Jefferson, Thomas (1743-1826)

Statesman, diplomat, scientist.

Member of committee (with Franklin, John Adams, Robert R. Livingston, and Roger Sherman) to draft the Declaration of Independence, of which he was the chief composer.

Initially chosen to be commissioner in France (with Franklin and Silas Deane), but declined the post. Member of Virginia House of Delegates (1776-79) and governor (1779-81). Served in Congress (1783-84).

Sent to Paris (1784), where he replaced Franklin as minister to France (1785-89). Third president of the United States (1801-09).

Born in Albemarle County, Virginia. Married in 1772 to Martha (Wayles) Skelton, a widow; six children of whom only two daughters reached maturity.