The Taylor Bray Farm is one of Cape Cod’s hidden gems. Situated on Cape Cod’s north shore, by at least 3500 BP, Native people inhabited at least part of the property. Around 1640, European colonization that had begun in Plymouth in 1620, had spread to this portion of Cape Cod and the first European settler, Richard Taylor, made his home here. Researchers believe that Richard’s house was taken down by his great grandson Revolutionary War veteran Samuel Taylor, and the lumber was reused on site for the present standing house. The property remained in the Taylor family until the late nineteenth century when the last Taylor descendent living in the house sold it to the Bray brothers, Willie and George. They owned the property until the just after the first quarter of the twentieth century and eventually in 1987 it was purchased by the Town of Yarmouth for long term preservation.
Today the Taylor Bray Farm is a site of an exciting renovation and archaeological investigation project. Beginning with a 2010 reconnaissance report written by PARP, (found here) archaeological investigations have been conducted to document and investigate the history of the farm as preserved beneath and around the standing house. One of the first surprises that were made by Taylor Bray Farm Association volunteers, was an extensive area of refuse deposition beneath the floors of the house itself. I am always amazed when we find trash beneath the floorboards of old houses. Oftentimes this trash is not just the occasional pieces that may have been dragged their by the family cat chewing on a duck head or pieces that fell through floor cracks, but are much more substantial deposits of pottery and even large amounts of animal bones. This is what was found beneath the floors of the Samuel Taylor house:
We found another house in Buttermilk Bay that also had a lot of trash under the floor. In this case there was a 17th century earthfast house, a Native shell midden and post molds from a Native house beneath the 19th century house floors as well (read that report here).
Thanks to generous Yarmouth Community Preservation Commission (CPC) funding we were able to conduct an archaeological Intensive Survey across the entire property. This survey identified what we think is the location of the original 1640 Richard Taylor house and evidence of two Native houses.
On November 10, 2011 we presented the basics of our finding at a public presentation at the Yarmouthport Public Library.
You can watch the powerpoint presentation here- Taylor Bray Farm Library Talk