After retiring from a career in banking, Bill Webb began to investigate his family history. His interest had been sparked by a family Bible record of his ancestor Brown Colbert that he saw as a child in Parkersburg, West Virginia. The research of Bill and his wife, Eva Kobus-Webb, revealed the connection to Monticello and brought to light other Colbert descendants like the Civil War soldier George Edmondson and suffragist Coralie Franklin Cook.
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Fountain Hughes spent his boyhood in slavery on the Hydraulic Mills property of the Burnley family near Charlottesville. After the Civil War, in which his father was killed while with the Confederate Army, his mother, Mary Hughes, had to hire Fountain out for a dollar a month. In the 1880s he purchased horses and a carriage and worked as a hack driver, but soon sought greater opportunities in Baltimore, MD. There he worked for several decades for the Shirley family as a farmer and gardener.
In 1996, four generations of the Hughes family of Fauquier County came to Monticello soon after learning of their descent from Rev. Robert Hughes of Union Run Baptist Church and head gardener Wormley Hughes of Monticello. The connection might have been broken because their ancestor, also Wormley Hughes (1851-1901), left Albemarle County with the Union army in the confusion at the end of the Civil War.
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.
Virginia Rose was the daughter of Elizabeth Letitia (Bessie) Trotter and Henry Kempton Craft, a Harvard graduate, electrical engineer, teacher, and YMCA executive. He was the grandson of William and Ellen Craft, famous for their daring escape from slavery in 1848. Bessie Trotter, who attended the New England Conservatory of Music, was the sister of the prominent civil rights leader William Monroe Trotter.