George Bradby, a free black man, worked as a general laborer at Monticello from 1774 to 1778. Bradby came to Monticello after Jefferson inherited his enslaved wife, Jenny, through the estate of his father-in-law, John Wayles. Bradby’s name appears in Jefferson’s Memorandum Books 25 times, beginning in April 1772 with payments for corn. Although Jefferson intended that “Bradby & Jenny, & George [Granger] & his family” live in a large Mulberry Row dwelling resembling the “Negro quarter,” it is not known where the couple actually lived.1 Bradby grew and sold corn to Jefferson and performed other general tasks on the mountaintop, including running errands and “cutting wood with [Francis] Bishop,”2 a hired white blacksmith. Jefferson had an annual contract with Bradby; in 1776, he agreed “to give him £8. & meat as is given to the other negroes of our family. He pays his own levies taxes &c. & clothes himself.”3 Bradby and Jefferson kept running accounts with each other; Jefferson supplied Bradby with groceries, shoes, livestock or even paid debts. In return, Bradby forgave some of Jefferson’s debt to him for corn. After Bradby died in 1778, Jefferson “Pd Old Jenny for George Bradby’s estate £3-12.”
- Thomas Jefferson, Monticello: stone house (slave quarters), recto, September 1770, Massachusetts Historical Society.
- Jefferson's Memorandum Books, Oct. 18, 1774, vol. I: 380.
- Jefferson's Memorandum Books, Feb. 18, 1776, vol. I: 414.