Slave House Pit Cellar
The pit cellar in the Forest Home slave house was next to a stone hearth foundation. Sub-floor pits were common features of nineteenth-century kitchens, cabins, and slave houses. They were typically used for storing food.
Enslaved people or formerly enslaved people who became tenants after their emancipation used sub-floor pits for other reasons, too. They often stored personal objects there.
Several personal artifacts came from the Forest Home slave house pit cellar, like blue glass beads and a store token. The store token had been issued by the Brown, Curtis, and Vance dry goods store in Louisville. Patrons could have used it exclusively at the store as a form of payment.
The token could indicate that a Cooke family member had visited the store, On the other hand, the token as well as the beads may have held cultural or symbolic meaning for the enslaved residents. This meaning went beyond face-value function as jewelry or as currency and was something the enslaved did not want their owners to know about.
Enslaved people considered these individual objects good luck charms. But when grouped with other symbolically charged artifacts, these objects took on additional meaning, reflecting religious beliefs or group identity within the enslaved community.