Nace (1773-?) was one of the enslaved laborers that Thomas Jefferson inherited from the estate of his father-in-law, John Wayles. Nace was born in 1773, the son of Nan and Frank. The family was located at Elk Hill in Goochland County when Jefferson inherited them. Nan and Frank died soon afterwards. Nace (called Natia in the 1774 rolls) was then raised by his uncle Jame Hubbard (and Hubbard's wife Cate) at Poplar Forest, Jefferson's plantation in Bedford County, Virginia.
Records indicate that, at some point, Nace became foreman of labor at Poplar Forest. In 1811, he suffered from an unknown illness. From at least 1817, he was the Poplar Forest gardener; in 1821, he occasionally drove livestock from there to Monticello. Nace's marital status is unclear.
Primary Source References
1774. ("Location of Slaves. for 1774."). Listed as "Natia. 1773," the child of Nan and Frank, living at Elk Hill, part of the Wayles inheritance.1
1783. ("Roll of the negroes taken in 1783.") Listed with Cate and Jame Hubbard and their children in Bedford County.2
1794. ("Roll of negroes Nov. 1794. and where to be settled for the year 1795."). Listed with Cate and Jame Hubbard and their children in Bedford County.3
1805 July. ("Negroes in Bedford. July 1805."). Listed with the Hubbards in Bedford County.4
1810 April. ("Roll of Negroes in Bedford. Apr. 1810." and "Roll of the negroes in Bedford, accding to their ages."). Listed as "Nace. Cate's. 73." living at Poplar Forest. Cate and Jame Hubbard lived at this time on the Bear Creek property in Bedford County.5
1811 December. (Memorandum to Jeremiah Goodman). "Nace, the former head man, and the best we have ever known, is to be entirely kept from labour until he recovers, which will probably be very long. he may do any thing which he can do sitting in a warm room, such as shoemaking and making baskets. he can shell corn in the corn house when it is quite warm, or in his own house at any time."6
1817 March 6. (Jefferson to Joel Yancey). "I believe I left directions for Nace as to the garden. some artichoke roots are sent by the waggon which he must plant in the locks of the fence within the large garden. those we got from mr Clay are not the true kind. they will carry some Pride of China plants which may be planted somewhere near the mounds."7
1819 January 17. (Jefferson to Joel Yancey). "I shall be very glad to recieve the latter peas I liked so much the last year and hope Nace has saved me a full sowing of them."9
1821. (Joel Yancey: Letter of Credit, March 12, 1821). "The Bearer Nace, the property of Mr Thomas Jefferson, is on his way to Monticello, with Beeves and Muttons for his Master, he will want some provision on the road for his Cattle should he be furnished by any person, and given (Nace) a bill of it, they will certainly be paid, (if not sooner) by Mr Jefferson when he makes his Visit to Poplar Forest in next month."10
1821 March 12. (Joel Yancey to Jefferson). "Natt [Nace] sets off this morning for Montcello with 2 beaves and six muttons .... [he] is unwilling to undertake to Drive [a steer that is 'still a little vicious'] ...."11
1821 November 29. (John Hemmings to Jefferson). "I am sorry to complain to you so near the close of my worck above all things on earth I hate complants but I am bledy shore bin going to Poplar forest sevrield folly and that is not too sedon for roseing eny kind of vegetable and the very moment your back is turnd from thee Place nace takes every thing, out of the garden and carries them to his cabin and bury’s them in the ground and says that tha ar for the use of the house I Dont set up my self for the things thats made for your table but as common a thing as greens wich we are suffering for tha ware mour or Lest of 2000. I replyd three or four tims and it perveuld not the pipel tels me that he makes market of them at the first oppertunity ...."12
1826 December 5. (Inventory and appraisal of Jefferson property in Campbell County). "Nace a do. do. 200."13
1.Farm Book, 1774-1824, page 17, by Thomas Jefferson [electronic edition], Thomas Jefferson Papers: An Electronic Archive (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2003).
2.Farm Book, 1774-1824, page 24, by Thomas Jefferson [electronic edition], Thomas Jefferson Papers: An Electronic Archive (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2003).
3.Farm Book, 1774-1824, page 30, by Thomas Jefferson [electronic edition], Thomas Jefferson Papers: An Electronic Archive (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2003).
4.Farm Book, 1774-1824, page 60, by Thomas Jefferson [electronic edition], Thomas Jefferson Papers: An Electronic Archive (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2003).
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