Discover Work

<strong>The Old Plantation</strong>, attributed to John Rose, Beaufort County, South Carolina, probably 1785–90. On Mulberry Row, enslaved people, free artisans, and indentured servants worked as tinsmiths, nailers, sawyers, carpenters, joiners, charcoal-burners, spinners, weavers, hostlers, and domestic servants.  The work of dozens of men, women, and children supported Jefferson’s elite household, allowed him to build and renovate his house, and carry out agricultural and industrial activities on the entire 5,000-acre Monticello plantation.

Sawing

Sawyers felled trees in the nearby forest and then sawed the timbers into planks at the saw pit. More>

Rough Carpentry

Carpenters roughed out planks in the carpenter’s shop for flooring, joists, or planks. More>

Joining

Joiners used hand planes or lathes to create balusters, newel posts, arches, and fine furniture. More>

Charcoal-burning

Charcoal-burners burned wood in “kilns” to produce wood charcoal for fuel in the nailery, smith’s shop, and main house. More>

Tinsmithing

Tinsmiths cut and soldered sheets of tin into cups, pepper boxes, graters, and other items. More>

Nail-making

Nailers, mostly enslaved boys, fashioned hand-made or machine-cut nails in the nailery and smith’s shop. More>

Spinning and Weaving

Spinners made thread on spinning jennies or spinning wheels while weavers used looms to make wool, hemp, or wool cloth. More>

Tending of Horses

Enslaved stablemen (hostlers) managed the care of horses and the occasional mule in the Mulberry Row stable. More>

Preservation of Meat

Enslaved men and women cut up beef and pork and salted it for curing in the smokehouses. More>

Dairying

Enslaved women cooled milk to make cream or churned butter in the dairy for Jefferson’s household. More>

Laundering

Enslaved female house servants laundered clothing as well as bed and table linens from Jefferson’s household in the wash house. More>

Blacksmithing

Blacksmiths shaped or mended steel and iron horseshoes, guns, or agricultural machinery on anvils in the smith’s shop. More>

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