Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Independence Day trivia

It is well known that former revolutionaries, later political adversaries who repaired their former friendship late in life, American presidents, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died within hours of each other on July 4, 1826.  Adams, 8 years older than Jefferson was buried along with his wife Abigail, son John Quincy Adams and JQ's wife in the crypt of United First Parish Church in Quincy Massachusetts.

Jefferson, died at his home Monticello near Charlottesville, Virginia and was buried next day in the Monticello graveyard.  Jefferson, for all his accomplishments is known for the simplicity of the design and  message on his tombstone which was erected by his family in 1833: "Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of American Independence of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom and father of the University of Virginia"

Visitors to Jefferson's grave regularly chipped off pieces of the headstone for souvenirs, so much so that the stone was moved for its own protection, twice, once closer to the house by the new owners after Jefferson's descendants sold Monticello, and again later the family reclaimed it and moved to the family estate Edgehill.
In 1882, a joint resolution of Congress authorized funding for a new monument, the one seen today, and ordered to be placed upon Jefferson's Monticello gravesite.

What is less well known and may perhaps be scandalous to Virginian's, is that Jefferson's original tombstone has lived since July 4, 1885 on the campus of the University of Missouri.  The headstone was a gift from the Jefferson family in commemoration of the first state university in the former Louisiana Purchase territory

The stone, in terrible condition, is scheduled to be restored by the Smithsonian later this year.



Martha said...

I did not know that and that is really interesting . . . of course, Missouri has always embraced Jefferson -- for years and years, State Employees were given Jefferson's Birthday off as a State Holiday -- and what other state (other than perhaps Virginia) would do that?

Janet said...

Horrors! Jefferson's original stone should be returned to Virginia, even though it was the gift of misguided relations.

Anonymous said...

Happy Independence Day, Sir.


Toad said...

Many thanks, to you and all as well

Christine said...

I LOVE THIS! If you’re interested in more Independence Day trivia, I have a quiz on my blog. Stop by and let me know how you did. xoxo, WearToStandOut