George Gilmore, a former enslaved African at Montpelier, built this home after his emancipation. George and his wife, Polly, leased the land from Dr. James Madison (a great-nephew of President Madison) in the late 1860s.
By 1870 the Gilmores had built the cabin, and in 1901 purchased the 16 acres of land on which their home sat. Members of the family lived on the farm until the early 1930s. Descendants of George and Polly Gilmore have been instrumental in helping to understand the home and site. The interpretive focus at the Gilmore Farm is to understand the transition that the Montpelier enslaved African American community made from bondage to freedom after the Civil War.
Excavations at the Gilmore Farm have focused on two areas: the soils below the cabin and the yard. The excavations carried out below the cabin floor revealed a dense deposit of small items (such as glass beads, sewing and safety pins, and buttons) that likely fell between the cracks in the floor. Excavation units in the yard allowed us to uncover what appear to be the remains of a Confederate encampment and a small structure in the back yard, which the Gilmore family might have used for their first home prior to constructing their cabin in 1873.