Furnishings and Interiors
The Newbold-White House, like any home, is in a constant state of change and development. When the structure was first restored in the late 1970s, a construction date of ca. 1685 was considered accurate, and was used as a target date for furnishing the house with antique and reproduction furnishings and accessories of that very early Colonial period.
In 1994, dendrochronology (dating structures through examination of wooden timbers) pinpointed the construction date at 1730. Although this date was a disappointment in terms of the age of the house (still noted as the oldest documented brick house in North Carolina) it actually provided the Perquimans County Restoration Association with a unique opportunity to re-interpret the house more accurately.
The 1730 date placed the construction of the house in the hands of Abraham Sanders, a Quaker who moved to Perquimans from Isle of Wight County, Virginia circa 1716 when he married Judith Pritlow, daughter of one of the area's earliest families. Abraham and Judith purchased the plantation in 1726 and lived there until their deaths.
Three documents from Abraham's final years - his 1750 will, the inventory taken just after his death in 1751, and the subsequent estate settlement which divided his belongings equally among his named heirs - now provide the inspiration for furnishing and interpreting the house.
In 2009, historian and furnishings specialist Gregory Tyler did an in-depth study of these three documents and created a new Furnishings Report for the Newbold-White House. This remarkable work gives us an intimate look into the lives of Abraham and Judith Sanders, their work and activities, and how the house and surrounding property was used. Much more than listing furniture and items, the report describes where these things were most likely located, their purpose and possible origin, and their significance in eighteenth century life.
Furthermore, because of the groupings of the various items, Tyler was able to give insight into additional structures which were probably located on the farm, including a separate kitchen, a cooper’s shop (for barrel making), a barn and other farm-related buildings, a weaving house dedicated to textile production and laundry, and a warehouse by the river.
Through an ongoing process of study, research, and acquisition, the PCRA Furnishings Committee is working to furnish and accessorize the house with items matching those listed in the will and inventory - from the six beds and "furniture" (mattresses, blankets, and linens) down to six old pewter plates and one brass candlestick - to tell the story of Abraham, Judith, their six children and four enslaved workers, and the lives they and other settlers lived in early eighteenth century Carolina.