Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Instructions for Poplar Forest Management, 13 December 1812

Instructions for Poplar Forest Management

all the plank necessary for finishing mr Perry’s work must be got & kilndried with as little delay as possible and notice given him to come & finish.

The flour must now be recieved from the mill as fast as it can be got down, only waiting till the river has such a tide as will bring down the price of carrying down to what it is likely to stand at.

No time should be lost in getting ready the tobo as fast as the seasons permit, & getting that down. spare no pains in sorting & packing the fine in hogsheads by itself. those are the only ones likely to be sold. the 2d rate tobacco to be packed in separate hogsheads to take their chance for a market. mr Bankhead’s tobacco to be sent down also, addressed as he directed to mr Anderson. mine goes as usual to Gibson & Jefferson as well as the flour, and they will pay the transportation.

The crop of corn is to be measured.

Supposing there are 40. bacon hogs at this place & 32 at Bear creek reserve 23. for the negroes, which allows a hog apiece for Hal & Jame Hubbard, and half a one for every grown & working negro, keep 6. for my use & Chisolm’s then take out the Overseer’s parts and send the rest to Monticello with the muttons. send also Sally & Maria to learn to weave & spin. if you can fix the time when the hogs will be ready, I will send up some of the young people from Monticello who want to visit their relations here and they will return with the waggon & drove & assist in driving them. Billy is also to go, and can aid in driving.1

The winter’s work is to be 1. moving fences. to wit, the fences for the curtilage of the house as laid off by Capt Slaughter, that for the meadow by the still, and inclosing the Tomahawk field.

2. roads. to wit, to change the road from the smith’s shop down round the foot of the hill & across the meadow to where it will join mr Darnell’s part on the Ridge branch; & to assist him in making the road down Bear branch, and up into the public road as Griffin marked it. I have the establishment of this road extremely at heart, which will depend entirely on it’s being done in an unexceptionable manner.

3. the negro houses all to be mended.

4. the meadow grounds which are cleared or nearly so, & only want cleaning, to be got in order for timothy. the meadow at Coleman’s to be sowed with his leave.2

All the rest of the winter to be employed in belting and clearing lands on the other side of the South branch of Tomahawk, to be prepared for a crop of tobacco, taking care of the wood for rails & for coalwood and stacking what remains, clearing & cleaning such Meadow grounds as are adjacent to your clearing

  sow about half an acre of hemp.

Sow a bed of Carrots, & one of Salsafia, each about as large as the Asparagus bed; and sow a small bed of spinach. Long haricots to be planted as usual, & lettuce to be sown in the spring. if a thimble full of seed could be sowed every other Monday, on a bed of 4.f. wide & 6. or 8. feet long it would be best, as I should then3 always find some fit for use when I come.

MS (NN: George Arents Tobacco Collection); written entirely in TJ’s hand on both sides of a single sheet.

TJ probably prepared this memorandum to guide overseer Jeremiah A. Goodman in his work after TJ’s departure from Poplar Forest for Monticello on 15 Dec. 1812 (MB description begins James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1284). this place: the Tomahawk plantation at Poplar Forest.

1Sentence interlined.

2Recto ends here.

3Word interlined.

Index Entries

  • Anderson, Mr. (of Richmond) search
  • bacon search
  • Bankhead, Charles Lewis (Ann Cary Randolph Bankhead’s husband); tobacco crop of search
  • beans; haricots search
  • Bear Creek plantation (part of TJ’s Poplar Forest estate); TJ’s instructions for search
  • Billy (TJ’s slave; b.1799); as wagoner search
  • building materials; plank search
  • carrots search
  • Chisholm, Hugh; hogs for search
  • Coleman, Mr. (Bedford Co.) search
  • corn; at Poplar Forest search
  • crops; hemp search
  • Darnil (Darnell; Darniel; Darnold), Nimrod; Poplar Forest overseer search
  • flour; from Poplar Forest search
  • food; bacon search
  • food; carrots search
  • food; haricots search
  • food; lettuce search
  • food; salsify search
  • food; spinach search
  • Gibson & Jefferson (Richmond firm); flour sold for TJ search
  • Gibson & Jefferson (Richmond firm); tobacco sold for TJ search
  • Goodman, Jeremiah Augustus; Poplar Forest overseer search
  • Griffin, Burgess; Poplar Forest overseer search
  • Hall (Hal) (TJ’s slave; b.1767); hog keeper search
  • hemp; grown at Poplar Forest search
  • Hubbard, Jame (TJ’s slave; father of James Hubbard); hog keeper search
  • Hubbard, Sally (TJ’s slave; b.1797); spinner search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Instructions for Poplar Forest Management search
  • lettuce; seeds search
  • Maria (TJ’s slave; b.1798); spinner search
  • overseers; at Poplar Forest search
  • overseers; plantation management by search
  • overseers; TJ’s instructions to search
  • Perry, Reuben; TJ’s carpenter search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); and curtilage survey search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); corn grown at search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); flour from search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); hemp grown at search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); Overseers at; plantation management by search
  • salsify search
  • Slaughter, Joseph; surveys Poplar Forest curtilage search
  • slaves; and work plans for Poplar Forest search
  • slaves; dwellings of search
  • slaves; supplies for search
  • spinach; at Poplar Forest search
  • surveying; and Poplar Forest curtilage search
  • tobacco; grown at Poplar Forest search
  • Tomahawk plantation (part of TJ’s Poplar Forest estate); instructions for management of search
  • wood; plank search