You are here

Spinning and Weaving

<strong>Spinning Jenny</strong>, by John James, <em>History of the Worsted Manufacture in England</em>, 1857By 1815, enslaved spinners, weavers, carders, and quillers made cloth from wool, hemp, and cotton in the textile shop. Randal and John Hern, two young carders, used hand cards or a carding machine to brush the raw material into long rolls of fiber called roving.  Aggy, a spinner, fed the roving onto a spinning jenny, which separated the fibers before twisting them into thread and winding them onto 24 different spools. Eliza, a young quiller, removed the spools from the spinning jennies and brought them to a loom. Dolly then wove the thread into cloth on a fly-shuttle loom. The enslaved workers were instructed by William McLure, a hired weaver who worked at Monticello from 1812–14.

The Technology of Monticello's Textile Workshop


1761–post 1827
Brewer, Cook, Weaver

Learn more about Nance Hemings’s life history.

Explore the workmen’s house, a structure that served as a dwelling and textile workshop during Jefferson’s lifetime.

Download our new Slavery at Monticello app!

Hear unforgettable stories. See vanished buildings.  Learn how Jefferson ran his plantation.  Available for free at the App Store and Google Play »


Login or register to participate in our online community.