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A stone chimney foundation and a stone filled pit cellar at the main house

Enos Hardin

Site ID: 15On55

Kentucky Archaeological Survey
Unless specified, we cannot provide site location information.


​​​Prior to the realignment of U.S. Highway 127, archaeologists from Wilbur Smith​ Associates investigated the remains of an early nineteenth-century farmstead owned by Enos Hardin.  Their research revealed that Hardin's farm was organized much like others in the region - with a main house located near a road, and domestic and agricultural outbuildings arranged nearby. 

The main house was originally a two-room log structure onto which a wood frame structure was later added. Unlike many small upland plantation owners who inherited their wealth and land, Enos Hardin started from scratch, by developing a small farmstead on land he acquired in 1825. His fortunes quickly rose. By investing in enslaved labor, he grew more crops and livestock than his neighbors. As he became more prosperous, he enslaved more people, and thus gained more wealth and status. The archaeological remains investigated at the Enos Hardin site provide a glimpse into Hardin’s rise in social status and the system of slavery that fueled it.​

A stone chimney foundation associated with the main house.


​The archaeological remains investigated at the Enos Hardin farmstead consisted of stone chimney foundations, postholes, a pit cellar, and trash pits associated with the main house. Concentrations of architecture-related artifacts, such as window glass and nails, indicated that outbuildings were located behind the main house.  Recovery of ceramic dish fragments, bottle glass, and animal bone indicated that Hardin likely used some of these outbuildings to house the people he enslaved.  

Other artifacts came from trash disposal areas linked to the main house where the Hardin family lived. These objects consisted of kitchen-related and personal artifacts, such​ as ceramics, glass containers, table glass, animal bone, buttons, marbles, smoking pipes, pencils, and writing board fragments. Most represent the types of artifacts archaeologists usually recover from rural farmsteads.  On the other hand, the fine tablewares suggested that the Hardin family lived well for middle-class farmers, and that they had attained a great deal of social and economic status through their participation in the institution of slavery. 

Examples of decorated ceramics:  top left, blue shell-edge; middle, blue transfer-printed; right, red transfer-printed.

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​Evidence of Status and Dining Etiquette​

Many of the artifacts recovered from the site, like ceramic dish and glass tableware fragments, reflected Hardin’s wealth and his family’s desire for social status. Although these objects ​​are rather unimportant within present-day society, they were important for displaying one’s economic and social standing in the nineteenth century. 

The type and diversity of ceramic decorative types showed that the family purchased the most popular ceramics of the time. The diversity of vessel types suggested that the family could not only buy nice dishes, but also knew how to use them. For instance, the presence of teaware (cups and saucers) and a variety of tableware (various sizes of plates and serving dishes, and various types of glass drinking cups) show that the Hardins purchased proper table settings for participating in dining practices such as taking tea and hosting multiple course dinners. Hardin’s ability to purchase some of the most expensive and popular dishes of the day reflects his family's ascent into America’s growing middle class and their desire to emulate wealthier Kentucky plantation owners.​

Examples of tea set ceramics:  left - top and middle, saucer bases; left - bottom, handpainted body frag; right, teapot frag.

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