Where’s the Privy?

Ground penetrating radar helps locate the outbuildings on historic properties. Two such buildings were recently located at the Deason Home.

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The Deason Home originally had only 4 rooms attached to the house – the parlor and 3 bedrooms.  This meant that there were many outbuildings on the property that were actually a part of the home.  We know there was a separate kitchen, smoke house, barn and of course, a privy.

Recently, we were fortunate to have Dr. David Holt and Dr. Grant Harley from the University of Southern Mississippi Geography Department bring ground penetrating radar to help us determine the location of some of these outbuildings on the Deason Home property.  GPR uses radar pulses to image the subsurface.  It is completely nondestructive, using radio waves to locate objects underground including rock, soil not originally found in the area, water and remnants of old structures.

The original Deason Home property included 700 acres.  Many of the outbuildings were probably located on what is now South Jones school property.  Dr. Holt ran the GPR all over the yard of the Deason Home.  He found water not far below the ground and also located a sizable area where it appeared dirt had been removed and then fill dirt brought in to fill in the hole.

Dr. Holt discovered the position of two outbuildings which more than likely belonged to the Deasons.  To the right of the house, there is a filled in well.  Just in front of that well, there was once a large structure.  With its proximity to the well and home, we are reasonably sure that this building was the original kitchen.  After closely studying the oldest picture of the home (pre 1890), we can actually see this structure to the side of the home.  The privy was also found on the back of the property to the left of the home.  It was quite a hike from the house, but surely the distance was a necessity!

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Look over and to the left of the front steps and you will see what we believe is the old kitchen.

 

We are very grateful to Dr. Harley and Dr. Holt for their interest in our home.  Every little detail we can glean helps us to better understand the history of this wonderful old home.

For more information, please visit our website – http://www.deasonhome.org

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