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.
The Elizabeth Hemings Site. Excavations in 1995 and 1996 at the site where Elizabeth Hemings, matriarch of Monticello's famous Hemings family, lived during the decade before her death in 1807.
Jefferson and the Early Diplomatic Corps
The recent controversy over release of U.S. diplomatic cables via Wikileaks got us thinking about how Jefferson, the U.S.'s first Secretary of State under the Constitution, and his successors communicated with their ambassadors and consuls abroad.
In 2009, members of the Monticello Archaeology staff teamed up with zoological archaeologist Joanne Bowen from Colonial Williamsburg to present a collaborative academic poster at the Society for American Archaeology annual conference. The following is a summary of that research.
It seems you can't turn around these days without tripping over a fabulous online digital collection. While searching this morning for an intriguingly-titled Civil War pamphlet (“Interior Causes of the War: The Nation Demonized and its President a Spirit-Rapper," by "A Citizen of Ohio"), I found that the lovely people at Cornell University had made it available online as part of their Samuel J. May Anti-Slavery Collection:
"So you work in the Archaeology Lab...but what do you do, exactly?" This is a question I have received a lot over the years from friends and visitors alike. The answer is, quite a variety of things, actually. Archaeology entails a lot more than the digging part. That’s what I love about it; it’s a little different every day.
Elizabeth Hemings's second daughter Betty Brown (1759-after 1831) was the first of her family to come to Monticello, as personal servant to Jefferson's wife Martha. After almost sixty years of work in the main house, she was one of the last of the Hemingses to live on the Monticello mountaintop. She had two sons, Wormley Hughes and Burwell Colbert. Wormley Hughes (1781-1858) was head gardener as well as a wagoner and coachman, with charge of the Monticello stables.
Isaac Granger Jefferson (1775-c.1850) was a tinsmith and blacksmith. His brief memoir, written down by an interviewer in 1847, provides important, fascinating information about Monticello and its people. Isaac was the third son of two very important members of the Monticello slave labor force.
Sally Hemings, whose given name was probably Sarah, was the daughter of Elizabeth (Betty) Hemings. According to her son, Madison Hemings, her father was Thomas Jefferson's father-in-law John Wayles. There are no known portraits of her.
The claim that Thomas Jefferson fathered children with Sally Hemings, a slave at Monticello, entered the public arena during Jefferson's first term as president, and it has remained a subject of discussion and disagreement for two centuries.
The ICJS fellowship program for domestic and international scholars promotes research of Jefferson’s life and times and the community at Monticello. Since its founding, the ICJS has hosted nearly 300 domestic and international scholars from the U.S.
This two-and-a-half-hour experience offers an in-depth look at the enslaved African Americans who worked in Thomas Jefferson’s “Great House.” Learn about the evidence that informs historiansabout enslaved individuals who lived and worked at Monticello. Visit select rooms in the house and share your own experiences and thoughts with your guide and fellow visitors as your group engages in a discussion about the significance today—and the enduring paradox—of slavery at Monticello.
The Department of Archaeology is dedicated to studying and preserving Monticello's archaeological record, and to deciphering its meaning through comparative research. Historical topics of special focus in the Department's fieldwork include landscape history and slavery, both at Monticello and in the Chesapeake region.
These guided outdoor tours focusing on the experiences of the enslaved people who lived and labored on the Monticello plantation are offered twice daily on weekends in March and six times a day on March 15 and April 1 - October 31. Included in price of admission.
Making ReservationsReservations for this tour are not required. Tours begin at the Fish Pond on Monticello's West Lawn.