Jefferson's Tombstone

From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia

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Thomas Jefferson's original tombstone is no longer on his grave at Monticello.

The original tombstone was erected in the Jefferson family graveyard at Monticello in 1833. Beginning immediately after Jefferson's death, it suffered continual damage at the hands of visitors as they chipped off pieces for souvenirs. According to Ellen Wayles Harrison, Uriah Phillips Levy, who purchased Monticello in 1836, moved the tombstone up to the house to protect it from further damage, and it was later taken by Thomas Jefferson Randolph to Edgehill for further safekeeping.[1]

A joint resolution of Congress in 1882 provided funding for a new tombstone, which was eventually completed and erected at Monticello the next year. The decision was made by Jefferson's descendants to donate the original tombstone to the University of Missouri; it was unveiled at the university on July 4, 1885, and it now resides on the Francis Quadrangle.


  1. Robert H. Kean, "History of the Graveyard at Monticello," in Shackelford, Descendants, 3-26.

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