Born at Shadwell the same year as Jefferson, Jupiter, whose last name was likely Evans, was an enslaved personal servant, hostler, coachman, and stonecutter. When Jefferson attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Evans bought Jefferson’s books, fiddlestrings, and wig powder, paid the bills of the baker, shoemaker, and washerwoman, and collected debts. He lent Jefferson money to provide tips to the enslaved domestic servants of his Williamsburg friends.
Live Q&A with Thomas Jefferson and Jupiter Evans
Evans took on the role of hostler and coachman in 1774, the same year that he married 16-year-old Suck, whom Jefferson had inherited from his father-in-law’s estate. Jefferson intended that they occupy the “Negro quarter”on Mulberry Row. Evans learned stonecutting from William Rice and worked on the columns of the first Monticello; he also worked in the Mulberry Row stable.
In 1800, Evans suddenly became ill along with his wife and son. The Evanses consulted an African American folk healer for treatment. But either the illness was beyond cure or, as hinted at by Jefferson, the treatment itself was at fault, and all three were dead within weeks. Of their three children, only their son Phillip lived to adulthood.