The Peter Burr House

The Peter Burr House The Peter Burr House is the oldest standing wood frame home in West Virginia. Reliving History, Inc helps maintain the house with Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission and uses it to educate the public on life in the 18th Century.
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The Peter Burr House reflects the spirit of the early settlers. The old wood-frame, post and beam house (built under difficult circumstances at a time and place where ready-made building materials were not options) has had the tenacity to continue to stand when other wood-frame structures in the area fell years ago. This house quietly saw history passing by as it somehow survived in spite of all other odds. The Peter Burr House is one of very few surviving structures built slightly before or after 1750 in what is now Jefferson County, West Virginia. With the Peter Burr House, Reliving History, Inc. helps tell the story of typical settlers in a land amid fears of Indian invasions and absence of what we know today as modern convenience.

Operating as usual

Here I am with the apples from Distillery Lane again -- and which of these delightful offerings are period apples?First,...
09/15/2020

Here I am with the apples from Distillery Lane again -- and which of these delightful offerings are period apples?

First, we have the aforementioned Summer Rambo, the most excellent of sauce apples. Other period apples on this list include:
Maiden's Blush (origin: New Jersey, late 18th C.): this is a very pretty apple; tender, sweet but with a slightly tart finish, making an excellent apple for eating fresh. But if you want to dry apples, this is the best apple for the job: the flesh stays white (amazingly) and its firm flesh dries quickly

Pitmaston Pineapple (origin: England, late 18th C.) - these are adorable little apples, with a sweet, almost spicy flavor. I think they rather taste like pineapples, really...

Baldwin (origin: Massachusetts, c. 1740): when I was a young college student in New England, an old farmer at a market urged me to try a Baldwin - 'not like your regular store apple' he said, giving me a large, attractive apple. He was right, and I was delighted. Baldwin is firm, juicy, sweet with a bit of tartness and an excellent keeping apple (one of the ones you can keep in your crisper until Spring). It is supposed to be an excellent pie apple, though I haven't made pie out of Baldwins... yet

Bramley's Seedling (origin: England, 1809) Very large apples that are tart! Boy, are they sharp! (my youngest daughter's very favorite for eating fresh, but that kid liked to suck on lemons when she was little. Just sayin'). They are one of the very finest for making pie and still the favorite for that job in Great Britain.

So it is time for me to make the journey to Jefferson MD this weekend for some of these excellent apples!

Be sure to come visit our apple barn this weekend for your favorite freshly picked, heritage apple!

Baldwin • Bramley’s Seedling • Pixie Crunch • Red Gravenstein • Summer Rambo • Redfield • Zestar • Snowsweet • Pitmaston Pineapple • Jefferis • Maiden’s Blush • Miller’s Red • Khazakhstan • Chieftain

🍏‼️OPEN SATURDAY + SUNDAY‼️🍏 12-5 pm

#heritageapples #applepietime #eatlocallygrown

Last year I had the great pleasure of teaching little girls (and their mothers) how to make those most useful of 18th C....
09/14/2020
Blog | Jane Austen & Co

Last year I had the great pleasure of teaching little girls (and their mothers) how to make those most useful of 18th C. accessories, pockets. We made big pockets for adults, medium pockets for children, and little tiny pockets for dolls.

You never know what your experiences will bring to you. This summer I discovered the webinars created by 'Jane Austen & Company', working out of North Carolina University, Chapel Hill. I learned that usually they have a 'Jane Austen Summer Program', but things being what they were this year, they turned to creating a program that could be accessed anywhere via the internet. That was certainly a boon for me! They also sponsored several writing contests, and I discovered the second one, framed around embroidery and sewing in Jane Austen's time, just a few days before the contest was due to close. However, they gave a helpful writing prompt: to think about what handwork you, the author, might like to do.

The truthful answer: A Lot. But what quickly came to mind was the pleasure of those lovely days, teaching the making of a pocket, and in short order my very short story (we had a limit of 500 words) was done: "A Pocket for a Poppet" (dolls were usually called poppets in the 18th and early 19th C.)

I must now confess, with perhaps immoderate glee, that my short story won second place, and here it is, for your pleasure, on their blog https://www.janeaustenandco.org/blog?utm_campaign=3ecc03d7-2d5e-4d1c-bb15-9c0917a1a7dc&utm_source=so

Upcoming Events for Jane Austen & Co.

