The Coleman-Henderson Family

"My grandmother talked to me about the beauty of Monticello and the ugliness of slavery." -- Betty Ann Fitch, 1996

Monticello gatehouse and gatekeeper, believed to be Eliza Coleman, 1912

For one extended family, Monticello was home for almost two centuries, much longer than for anyone who held title to the property. Some members of this family were midwives for the local community and ox team drivers, cooks, and household employees of the Levy family, Monticello's owners from 1879 to 1923.

Beginning in the 1860s and continuing for a hundred years, generations of this family greeted visitors at the Monticello gate or worked in the house as guides after the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation assumed ownership in 1923.  Their descendants have vivid childhood recollections of summers spent in the gatehouse and on the mountain.

Eliza Coleman's grandson Joseph Harris and his wife Rosa Smith HarrisMary Elizabeth  Henderson Fitch  (1881-1950)

Willis Henderson (1885-1966), born at Monticello, greeted its visitors for many decades in the twentieth century.

Barbara Barnaby Graves, Getting Word participant

 

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