jefferson's blood
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Jump to question 10
Answer: $150 - $500

Joe Fossett, Jefferson's blacksmith, was given his freedom in Jefferson's will. However, his wife Edith and their seven children were sold during the estate sale of Jefferson's property.

Here are the appraised prices and the final sale prices for Edith and some of the children (approximate ages for everyone as of January 1827.)

Appraised Values in 1826:

Edith, 40 and her 3-year-old Daniel $200
Patsy, 17 $300
Betsy-Ann,15 $275
Peter,11 $200
Isabella, 8 $150
William, 6 $125

Sale Prices in January 1827:

Edith, Daniel, and William $505 (to Jesse Scott)
Patsy $395 (to Charles Bonnycastle)
Betsy-Ann $450 (to John Winn)

Jefferson died in 1826. His estate was heavily in debt and creditors immediately descended on Monticello. On January 15, 1827, the estate was sold at auction. Among the items for sale were "130 valuable Negroes." Monticello blacksmith Joseph Fossett was not among them. (Fossett was the son of Mary Hemings, and the grandson of Betty Hemings.) He had been granted his freedom, but his wife Edith and their seven children were sold off by afternoon. His wife, two young sons, and two teenaged daughters were sold to three different bidders for a total of $1,350. Over the following years, Joseph Fossett managed to buy back his wife, five of their children (two born subsequent to the sale), and four grandchildren. He freed them all on Sept 15, 1837.

Peter Fossett was one son his father was not able to purchase and free before the family left for Ohio in 1840. He remained a slave for twenty-years after Jefferson's death, making at least two attempts to run away. Later, in 1898, Peter Fossett, aged 83, gave an account of his life to the New York Sunday World. "Born and reared as free, not knowing I was a slave, then suddenly, at the death of Jefferson, put upon an auction block and sold to strangers. I then commenced an eventful life ... Col Jones, when he bought me, promised my father to let him have me when he could raise the money, but in 1833 he refused to let him have me on any conditions. Mrs. Jones declared that she would sooner part with one of her own children. They had become attached to me and I was a very valuable servant, notwithstanding that all the time I was teaching all the people around me to read and write, and even venturing to write free passes and sending slaves away from their masters. Of course, they did not know this, or they would not have thought me so valuable."

10. Was Thomas Jefferson an advocate of slavery?

·  Yes
·  No
·  Yes and No

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