Born: unknown
Died: after 1801
Family relationship: unknown
Role: Spinner

Sukey was an enslaved spinner whose agency enabled her to change her living situation. While James Monroe was abroad serving as Minister to France (1794-1797), his younger brother Joseph was managing his property that would later become the University of Virginia. Sometime after Monroe’s departure, Sukey and Joseph had a “quarrel.” Monroe’s uncle, Judge Joseph Jones, mediated between Sukey and Joseph, first moving her to the residence of “Jones in Town,” then contemplated selling her or moving her to Highland (Joseph Jones to James Monroe, 16 January 1796). Later references in Monroe’s account book show purchases on Sukey’s behalf, indicating the plan to have her “live at Hogs to work for him & people and spin” must have been carried out (Joseph Jones to James Monroe, 16 January 1796).

Joseph Jones to James Monroe

“Fredg 16th Janry 1796

Sukey after her quarrel with Joe Monroe has lived with Jones in Town unless she will be satisfied to live at Hogs* to work for him & people and spin. I will sell her at the sale of the rest of the negros which takes place the 1st of next month—these purchases will reduce the cash payment nearly if not quite a half. I have taken in your note for the purchase of Sukey—have pd M. Allen on acc’t your note for the hire of the Negros from Johnson …

Sukey being hired and Tenah disabled by sickness very little spinning went on only enough to cloath with frocks Tenahs Children & herself and under petticoats. If Sukey continues with the estate and at Hogs I shall require the spinning to go on there and with Hannah at home all that may be.”

*Hog was the overseer at Highland

Courtesy of the Papers of James Monroe:

James Monroe’s Account Book

October 17, 1801

“pd for Sukey in Alb: 8
pd for Fredk’s cloaths 14.”

Courtesy of the Library of Congress:,0.009,0.811,0.498,0

James Monroe’s Account Book

November 26, 1801

“for Eve and Sukey’s cloaths 6.”

Courtesy of the Library of Congress:,0.231,0.899,0.553,0