This year, of course, there will be no Antique Apple Tasting at the Peter Burr House, however, my source for these apple...
09/09/2020

This year, of course, there will be no Antique Apple Tasting at the Peter Burr House, however, my source for these apples, Distillery Lane Ciderworks in Jefferson MD (right outside Burkittsville) is open on the weekends. What is remarkable about this orchard is that they have so many varieties that are historic ones. Summer Rambo is one of them -- though the 16th C. variety tended to be more red-cheeked; the more popular green-cheeked one of today may be a sport [mutation] - or simply picked to be slightly unripe. Some of these apples pictured below have the distinct red-cheeks of period illustrations.

Summer Rambo has quite an ancient history, being recorded in a French village in 1535. To put this date in perspective, this was well before the birth of Shakespeare. In England in 1535, the country was roiled by the king, Henry VIII declaring separation from the Roman Catholic Church -- but he was only getting started. In France, church reformers and the traditional Catholic church establishment were also clashing, but John Calvin had yet to write his works and set off a whole new branch of the Christian church. Meanwhile, no matter the political and religious turmoil, people tended their plants and animals, and Summer Rambo was among those lovingly nurtured. In the American colonies, Summer Rambo is recorded among apple trees in the mid 18th C. here.

Like most summer apples, Summer Rambo is to my taste a bit sharpish, nice and bracing, eating fresh. It makes terrific apple sauce. As the season progresses, they will have more varieties, both modern and historic (with more than a fair selection of 17th C. and 18th C. varieties!)

Summer Rambo apples were a 16th century French apple, popular with American colonists. They are crisp and juicy, a great apple for early season, eating out of hand and also perfection for sauce.

👀 Find these delicious apples at DLC. Visit us Saturday - Sunday • 12 - 5pm 🍏

I have desired to do some virtual 'programs', and here is a first attempt: Dress for Toddlers and Very Young Children in...
08/08/2020

I have desired to do some virtual 'programs', and here is a first attempt: Dress for Toddlers and Very Young Children in the 18th C. Having a willing toddler on hand (little Liam, who turned three a month and a half ago) we have put together a few pictures and videos for you, which I will present in a short sequence.

Boys and girls wore the same style of clothing when they were very young, first long baby gowns (usually white) and then gowns, laced in the back. The underpinnings of the gown were thus the same: shift, stockings, shoes, and a tie-on pocket or two. Here Liam discovers that pockets can be especially interesting accessories of dress...

A delightful 18th C. engraving to enjoy for hot August days. The lady does seem a tad over-dressed for the occasion (I'm...
08/06/2020

A delightful 18th C. engraving to enjoy for hot August days. The lady does seem a tad over-dressed for the occasion (I'm thinking her necklace & charming flower earrings) but those gauzy neckerchief and sleeve ruffles look cool and protective against sunburn and her gown light and comfortable

It’s hard to believe we are already in August! How have you been keeping cool in the summer heat? This woman is elegantly dressed to go fishing, and it seems she’s had some success! What sporting fashion would you wear?!
#18thcenturyfashion #historicalclothing #historicalfashion

07/14/2020
Historical Distancing: the Bow

Once again I share a Youtube video -- but this is 'something entirely different': "tips and tricks for historical distancing from the obviously distant 18th C." as says the author of the video. Starting with a delightfully silly nod to Fragonard's famous painting, "The Swing", this Baroque dancer gives a very brief, but entirely accurate lesson on bowing, a custom which requires a certain amount of social distancing from the start. This video is the beginning of a series: I look forward to seeking the rest out, and I hope you will enjoy it too.

Sarah Edgar's alter ego, Hilda Schmitterbitz, shows you how to socially distance like an imaginary 18th-century person. Check out her friends at www.nybaroqu...

07/05/2020
Buying a Knockoff of My Own Dress: An Educated Roast (actual fire used for Scientific Purposes)

I have made many period garments for volunteers at the Peter Burr House, mostly for children, and mostly without any compensation. I'm a volunteer- that's what I do (though compensation at least for materials would be nice. It has happened occasionally). My feeling is that if interpreters are clothed in historic dress, it should be done as accurately and as well-researched as possible since visitors who are not familiar with the 18th C. will have their impressions shaped by the images you provide and, conversely, visitors who know the 18th C. well will be strongly put off by any fakery. Using period-style fabrics such as wool and linen, and using period hand-finishing techniques has more advantages, however, than merely looking correct - such garments last. Most of the children's garments have now cycled through several children, and while they have been worn only occasionally they still have received plenty of hard wearing from work and play. They have been washed, mended, and altered as needed, and have years of wear still left in them. This is also true for the adult garments, though they have not had quite so much hard wear!

