Francis Wayles Eppes, Jefferson’s grandson

Reading Level: Middle School

Francis was born in 1801, the only surviving child of Thomas Jefferson’s daughter, Mary Jefferson Eppes and her husband, John Wayles Eppes. When Mary died, Francis was only three years old. He spent much of his early life at Monticello, where his grandfather encouraged his love of learning. Francis attended Georgetown College (Georgetown University) and South Carolina College(University of South Carolina).

In 1822, Francis married Mary Cleland Randolph. Thomas Jefferson gave Francis and Mary one of his plantations, Poplar Forest. In 1828, Francis sold Poplar Forest, and traveled with his family and slaves in a wagon train to Florida. There he became a planter and served as mayor of Tallahassee. For eight years he was also president of West Florida Seminary (Florida State University). He died in 1881.