Why My Dog Molly May Be a Historically Correct Resident of the Chancognie House

Meet Molly.  While this may seem like a slightly gratuitous opportunity to do a post about my adorable dog, it is intended as a reminder that throughout its 200 plus year history, the Chancognie House has first and foremost, been a home.  I think that life here might sometimes seem like massive restoration and research project (which it is), but it is also a home where people and their pets continue to live, work and play.

Molly is a Bichon Frisé, a very old breed of Mediterranean ancestry.  The Bichon Frisé was likely introduced to France during the reign of Francis I (1515-1547), but soared in popularity in the court of Henry III (1574-1589).  Legend has it that Henry was so fond of his Bichons that he would carry them around in a basket that he hung around his neck so that they could be with him at all times.  While Molly does like to be carried around, I do not plan to try this technique.

While Bichon mania waned after Henry III’s rule ended, Bichons remained popular throughout the 19th century which is why I like to imagine that Chancognie, who in addition to being the French consul to Charleston, was also a merchant, might have asked his agents in France to put a Bichon or two on board one of his ships headed for Charleston.

While I have not yet found evidence that Chancognie had any pets, I have learned from former owners that pets have lived here in more recent times.  In the 1960s and 1970s, Boston Terriers and cats were in residence while turtles were on the property in the 1980s.

ohear pets 01

Molly does not particularly like cats, but dogs and cats peacefully coexisted and even played together here in the 1960s. (Photo courtesy of the O’Hear family.)

Molly is a preservation oriented pup and always curious about our projects.  She does prefer that I work at the house rather than out at the archaeological dig which is not dog-friendly.  Fortunately, she seems to embrace (or sleep through) the work being done here which is a good thing since the journey has only just begun!

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