What Is Known About Thomas Jefferson's Family?
Studying Thomas Jefferson's family gives some context to his life and allows us to see a different side to him that did not necessarily appear in the political atmosphere.
Thomas Jefferson's Family
Family That He Was Born Into
- Thomas Jefferson was born in Shadwell, Virginia on April 13, 1743.
- He was born into a family that was closely related to some of the most prominent and wealthy people living in Virginia at that time.
- His mother was Jane Randolph.
- Her father was a ship captain named Isham Randolph of Dungeness.
- Jane was also a cousin of Peyton Randolph.
- Furthermore, she was the granddaughter of members of the English and Scottish gentry.
- His father was Peter Jefferson. Information concerning his background is unknown.
- Peter became executor of the estate of his friend Colonel William Randolph when he died in 1745.
- Peter got charge of his Tuckahoe Estate and Randolph's baby son, Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr.
- Thomas Jefferson's family included nine siblings plus his adopted sibling Thomas.
- Two of his siblings died when they were children.
- When he was two years old, Thomas Mann came into his life.
- When this event occurred, the family moved to Tuckahoe.
- They lived there until Thomas was nine years old, and then they returned to their hometown of Albemarle.
- At this time Peter Jefferson was appointed to the Colonelcy of the County.
- Thomas' father passed away when he was 14 years old and he inherited the Jefferson family's land land as well as his father's slaves.
Family That He Created
- Thomas Jefferson fell in love with Martha Wayles Skelton when she was around 23 years old.
- She was the daughter of a prominent Virginia lawyer named John Wayles.
- She was also the widow of one of Jefferson's classmates when he was attending William and Mary.
- They got to know each other and dated for much of 1790 and 1791.
- They were married on New Year's Day in 1772.
- Martha had some significant problems with childbirth.
- First of all, she gave birth six times in 10 years.
- All of the babies were very weak when they were first born.
- Therefore, as a result, only two of them lived beyond that age.
- One of the surviving children was named Martha, who also went by the name of Patsy, was born in 1772 almost exactly nine months after the wedding of Thomas and Martha.
- The other surviving child was named Polly.
- She was born in 1778.
- As the years progressed, Martha continued to grow weaker and weaker due to the pregnancies.
- Jefferson spent a lot of time with her, and often turned down opportunities in the public life since he was so devoted to his wife.
- She passed away on September 6, 1782, forty years before her husband would pass on.
- On her deathbed, she made him promise to never marry again.
- He held to his promise and never remarried.