George Williams

Born: about 1786
Died: after 1836
Family relationship: Husband of Ann Williams; father of two children (names unknown)
Role: “plantation hand,” assisted with carpentry

It is likely George Williams helped construct the surviving guesthouse at Highland, alongside enslaved carpenter Peter Malorry. While Monroe owned more than one George, George Williams is the only documented George of an appropriate age to build the guesthouse in 1818. He is also the only George documented within four years of its construction. It’s apparent from inventories and correspondence that George Williams was primarily at Oak Hill in Loudoun County, Virginia, but was temporarily moved to Highland during late summer 1818 for the purpose of building new structures for Monroe.

James Monroe to George Hay

“Highland,  September 6, 1818

In this place, I have made and am making some small change. The three rooms, in which the servants lodged, below, the well have been finished inside, painted, and made habitable for friends. I have a new house with two rooms framed, just below the present one for lodgers. It will be closed in while here, and finished before our return. This is done by a carpenter, I bought of Judge Brooke, last winter (for $450) and George.”

Courtesy of the James Monroe Museum

James Monroe to William Benton

“Washington  February 4, 1822

If you think that George’s leg is broken, that is [illegible] of the bones, had you not better ask Dr. Little, whether he would want a consultation with a surgeon.”

Courtesy of the Library of Congress, James Monroe Papers:,0.557,0.916,0.563,0

“Inventory of Servants, Stock + Plantation Utensils on the President’s Estate in Loudoun”

Nov 25, 1823

(under Plantation Hands)                                                                              children   women
George Williams  X (for invalid) [mark]      Ann & 2 children               2           1

Courtesy of the James Monroe Museum

Note: It is inferred that George Williams is marked invalid, rather than Scy Harris, due to the discussion of George’s leg being broken in the February 4, 1822 letter between James Monroe and overseer William Benton.

“A list of the appraisement of Col James Monroe’s property Oak hill  22 Jany 1836”

1 negro man George Williams 50 years old   300|00

Courtesy of the Library of Congress, James Monroe Papers:

Note: Posthumous inventory completed nearly five years after James Monroe’s death on July 4, 1831