Jefferson Blacksmith Shop (Location Key)


Although this entry aggregates the three blacksmith shops in Jefferson mentioned in the texts, each tells a different kind of story. In the order of Yoknapatawpha history, the "blacksmith's" mentioned in Requiem for a Nun comes first. It is one of the earliest buildings in the settlement that hasn't even been named 'Jefferson' yet; "a century and a quarter later" - that is, between 1920 and 1930 - it has been replaced by or transformed into "a garage" just as horses have been replaced by cars (167). On the other hand, when Intruder in the Dust begins on a Sunday morning with Chick Mallison standing under a "shed in front of the closed blacksmith's shop across the street from the jail" (3), although it is the mid-20th century, there is no suggestion that the shop isn't still open the rest the week. According to the narrator, this is where a blacksmith "over a hundred years ago" hammered out the "heavy rosette-shaped" and "handwrought" hinges on the jail door (53). The third Jefferson "blacksmith shop," mentioned in The Town, is located "on the edge of town"; it is owned by Uncle Noon Gatewood, whom the narrative describes as "yellow" - a term which identifies him as a light-skinned Negro, and makes his shop one of the few black-owned businesses mentioned in the fictions (68). There's an interesting echo here of the story Faulkner only hints at when Ike McCaslin reads through the plantation ledgers in Go Down, Moses. "Thucydus McCaslin" is one of the slaves who came to Yoknapatawpha with Carothers McCaslin. When Old Carothers died in 1837, Thucydus was set free in his will. But he refused to accept that, or a "Cash offer" from Carothers' white sons, choosing instead to stay on the plantation and "work it out" - i.e. work until he'd earned enough money to buy himself from the McCaslins (252-53). That occurred in 1841, at which time Thucydus moved to Jefferson and "Set Up blacksmith" (253), which may mean there was a Negro-owned business in town even before the Civil War.

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Jefferson Blacksmith Shop