The Meathouse: A Food Vault
"I used to reason that the slaves were the property of their masters, and so were the pigs…if I induced them to wander away, it was only taking a part of master's property, the pigs, to make the other part of his property, the women, more valuable."
Under lock and key, the contents of a smokehouse or meathouse were considered extremely valuable. Lacking refrigeration, the Riley family needed to preserve their meat to keep it from spoiling. Butchered meat, such as pork after a winter hog killing, was salted and then cured over a slow smoke. Most of the meat ended up on the Rileys' dinging table. If meat was distributed to the enslaved, their allotment was usually small and of poor quality.
This smokehouse was discovered in northern Montgomery County in Black Hill Regional Park. The building probably looks similar in size and material to the one that stood on the Riley plantation.
Chronically undernourished, the enslaved were tempted by the meathouse stores. This 1809 legal document describes a Montgomery County court
Erected 2021 by Montgomery Parks.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Agriculture • Law Enforcement. A significant historical year for this entry is 1809.
Location. 39° 2.636′ N, 77° 7.309′ W. Marker is in North Bethesda, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker can be reached from Old Georgetown Road (Maryland Route 187) 0.1 miles south of Tilden Lane, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 11420 Old Georgetown Rd, Rockville MD 20852, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Agriculture on the Riley Plantation (here, next to this marker); Return to the Riley Farm (a few steps from this marker); Life in the Slave Quarters (a few steps from this marker); Archaeology at Josiah Henson Park (a few steps from this marker); A Royal Audience (a few steps from this marker); The Riley Plantation (within shouting distance of this marker); Farm Road Bed (within shouting distance of this marker); Preserving the Riley-Bolten House (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in North Bethesda.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 4, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 4, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 50 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on June 4, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.