Following the instructions for the 1798 Federal Direct Tax, Waller Holladay, assistant assessor for Berkeley Parish, Virginia, evaluated 226 estates within his community. His accounts offer insight into not only the structures on the properties but also the people who built and lived in them. Dominated by wooden buildings and lacking any slave quarters, the estates of Berkeley Parish challenge previous portrayals of plantations and illustrate a variety of architectural choices. In doing so, they indicate cultural and social processes different from those associated with conventional interpretations. Rather than debunking these narratives, however, the material life of Berkeley Parish questions their primacy by suggesting a wider array of possibilities from which to consider status, women, and master-slave relations in early Virginia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Visual Arts and Performing Arts