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William Orr

Male
Hired White Workers
Work: 
Blacksmith

William Orr worked as a blacksmith at Monticello from 1781 until 1783.  It is not known where Orr lived on the Monticello plantation, but his forge was probably at the blacksmith’s shop at the foot of Monticello mountain near the Shadwell ford on the Rivanna River.  When Orr arrived as a deserter of the British army, Jefferson agreed to pay him an annual wage of £3; Orr purchased items such as shoes, clothes, and gallons of whiskey through Jefferson.  A bachelor, Orr was described as often “drinkin’ and singin’” with joiner and fellow army deserter David Watson Orr worked with enslaved smith George Granger, Jr., and probably gave him some additional training.  He carried out skilled metalwork at the plantation, including a phaeton designed by Jefferson, and presumably also made horseshoes and ironwork for Monticello I (1769–83), and repaired farm equipment.

1759–1799
Blacksmith, Manager, Nailer

Learn more about George Granger, Jr.’s life history.

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