Labeled by Jefferson as "C. is a joiner's shop" in the 1796 Mutual Assurance Plat.
Digital model of the Joiner's Shop. Digital rendering by RenderSphere, LLC
Joiner's shop, aerial view.
A chimney and foundation are all that remain of the joiner’s shop, which Jefferson described as “57. feet. by 18. feet, the underpinning and chimney of stone, the walls and roof of wood.” From about 1775, free and enslaved workmen produced some of the finest architectural woodwork in Virginia as well as carriages and furniture in this workshop. “There is nothing superior in the U.S.,” Jefferson pronounced of the work of the joiners, who used hand planes, chisels, saws, lathes, and other specialized tools to make doors, balusters, sashes, and other items. Woodworking skills were passed from James Dinsmore and other hired white joiners to enslaved apprentices like John Hemmings, who then trained a younger generation of artisans, including his nephews, Eston and Madison Hemings. The shop, which Jefferson insured for $320 in 1800, likely became “tottering remains” by the 1830s.
What is Joining?
- Thomas Walker, cabinetmaker, 1773-78
- Humphrey Gaines, carpenter, 1774–78
- William Fossett, carpenter, 1775–79
- Joseph Neilson, joiner, 1775–79
- Benjamin Colvard, carpenter, 1778–79
- David Watson, joiner, 1781–84, 1792, 1793–97
- James Dinsmore, joiner, 1798–1809
- John Holmes, joiner, 1800–01
- James Oldham, joiner, 1801–04
- John Neilson, joiner, 1805–09
- Lewis (1758–1822), 1798–1822
- John Hemmings (1776–1833), 1798–1831
- Eston Hemings (1808-1856), 1822–1827
- Madison Hemings (1805–1877), 1819–1827