Jupiter and Suck
In 1743, two children were born at Shadwell, a newly opened plantation on Virginia's western frontier. They may have played together as boys, and, as young men, they traveled the length and breadth of Virginia together and found wives on the same plantation near Williamsburg. For over fifty years their lives were bound together by law, for one man, Jupiter, was the property of the other, Thomas Jefferson.
Jupiter, whose last name may have been Evans, acted as Jefferson's personal servant and traveling attendant during the years of Jefferson's law study and practice. In 1774, when the Hemings family came to Monticello, Jupiter took up a new position as coachman, with responsibility for the fine horses in the Monticello stables. He was also apprenticed to a local stonecutter, William Rice, with whom he worked to shape the cylindrical blocks of stone that form the columns of the Monticello entrance portico. In 1778 Rice hired Jupiter for eighteen days to work "on Shelby's tombstone." The 3 by 6 foot gravestone can still be seen, the oldest grave marker in Charlottesville's Maplewood Cemetery.
Jupiter's wife Susan, or Suck, was a cook, and their son Philip was, like his father, a skillful handler of horses. In the War of 1812, Philip Evans accompanied Jefferson's son-in-law Thomas Mann Randolph with the American troops to upstate New York. Left with the colonel's horses at Sackett's Harbor while the army proceeded down the St. Lawrence River, Evans made the 100-mile overland journey alone and safely delivered the horses to his master at the army's winter quarters across the river from the free soil of Canada.
In 1846, Susan Scott, a relative (possibly a granddaughter) of Jupiter and Suck, was taken by Jefferson's great-grandson William Stuart Bankhead to northern Alabama, where her great-grandchilden still live. Her children Mildred Scott Young (1848-1931) and Edward Scott (1850-1929) passed on stories of their ancestors at Monticello. In one, Jupiter played a leading role in saving the Jefferson family silver from the British troops during the American Revolution.