April 24, 2022 Live from the road

Charlottesville, Virginia

Reported by Nikolaus Drekonja

Today the team visited Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom and Father of the University of Virginia.

We were blessed indeed to meet an acknowledged direct descendant of Thomas Jefferson, who gave us a fascinating tour of Monticello. John H. Works, Jr. (left) has been fighting tirelessly for decades to have an accurate, science-based account of his ancestor’s history. John and Eric Petersen (right) are pictured standing with the statue of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello.

It was a hot day and we gathered in the shade to have some cool drinks before we all met up for our 2:25pm tour inside the house.

Once inside, John told us about many of the artifacts and artwork with detailed context that had a common theme: the multi-faceted and diverse genius of Thomas Jefferson. From his collections of works of art, his functional and intriguing architecture, to his own handwriting copying mechanism, it was all an incredible journey through the works of the great man. People often use the phrase “modern day da Vinci,” however it seems Jefferson transcended even that compliment.

John took us to the corridors underneath the house, showing us the wine cellars, kitchen and even where slaves were taught to read and write. After Jefferson died, one slave named Peter Fossett used his skills to forge freedom papers for other slaves.

John showed us the “honeymoon house” which was a small one-room dwelling where Jefferson and his wife Martha traveled through chest-deep snow to get to the small house. They lived there for a few years while Monticello was being built, and had their first child there.

John then took us to Mulberry Row which were lined by many slave cabins, one of which was cabin “S” where they now believe Sally Hemings lived.

We finished at the Monticello Graveyard where descendants of Jefferson are buried. When Jefferson was a young man he would sit under a large oak tree with his best friend Dabney Carr. They made a pledge that they would be buried there. Sadly Dabney Carr died at the age of 30, leaving behind his sons which Jefferson reared at Monticello. Since then the Jefferson family members were buried there, along with Jefferson himself.

We sang the “Thank You” song for John, who was moved. We then walked back to the visitors center and ended at the large gift shop.

Torch carried by
Arpan DeAngelo (United States), Arthur Saken (United States), Dhavala Stott (Great Britain), Eva Paradise (Czech Republic), Harita Davies (New Zealand), Homagni Baptista (Australia), Mahasatya Janczak (Poland), Marina Pak (Russia), Natabara Rollosson (United States), Nikolaus Drekonja (Austria), Rotraud Scheiderbauer (Austria), Salil Wilson (Australia), Varunavi Klabníková (Slovakia), Virangini Afzal (United States).  
Photographers
Salil Wilson

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