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Thomas Jefferson was born April 13 1743 at Shadwell in what is now Albemarle County Virginia His mother Jane Randolph Jefferson came from one of the first families of Virginia and his father Colonel Peter Jefferson was a large landowner as well as a noted explorer Jefferson was well educated privately in his early years He studied Latin and Greek before going to the College of William and Mary at the age of 17 in 1760 He learned French early and afterwards acquired knowledge of Italian and Spanish He then completed college in 1762 and studied law under George Wythe for five years At the age of 24 he was admitted to the bar and was successful as a lawyer until the American Revolution closed the courts Even though his profession came to an end he was chiefly supported by the income from the farms inherited from his father His lands were doubled by the inheritance of his wife Martha Wayles Skelton whom he married January 1 1772Jefferson built a house which he called Monticello meaning Little Mountain He started to build this house in 1770 on the land he inherited from his father The mansion which he designed took years to complete but part of it was ready for occupancy when he married Martha The couple had six children two of whom survived into adulthood Martha Washington Jefferson 1772-1836 Jane Randolph Jefferson 1774-75 an infant son 1777 Mary Jefferson 1778-1804 Lucy Elizabeth Jefferson 1780-81 Lucy Elizabeth Jefferson 1784Jeffersons credentials prior to becoming president prepared him well Jefferson served as a delegate to the Virginia House of Burgesses he was on the Second Continental Congress from 1775 to 1776 where he drafted and signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776and became delegate to the Virginia general Assembly in 1776 He also held such positions as Governor of Virginia in 1779 as well as an American minister to France from 1784 to 1789 served as Secretary
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