If you were dining at the Morris-Jumel Mansion in the 1760s with Roger and Mary Morris, you might have used a wineglass that looked like this (in less fragmentary form!). The white corkscrew ornamentation on the stem is referred to as an "opaque twist." Such decoration was popular in Georgian England; glasses bearing it would have been imported from the United Kingdom to the American colonies.
The fragment was found during an archaeological dig at Morrisania, the estate of Roger Morris's contemporary (but not relation) Lewis Morris. Most of Lewis's estate was located in what is now the Bronx—where the glass remnant is located today. It is on exhibit at the Valentine-Varian House (1758), home of the Bronx Historical Society. This set of opaque-twist wineglasses, made about 1760, gives you an idea of what the vessel might have looked like in its prime.
Michael Wolf, a member of the stellar Morris-Jumel Mansion docent crew, alerted me recently to a potentially significant episode in the pre-Revolutionary history of the house. I say "potentially significant," because there may be a fly in the ointment: it is not yet clear whether the episode took place in the real world or only in someone's imagination. I hope to be able to answer that question eventually, but for the moment let me give you what information I have found.
The story begins with a calendar page on display this summer at Fraunces Tavern Museum in downtown Manhattan. On the page is a reproduction of a painting by John Ward Dunsmore (1856–1945). Its subject is said to be a reception at the Morris-Jumel Mansion, held on Thursday afternoon, September 1, 1768. The guest of honor was New Jersey governor William Franklin, who was on his way to treaty negotiations with the Six Nations at Fort Stanwix in the Mohawk Valley. (Click "Read More"—just far enough to the right below this paragraph to be difficult to spot—to continue.)