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James Oldham

d. 1843
Hired White Workers

James Oldham was a joiner at Monticello from 1801 to 1804 and supplied materials to Jefferson from Richmond from 1805 to 1807.  Oldham probably lived with other free white artisans in the workmen’s house on Mulberry Row. In the joiner’s shop, Oldham crafted exterior woodwork for Monticello II (1796–1809).  In 1802, Oldham was “putting up the Cornice round the South Piazza,” getting the “framing and cornice for the front portico ready,” and making the doors for the “South East necessary” and the “N.W. one.”  When he left Monticello in 1804, Oldham reported the misconduct of carpenter John Perry and his brother-in-law, overseer Gabriel Lilly for his cruel treatment of the enslaved James Hemings.  After settling in Richmond, Oldham furnished Jefferson with materials for the main house: venetian blinds for the greenhouse, sashes for the Southeast Portico, paneled doors, mortise locks, glass, and mahogany planks.  In Richmond, Oldham was accused of mistreating his own enslaved workers.

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


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