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Elisha Watkins

Male
Hired White Workers
Work: 
Carpenter

Elisha Watkins was head plantation carpenter at Monticello in 1809.  He and his family lived in “a good house, with two rooms” on the third roundabout, below Mulberry Row.  As Jefferson directed, Watkins “superintended & worked my out-carpenters,” including 26-year-old Shepherd, 54-year-old David Hern, Sr., and 23-year-old Bartlett.  The primary work for the year was to fence a “large inclosure of garden & orchard,” and “building some granaries & other work of that kind.”  Jefferson wanted to protect his fruit trees, vineyards, and 1000-foot long terraced vegetable garden from deer and other animals.  Watkins and his assistants built a fence 10 feet high using 300 locust posts, 900 pine or heart poplar rails, and 7,500 chestnut “pales” that “should be so near as not to let even a young hare in.”  Much of the preparation was likely completed in the saw pit and carpenter’s shop on Mulberry Row.

Learn more about the saw pit where sawyers hewed timbers into planks.

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