In any given year, Thomas Jefferson owned about 200 slaves. Enslaved people worked in various roles around Monticello. Skilled workers built fences and barns, made nails and wove cloth. Farm workers planted, hoed, plowed and picked crops. House servants cooked meals and washed clothes. About eighty enslaved people lived and worked at Monticello. The others lived at Shadwell, Lego, Tufton and Poplar Forest, Jefferson’s farm in Bedford County.
About 100 slaves lived and worked at Monticello at any given time. They plowed the fields, planted the wheat, and drove the wagons. They cared for the hogs and cows. Household slaves prepared food for Thomas Jefferson and his family. They washed his clothes and cared for his children. Despite writing the words "all men are created equal," Jefferson was a life-long slave owner who held over 600 humans in bondage throughout his lifetime.
Jefferson freed two slaves in his lifetime and five in his will. Three others ran away and were not pursued. All were members of the Hemings family. The seven he officially freed had skills they could use to earn money.