Thomas Jefferson, Sr.

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Thomas Jefferson, Sr.

Also Known As: "Thomas Jefferson l"
Birthplace: St. Christopher's Island, British West Indies
Death: before December 01, 1697
Osborne's Plantation, Henrico County, Virginia Colony, Colonial America
Immediate Family:

Husband of Mary Mattox
Father of Mary Harris; Capt. Thomas Jefferson and Martha Wynne

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Thomas Jefferson, Sr.

Evidence needed to support as son of Samuel Jefferson, II

Thomas Jefferson was born 1656 in St. Christopher's Island, West Indies, and died Bef. December 01, 1697 in Charles City Co. Virginia. His parents are uncertain.


Thomas Jefferson, I., married Mary Branch, daughter of Christopher Branch, Jr., shortly before 1678 when her grandfather, Christopher Branch, Sr., called her my granddaughter Mary Branch, wife of Thomas Jefferson, in his will. He also named Thomas as his executor. This will was signed June 20, 1678, & proven February 20, 1682.[4]. She survived him and married Joseph Mattox second.

Thomas Jefferson and Mary Branch had three children: a daughter, named Mary, born in early 1679, followed by Captain Thomas Jefferson II, born November 20, 1679, and another daughter, Martha Jefferson, born February 23, 1682. All were born at Jefferson’s Landing, later known as Osborne's Plantation, in Henrico County, English colony of Virginia.

Children of Mary Branch and Thomas Jefferson:

  1.  Captain Thomas Jefferson II, born 7 Dec 1679, died about 1731. m. 1) Mary Field 20 Nov 1697, 2) Alice (Ailsey) Ward
  2.   Mary Jefferson, born about 1679, died Sep 1745. Married Thomas Harris.
  3. Martha Jefferson, born 27 Feb 1681, died 19 Jan 1751. Married Robert Wynne.

Disputed Origins

Parents: Samuel & (Elizabeth.) Or - Thomas's father may have been a John Jefferson who arrived in 1619 aboard the ship Bonahora ("Thomas Jefferson," by William Eleroy Curtis).

Two Theories of his Heritage

  1. Thomas Jefferson, Sr., was born in the British West Indies, on Saint Christopher island, ca. 1640, the son of Samuel Jefferson, aka Jeaffreson (b. 1607 in Pettistree, Suffolk, England), and Elizabeth Broom (possibly "widow Broom"), b. 1610, in Suffolk, England. It is now believed that his parents married in 1628 in Suffolk, England before they joined Samuel Jefferson on St. Kitts around 1630, where their son, Thomas Jefferson, was born. The family was educated and fairly well-to-do - they would be considered "upper middle class" today. A Thomas Jefferson went to Jamaica in 1656, but the 1670 Census, 14 years later, shows no one there by that name. It is not improbable that the family left the Leeward Islands for Jamaica, before finally settling in the English colony of Virginia. If born in 1649 or earlier he would have been at least 18 by 1667 and thus free to emigrate north. Apparently his parents did not join him in Virginia for Samuel Jeaffreson Jr.'s death was reported in Antigua, BWI, in 1685, at age 78. He is said to have moved to Antigua in 1669 - possibly the same year young Thomas left for Virginia.[1]
  2. Thomas's father may have been a John Jefferson who arrived in 1619 aboard the ship Bonahora.[2]

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation agrees that these are both theories and not proven.[3] For this reason, no parents are attached to this profile.



Thomas Jefferson I, the son of Samuel Jefferson III (his mother's identity is unknown), was born in 1656 on St. Christopher's Island in the British West Indies where his father had owned a tobacco plantation since 1624. The family (plus Thomas's two brothers) moved to Antigua in the Leeward Islands about 1669 when Thomas was about 15. As a young adult Thomas moved from the West Indies to Henrico Co., Virginia. He settled at Osborne's, across the James River from Farrar's Island, where Mount Malada had once stood below present day Richmond. Before 1678 Thomas Jefferson I married Mary Branch, the daughter of Christopher Branch, Jr. and Sarah Almond neighbors at "Kingland." Mary's identity was proven from her grandfather Christopher Branch's will of 1681 in which he named her "my granddaughter Mary Branch, wife of Thomas Jefferson." Thomas also benefited from receiving one fifth of his father-in-laws estate left to Mary Branch in 1668 when she was about ten years old.

"He went forward on the road to fortune and a genteel station..." Thomas Jefferson I's name appears with some frequency in the archives of Henrico County. He was a surveyor *"one of ye surveyors of ye highways" (a profession in which his descendants dutifully followed him); as a man of recognized integrity he appeared on the roll of jurors several times, appraised estates and served as executor of wills; he paid taxes for the maintanence of soldiers; and he was evidently an excellent shot, for he collected a good many bounties which the colony offered for the extermination of wolves. The enterprising Thomas Jefferson entered as a squatter on some virgin forest land further up the James River near the falls, only to discover that it had already been granted to that prince of speculators, William Byrd. The defect in the title was cured in 1682, however, by the purchase of the 167 acres in question on the southside of the James River in the Curles of William Byrd.

