BACKSTORY: Edited from The Official Monticello website: Monticello is the autobiographical masterpiece of Thomas Jefferson—designed and redesigned and built and rebuilt for more than forty years—and its gardens were a botanic showpiece, a source of food, and an experimental laboratory of ornamental and useful plants from around the world. Local white masons built the house and their apprentices did the stone and brickwork. Local carpenters, assisted by several Monticello slave carpenters, provided the rough structural woodwork. The fine woodwork (floors, cornices, and other moldings) was the work of several skilled white joiners, hired from as far away as Philadelphia. One Monticello slave, John Hemmings, who trained under the white workman James Dinsmore, became a very able joiner and carpenter.

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