Jul 14, 2012 - 11:00 am to Jul 14, 2012 - 1:00 pm
The world’s oldest ham is 110 years old! Celebrate this milestone birthday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 14, at the Isle of Wight County Museum with activities, a curatorial lecture and, of course, cake. Since the time of Mallory Todd, who is credited with the creation of the first curing and shipping business of Smithfield hams in the 1700s, ham has been big business in Smithfield. In the early 1900s, P.D. Gwaltney Jr. managed a store in Smithfield and expanded the meat-packing business by modernizing his curing and smoking buildings. In 1902, a cured ham was overlooked, and for 20 years, it hung from a rafter in one of the packing houses. By 1924, the pet ham was kept in an iron safe which was opened daily for guests to view. Advertised as the world’s oldest Smithfield ham, Gwaltney fashioned a brass collar for the ham and took it to shows and expos to exhibit the preservative powers of his smoking method. The ham, featured in Ripley’s “Believe It Or Not” in 1932, is been living out his retirement at the Isle of Wight County Museum. Presents for the birthday boy on July 14 are optional.
- Isle of Wight County Museum
- 101 Main Street
- Smithfield, VA 23430