It's true that the man who famously declared that all men are created equal possessed over 600 enslaved men, women and children during his lifetime. Among the families who served the Jeffersons for many generations were the Hemingses. They built Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and Poplar Forest. The Hemingses made furniture, cooked and cared for the Jeffersons and attended Thomas Jefferson in his last days. Sally Hemings was likely the mother of four of Thomas Jefferson's children. Upon his death Jefferson freed nine of his slaves - all of them Hemingses.

The Gillette family served as laborers on the farm. The Herns were woodworkers and wheelwrights. Frances Gillette Hern cooked for Thomas Jefferson in the White House during his presidency. The Fossett family also served the Jeffersons at Monticello. Joseph Fossett was a nail maker and blacksmith, and his wife Edith Hern also cooked for Thomas Jefferson in the White House. The Granger family accompanied Jefferson to Williamsburg and Richmond during his governorship. Ursula Granger supervised the kitchen, smoke house and wash house, and was a wet nurse to Thomas Jefferson's children. Her husband George was a foreman and overseer on the plantation.

One of Jefferson's most productive nailers - Isaac Granger Jefferson - ran away from Monticello, gained his freedom and moved to Petersburg. Some of the members of the Hemings family gained their freedom upon Jefferson's death, but the remaining families - those who had built and run Monticello and served the Jefferson family for over 60 years - were sold on the public auction block after Jefferson's death.

Mulberry Row at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello is open daily to visitors. The Slavery at Monticello tour is included in the price of admission. The guided tour begins at the recreated Hemings Cabin and takes you past the stable, forge, nailery and gardens and into the lives of the men, women and children who called Mulberry Row home.

Pictured at the top: Mulberry Road lies adjacent to Thomas Jefferson's mountain-top home at Monticello and served as the hub of Jefferson's 5,000 acre plantation and industrial center. Young nail makers between the ages of 10 and 15 stood before hot fires pounding iron rod with anvils to produce as many as 10,000 nails a day in a profitable enterprise at Monticello.

mulberry row stable mulberry row hemings cabin fireplace

Wormley Hughes supervised the ca. 1793 stable on Mulberry Row. An enslaved man, Hughes cared for Thomas Jefferson's prized horses as well as the carriages and saddlery. The Hemings Cabin was the nicest on Mulberry Row, and the Hemingses raised chickens and sold eggs to Thomas Jefferson to purchase furnishings and other items for their home.

mulberry row pumpkin patch gazebo blue ridge

The self-guided tour of Mulberry Row features views of the garden and surrounding hillsides of Albemarle County.