Chapter

Slave Housing, Community Formation, and Community Dynamics at Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest, 1760s-1810s

Barbara J. Heath

in Jefferson's Poplar Forest

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780813039886
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813043807 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813039886.003.0006
Slave Housing, Community Formation, and Community Dynamics at Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest, 1760s-1810s

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This chapter introduces Jefferson's enslaved community and explores the debate over the extent to which agricultural systems determine social organization within plantation settings. The author compares the timing and scope of the transition from tobacco to grain cultivation at Poplar Forest and Monticello around 1790 to the spatial organization of enslaved plantation households, paying particular attention to architecture and the occurrence and frequency of subfloor pits. After detailing the results of excavations at three Poplar Forest quartering sites-Wingos quarter, the North Hill quarter, and an early-nineteenth-century quarter-she concludes that architectural changes in quarters were set in motion by planters' acknowledgement of the importance of supporting the growth of enslaved families, beginning in the 1750s and 1760s, not by the introduction of grain agriculture in the 1790s.

Keywords: architecture; community; grain cultivation; household; Monticello; Poplar Forest; slavery; subfloor pits; tobacco cultivation

Chapter.  9107 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History and Theory of Archaeology

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