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Enslaved Workers

Massachusetts Historical Society

Born at Shadwell the same year as Jefferson, Jupiter was Jefferson’s trusted personal servant and later a hostler, coachman, and stonecutter.  When Jefferson attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Jupiter bought Jefferson’s books, fiddlestrings, and wig powder, paid the bills of the baker, shoemaker, and washerwoman, and collected debts.  He lent Jefferson money to provide tips to the enslaved domestic servants of his Williamsburg friends.  He took on the role of hostler and coachman in 1774, the same year that he married 16-year-old Suck, whom Jefferson had inherited from his father-in-law’s estate.  Jefferson intended that they occupy the “Negro quarter on Mulberry Row.  Jupiter learned stonecutting from William Rice and worked on Monticello I’s columns; he also worked in the Mulberry Row stable.  He died after receiving a “dose” from an African American doctor who “pronounced that it would either kill or cure;” in nine days he was dead.  Jupiter and Suck had three children but only their son Phillip lived to adulthood. 

This account is compiled from Lucia Stanton, “Those Who Labor for My Happiness:” Slavery at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello (University of Virginia Press and Thomas Jefferson Foundation, 2012).

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

Jefferson: Slavery at Monticello

Enslaved Families of Monticello

Discover the history of six enslaved families who lived and worked at Monticello.  Visit our exhibition in partnership with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.


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