Peter Malorry

Born: about 1764
Died: after 1836
Family relationship: Husband of Charity
Role: Carpenter

Peter Malorry was an enslaved carpenter purchased by James Monroe in late 1817 from Judge Francis Taliaferro Brooke, who was living at St. Julien in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. Documentary evidence shows that Peter Malorry built the standing guesthouse at Highland with another enslaved man named George. It’s apparent from inventories and correspondence that Peter Malorry 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 Unknown

“Albemarle Oct. 10, 1817*

I have thought of sending over a small wagon to take from Orange a Carpenter (and his wife) to manage my mill, and do work on the estate, to bring back one or two merino rams, and the cloth for my people here.”

Courtesy of the New York Public Library, James Monroe Papers

*Monroe stated on September 6, 1818 that he bought “a carpenter… of Judge Brooke, last winter…”; this reference aligns with the timing of that purchase. Judge Brooke resided in Spotsylvania County, Virginia (bordering Orange County to the east), so Orange would be a mid-point between Albemarle and Spotsylvania counties.

James Monroe to William Benton

“Washington, May 8, 1818

You will of course attend to the improvements, for our accommodation when we come up, the [plaistering?] the house when wanted, the [putting] plank in the Butcher loft, the additions to the  other house & finishing it for lodgings for servants, the finishing the house, when Peter the carpenter is, the getting the posts & rails, for enclosing the yard, gardener.

…I will procure shingles & paint & send them up as soon as possible. Can the Carpenter paint, as if he cannot, I will send a man up from this place. Let me know how the waggon gets home with the articles sent. ”

Courtesy of  the James Monroe Museum

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 Brooks, last winter (for $450) and George. I mention this to show the difference between doing work in that way, and putting yourself in the hands of others, of which a striking examples has been afforded me, recently in the settlement of the account of Mr. Gambill, who did some jobs for me about the mill, and in making over___ and servants homes which came to an enormous sum, considering the nature of the work and these all the timber, and planks were from my own mill.”

Courtesy of  the James Monroe Museum

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

Nov 25, 1823

Peter Malorry Carpenter [mark]      Charity his wife [mark]

Courtesy of  the James Monroe Museum

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

1 negro man Peter Malorry   72 years old  __|01

Courtesy of the Library of Congress, James Monroe Papers,