Skip to main content
Thomas Jefferson's Monticello
Get Email Updates
House & Gardens
Plantation & Slavery
Research & Collections
Families & Teachers
You are here
Timeline of Jefferson's Life
, Thomas Jefferson's father, patented 1,000-acre tract which became Monticello.
Thomas Jefferson born at
Peter Jefferson died.
Thomas Jefferson attended the College of William and Mary.
Began study of law with
Came into inheritance at age of 21.
Admitted to practice law before General Court.
Elected to House of Burgesses.
Leveling of Monticello mountaintop begun.
Construction begun at Monticello. Shadwell burned. Moved to South Pavilion at Monticello.
Martha Wayles Skelton
. Daughter Martha born.
Graveyard at Monticello established with the interment of Jefferson's friend and brother-in-law
A Summary View of the Rights of British America
Retired from legal practice. Inherited 11,000 acres of land and 135 slaves from his father-in-law. Laid off ground for kitchen garden. Daughter Jane Randolph born.
Elected to Continental Congress.
Daughter Jane Randolph died.
Declaration of Independence
. Elected to Virginia House of Delegates. Appointed to revise Virginia laws.
Get an .mp3 of the Declaration
Jane Randolph Jefferson
Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom
, passed by General Assembly in 1786.
Unnamed son born and died.
Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge
born. Brickwork of first home (Monticello) completed.
Served as Governor of Virginia.
Daughter Lucy Elizabeth born. Began
Notes on the State of Virginia
British troops at Monticello. Daughter Lucy Elizabeth died.
Second Lucy Elizabeth
born. Wife Martha died. First house substantially completed.
Elected delegate to Congress.
In France as Commissioner and Minister.
Daughter Lucy Elizabeth died.
Notes on the State of Virginia.
Served as first United States Secretary of State.
Began commercial manufacture of nails on Mulberry Row. Manumitted slave
Remodeling and enlarging of Monticello begun. Manumitted slave
Served as United States Vice President.
Served as president of the
American Philosophical Society
Dome constructed on Monticello.
Served as United States President.
Louisiana Purchase concluded.
Lewis and Clark expedition
Daughter Maria Jefferson Eppes died.
Lewis and Clark expedition concluded.
Oval flower beds
near Monticello laid out. Shadwell merchant mill completed.
At Monticello, North Pavilion completed and South Pavilion remodeled.
Winding walk and flower beds
Retired from presidency and public life.
Remodeling of Monticello and construction of dependencies largely completed.
Sold 6,700-volume library to Congress.
Cornerstone of Central College (later
University of Virginia
Monticello roof recovered with tin shingles.
Marquis de Lafayette
University of Virginia opened.
Died at Monticello, July 4.
Is this all information about Jefferson's public life?
October 15, 2014 - 10:39am
Markos, this timeline shows the main highlights of both Jefferson's public and private life.
October 15, 2014 - 4:09pm
Succinct but complete. This timeline is really useful to put Jefferson's life and achievements in context. Thanks for the information.
January 12, 2012 - 11:32am
Although I am not sure why J.R. the “Teacher” feels it necessary to grind his political axe here on these pages, I feel compelled to set the facts straight. Thomas Jefferson by all accounts was a very frugal and fiscally responsible man. He did not go through his life as J.R. states, living beyond his means. His estate at Monticello was self-sustaining, and although at times in his life Jefferson made quite a bit of money, he also spent most of it providing for his family and paying much of his own way while serving his country. He was very generous with his children and grandchildren, and also with his friends and neighbors. When he retired he was $10,000 in debt, and this increased substantially throughout the rest of his life, but it was not due to his living an opulent lifestyle; quite the contrary. He supported his community, churches in the area, and was instrumental in establishing the University of Virginia in his later years. Much of his debt was incurred entertaining those who came to visit him for various reasons after his retirement. His grandson Thomas Jefferson Randolph wrote this, “Twelve years before his death, he remarked to me… that if he lived long enough he would beggar his family – that the number of persons he was compelled to entertain would devour his estate.” Jefferson never turned away anyone who visited his home, even those who were just curious to see Jefferson the man, and this cost him considerable amounts of money to entertain these visitors. He incurred a substantial portion of his final debt in 1820 ($20,000) when a friend for whom he had countersigned a loan defaulted on the loan. In 1823, 3 years before his death his debt was $60,000. He was unable to discharge this debt as he had in the past, by selling some of his holdings because of the depressed prices of land at that time. This weighed heavily on his soul almost until the time of his death. After his death his debts were settled by his grandson Thomas Jefferson Randolph who was executor of his will. His grandson wrote this, “He never failed to comply with a pecuniary engagement; his creditors were all paid”. J.R., I’m not sure why you felt the need to bring your politics into this forum that celebrates one of the greatest men in the history of our nation, but if you insist on doing so you should at least get the facts straight. You may have been taught that what you say is so, but the facts speak differently. I suspect that your education has been quite progressive, and that those who taught you have a great stake in tearing down the character of our founders; I have an equally great stake in the preservation of the truth about these great men. I would advise anyone who is studying the life of Jefferson to read “The Real Thomas Jefferson” published by the National Center for Constitutional Studies. They have performed extensive research, and much of the book is based on the actual writings of Jefferson and those who knew him best.
