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"It is for the happiness of those united in society to harmonize as much as possible
in matters which they must of necessity transact together."
--Thomas Jefferson,
Notes on the State of Virginia

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davidlowings's picture
Hello, I have been reading about family members invovled in Aaron Burr's Spanish Conspiracy to create his own country in the letters of Kentucky attorney general Joseph Hamilton Daviess to Thomas Jefferson in 1806. Daviess was both prosecutor and spy for Jefferson. One letter states Owings murderers were taken to Ft. Washington - I would like to know more about this - who were they? Also Cassandra C.D. Owings Van Pradelles was wife of Benedict Van Pradelles who in 1808 Jefferson named Registrar of New Orleans. Benedict died of Yellow Fever in 1808. In 1809 Cassandra opened a boarding house. In April of 1809 top conspirator generals Wilkinson and Sam Hopkins were staying at the boading house posting cryptic newspaper messages. Cassandra disappeared between August and December 1813 from New Orleans. I now am wondering if she also was not murdered. She had sent her children back to Baltimore, she's not listed on any passenger ship and her shipping trunks were not packed. Any insight to this would be greatly appreciated. David
davidlowings's picture
Hello, I just joined this site today but do not know how to add something to the blog.
miker's picture
Your tour was as embarrassing and galling as the NFL taking a knee on our National Anthem. Shame on both of you. I visited a few weeks ago and was disappointed and appalled by the liberal bashing in a low keyed joking way and all with a happy. peppy. friendly smile. Thomas Jefferson's Home and his Name is sacrate to Americans. From the orientation film that of course ends with Barrack Hussein Obama and ignoring our current President Trump to every stop of the tour and even at the staging areas this great American was slowly degraded of course in a low keyed but still degrading way. There were no opportunities missed to bring him down. Examples, Our 3rd President on the "down low" impregnated a slave in bondage with promises that he did not keep which questioned his honor and would be considered as rape today. In the bed room it was said, (discussing) Guess who had to take the night waste of Pres. Jefferson and disposes? "You got it the People in bondage!! now you think hard about it". Even the stair case was made mention that it is narrow and who cares!! Pres. Jefferson did not use them, only the slaves had to struggle with them (laughter). A shot was taken at Pres. Jefferson saying he made his daughter sleep in a wall bed until age 45 against against her will. The tour was all about 1. Slavery and 2. degrading Pres. Jefferson and in turn, disrespecting all Americans who respect our heritage, It was about bringing down this great man that this foundation has little to no respect for. At the end of the tour we learned very little about the American we paid for, but plenty on how he was a Slave owning monster with no honor freeing only 5 slaves of hundreds that Martha and He owned, and then only after he died, and at least 6 comments of being a male chauvinist (pig my input your insinuation) of course in a humorous light. If I had wanted a Slavery tour or Feminism tour I would not think to come here. This foundation has no respect for our proud past and has no right to desecrate it. I realize there are many haters of traditional America and want to bring our culture and history down and there is no better place than Monticello or Mt Vernon to go for the heart. I cannot come to any other conclusion other than your foundation is one of them. Remember, this is Thomas Jefferson's Home and you are a guest!!!, It is not your political platform to prosecute Americans. Would you do the same at Susan B Anthony's shrine or Martin L King's? Or even at Bill Clinton's Library. I also observed that there is no diversity of the staff. After all I had to listen to about Pres. Jefferson. After a large portion of the tour was focused on preaching white guilt I noticed of the 40 or so staff that day, ALL were white women besides one token white man at the ticket counter and one white man at security and not one African American anywhere. This is troubling and alarming that a tax free Foundation can be so discriminatory. We were lead to believe that the tour was going to be about our founding father's home and our proud past. Instead we were forced to listen to an obvious biased staff run on and on about Slavery and Slave owning Chauvinist men, as if the women had nothing to do with it. Maybe you can add 20 minute's to your tour dwelling on how the Women's suffrage movement can be told without telling how many of these same women were slave holders. It's a story that must be told! It should be told someplace else other then at Martha and Thomas Jefferson's home. Suggestion Keep Pres. Jefferson's Home tour exclusively about our founding father in a positive light. If a white guilt tour is (in your mind) a part that must be told then make it optional not mandatory and lets tell the truth, include White Women in the condemnation. There are plenty other American bashing venue's around to satisfy the hate. You do not need to pile on and go straight at the heart of America to do it. again Shame Shame on you I am unsatisfied with your tour and would like my entrance fee refunded based on, your tour was misrepresented. The tour was sold as being a tour on our Founding Father, 3rd President and his life accomplishments and his and Martha's beautiful home. What I received was Martha and Pres. Jefferson's life and Home being a backdrop and stage for a liberal hate narrative and bashing. Of course delivered in a humorous low keyed light. It was not funny, It was Galling and an embarrassment to America and Americans.
