Household and personal servant; Postilion; Waiter; Farmer
Israel Gillette Jefferson, the son of Edward and Jane Gillette, worked as a boy in the Monticello house, the kitchen, and the textile shop. From age thirteen, he was also a postilion, riding one of the four horses that pulled Jefferson’s landau carriage. He was sold after Jefferson’s death to Thomas Walker Gilmer, who became Secretary of the Navy. The earnings of his second wife, a free seamstress, Elizabeth Farrow Randolph, helped him purchase his freedom from Gilmer.
At the suggestion of the clerk who wrote out his free papers in 1844, he adopted the surname Jefferson. He and his wife then moved to Ohio, where he first worked as a waiter on an Ohio River steamboat and then bought a farm in Pike County. The Jeffersons were active members of Eden Baptist Church, where Israel Jefferson was deacon and treasurer.
In 1873 Israel Jefferson’s recollections of his life at Monticello and in Ohio were published in a Pike County newspaper.