Cameron Jones, ...
December 16, 2011 - 8:51am
Interesting,You seem to be well informed. Nevertheless Jefferson's views on Government are much more important now I feel. Especially today in wake of the NDAA act of which was just signed into Law. Right now we need Jefferson's writing and thoughts on government more than ever, not trivial discussions about his expenditure.I hope Monticello see's more visitors than ever now. I fear for this country. Jefferson Rolls in his grave.. I thought this to be relevant: "The same act undertaking to authorize the president to remove a person out of the United States who is under the protection of the Law, under his own suspicion,without accusation,without jury,without public trial,without confrontation of the witnesses against him,without having witnesses in his favour,without defense,without counsel,is contrary to these provisions also of the constitution, is therefore not law but utterly void and of no force." ~Thomas Jefferson 1798
December 27, 2011 - 1:12pm
It would be nice to see the timeline show how Jefferson died with a little over $100,000 in debt. He was a fiscally irresponsible person who lived way beyond his means. The conservatives who tout the personal financial responsibility of the founders should rediscover this fact about the greatest and most important of them all.
December 11, 2011 - 12:21pm
J.R., I didn't read what you said prior to the response you've received, but I'm not sure why you think Jefferson's expensive taste is politically significant or relevant. His personal expenses is personal and not political, so we should leave it there. I think it's actually endearing how he loved the finer things in life, especially the cultivated life. You are right that he died with massive debt, but so what. If you are a progressive you should be a defender of Jefferson, the great liberal and founder of the Democratic Party.
December 19, 2011 - 10:53pm
I'm glad you're not my child's teacher.
December 14, 2011 - 10:54pm
This was a wonderful resource for my early elementary school son's year end book report, as well as when we planned our visit to Monticello for Spring Break this year while in DC! It was wonderful to see his private and personal timelines side by side, it really brought his life into perspective! What sorrow this man experienced losing both of his parents, his wife, and all six of his children within his lifetime! I can only imagine how he was able to function so exceptionally within his professional life with such personal struggles occuring!
May 1, 2011 - 4:01pm
i thank that tj wold be a extraordinary guy to hang out with
February 24, 2011 - 3:17pm
Why aren't Sally Hemings and Jefferson's children listed...disappointing. Thay happened to have had numerous children together Thomas Jefferson Hemings(who changed his name to Woodson after Jeffersons cousins in Virginia),Eston Hemings Jefferson,Harriet Hemings, Beverly Hemings, an daughter who died in infancy, and also the first Harriet who died as a toddler. Other than those indescrepencies the Historical accounts were right on point =)
February 6, 2011 - 7:32pm
This succinct timeline gives us a side-by-side view of the goings on in both Jefferson's public life and private life, from his birth in 1743 to his death in 1826. While not overflowing with detail, it is a good, basic timeline of Jefferson's life.
September 22, 2010 - 9:47am
i defenitly A GREE
February 24, 2011 - 3:23pm
This timeline is a wonderful resource to see how events in Jefferson's public life parallel those in his private life. When I first saw this, I was struck how during many significant times in Jefferson's public life that he was also dealing with personal troubles. The man endured a great deal of loss, though such loss wasn't uncommon in his time. It adds to my esteem and respect for Jefferson that he was able to contribute so to the founding and formation of our nation while also trying to be the steward of his family, often from afar in the early years, and care for his ailing wife and children.
June 26, 2010 - 8:50am
An essential overview of Jefferson's life.
September 22, 2010 - 11:48am
A list of significant dates in Jefferson's life.
July 19, 2010 - 11:56am
I refer to this page all the time when I can't quite remember when, say, Jefferson started his term as secretary of state (it happens to everybody, right?). I especially like the fact that you can see the public and private events side by side, which helps to put his whole life in perspective. This page is a great tool in any Jefferson researcher's toolbox!
July 2, 2010 - 4:29pm
Need help with that book report? Can’t remember everything that you learned on your tours? Revisit the info online!
November 10, 2010 - 4:32pm
i thank tj woud be fun to ange out with ........... that is if he wasent born houndres of years ago
Leave this field blank
to participate in our
Get Email Updates
House & Gardens
Plantation & Slavery
Research & Collections
Families & Teachers