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David Watson

Male
Hired White Workers
Work: 
Joiner

Massachusetts Historical Society

David Watson worked as a joiner at Monticello from 1781 to 1784, and again from 1793 to 1797.  On Mulberry Row, Watson likely lived in the wash house and carpenter’s shop; he worked in the carpenter’s shop and joiner’s shop.  A native Scot and a “British deserter” during the American Revolution, Watson arrived during the war to work for Jefferson in exchange for “3000 lb. tobo. a year or it’s worth in paper.”  In the 1780s, Watson began laying off a timber yard, constructed fine woodwork for Monticello I (1769-1783), and built light carriages called phaetons with blacksmith William Orr.  When he returned to Monticello in the 1790s, this skilled joiner and prodigious drinker supervised the enslaved carpenters and taught John Hemmings “to make wheels, and all sorts of work.”  He also made wheels for oxcarts, wheelbarrows, phaetons, mule carts, and wagons, in addition to a writing desk for Jefferson’s daughter Maria

Learn more at Monticello.org»

1776–1833
Carpenter, Joiner

Learn more about John Hemmings’s life history.

 Learn more about this multi-family slave dwelling built ca. 1770.

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