Gunston Hall is the 1750s home of Ann and George Mason. More than one hundred others--enslaved people, tenant farmers, indentured servants, and wage workers--also lived there. Today, Gunston Hall is a historic site and museum dedicated to stimulating the exploration and understanding of the principles expressed by George Mason in one of America's first rights documents: the 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights.
Priss, Poll, James, Nell, Penny, and many others worked long hours to insure the comfort of the Masons and their guests to the mansion.
Penny arrived at Gunston Hall as a little girl. She spent her time caring for Nancy Mason, who was just a few years older than Penny. Nell was skilled in mid-wifery. She occasionally earned a bit of money on other plantations by assisting with births. James, as George Mason's manservant, traveled more than other people enslaved by the Masons. He accompanied George to Williamsburg and to Philadelphia.
Nace and Occoquan Nell worked in the fields, planting and harvesting tobacco, wheat, and corn.
Nace was skilled at working with horses. He also sometimes worked as an overseer. Many other people whose names are lost labored with Nace and Nell.
At "log town" and on other areas of the plantation, skilled laborers who were enslaved spun thread and yarn, wove fabric, made shoes, tanned leather, constructed barrels, tended orchards, and did blacksmithing. We do not know their names, yet Gunston Hall thrived because of their work.