Stanton Dogtrot Cabin at Peterman, AL (built 1880s)

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This is a 4-room dogtrot cabin with a full-width porch across the front and a kitchen attached on the back of the house. The house was built on a 120-acre farm about 3 miles from Peterman in around 1900 by Jehu and Sue Stanton. It was constructed using lumber cut from trees on the property. In September 2014, the Peterman Historical Society relocated the Stanton house to its present site behind the old Peterman railroad depot at the intersection of Railroad Street and Main Street. The cabin is currently being restored and furnished with period items. The Stanton house will be used for special events, including the annual Peterman Station Arts & Crafts Fair sponsored by the Peterman Historical Society which is held the Saturday before Thanksgiving.


Following are additional details about the Stanton Cabin that were provided by Ms. Alice Chandler with the Peterman Historical Society:

“Our dog trot house was built on a farm about 3 miles from Peterman by Jehu and Sue Stanton. Jehu’s grandparents had emigrated here from North Carolina in the very early 1800’s in a covered wagon. Jehu & Sue’s 120 acre farm produced cotton, corn, sugar cane, as well as a vegetable garden. Jehu made cane syrup and kept beehives. They raised chickens, hogs, cows, horses and mules. Each fall when the temperature dropped, a “hog killing” was held. Sometimes neighbors helped for a portion of the meat. The hogs were slaughtered, dressed, cut up and packed in salt or smoked in the smokehouse for the family’s food that year.

The house was built from lumber cut from trees on the property. The main part of the house consists of 4 rooms (2 large rooms on the front with 2 smaller rooms behind them) with a wide hallway or “dog trot” down the middle. Two chimneys and fireplaces on each end of the house provided the only heat during the winter with the exception of the woodstove in the kitchen.

School Marm’s room: The large left front room was reserved for guests or putting up the “school marm”; we call this the School Marm’s room. The Stanton children and other “settlement” children attended the “Lick Skillet school”. A one room schoolhouse located across the dirt road from our dog trot house. Teachers at the school had to be “unmarried” young women and quite often they did not live in the “settlement” and therefore had to be “put up” by one of the settlement families during the school term. Sometimes the Stanton’s would board the teacher. Can you imagine being a child and having the School Marm “living” with your family!!

Sewing room – The small room behind it was the sewing/quilting room. Sue Fountain worked hard mending and sewing and quilting for her family.

Keeping Room – The large right front room was called the “keeping room”. This served as both living room and bedroom for the master and his family. He kept a small rifle propped up again the frame of the door opening into the dog trot for protection in case a bear bothered the animals or a stranger appeared unexpectedly. Jehu played his fiddle for family and friends.

The smaller room behind this one was the “children’s room”, close enough to hear a sick child during the night.

A wide front porch runs across the width of the house.

The wide front porch and the wide dog trot (hallway) bring cool breezes on the hottest days. Imagine Jehu coming in from a day of plowing fields behind a mule and plow and resting in the gentle breezes of the porch and hallway. Or imagine Sue Stanton cooling off on the front porch after cooking meals over a hot cast iron stove in JULY!! Or maybe churning butter for her family. Jehu cooled watermelons here in season and he often repaired shoes and performed other chores here. It was very nice and cool in the summer, but come winter, the wind would sweep down through the dogtrot and chill to the bone!!

The kitchen and dining room were built out back, down a narrow walkway. Cooking was done on an iron cookstove and the danger of fire was ever present. Should the kitchen catch fire, this portion of the house could be pulled away with a team of horses (or later a tractor), thus preserving the main or “living” portion of the house.

Outside the kitchen door was the well where she drew water for cooking, canning, bathing and washing clothes. Nearby she set up her washpot under which she built a fire and “boiled” her clothes clean. The outdoor toilet was handy as well.

Sue, a tiny, wiry woman worked hard. She would get up around 4 AM each day, go down the dark dog trot to the kitchen, build up the fire in the cookstove and begin cooking breakfast for the “hands” (freed slaves who lived and worked on the farm) who would soon be arriving from their huts down under the hill to begin plowing, planting, harvesting, etc. As soon as breakfast was finished and the dishes washed, she would begin cooking for the noon meal.

Jehu insisted that the yard be fenced in and the ground be hard packed and swept clean with homemade “brush brooms”. He would spread white sand from a nearby creek in the front yard as he liked it “neat and clean”.

The Stantons raised 4 sons and a daughter in this house.”


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