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John Holmes

d. 1801
Hired White Workers

Massachusetts Historical Society

John Holmes, a joiner from Philadelphia, came to work at Monticello in the late summer of 1800.  Jefferson had written to Daniel Trump, a Philadelphia house carpenter, for help finding a joiner.  Trump recommended Holmes, describing him as a man “of a Good Carrecter…a Good workman and [he] understands Drawing.”¹  Holmes probably lived in the workmen’s house on Mulberry Row while remodeling Monticello II (1796–1809). In January 1801, James Monroe informed Jefferson that Holmes “fell from some part of your building & expired in a few hours in consequence of the contusions he recd.”²  Fellow joiner James Dinsmore  sent Holmes’s belongings to his father-in-law, James Stuart, while Jefferson mailed him Holmes’s remaining wages.  A month after Holmes’s death, Jefferson again wrote to Trump, “to see if you can procure one to supply his [Holmes’s] place.”³

  1. Daniel Trump to Thomas Jefferson , Aug. 4, 1800.
  2. James Monroe to Thomas Jefferson, Jan. 18, 1801.
  3. Thomas Jefferson to Daniel Trump, Feb. 21, 1801.

 Learn more about this multi-family slave dwelling built ca. 1770.


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