This is a lesson perfectly applicable to the 21st Century. Clothing made of good (preferably natural) materials, with finished seams and made well will last for years. Natural materials have the significant added advantage that when they are completely worn out, they can be made into other things -- cleaning cloths, if nothing else. In the very end, they can become a mulch underlayer in your garden. The problem, of course, is that good materials are much more costly than cheap ones, and even more so the finished garments - a cheap shirt will cost a lot less than the cotton fabric you would buy to make it (and probably more if you use linen). And, if you insist on making most of your clothes yourself (like I do), you are probably going to have a very limited wardrobe (which is certainly true for me, also) But those cheap garments have a high price tag that we can not see right away, and that is why I am a proponent of the "Slow Fashion" movement, and this young fashion historian in this Youtube video explains the the situation before us most eloquently. While Ms. Banner's discussion revolves around a medieval garment she made, the points are equally relevant to making period-style 18th C. clothing, buying 21st Century clothing, or making any garments on your own.

I mentioned a few wonderful ethical/slow fashion brands and small artists, which you should definitely go check out! Also leave some of your faves (or yourse...

No historic programs to do, no dance costumes to make, yet it took me a long time to make the five mile trek to the Pete...
06/26/2020

No historic programs to do, no dance costumes to make, yet it took me a long time to make the five mile trek to the Peter Burr House. Well, in fairness, I have been busy, busy, busy making masks (literally hundreds of them, and I am not a fast mask maker,sadly), working on trying to get my own garden into shape, and taking advantage of this time my darling little grandson is with me before he and his family take off for distant parts. I confess I also feared that the plants I had manage to nurture (not many out of the total originally present, I'm afraid) had been cut down into non-existence, and was reluctant to face the truth. But it was past time for assessment, and so off to the garden I went.

The truth is: I should never doubt the determined resiliency of our Apothecary rose. While not quite as big as it used to be, it certainly is just as wide, and definitely needs have some of its layered kin around it moved to the other corners of the garden, which will be lovely. There was even a late bloom of this very useful rose waiting for me. I found that one of the red currant bushes also survived. Heartened by these survivors, I only shrugged my shoulders when I discovered the wheelbarrow had been turned upside down over the new patch of lavender and thyme plants I had set out and tended last year. Oh well. This year I plan to focus on cleaning up as opportunity arises, doing the non-period practice of laying down cardboard to keep down weeds as I do so, and in late fall, transplanting some of the happy Apothecary rose. Next year... perhaps we can garden carefully together? We'll take it as it comes.

I also have a couple plans this summer for 'virtual' programs, so hopefully you will see something interesting in this space soon.

In real life, making historic garments and dance costumes has been temporarily displaced by sewing face masks as a civic...
04/07/2020

In real life, making historic garments and dance costumes has been temporarily displaced by sewing face masks as a civic duty... but sometimes I need a little break. And here is the result of my whimsical break this past weekend, a modern little doll (11" 'Creatable World' doll - kind of a pre-teen or teen Barbie style doll whom you can imagine as either a boy or a girl) dressed not at all in modern style, but in 1770s style -- cap, neckerchief, bedgown/jacket, petticoat -- spinning happily in the cool of the evening. She's spinning --I'm not -- but hopefully soon I will have time to enjoy spinning once again.

So I am finally getting my act together and planning the garden (both home and Peter Burr's), heading over to my favorit...
03/27/2020
Pin on Peter Burr Garden

So I am finally getting my act together and planning the garden (both home and Peter Burr's), heading over to my favorite seed company, Baker Creek, and what do I find? "Early Scarlet Horn" carrot! My eyes bugged out of my head and I squealed indelicately. But there was a reason for my keen excitement.

Why am I so excited? Early Scarlet Horn is the oldest known 'modern' carrot - developed by the Dutch in the 16th C. It definitely deserves pride of place in the Peter Burr Garden, but it has been impossible to source in the USA. A lovely Canadian seed seller of historic and heirloom seeds sells it, but they do not ship to the US. There are British seed sellers, but... well, let me recount the story told to me by the Head Gardener at Colonial Williamsburg. We were discussing 18th C. vegetable seeds, and he recounted trying to purchase Early Scarlet Horn for the historic garden from a British supplier. However, they declined to sell to "those colonials" as they snootily termed us Americans. (They did get seed, but not through, er, official channels as it were). A friend of mine visited her family in England a few years back, and brought me back seed. I happily planted it the Burr Kitchen Garden, where it grew... and then was eaten to the ground by the resident groundhogs.

Any carrots I plant at the Burr House may once again be eaten by the reprehensible local wildlife. But I will try - and this time, plant some at home too!

This Pin was discovered by Deborah Rochefort. Discover (and save!) your own Pins on Pinterest.

