Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743 in Albermarle County, Virginia. He was born in a simple four-room house in Shadwell, Virginia, what is now Monticello. His father, Peter Jefferson, was a planter who was a bright, brave, and strong man. His mother was a very gentle lady. She was boring under one of the most distinguished families in the area. His family had prospered since the first Jefferson arrived in America from Whales in 1612. Soon after Jefferson’s birth, the French and British began fighting their third war in a half of century over North America’s territory.
Jefferson went to an English school at the age of five where he remained for four years. He was then transferred to a Latin school for five years. His father died in 1758 and Thomas was put under the control of Rev. Maury to prepare for college. When he was 17, Thomas enrolled in the college of William and Mart in Williamsburg, VA. He found the college disappointing but extremely liked the town considering it was the biggest community Jefferson had ever seen. He thrived for knowledge and was able to graduate with the highest honors in the college. After college, he studied law under the instruction of George Wythe and was inducted into the practice of law. He did not reamain in this profession for long and in 1764 was elected a representative to the Legislatures of Justices. During this time he became more and more involved in the public life.
Also in 1764, he inherited 2,750 acres of his father’s estate. He returned to Shadwell and began building Monticello at the top of an 867 foot mountain. Monticello now overlooks the University of Virginia. It remains a historical landmark and is open for public touring.
In 1769 Thomas Jefferson took his seat in the House of Burgesses, where he served in Albermarle County until 1776. In 1770 Jefferson’s Shadwell estate caught on fire and many of his families belongings, books, and papers were destroyed. This caused Jefferson to take up residence in Monticello. Thomas married Martha Wayles Skelton, a 23-year-old widow, in 1772. They had six children. Jefferson’s mother, Jane Randolph Jefferson, died in 1776.
Thomas Jefferson played a key part in the beginning of America’s Independence from Great Britain. He took part in the signing of The Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. This was one of the busiest years of his life. Thomas Jefferson and one of his closest friends, James Madison, developed a strong political partnership. They exchanged more than 1,200 letters.
After serving under the Virginia House of Delegates, Jefferson was elected Governor of Virginia for a one-year term on July 1, 1779. He was later reelected. In September of 1782, Jefferson’s wife Martha died of an illness which saddened him for many months. A year later he was elected to the Congress of Virginia. As...