"Kingsland" home of the Branch family, just west of Farrar's Island, was also near Osborne, home of the Jefferson's. They were all neighbors of the Fields, Randolphs and Eppes and closely associated as justices, burgesses and officers of the militia, etc. Thomas Jefferson I owned several slaves, enough to produce nearly two tons of tobacco a year. Even after accumulating a modest fortune, Jefferson was nevertheless referred to as "mister," rather that "esquire," indicating he was less than prominent in the colony.

When Thomas Jefferson I died in 1697 he left a fairly adequate estate for the benefit of his wife and two children. Exclusive of Negro slaves and crops, it came to a valuation of some 97 pounds, a respectable total for the period. His will included such hints of luxury as "an old silver dram cup, buttons and shoe buckles." Mary Branch Jefferson served as executrix of the estate as decreed in Henrico Court on December 1, 1697 when it ordered the division of the estate as specified in the will between wife Mary Jefferson, son Thomas Jefferson II (age 20) and daughter Martha Jefferson. The date of Thomas Jefferson I's death is estimated as prior to this court record date. Three years later, April 1, 1701, Mary Jefferson, relict of Thomas Jefferson, married Joseph Mattox of Charles City County, by which time the Jefferson children were all grown.


  • Branchiana: being a partial account of the Branch family in Virginia by James Branch Cabell.  Published 1907 by Printed by Whittet & Shepperson in Richmond, Va . Written in English. Page 32. Mary Branch married first [before 1678] Thomas Jefferson of Henrico (grandfather of the President) and second, Joseph Maddox.
  • "Some Farrar's Island Descendants" by Alvahn Holmes.
  • "Thomas Jefferson A Life" by Willard Sterne Randall.
  • "Thomas Jefferson A Biography" by Nathan Schachner
  • Cavaliers and Pioneers
  • "Jefferson The Virginian" by Dumas Malone

more notes


Some believe Mary BRANCH's husband, Thomas (1) JEFFERSON to have been the son of Samuel JEFFERSON, aka JEAFFRESON and brother of (Captain) John JEFFERSON, first of his family to actually immigrate to Virginia but Samuel was the first to stay in Virginia after immigrating as, according to my understanding, and (Capt.) John JEFFERSON later returned to live in England.
Samuel JEFFERSON and brother, (Captain) John JEFFERSON are believed to have journeyed with friend and neighbor, (Sir) Thomas WARNER, to the Leeward journeyed with friend and neighbor, (Sir) Thomas WARNER, to the Leeward Islands, (including St. Kitt's/St. Catherine's,) where he became Governor of the Leeward Islands for life, and died in the Leeward Islands,) along with approximately 12-14 other individuals who were colonizing the islands. Later the JEFFERSONs and descendants along with descendants of WARNER immigrated to Virginia.


  • + 3 M    i. Thomas Jefferson (son of Samuel & Elizabeth) was born in 1653 in Curles, James River, Henrico County, Virginia and died in Oct 1697 in Henrico County, Virginia, at age 44. Thomas married Mary Martha Branch (b. 1660) in 1677.

Branchiana: being a partial account of the Branch family in Virginia by James Branch Cabell.  Published 1907 by Printed by Whittet & Shepperson in Richmond, Va . Written in English. Page 32

  • Ancestry of Thomas Jefferson 3rd U.S. President and Signer of the Declaration of Independence
  • * 1 Curtis, William Eleroy, Thomas Jefferson, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: J. B. Lippincott Company (1901), 19.
  • * 2 Dorman, John Frederick, Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1624/5, 4th ed., Vol. 1, Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company (2004), 370.
  • * 3 Grubbs, Lillie Martin, Martin and Allied Families, Columbus, Georgia: (1946), 204.
  • * 4 McLean, Dabney N., The English Ancestry of Thomas Jefferson, Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company for Clearfield Company (1996), 58.
  • * 5 Roberts, Gary Boyd, Notable Kin, Volume 2, Santa Clarita, California: Carl Boyer, 3rd (1999), 159.
  • * 6 Roberts, Gary Boyd, The Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants to the American Colonies or the United States, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. (2008), 507.
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Thomas Jefferson, Sr.'s Timeline

St. Christopher's Island, British West Indies
December 7, 1679
Jefferson's Landing, Henrico County, Virginia
Jefferson's Landing, Henrico County, Virginia Colony, Colonial America
February 23, 1682
Jefferson's Landing, Henrico County, Virginia, Colonial America
Age 42
December 1, 1697
Age 57
Osborne's Plantation, Henrico County, Virginia Colony, Colonial America