- from Thomas Jefferson
From an early age, Thomas Jefferson lived by a piece of advice that he later gave to his own daughter: “It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.” Even as a young boy, Tom Jefferson was “always doing.”
Born on April 13, 1743, at Shadwell, his family’s farm in Virginia, Tom spent his early years exploring the world around him, often with his older sister Jane. Both were smart, lively, and curious. In all, Tom had five sisters and one brother. His father, Peter Jefferson, was a self-educated farmer and surveyor, and his mother, Jane Randolph Jefferson, was the daughter of wealthy Virginia landowners. Young Tom sometimes went with his father on surveying trips. As Peter worked, Tom learned to survey, or map and measure, the land.
When Tom was 14 years old, his father died. As the oldest son, Tom became the head of the household. Two years later, he moved to Williamsburg, Virginia, to attend the College of William and Mary. His first months there were filled more with fun than with study, but in time he became a serious, hardworking student who made just about every minute count.