JEFFERSON'S MOTHER AND SISTERS
> In Mr. Jefferson's autobiography, he scarcely mentions his > mother and other siblings. What were his mother's and sister's names and > did he not have a cordial relationship with them? He speaks very fondly > of his father and his father's influences upon him. The silence about > his mother and siblings seems odd to me. It is true, as you say, that Jefferson seemed to ignore his mother and his sisters. One sister married Dabney Carr, and it was their two sons, Peter and Samuel, who lived at Monticello after the death of their father. Jefferson's mother's name was Jane Randolph, and his sisters who survived beyond infancy were Jane, Mary, Elizabeth, Martha, Lucy, and Anna Scott (twin to Randolph). Many have speculated on why so little is heard of the females in the family. As far as I know, there is no reason for thinking that there was anything amiss in TJ's relationship to them.
> You are, indeed, a scholar and a gentleman. Thank you for your prompt > reply to my original inquiry regarding Mr. Jefferson and his siblings. > When one considers the life that Mr. Jefferson lived, and his > self-confessed lack of enthusiasm for writing his autobiography, he may > have simply thought the discussion of family irrelevant and needless > blather, which would only detract from the task at hand. I think you are right in your surmise. Jefferson was a VERY private man when it came to personal matters. After his wife died, he burned all their letters, presumably because he did not want such personal matters made a subject of public scrutiny. Similarly, we might suppose that his father's contributions to his education, etc., would be considered a matter suitable for the public so that TJ's growth and development as a public servant could be understood. But that probably would not apply to his personal relationship with his mother. In fact, because of his extreme attention to privacy on such personal matters, it is easy for me to conceive that he had a very close relationship to his mother, but likely deliberately left behind no evidence of it.
Table of Contents