The Enslaved Community


Rose was an enslaved woman who moved from Locust Grove to Washington, DC, with Ann Croghan when she married Thomas Jesup.

Her primary duty was to take care of Ann Croghan’s children. Ann liked that she doted upon her daughter but felt Rose was lazy. A reference to Rose shows that she may have worked to express her agency at times, which may be what Ann decided was laziness.

“This Maria is of great service to me. She can do everything and does it cheerfully and of all things like housekeeping. She is an old maid and the only difficulty is to get David and Rose to call her Miss Maria. If Grace or any of them are sick she will wash, cook, milk, or anything else without my telling her and she is as proud whenever she churns as one can be.” -Ann Croghan Jesup to Lucy Croghan – 12[?] September, 1825

Based on census records, it appears that Maria was a white woman hired by the Jesups to help with household duties. Ann was obviously pleased with how hardworking Maria was, which probably made for comparisons between Maria and Rose and David that were unpleasant for them, especially when we know that Ann thought Rose in particular was lazy. It is easy to see why Rose and David might not have been too happy with Maria’s place in the Jesup household, and while they couldn’t vocalize how she made life more difficult for them, they could more subtly express their feelings by choosing not to call her Miss Maria.

In the 1830 census, there is only one adult enslaved woman who could potentially be Rose. If she was still in the Jesup household in 1830 and the woman listed was her, she would have been around 16 years old when the first letter from Ann was written.