Susanna Marsh, the heroine of Whisper Falls, was born during the War for American Independence. In researching this book, I visited numerous historic sites in North Carolina and Virginia to get a sense of what her life might have been like. I studied many aspects of daily life, such as clothing, food, architecture, work, religion, recreation, and transportation.
Some visits did not take me far. The House in the Horseshoe is located near Sanford, NC and dates from the American Revolution.
Susanna worked as an indentured servant in the kitchen of one of the leading families in her fictional village, Worthville. The photos below show examples of the types of kitchen tools, dishes, oven, and hearth that kitchen staff in the late eighteenth century might have experienced. These photos were taken at Mount Vernon, the home of the first president of the United States, George Washington. Mount Vernon is located on the Potomac River in Virginia.
Susanna's master, Jethro Pratt, owned the local gristmill. To research how an 18th century mill operated, I visited Washington's mill near Mount Vernon, as well as one in my own "backyard," Yates Mill in Wake County, NC. There may have been as many as 70 mills in Wake County, NC during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.