Just for a moment, imagine yourself on a shopping trip to this Milliner's shop in England. My, what should I purchase? A...
03/18/2020
Pin on 18th Century

Just for a moment, imagine yourself on a shopping trip to this Milliner's shop in England. My, what should I purchase? A dimity bed-gown (informal loose jacket-type garment) in anticipation of hot summer days to come? Obtain a new fashionable black silk bonnet? Browse through the selection of laces to adorn my sleeve ruffles? Of course, the days are still chilly - perhaps I should make sure the children stay warm with a new wool flannel 'coat' (which can describe a waistcoat or a gown...). And of course, the little ones keep growing so I am probably in need of 'small shoes and stockings'...

This Pin was discovered by Katie. Discover (and save!) your own Pins on Pinterest.

Today at the Peter Burr House, we had an 18th C. apple tasting for some of our local homeschoolers and their families. T...
10/19/2019
A Pin for you

Today at the Peter Burr House, we had an 18th C. apple tasting for some of our local homeschoolers and their families. These wonderful apples are grown by Distillery Lane in Jefferson MD (right next to Burkettsville). These apples from left to right: Roxbury Russet (origin: before 1635), Newtown Pippin (origin: late 17th C. - early 18th C.? Very popular by the late 18th C.), Ashmead's Kernel (c. 1720), Esopus Spitzenburg (18th C.), Blue Pearmain (origin unknown, but popular by early 19th C.), and Bramley's Seedling (early 19th C.).

The little puddings were made from Roxbury Russet, Newtown Pippin, and Blue Pearmain. Those little puddings were well liked by all, but edging out the taste test for the puddings was Roxbury Russet. And then there was the Pupton of Apples, made with Bramley's Seedling - and some Newtown Pippin & Roxbury Russet. It wasn't practical to serve it with the butter sauce recommended by 18th C. cooks recommended, but no one minded! The pupton was very popular indeed.

But the winner of the taste test for the raw apples? Among the youngsters, Bramley's Seeding was a surprising favorite (despite being quite sharp! But it was a favorite of my daughter Genevieve, who liked to eat lemons as kid too). However, the apple with the greatest acclaim was... Esopus Spitzenburg! This is an apple that has been described as 'Superb' and it most definitely merits it. I've always had a fondness for the splendid Ashmead's Kernel for eating out of hand, but Esopus Spitzenburg... wow.

Mind you, that is the result of this season. Apples do vary year by year. But I am going to try to get my hands on more Spitzenburgs if I can.

This Pin was discovered by Deborah Rochefort. Discover (and save!) your own Pins on Pinterest.

10/17/2019

Tomorrow there will be a homeschool program at the Peter Burr House, featuring the tasting of 18th C. apples. Since some of these lovely apples are best featured cooked, for the first time I am also going to include 18th C. dishes for tasting featuring the apples. Right now, in the oven are three little apple puddings, and I plan to make a 'pupton of apples' later. But for the satisfaction of the curiosity of all, here is the apple pudding recipe from Harriet Horry's (c.1770) receipt book. It's kind of an odd pudding since there is no milk or cream, but surely a useful recipe in winter when milk is scarce but stored apples are plentiful. As, however, my tasting sample of the raw batter was well approved by my tongue, I expect the puddings will be well approved too.

"Take eight apples, pare them, core and quarter them, boil them till they are so tender you may mash them with a spoon. Sweeten them to your taste, and add a good large Spoonfull of fresh Butter, Eight eggs with half the whites will beat up and a little beaten Cinnamon. grate in the rind of a Lemon and the juice of one and mix it all together and bake it. It is much the better for some Citron cut in pieces and put in." Harriett Horry 1770

Address

176 E Burr Blvd
Kearneysville, WV
25430

General information

The Peter Burr House is open every second Saturday May- October for house tours and an 18th Century related event. We are also available by appointment for special events and tours. Please feel free to contact us and ask about our Traveling Show, a traveling trunk of 18th Century living, that can be used for Pre-K - High School.

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I have a long-term interest in The Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission (JCHLC) especially with the The Peter Burr House. It is the oldest wooden house in West Virginia, built c.1751. Abigail Burr was born there 16 September, 1758, the second daughter of Peter Burr II and Mary . About 20 years later she married a ggg grand uncle of mine named: "John Cowan." I'm interested in helping develop some fundraising efforts to do the same for the Peter Burr Living History Farm Fund, which has been established within the 501(c)(3) Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation (EWVCF). This is an endowment fund which will be used by JCHLC to continue restoration, maintenance, program development and Interpretive activities in perpetuity.
Lil Burr's seeing our family history
The farm that my great, great ancestors built
Good Morning! I sent a message 🙂
instagram.com/relivinghistory.peterburrhouse