Thomas Jefferson Original Grave Stone - University of Missouri - Columbia, Missouri
Posted by: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
N 38° 56.765 W 092° 19.696
15S E 558210 N 4311007
Quick Description: Original gravestone which marked the third President of the United States grave, Thomas Jefferson, located in Jefferson Garden on Francis Quadrangle at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri.
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 4/19/2008 11:38:40 AM
Waymark Code: WM3M5C
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Rayman
Views: 141

Long Description:

Left from the main entrance are the original tombstones from the graves of Thomas Jefferson and of David Barton, Missouri s first United States Senator. The former monument, carved from Jefferson's own design, and first erected at his grave in Monticello, Virginia, was presented to the university by Jefferson's heirs in 1883, and commemorates his interest in Missouri, the first State made from the Louisiana Territory. The marble tablet bearing the original inscription was damaged in the 1892 fire, and is now kept in a vault.. ~ from Missouri: A Guide to the "Show Me" State, 1941, Columbia section pg. 212

Text of plaque:

This Original Marker.

Placed at the grave of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, Virginia, in 1826, constructed from his won design, was presented July 4, 1883, by the Jefferson heirs to the University of Missouri, first state university to be founded in the Louisiana Territory purchased from France during President Jefferson's administration.

The obelisk, dedicated on this campus at commencement, Jun 4 1885, commemorates Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States, whose faith in the future of western America and whose confidence in the people has shaped our national ideals;  commemorates the author of the Declaration of Independence and of the Virginia statue for religious freedom, founder of the University of Virginia, fosterer of public education in the United States

(The Original Epitaph)

Here Was Buried
Thomas Jefferson

Of the Declaration of
American Independence
The Statute of Virginia
For Religious Freedom and
Father of the University
Of Virginia

Born April 2nd
1745 O.S.
Died July 4, 1826


From Smithsonian website:

"Originally marked the grave of President Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) at his estate, Monticello, in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was designed by Jefferson, a rough sketch of which was discovered by his descendants shortly after his death. It was fabricated by John M. Perry and James Dinsmore, who had earlier helped Jefferson as carpenters and builders of Monticello, and placed over his grave with a white marble slab around the base. At the time of his death, Jefferson's estate was in debt, and sources disagree as to whether the gravestone was erected in 1826, or not until 1833. Jefferson's instructions were followed exactly, including adding "O.S." to his birthdate inscription, referring to the "old style" calendar in use at the time of his birth. Jefferson directed that the stone be "the coarse stone of which my columns are made" to deter vandalism; but, because of the coarseness, it was not possible to cut the epitaph on the face. Instead, a carved marble plaque (now removed) was set into the facing. Incised inscription on side of gravestone, below where plaque was originally placed, are the last words of the original epitaph. Monticello was sold outside the Jefferson family beginning in 1831, with "free access" given to the graveyard for the Jefferson family. Monticello eventually fell into squalid conditions, and the gravestone was vandalized. Some sources of the period suggest that the "original" gravestone may have been destroyed and replaced. In 1878, Congress passed a resolution to repair the graveyard and replace the gravestone. The Jefferson heirs gave the gravestone to the University of Missouri, which was the first state university in the Louisiana Purchase, which Jefferson had been instrumental in acquiring. It was relocated to the University in 1883, presented by the Jefferson heirs on the anniversary of Jefferson's death, on July 4, 1883. It was dedicated the last day of Commencement, either June 4 or July 4, 1885, sited to the right of the entrance of Academic Hall.

The gravestone was moved frequently on campus. In 1931, Jefferson's birthday was declared a State holiday, and on April 13, 1932, the gravestone was rededicated with a new marker. University of Missouri President and Representative Joseph B. Shannon of Kansas City were influential in obtaining funds for the marker. In 1976, the gravestone was moved to its current site, given a new concrete base and rededicated on April 3rd (the day after Jefferson's birthday), aided by a gift from the Class of 1926. The Quadrangle was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. The original marble plaque on the gravestone was removed for safekeeping to Academic Hall when the gravestone was initially relocated to the University. The building was destroyed by fire on January 9, 1892, and the plaque was cracked and burned, broken in three pieces. The restored plaque in now kept in a vault in Jesse Hall, and is displayed annually for Jefferson's birthday."

The gravestone is located in Jefferson Garden on the east side of Francis Quadrangle in front of the Residence on the Quadrangle. Also located in the garden is a statue of Thomas Jefferson by George Lundeen.  The gravestone for David Barton remains closer to Jesse Hall.

Book: Missouri

Page Number(s) of Excerpt: 212

Year Originally Published: 1941

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