Collections › MESDA Collection › Hall


Place Made:
Nelson County Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
Accession Number:
This architecturally ambitious woodwork consists of the original doors, windows, wainscoting, crown molding, baseboards, chimneypiece, and a staircase from the hall of a house that formerly stood near the James River outside the town of Gladstone, in Nelson County, Virginia. Archival and genealogical research by Robert Leath suggests that the house belonged to Micajah Pendleton (1758-1844) and his wife Mary Cabell (Horsley) Pendleton.

The house was a one-and-a-half story frame house on a raised brick basement with two brick chimneys. It had a hall-and-chamber plan in which visitors entered directly into the house’s primary room. A richly executed staircase occupied one corner of this room. The upstairs was probably divided into two additional chambers. All of the house’s rooms appear to have been heated.

The house’s plan argues for an early date, as do some aspects of the ambitious woodwork, particularly the crosseted moldings on the mantel and overmantel. Indeed, an architectural survey by the Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission dated the house between 1740 and 1780. However, other features such as the more neoclassical moldings of the stair risers and the plain paneled walls, suggest a date at the end of the 18th century. Indeed, the house could possibly date as late as 1799 when Micajah and Mary married. Alternatively the couple may have moved into a house that was already a decade or two old.

The house was dismantled, cataloged, and stored in the early 2000s. Though the overall scale of the room is relatively accurate when it was installed in the museum the relative locations of the staircase, fireplace, widows, and doors, were adjusted to fit the space available. Therefore this space is best understood as a series of important related architectural elements that have been preserved in a three dimensional space.

Basic survey drawings from 1978 show the location of ruins for at least one two-story slave quarter on the property. According to the 1820 census Micajah Pendleton owned 35 slaves.

Brown, Alexander. The Cabells and their Kin: A Memorial Volume of History, Biography, and Genealogy. Richmond, Va.: Garrett and Massie, Inc., 1939. First published 1895.

Minardi, Archer Guy. 18th and 19th Century Cabell Family Homes. Ed., Elizabeth C. D. MacIntosh. Haverford, Penn., 2002.

Osborne, Kathryn Mitcham. Descendants of Mary Cabell Horsley. Radford, Va.: Commonwealth Press, Inc., 1978.

Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Anna Marie Witmer and Dr. David Witmer