Born: before 1790
Died: after 1825
Family relationship: Son of Dick and Hannah; brother to Dick, Wilson, Spotswood, Charles, Nelson, a sister (name unknown) and two younger brothers (names unknown)
Role: Laborer; worked with cattle

Jesse was enslaved by Charlottesville resident Peter Marks, who purchased property from James Monroe in 1790 and mortgaged 33 individuals as part of the agreement. Marks died in 1795 before paying his debt to Monroe. Jesse appears to already be enslaved at Highland before Marks’ estate sale took place in January 1796, as referenced by Monroe’s uncle noting “…it is indispensably necessary to add to Solomon his wife and Jesse at Hogs some others if to be got” (Joseph Jones to James Monroe, 16 January 1796). It is not known what happened to Jesse after Highland was sold.

James Monroe and Peter Marks Memorandum of Agreement

“Sepr 26th 1790.

Memorandum of an agreement between James Monroe of the one part, & Peter Marks of the other part, both of the county of Albemarle witnesseth the said James sells to the said Peter his lots & improvments in the town of Charlottesville consisting of the acre of ground whereon his dwelling house stands, & the lot below the main street where his stables &c stand, with all the improvments thereon, for the sum of fifteen hundred pounds. Which the said Peter hereby contracts to pay to the said James at the expiration of ten years from the present date & in the interim to pay him an annual interest on the said sum of fifteen hundred pounds at the rate of 5 pr centm & hereby further engages as a security for the payment of the said sum to give to the said James a mortgage on the said property & upon the following slaves viz Sud, Hannah, and another woman of the name of Hannah, Patt, Jane, Lucy, Jane, Pug, Polly, China, Dinah, Francis, Milley, Sally, Georgiana, Ann, Harryson, Rachael, Critty, Milley, Dick, Armstead, Jesse, Spotswood, Dick (son of Dick), Wilson, Charles, Thomas (or Tom) Nelson, Reuben, Randolph, York & Julius, amounting to thirty three in number. It is further agreed on the part of the said James that the said Peter shall have all the pine plank and other materials excepting the plank already planed for one room & the walnut plank. The said Peter also agrees to give seperate bonds for the annual interest. And it is also agreed that the said agreement shall be fully executed at a future day convenient to the parties. The said James agrees that the said Peter may immediately take charge of the said property, allowing sufficient room for the accomodation of the furniture of the said James & for his family till his houses are ready to receive them on his farm. To all wh they respectively bind themselves their heirs Exrs & admrs firmly by these presents sign’d seald & delivered in presence of

John Steele               Jas Monroe (seal)
Tho Bell                     Peter Marks (seal)
Jos Jones Monroe”

Courtesy of the Papers of James Monroe:

Joseph Jones to James Monroe

“Fredg 16th Janry 1796

Marks is also dead I before informed you of the death of his wife. In consequence the Trustees have agreed to sell the negros and Lotts to raise the amount of your demand …

 The last Court day was appointed for the Sale, I attended But the business was but in part done one half of the Slaves not appearing, all except three that were present were sold and very high. It was my intention to have bought old Dick his wife and all the children as the best Characters among them but on the day of sale I found there was little hope of effecting my design as Dick had prevailed on one of the Marks to buy him and allow him the privilege of working out his freedom. Hudson Martins wife was anxious to get a boy called Dick abt 15 or 16 years old on acct of his having been brot up among her children and the next youngest boy Wilson I think some other had promised to buy so that the first sold for upwards of £100 and the last for upwards £95. Hannah the mother and three small Boys I have purchased for you at the price of £145. She is the mother of Jesse and esteemed a good Servant and tolerable good Cook the youngest boy abt a year old the eldest six or seven –Spotswood who lives with Watson and another called Charles who last year lived with Bob Jouett are yet to sell also a very likely young mulatto woman and child a Daughter of Hannahs—also an elderly man called Julius who lived last year with Hog but who was unable to attend the former sale. I shall endeavor to buy for you Spotswood and Charles as the mother and themselves are desirous of being together but they will particularly Spotswood go very high as Watson and others want him and Watson has offered for him 100£ he will sell for at least 120£–Negros are near 50% higher than a few years past greatly I think above their worth but the late high prices of wheat corn and Tobacco have occasioned it, they hire now at 20 pr ann. for a man—dear as they are I shall endeavor to buy Spotswood Charles and Julius as you much want hands and having not hired any for the present year it is indispensably necessary to add to Solomon his wife and Jesse at Hogs* some others if to be got.”

*Hog was the overseer at Highland

Courtesy of the Papers of James Monroe:

Clothing distribution list on back page of letter marked “1809” between James Monroe and unknown

“Coats                                   Breeches —                        Shirts

Joe                                       / ______                             /­­­_______                            /_____
Waterman Joe                  /   _____                             / ______                             /________
Joe Fox                               /_________                       /_______                            /
George                                /  __________
Charles                                /___________                   /
Danl [Daniel] Dick”

Courtesy of the Library of Congress, James Monroe Papers:,0.014,1.239,0.697,0  

James Monroe to William Benton

“Highland Augt 3, 1822

I have adopted here the plan of penning the cattle together, every night, in one enclosure, covering first, the ground with straw, to encrease the quantity, & prevent the waste of the manure, and of changing the pen, at proper times. In this way much ground may be manurd, in the summer, by manure, which would otherwise be lost or nearly to for it would be scatterd about, so, as not to do any good. Had you not better adopt this plan in Loudon? Jesse pens the cattle regularly here. [Jimmey] might do it in Loudon.”

Courtesy of Morristown National Historic Park

Albemarle County Deed Book (25:143)

April 5, 1825

“Have granted bargained and sold aliened released and confirmed and by these presents do grant bargain and sell alien release and confirm into the said John Hooff and his heirs a tract of land in the County of Albemarle and the State of Virginia about three miles below Mill on and about one mile from the Rivanna a branch of the James River consisting of seven hundred and eight acres divided into two farms, with a good framed Dwelling house and other improvements on each. Also the following negro slaves, Jesse, Charles, Nelson a Blacksmith, all young men and brothers, William a Carpenter, Joe and Eve his wife and their four children, Armstead and Zachariah both young men, Toby and Betsy his wife with their three children, Solomon and Nancy his wife, Ned & Peggy his wife.”

James Monroe mortgaged Limestone Farm and 21 enslaved people to John Hooff, Cashier of the Farmer’s Bank of Alexandria for $4,735.76. It is difficult to determine whether the individuals listed are at Limestone or at Highland.