SMITHFIELD, Va- 114 years ago, on July 9, 1902, P.D Gwaltney Jr., the man who took the Isle of Wight Gwaltney ham business to Smithfield Ham fame, took this legendary slab of salted meat as his pet.
It is known as the “world’s oldest ham,” and was regarded from audiences all over the world at Ripley’s “Believe It or Not!” shows in 1923, 1932, and 2003.
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 is currently on display in downtown Smithfield, at the Isle of Wight County Museum.
You can attend its birthday party on July 9 from Noon until 2 p.m. at the museum, located at 103 Main Street in Smithfield.
Founded in 1976, the Isle of Wight County Museum tells the story of the county through its interactive exhibits including a turn-of-the-century country store as well as displays interpreting colonial history, the Smithfield ham industry, the Blackwater River, the Civil War and the Cold War.