Topic: People Profiles


Cornelia Jefferson Randolph, Jefferson’s granddaughter

Cornelia was born at Monticello in 1799. Her mother was Martha Jefferson Randolph. Her father was Thomas Mann Randolph. Her grandfather was Thomas Jefferson. Cornelia loved to spend time at Monticello with her grandfather. She learned about drawing and art. She liked to sketch plans for buildings. Cornelia never married. As an adult she lived…


Edith Hern Fossett, an enslaved cook

Edith Hern was born in 1787. Her father was David Hern, a carpenter. Her mother was Isabel, a housemaid and farm worker. Both were slaves. Edith married Joseph Fossett, and they had ten children.When Thomas Jefferson was president, he picked Edith to train to be a cook in the White House. For almost seven years,…

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Edmund Bacon

Edmund Bacon was an overseer at Monticello from 1806 to 1822. ...
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Ellen Randolph Coolidge

Portrait of Jefferson's granddaughter, Ellen Randolph Coolidge

Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge, Jefferson’s granddaughter

            Ellen was one of Thomas Jefferson’s favorite grandchildren. She called him "her earliest best friend." She often rode with him on his lands.             Ellen was taught at home by her mother, Martha Jefferson. Like her grandfather, she studied hard. But like most girls of that time, she didn’t go to college.            When Ellen…


Exploring Monticello: A Guide for Young People

An illustrated brochure developed for younger visitors to Monticello.  Includes fun and interesting facts about Jefferson and his plantation, and introduces members of Jefferson's family and the enslaved community through their daily activities and work.

Lesson Plan

Forging Independence within the Confines of Plantation Life

Over the course of his lifetime, Thomas Jefferson owned over six hundred enslaved African Americans. While he only freed a small handful –either during his life, or upon...

Frances (Fanny) Gillette Hern, an enslaved cook

Frances (Fanny) Hern was the daughter of Edward and Jane Gillette. She had twelve brothers and sisters. The family worked as field slaves at Monticello. Fanny married David (Davy) Hern. He was an enslaved blacksmith and wagon driver. In 1806, Thomas Jefferson picked Fanny to come to the White House. At the time, he was…

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Francis Wayles Eppes

Miniature portrait of Francis Wayles Eppes

Francis Wayles Eppes, Jefferson’s grandson

Francis was born in 1801. His mother was Thomas Jefferson’s daughter, Mary Jefferson Eppes. His father was John Wayles Eppes. When Francis was three years old, his mother died. Francis spent much of his life at Monticello. His grandfather encouraged his love of learning. Francis attended Georgetown College (Georgetown University) and South Carolina College (University…