The Niles’ Weekly Register, Vol. XXX, Whole No. 765 reported on page 1,that Mr. Jefferson (yes, that’s Thomas Jefferson, the President, drafter of The Declaration of Independence, etc., etc.) was in desperate circumstances:
We have not approved of any of the propositions to raise money for the relief of the author of the Declaration of Independence, except in the way in which he himself has expressed a willingness to be relieved – supposing that we acted in perfect accordance with his secret wishes, if any he has, on the subject: but we observe that in New York, and elsewhere, it is proposed to purchase tickets in the lottery for the disposal of his property, and burn them on the 4th of July! This cannot, we should suppose, be other than pleasing to our venerable friend – and certainly, is the happiest scheme yet thought of, to afford the relief needed and pay a beautiful compliment to one who, on that day, fifty years before, was at his post, “and pledged his life, his fortune and his sacred honor” in support of the declaration, that “these states were, and of right ought to be, free, sovereign and independent.”
Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826.
In Harper’s Ferry, historic preservation is almost a way of life. It is hard to believe that a former President of the United States would be considered almost destitute. But indeed, he was.
Thomas Jefferson Randolph, as executor of his estate and representing the family, initially asked $70,000 for Monticello. In 1831, Monticello was sold to James Turner Barclay for $4,500.
How long is history? What do you think is worth preserving?
By the way, there’s a rock here in Harper’s Ferry, named after this guy. Maybe you’ve seen it? If not, it has been preserved just for you!