 132 - Second Floor Doors:
The door between the Bed Rooms was of late period and was retained at the request of the life tenant.
Page 133, etc.
The locks may be Penn Hardware Company locks.
Kitchen and Lavatory and Bath have linoleum floor. Bath has tile around tub.
Color used on First Period Colors in most instances reference or inclusion should be made of paint research date. EMF has this.
Miscellaneous Items not covered:
Lighting Fixtures - exterior and interior.
Heating System and methods of concealing, viz., Grilles in Baseboard and closets First Floor - convectors in window seats Second Floor, etc., etc.
Venetian Blinds as requested by life tenant.
Page 144 - First Paragraph:
Last sentence should be changed in ascribing and inferring that the Architectural Department restored repaired.
Ewing House did not originally have sheathed walls as I recall.
Is this mantel old? Hearth?
Exterior colors same as Main House. Interior Colors are same as existed at time of 1950-51 restoration.
Page 168 - Second Paragraph:
"The size of the base of the main chimney follows the lines of the foundation discovered on the site...".
It might be well to explain our present policy on hand made brick manufacture and use - viz., preparing quantities of bricks of certain average sizes based on quantities required and using the closest average sized brick to that actually found by archaeology.
Page 170 - Minor Stack:
The size above roof was based on relation of fireplace foundation and general l8th century average flue of 1/15 of fireplace area.
Page 170 - Weatherboarding:
"... heads of old hand made nails of Main House."
Page 180 - Paint Colors:
"....same as used on the Main House exterior"...x
Page 191 - Paint Colors:
"...identical with the colors used for these features of the Main House (P ?)
Page 197 - Exterior Painting:
"...has been primed with a coat of oil paint whitewash undercoat #1124.
Page 204 - Paint Colors:
Refer to Main House___________
Page 205 How can a building be a reconstruction and a restoration? This should be clarified so that the reader of the report will not be left wondering what the building is. The word rebuilding might be clarified.
Page 206 - Third line from bottom:
[Handwritten note: Door opening is treated later on. P.B. agrees that no correction is needed here."
There was a door opening on the west wall.
Page 208 - Top Photograph:
Page 206 said that there were no openings on the north wall. This photo says that the opening on the north wall had been bricked shut; (no proof of this has been found).
Page 209 - Brick sizes:
The courses were measured from top of brick to top of brick, not from center of joint to center of joint.
Page 219 and 220
The width 3'-0" was not chosen but was determined again by stud notches. A door could be next to a window opening. (See framing North Elevation of Nelson-Galt Office)
Door could have been added during 18th century.
Page 225 - Next to last sentence:
Galvanized and copper nails were used.
Page 229 - First Paragraph:
Travis House is a gambrel. Wouldn't it be better to perhaps mention Moody House, Blair House, Timson House, Vaiden House or any other A roofs?