Jefferson Thomas

Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) brother-in-law of 1st cousin 8x removed

1823 facsimile of the engrossed copy of the Declaration of Independence of the United States (1776)

1823 facsimile of the engrossed copy of the Declaration of Independence of the United States (1776)

As author of the Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, third president of the United States, and founder of the University of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson voiced the aspirations of a new America as no other individual of his era.  As public official, historian, philosopher, and plantation owner, he served his country for over five decades.  After attending the College of William and Mary, Jefferson practiced law and served in local government as a magistrate, county lieutenant, and member of the House of Burgesses in his early professional life.  As a member of the Continental Congress, he was chosen in 1776 to draft the Declaration of Independence, which has been regarded ever since as a charter of American and universal liberties.  The document proclaims that all men are equal in rights, regardless of birth, wealth, or status, and that the government is the servant, not the master, of the people.  After Jefferson left Congress in 1776, he returned to Virginia and served in the legislature. Elected governor of Virginia from 1779 to 1781.

In 1784, he entered public service again, in France, first as trade commissioner and then as Benjamin Franklin’s successor as minister. During this period, he avidly studied European culture, sending home to Monticello, books, seeds and plants, statues and architectural drawings, scientific instruments, and information.  In 1790 he accepted the post of Secretary of State under his friend President George Washington.  His tenure was marked by his opposition to the pro-British policies of Alexander Hamilton. In 1796, as the presidential candidate of the Democratic Republicans, he became vice-president after losing to John Adams by three electoral votes.  Four years later, he defeated Adams and became president, the first peaceful transfer of authority from one party to another in the history of the young nation.  Perhaps the most notable achievements of his first term were the purchase of the Louisiana Territory in 1803 and his support of the Lewis and Clark expedition.  His second term, a time when he encountered more difficulties on both the domestic and foreign fronts, is most remembered for his efforts to maintain neutrality in the midst of the conflict between Britain and France; his efforts did not avert war with Britain in 1812.  Jefferson was succeeded as president in 1809 by his friend James Madison, and during the last seventeen years of his life, he remained at Monticello. During this period, he sold his collection of books to the government to form the nucleus of the Library of Congress.  Jefferson embarked on his last great public service at the age of seventy-six, with the founding of the University of Virginia.  He spearheaded the legislative campaign for its charter, secured its location, designed its buildings, planned its curriculum, and served as the first rector.  It was Jefferson’s wish that his tomb stone reflect the things that he had given the people, not the things that the people had given to him. It is for this reason that Thomas Jefferson’s epitaph reads:

HERE WAS BURIED
THOMAS JEFFERSON
AUTHOR OF THE
DECLARATION
OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE
OF THE
STATUTE OF VIRGINIA
FOR
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
AND FATHER OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
BORN APRIL 2, 1743
DIED JULY 4. 1826

Jefferson’s biographer, John Meacham (Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power) summarized his achievements as follows: “He left behind living monuments, and there is no greater monument than the nation itself, dedicated to the realization – however gradual and however painful – of the ideal amid the realities of a political world driven by ambition and selfishness”.

Thomas Jefferson died on 4 Jul 1826, the 50th anniversary of the first Independence Day celebration[1].  Another co-signor of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams (1735-1826, my 3rd cousin 8x removed) died on the same day.

The tombstone and grave of Thomas Jefferson, Monticello Cemetery, Charlottesville, Virginia. The tombstone pictured here is actually the second tombstone which was erected in 1883. The original tombstone of the same design had numerous chips removed by souvenir collectors. The original tombstone was donated in 1885 by the Jefferson family to the University of Missouri where it is displayed on the Francis Quadrangle of the university campus.

The tombstone and grave of Thomas Jefferson, Monticello Cemetery, Charlottesville, Virginia. The tombstone pictured here is actually the second tombstone which was erected in 1883. The original tombstone of the same design had numerous chips removed by souvenir collectors. The original tombstone was donated in 1885 by the Jefferson family to the University of Missouri where it is displayed on the Francis Quadrangle of the university campus.

 

(President) Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826), Brother-in-law of 1st cousin 8x removed – Peter Jefferson (1707 – 1757) – Martha Jefferson (1746 – 1811) – Dabney Carr (1743 – 1773), Husband of Martha – John Carr (1706 – 1778) – Thomas Major Carr (1678 – 1738) – Sarah Dabney Carr (1714 – 1772) – Thomas Minor (1740 – 1816) – Elizabeth Minor (1768 – 1832) – Elizabeth Dabney Waller (1808 – 1881) – Jacintha Ann Pollard – Elizabeth Minor Hancock (1850 – 1928) – Seddie Gunnell (1875 – 1946) – Elizabeth Gunnell Hamlin (1901 – 1982) – Tor Martin Hylbom (1939 – 2009) – Tor Martin (Majerus) Hylbom

 


[1] Of course, it is well known that the Declaration of Independence was not actually signed on 4 Jul 1776, although the document does bear that date.

(619)

Your comments are welcome. Keep in mind, however, all comments are moderated, and please no off-topic links.