The Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson
The tradition in my father's family was, that their ancestor came to
this country from Wales, and from near the mountain of Snowdon, the
highest in Great Britain.
The first particular information I
have of any ancestor was of my grandfather, who lived at the place in
Chesterfield called Ozborne's, and owned the lands afterwards the
glebe of the parish. He had three sons; Thomas who, died young, Field
who settled on the waters of Roanoke and left numerous descendants,
and Peter, my father, who settled on the lands I still own, called
Shadwell, adjoining my present residence. He was born February 29,
1707-8, and intermarried 1739, with Jane Randolph, of the age of 19,
daughter of Isham Randolph, one of the seven sons of that name and
family, settled at Dungeoness in Goochland. They trace their pedigree
far back in England and Scotland, to which let every one asribe the
faith and merit he chooses.
My father's education had been quite neglected; but being of a strong
mind, sound judgment, and eager after information, he read much and
improved himself, insomuch that he was chosen, with Joshua Fry,
Professor of Mathematics in William and Mary college, to continue the
boundary line between Virginia and North Carolina, which had been
begun by Colonel Byrd; and was afterwards employed with the same Mr.
Fry, to make the first map of Virginia which had ever been made, that
of Captain Smith being merely a conjectural sketch. They possessed
excellent materials for so much of the country as is below the Blue
Ridge; little being then known beyond that ridge. He was the third or
fourth settler, about the year 1737, of the part of the country in
which I live. He died, August 17th, 1757, leaving my mother a widow,
who lived till 1776, with six daughters and two sons, myself the
elder. To my younger brother he left his estate on James River, called
Snowdon, after the supposed birth-place of the family: to myself, the
lands on which I was born and live.
from Notes for an Autobiography, 6 January 1821