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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Charlottesville in Albemarle County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Charcoal

 
 
Charcoal Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael C. Wilcox, August 1, 2012
1. Charcoal Marker
Inscription. Wood charcoal fueled the forges in the nailery on Mulberry Row and heated the stoves in the kitchen. Charcoal was stored under lock and key in wooden sheds that once stood here. Built about 1794, these "coal sheds" likely resembled temporary lean-tos and functioned as secure holding areas for fuel that could be easily transported to the nailery, smith's shop, or the main house. Additional sheds, each holding 8,000 bushels of charcoal, may have been built as fuel needs increased on Mulberry Row. The nail-making operation, for example, demanded large amounts of fuel; Jefferson calculated that, on average, 666 bushels of charcoal would be needed to make 172,480 nails in the nailery.

The Charcoal-Burners
In the spring of 1800, Frank, an enslaved charcoal-burner, produced most of the charcoal in "coal-kilns" on the mountaintop; he learned his trade from the German charcoal-burner Jacob Silknitter. David Hern, Lewis, and six hired slaves cut 200 cords of "coal wood" for Frank to use for charcoal production. Charcoal-burners like Frank earned a "half dime for every bushel to the cord of wood" that their kilns yielded. Jefferson used cash incentives to maximize the efficiency of work performed by Frank and other enslaved charcoal burners—James Hubbard, Cary, and David Hern. (Marker Number 11.)
 
Location.
Charcoal Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael C. Wilcox, August 1, 2012
2. Charcoal Marker
38° 0.52′ N, 78° 27.27′ W. Marker is in Charlottesville, Virginia, in Albemarle County. Marker can be reached from Thomas Jefferson Parkway. Touch for map. Marker is on the grounds of Monticello—entrance fee is required. Marker is in this post office area: Charlottesville VA 22902, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Wood Trades (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Monticello Graveyard (about 400 feet away); Nursery (about 400 feet away); Nail-Making (about 400 feet away); Discovering Mulberry Row (about 600 feet away); The Levy Legacy (about 600 feet away); Smokehouse/Dairy (about 700 feet away); Mulberry Row (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Charlottesville.
 
More about this marker. This is marker #11 in the "Mulberry Row at Monticello - Landscape of Slavery" panel series (link to series provided on this page).
 
Also see . . .  Mulberry Row at Monticello - Landscape of Slavery panel series. (Submitted on December 14, 2016, by Michael C. Wilcox of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.)
 
Categories. African AmericansIndustry & CommercePatriots & PatriotismSettlements & Settlers
 
Charcoal Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael C. Wilcox, August 1, 2012
3. Charcoal Marker
Charcoal Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael C. Wilcox, August 1, 2012
4. Charcoal Marker
Charcoal like this fueled forges in the "smith's shop," "nailery," and "storehouse for iron" on Mulberry Row.
Charcoal Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael C. Wilcox
5. Charcoal Marker
Making charcoal. A charcoal-burner carefully stacked 30 cords of wood and covered it with sand or soil, creating a "kiln" that was lit at points near its base. For several days and nights, he had to watch the fire and regulate the air supply to make sure that the wood charred without burning. Jefferson's enslaved charcoal-burners equaled and sometimes exceeded the usual rate of charcoal production per cord of wood.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 14, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 14, 2016, by Michael C. Wilcox of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This page has been viewed 316 times since then and 51 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on December 14, 2016, by Michael C. Wilcox of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
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