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The Hern Family
As a carpenter, Davy Hern, Sr. built cabins and fences on the plantation, and also worked on the Monticello house. He felled trees with a felling ax and used a lathing hatchet to cut the narrow strips of wood used to form the base for plaster walls.
The local bedrock at Monticello was known as Catoctin greenstone. When Jefferson constructed his mill on the south side of the Rivanna River, David Hern Sr. and other enslaved workmen blasted the greenstone with gunpowder to create a canal to feed water to the mill.
Wagoner David Hern Jr. had the difficult job of driving wagons and carts pulled by horses or oxen over poor roads and of maintaining the wheels and axles. An iron axle hub connected the wooden carriage wheel to the axle.
Part of a wheel jack for raising a wagon for maintenance or replacing a wheel: fragment of the vertical bar for supporting the axle and a cog that moved it up and down.
Charcoal-making was one of David Hern Jr.’s skills. Blacksmiths and nail-makers at Monticello used charcoal to heat iron on forges. Cooks used it in the stew stoves to generate the steady low heat needed in French cooking. Charcoal fired the stoves that warmed some of the bedrooms in the main...
Archaeologists have found gun-related artifacts at sites occupied by slaves. (Clockwise from top: lockplate, gunflint, trigger, lead ball shot, and frizzen.)