In 1794 Jefferson added a nailmaking operation to his blacksmith shop on Mulberry Row at Monticello. He hoped it would provide a source of cash income while he restored the depleted soil of his farms. Nail rod was shipped from Philadelphia and hammered into nails ranging in size from six-pennies to twenty-pennies.
Though their family lived at Jefferson’s Poplar Forest plantation, brothers James and Philip Hubbard were brought to Monticello in their early teens to work in the nailery. In later years, both were runaways, but for different reasons.