Jefferson/Monticello info on today's history tidbits

Shenandoah Valley, VA

I think what is written there, that Jefferson willed Monticello to the United States to be used for education, is wrong. I know he died in pretty bad financial straits and the house certainly isn't owned by the US government. Jefferson may have willed something to be used as a school - he founded and designed UVA and was its first rector there, but it isn't Monticello. His personal library was sold, not willed, to the US and was the start of the Library of Congress. This is from wikipedia:

Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, and Monticello was inherited by his eldest daughter Martha Jefferson Randolph. Financial difficulties led to Martha selling Monticello to James T. Barclay, a local apothecary, in 1831. Barclay sold it in 1834 to Uriah P. Levy, the first Jewish American to serve an entire career as a commissioned officer in the United States Navy. Levy greatly admired Jefferson. During the American Civil War, the house was seized by the Confederate government and sold, though Uriah Levy's estate recovered it after the war.

Lawsuits filed by Levy's heirs were settled in 1879, when Uriah Levy's nephew, Jefferson Monroe Levy, a prominent New York lawyer, real estate and stock speculator and member of Congress, bought out the other heirs and took control of the property. Jefferson Levy, like his uncle, repaired, restored and preserved Monticello, which was deteriorating seriously while the lawsuits wended their way through the courts in New York and Virginia.

Monticello and its reflectionA private non-profit organization, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, purchased the house from Jefferson Levy in 1923 and it was restored by architects including Fiske Kimball and Milton L. Grigg. Monticello is now operated as a museum and educational institution. Visitors can view rooms in the cellar, ground floor, and third floor, but the second floor is not open to the general public due to fire code restrictions.

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

You are correct--I'm not sure where our information came from (Melody and I both worked on these, and it could have been either of us who researched it), but I noticed Wikipedia has a similar "abridged" (and erroneous) version of how the estate was handled after his death. That could have been the source, or it have been gleaned from somewhere else.

At any rate, I've updated our entry to be a more accurate summary of the information on the Monticello foundation website. Thanks!

Shenandoah Valley, VA

You're welcome. I hope you have a chance to see the gardens at Monticello some day. They're wonderful. The house is no slouch either. :>)

Laceys Spring, AL(Zone 7a)

Thanks hart for the correct summary information of Monticello's history. I didn't know any of it, but have visited a couple of times. It is a beautiful home and gardens. I'd love to go back since I understand a lot of the kitchen gardens have been restored. I think they were actually excavating and re-working it during one of my visits there. That was probably 12-15 years ago. My memory isn't perfect on that detail. As an engineer, I enjoyed seeing what Jefferson accomplished in his time.

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