Honey and Bees at Monticello
Although it is not known if Thomas Jefferson himself was a beekeeper, he wrote of bees in Notes on the State of Virginia and that “honey was a better substitue for sugar than any other preparation.” Jefferson included bee houses in one of his drawings for a building at Monticello but there is no evidence they were ever constructed. However, Edmund Bacon, the resident overseer at Monticello for twenty-two years, was a beekeeper. He recalled having ”a very large stand, more than fifty hives.”
Thomas Jefferson Randolph, Jefferson’s grandson, noted in his memoirs an exciting adventure of hunting for a wild bee nest for the sake of the coveted honey.