Edmund Bacon, mid-19th century.
Edmund Bacon was overseer at Monticello from 1806 to 1822. He lived with his family near the base of Monticello mountain, close to a nailery, stable, and several dwellings for enslaved families. Bacon evidently was on the mountaintop less often; Jefferson directed him to “come to the top of the mountain every 2. or 3. days to see that nothing is going wrong, and that the gates are in order.” Bacon’s primary duties were to provide “every thing for a family of about 40. negroes resident at Monticello” and “every thing for my family on occasional visits.” Bacon had few agricultural responsibilities; he was tasked with “hiring and overlooking 10. to 12. laboring men employed in a little farming.” Instead, most tasks related to manufacturing elements of the plantation: “superintending 10. or 12. nailers, providing their coal, selling the nails &c. and some attention hereafter to a grist mill kept” for Jefferson.
Bacon’s recollections can be found in James A. Bear, Jefferson at Monticello (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1967).