Mike R
Susan E. Goodman's picture
I am doing some research and writing about Jefferson's profound interest in paleontology, particularly the mastodon. I am trying to find out whether he was ever known to participate in any digs himself or anything like that. I haven't seen anything written about him actually doing such a thing, but would love to know if he did. Thanks, Susan E. Goodman
Susan E. Goodman
jacquelinehunsicker's picture
Hi there! Question: Like the rest of the world, I'm obsessed with "Hamilton: An American Musical," despite it's (artistically interesting) editorial slant away from Jefferson and Madison. Looking on the website at the page describing Jefferson's decision to put a bust of Hamilton across from his own, I was wondering if anyone knows the letters where Jefferson describes his decision to put Hamilton there. There are books that mention it without citations... Thanks! Jacqueline
Jacqueline Hunsicker
aberkes's picture
Hi Jacqueline, I think this page contains as much information as we have: This comes from a grandchild, but I don't think there is any further explanation from Jefferson himself. If there was, no doubt our curatorial staff would have discovered it long since.
Anna Berkes
Fred Fichman's picture
Hello to the community! I just joined and wanted to say hello. I hope to become a regular participant with information, comments and contributions to the discussion. To learn a bit more about me you can go to my website(s). Happy to meet all of you here online. Fred, and
Frederick Fichman
g_no03's picture
Hello sir, I am also excited to be apart of the monticello community. I do a lot of research on T.J. it is my upmost favorite hobby. I am always available for questions or discussions if you have any. Feel free to contact me.
Gino Cukale
MaximilianGSG's picture
Hallo Im new here. Im currently carrying out research on how Thomas Jefferson was influenced by his mother, father etc. Dös anyone know where I can find suitable information on this Tonic or dös anyone know something? Would be really nice if you could help me out
Julie Stafford's picture
Thank you, Chad!
Julie S.
Julie Stafford's picture
I love the yellow in the dining room. Is there anywhere I can find that shade of yellow for a room in my own home?
Julie S.
cwollerton's picture
Julie, There is a Monticello Yellow in the Ralph Lauren paint collection. We worked with them to develop it, and it is as close as you can get in a commercial paint. Here's some background on it:
Claudia's picture
The History of the Hemings family is a fascinating piece of American history. I had found it surprising that no one had noted that Jefferson was not just a Great Mind, a Founding Father, a Slave owner, but also a pedophile. He not only owned Sally, he was 3 times her age when the affair started! The age difference alone was enough to have had control over her without slavery! I say this, but I see that this same information is used by Mike R above to insist that the relationship could not have existed. I say no such thing. I do have a question about the children of the other slaves. Does no one else consider the possibility that some number of them are also children of Jefferson? There was something like 6 years between the death of his wife and the start of the relationship with Hemings. Is there some reason to believe that he was faithful to Hemings as she grew older? What we know now about Jefferson / Hemings is just the first step to knowing about all of the offspring of our slave owning founding fathers. Fascinating facts wait to be discovered. Thank you.
powersherm's picture
Does anyone use citing? If you cannot name your sources, you are only presenting blather. Please, as I disagree with your statement, if you would only provide some reference. Otherwise, you present only your opinion. If you did not personally know Jefferson, you are potentially libeling him and that is a violation of this website discussion. Can you please provide some citing so I can give you an intelligent and researched response. I would love that!
cbogart's picture
Thank you, Chad for the answer to my question about the writing machine! I must say that to get to this site, to this comment/question board, has got to be the hardest path I have ever found in any educational process! Please note there is not a 'box to check' where it asks the visitor to 'check this box to receive comment updates to email'. The pulldown is there, yes, but not a 'box' to check. Maybe that is why I am not receiving notifications! Is there a way to make this a bit more user-friendly? I work with these sites every day, and truly, the Monticello site is daunting to the point of frustration at times! Thanks for letting me know if it is better suited to a specific browser, perhaps? (We are using FF at school).
carol b
cbogart's picture
A few years ago on this site I used a wonderful interactive page with my students and I can't find it now. Is there still a page where they can interactively operate the polygraph? Thank you so much for your help!
carol b
cwollerton's picture
Carol, Here's the page for the Polygraph: And here's the Monticello Explorer, which I think your class would enjoy:
Jsalameh's picture
Our class is studying the Louisiana purchase. Would anyone be able to Skype with my class as an expert to answer any questions they might have. I am a teacher in Louisville, Ky with 31 fifth grade students that get tired of my voice. This would be an informal session with 5th graders. Please email me at: Thanks
Mr. Jad
Robert H. Woodman's picture
Could someone please verify the following quote ascribed to Jefferson (with citation to the original document in which it is found)? <i>On every question of construction, let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed. – Thomas Jefferson</i> The quote sounds somewhat like Jefferson, but the only sites I have found using it are political/social conservative sites, with no reference to the original document. That makes me suspicious of its veracity. Furthermore, there is no context for the quote, which makes me wonder what occasioned the comment by Jefferson.
