JEFFERSON, Thomas. Autograph document signed ("Th: Jefferson"), TRANSFERRING OWNERSHIP OF HIS BIRTHPLACE, SHADWELL, certified on verso by district judge John Alex Garrett, witnessed by E. Bacon, Hugh Chisholm and P. Carr, Monticello, 26 March 1813. 1 page, 4to (9¾ x 7 7/8 in.), top edge scalloped, verso with the customary docketings.
JEFFERSON SELLS SHADWELL, HIS FRONTIER BIRTHPLACE, TO HIS GRANDSON. Thomas Jefferson "had been born in a simple wooden house in what is now Albemarle County, Virginia...called Shadwell." It had been named by his father, Peter Jefferson, a surveyor and mapmaker, "for the London parish where his wife Jane Randolph had been christened..." (Malone, Jefferson the Virginian, p.3). The future President resided here until a fire on 1 February 1770 destroyed the house, forcing his removal to Monticello. He inherited the Shadwell property in 1776, on the death of his mother.
The lengthy indenture is entirely in Jefferson's hand, and incorporates several signatures. It records that "Thomas Jefferson of Monticello in consideration of the affection he bears to his said grandson Thomas Jefferson Randolph, & of the sum of one Dollar to him in hand paid, hath given, granted bargained & sold unto the said Thomas Jefferson Randolph all that part of his tract of land called Shadwell" (with the exception of a "great mill" and annexed rights-of-way). The tract, Jefferson certifies, contains "about" 375 acres. Interestingly, Randolph, only 21 years of age at the time, is granted the property "until a better provision shall be made for him out of the other estate of the said Thomas Jefferson, on which event the estate hereby conveyed is to...revert...to the said Thomas Jefferson & his heirs." Jefferson incorporates a detailed description of the precise bounds of the property, probably from existing survey descriptions.
Thomas Jefferson Randolph, born at Monticello in September 1792, was educated at the University of Pennsylvania, and around the time of this deed began to be entrusted by Jefferson with the management of many of his financial affairs. After Jefferson's death, Randolph, as chief executor of his grandfather's estate, oversaw the sale of the Monticello plantation and its contets, including Jefferson's remaining library. And finally, when the proceeds of these liquidations did not yield cash enough to satisfy Jefferson's creditors, Randolph paid the balance-roughly $40,000-from his own pocket.