Born at Shadwell the same year as Jefferson, Jupiter, whose last name was likely Evans, was an enslaved personal servant, hostler, coachman, and stonecutter. When Jefferson attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Evans bought Jefferson’s books, fiddlestrings, and wig powder, paid the bills of the baker, shoemaker, and washerwoman, and collected debts. He lent Jefferson money to provide tips to the enslaved domestic servants of his Williamsburg friends. Evans took on the role of hostler and coachman in 1774, the same year that he married 16-year-old Suck, whom Jefferson had inherited from his father-in-law’s estate. Jefferson intended that they occupy the “Negro quarter” on Mulberry Row. Evans learned stonecutting from William Rice and worked on the columns of the first Monticello; he also worked in the Mulberry Row stable.
Evans died suddenly in January 1800, after succumbing to an illness similar to one that killed three members of the Granger family.
This account is compiled from Lucia Stanton, “Those Who Labor for My Happiness:” Slavery at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello (University of Virginia Press and Thomas Jefferson Foundation, 2012).
Live Q&A: Thomas Jefferson & Jupiter Evans
This live Q&A featured Thomas Jefferson, interpreted by Bill Barker, and Jupiter, interpreted by @colonialwmsburg's Jamar Jones. These two veteran interpreters discusses the relationship between Jefferson and Jupiter in character before taking a step back to share insight into the challenges that first-person interpreters face when sharing difficult history.