For nearly the first twenty-five years of his ownership of the plantation, Jefferson grew tobacco as Monticello's main cash crop. By the 1790s that had begun to change, and in 1793 he wrote to George Washington "Good husbandry with us consists in abandoning Indian corn and tobacco, tending small grain, some red clover following, and endeavoring to have, while the lands are at rest, a spontaneous cover of white clover." Jefferson's practice of "Good husbrandy" transformed the Monticello landscape and its plantation community, but its effects were not felt at his western farms, such as Poplar Forest, where he continued to grow tobacco.
Learn about industries white laborers and enslaved blacks worked on at Monticello to keep the plantation self-sufficient. From the Monticello Classroom, an educational resource for classroom or home use.
In a time when there was no thought of providing former chief executives with pensions, Thomas Jefferson relied primarily on the produce of his farms for subsistence and money. His main cash crops...More >>