Cattle Husbandry Practices at Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest: the Relationships Between Environment, Economy, and Enslavement

Author(s): Jenn Ogborne

Year: 2017

Summary

Cattle were not the primary focus of Thomas Jefferson’s Bedford County plantation, but he did maintain a small herd, divided between the quarter farms that comprised Poplar Forest, for various purposes. These included dairying, some meat production, and manure. Cattle were also driven in small numbers to Monticello, herded by enslaved individuals living at Poplar Forest. In addition to live animals, dairy products were also sent regularly to Monticello. While herding and dairying activities are noted in Jefferson’s records, archaeological excavations of field gullies coupled with soil chemistry analysis speak to the environmental impact of plantation agriculture. This paper will explore the roles that cattle served at Poplar Forest during Jefferson’s tenure, paying particular attention to the production and use of manure in exhausted fields, the relationship between the enslaved and the animals, and the environmental dialogues created by plantation economies in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.

Cite this Record

Cattle Husbandry Practices at Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest: the Relationships Between Environment, Economy, and Enslavement. Jenn Ogborne. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435277)

Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 454