Robert H. Woodman
aberkes's picture
It is a real Jefferson quote, except for one minor textual difference (he didn't say "let us"). It's from a letter to William Johnson, 12 June 1823. Here's the letter as printed in the Ford edition: (the letter is actually being printed in the footnotes, not in the main text - it starts on page 226).
Anna Berkes
FactsBeforeFaith's picture
I'm reading Jefferson's, "Notes on the State of Virginia." Does anyone know what the abbreviations "1 El., c. 1" mean from the following quote? "...till the statute of the 1 El., c. 1, circumscribed it..." It's found on the second page of the Religion / Query XVII section. Thanks
aberkes's picture
The Peden edition of Jefferson's _Notes_ clarifies this - it refers to a statute in Chapter 1 of the first year of the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1559).
Anna Berkes
Mike Rembrandt's picture
I have read all of the information published about the DNA connection of the Jefferson family to the Hemings family. The evidence shows that there is a POSSIBILITY that Thomas Jefferson fathered some of Sally's children. There are other members of the Jefferson family, including Jefferson's younger brother Randolph, who also could have been the father. Dr. Eugene Foster, who conducted the DNA testing, was very clear about the limitations of his testing. Those who accept this flimsy evidence as fact are, in effect, accusing Thomas Jefferson of rape, since Sally was a slave and Jefferson had control of her life. Such limited evidence would never stand up in a court of law. A tour guide at Monticello told me (and others in the group) last week that Jefferson fathered five of Sally's children. Without conclusive evidence, that is simply a lie.
Mike R
Anne T Pettus's picture
WE NEED YOUR HELP! A JEFFERSON BUILDING IS AT RISK! The Jefferson-designed courthouse in Charlotte Court House, Virginia is considered the most-well preserved and perhaps best example of Jefferson's Virginia courthouses. The village of Charlotte Court House is intact as a historic small town. The courthouse square, with its open grove of oaks, is surrounded by 19th c. buildings: a jail, Treasurer's office, clerk's office and handsome tavern. Across the street are three temple-fronted early 19th c. buildings which function as lawyers' offices. One is owned by the APVA. The courthouse is being upgraded for security purposes. The entire square and integrity of the existing building is at risk of being destroyed by a thoughtless design process which has received no scholarly or professional critique. Please contact me if you are concerned.
Anne T Pettus
nmstaub's picture
How well documented is the relationship between Jefferson's father-in-law and Betty Hemmings? I am always surprised at how much of a given it seems when writers reference the relationship. But I've never read an article or source that first proves the relationship. Could you offer a suggest for a source that addresses the relationship? Or perhaps offer why historians/writers reference it as an indisputable fact?
NM Staub
aberkes's picture
There are a couple of sources for this - see our article on John Wayles (footnote 3):
Anna Berkes
whitey12's picture
The Ying and the Yang of Thomas Jefferson Why does Thomas Jefferson fascinate us so? It is amazing that such conflicting components, such seemingly contradictory thoughts, theories and actions are all contained under one roof or should I say in one head. Here is my short list of the Ying and Yang the double sided coin that is Thomas Jefferson. Spoke out against slavery --- Owned slaves his entire adult life Man of the people --- A man of wealth and expensive taste Interpret Constitution narrowly when it came to the Bank---Interpret it widely when it came to moving the Capital to the Potomac Limit executive power---Purchase Louisiana through an executive prerogative Great organizational and administrative skills---Also known as a “disorganizer” Support military action against Barbary pirates---Reduce the size and scope of the navy Honored and supported George Washington---Dishonored and undermined George Washington Friend of John Adams---Enemy of John Adams Against party or faction---The center of the coalescing Republican Party Did not envision a multi-cultural society---Created a mixed race family All men are created equal---well not all The ridiculous to the sublime---Theory about “generations”---the writing of the Declaration on Independence There you have it just some of the incongruous facts about TJ. Craig Werner
Craig Werner


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