Dining Room Area

The John Fox House was built around 1832 and his descendants lived in it continuously for more than a century afterwards. Refurnished with locally made items from the mid-1800s, this house illustrates the patterns of life in a prosperous, local farming family.

The dining room of the John Fox House is a long room and appears today as it did in the 1840s. The Foxes ate their meals in the dining room three times a day and also entertained visitors with food. Breakfast was served soon after sunrise, so breakfast time changed with the seasons of the year. This meal consisted of hot breads, waffles, ham, sausage, eggs, bacon, beefsteak with stewed or raw fruits, and strong coffee. The meal was eaten quickly since the workday began early and much needed to be done each day. The main meal of the day, called dinner, took place between 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. and usually featured several meats, vegetables and breads with a heavy dessert. Beverages with dinner might include hot tea, coffee, cool buttermilk, or water. Wine was usually served only when entertaining guests. The midday meal might last as long as three hours, and children under 12 typically had to wait until the adults were finished before they could eat. The evening meal, called supper, would be served at candlelight, or just at sunset. Supper was usually a light meal of leftovers from dinner or even just a piece of cornbread crumbled into a glass of buttermilk. In summer, a slice of watermelon might do.

Even in the hottest weather, there were truly no cold drinks. Ice was unavailable except in the coldest times when it was not needed. Many people considered cold beverages unhealthy. Heavy meals during the day and light meals during suppertime was the norm. Since the Fox family went to bed quite early, eating a light supper allowed them to sleep more comfortably.