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William Stewart

Male
Hired White Workers
Work: 
BlacksmithNailer

William Stewart was a blacksmith at Monticello from 1801 to 1807.  He was charged with the blacksmithing and nail-making operations, first on Mulberry Row and later at the newly completed “Nail house,” located opposite the main house on the first roundabout.  He lived on the third roundabout in a house he shared with his wife Mary and their five children.  Calling Stewart the “best workman in America,” Jefferson tasked Stewart with crafting much of the intricate ironwork for Monticello II (1796–1809).  Stewart also trained Joseph Fossett and other enslaved smiths, including Moses Hern.  Although Stewart was a skilled artisan, “he would have his sprees—would get drunk.”  Stewart was also a poor manager of the nailers; in 1802, their supervision was turned over to overseer Gabriel Lilly. By 1807, Stewart’s drunkenness and poor work ethic lead Jefferson to insist that he “must be immediately dismissed.”

1779–after 1832
Blacksmith, Field Laborer, Nailer

Learn more about Moses Hern’s life history.

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