h. saw pit

<strong>h. saw pit</strong>, detail of Jefferson’s Mutual Assurance plat, 1796. Timber sawing
1790s–post 1809

The saw pit, the site where Jefferson recorded that “a considerable quantity of lumber usually lies,” was located at the western end of Mulberry Row.  Constructed in the 1790s, it met the increased demands for lumber during the construction of Monticello II (1796–1809).  But by 1813, with the completion of Jefferson’s sawmill, the timber sawing operation moved from Mulberry Row to a site near the Rivanna River.  A wide depression in the ground approximately four feet deep, the saw pit was the area where sawyers hewed hardwood trees into planks or joists.  Most of the work here was performed by enslaved people.  Many were Monticello slaves, although some hired slaves and a few hired white workmen also served as sawyers.

Hired sawyers:

  • David Barnet, 1795–96
  • --- Robinson, 1795

Enslaved sawyers:

  • Phil Hubbard (1786–1819), 1808
  • Davy (b. 1785), 1808

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