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Surry County, Virginia, Research

44Sy5Q, A Small Colonial Pit

Glass tumbler, bronze spur and delftware from 44Sy5Q

44Sy5Q is a small colonial domestic site in a plowed field near Claremont, Virginia. It was first located by surface survey after the field had been plowed. The site is near the head of a ravine in which the remains of a primitive spring enclosure still survive. While the spring enclosure is from a period later than the site occupation, it indicates the presence of a nearby water source.

No direct evidence of a structure was found. The excavated area of the site consists of a large irregularly shaped borrow pit. It had been back filled with domestic trash that included fragments of delftware, earthenware, slipware, German stoneware and some crude, poorly fired local pottery. The fragments of several case bottles were found, but only a few fragments of two wine bottles. European tobacco pipes with interior stem diameters of 7/64ths, 8/64ths, and 9/64ths of an inch were present. Their numbers were much too small to be profitably submitted to statistical analysis. Some of the European pipes bore makers' marks. Locally made brown clay tobacco pipes were also present in approximately equal numbers. One of these was marked with a B. (See pipes below.)

Other artifacts included fragments of two or three small brown German stoneware jugs, a yellow Dutch brick, brass curtain rings, an iron lock, pieces of milk pans, straight pins, a collection of broken farming implements, and part of an iron seige helmet. Unusual artifacts included most of a blue fašon de Venice glass tumbler and a bronze spur (see above). A large quantity of rounded clay objects also was recovered from the pit. Some of these showed evidence of firing on one side. Other clay objects from the pit appeared to be crude kiln furniture.

This site is located on land that belonged to Jeremiah Clement from 1633 to about 1657. Clement claimed it by patent as heir to his mother. She had come to Virginia with her young children on the same ship as Captain Ralph Hamor, a veteran of the early days of the colony and author of A True Relation of the Present State of Virginia. Mrs. Clement soon married Captain Hamor, who was by then a member of the Governor's Council. After his death she married Tobias Felgate, a ship's captain and Virginia Company stockholder, and returned to England in 1628.

During his lifetime, Jeremiah Clement acquired more than a square mile of land on the James River shore at the present location of Claremont. He represented the Surry side in the House of Burgesses in 1642 and styled himself Jeremiah Clement of Upper Cheapokes, Gent. He was sufficiently affluent to have had bronze spurs and a place to wear them. The unusual fašon de Venice glass tumbler found in the pit probably belonged to his household as well.

Volunteers who have helped with the work include Al Bak, Cindy Dauses, George Ramsey, John Zaun, and Richard Moss.

Clay Tobacco Pipes from 44Sy5Q

For more information about Claremont and Jeremiah Clement, see Eve S. Gregory, Claremont Manor: A History (Petersburg, 1990).

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