10 Fun Facts About Thomas Jefferson

10 Fun Facts About Thomas Jefferson

At a conference last year I heard Eric Metaxas, author of the bestselling books Amazing Grace and 7 Men, speak about the fact that our country needs to remember and venerate its heroes. Heroes give young people someone to look up to and emulate. They teach students that they can have a positive impact on the world around them when they use their God-given talents. Finally, they teach us all that greatness in the pure unselfish sense is something worth striving for. This does not mean we should focus only on their greatest accomplishments. Instead, we should accepted that the whole life of a hero or heroine is part of their legacy.


One of our greatest national heroes is indisputably Thomas Jefferson, who will have his 273 birthday on April 13th. Jefferson’s face is familiar to most americans. After all, it was famously carved into Mt. Rushmore, and is, perhaps less famously, printed on the 2 dollar bill. Jefferson accomplished much in his life, both in his career as third President of the United States and beyond. Perhaps the most interesting fact about Jefferson is that he apparently did not consider his presidency as his greatest achievement.

So who was the man behind the monument? Some of these fun facts about Thomas Jefferson may surprise you. Hopefully all of them will give you a clearer image of the varying interests and many sides of this great national hero.

  • The Musician. 10 Fun Facts about Thomas Jefferson pinThomas Jefferson learned to play the violin when he was young and used this skill when he was courting his wife. Research shows that there are ties between musical training and intelligence. We all know that Jefferson was brilliant, and maybe the fact that he was a musician contributed to his brilliance.
  • The Architect. Thomas Jefferson once said, "...architecture is my delight, and putting up, and pulling down, one of my favourite amusements." Like so many DIY home-improvers, he loved renovating. Unlike many home-improvers, the home he designed (Monticello) still stands as a museum.
  • The Foodie. One fun fact about Thomas Jefferson is that he loved good food. He particularly enjoyed French cuisine. When he visited France, he brought James Hemings, one of his slaves, with him. Jefferson promised to free him if he learned to cook French food.
  • The Bookworm. Thomas Jefferson really, really loved books and collected them throughout his life. At one point he sold his personal collection, which made up a total of 6,487 books, to Congress. In Jefferson’s day, most houses would have at most 2 or 3 books, and not everyone knew how to read.
  • The Pet Lover. Owning pet mockingbirds is another thing that Thomas Jefferson is famous for. It is unknown why he had a preference for these birds, but we know he kept them throughout his life.
  • The Astronomer. Stargazing was a favorite past time for Thomas Jefferson. When he established the University of Virginia, he made sure that astronomy was one of the fields taught. In this way he made sure that his passion had an impact on others.
  • The Writer. Thomas Jefferson is best known as the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, but it was not the only thing he wrote. He also wrote several other books and documents, and was particularly prolific as a letter writer.
  • The Trend-Setter. Another one of the fun facts about Thomas Jefferson: he was a major trend-setter. Americans have become known for their less formal attitude. It was, in fact, Jefferson who introduced the custom of using handshakes instead of a bow to greet people during his presidency. All of the United States followed his lead, and the rest is history.
  • The Politician. As a president, Jefferson completed the Louisiana Purchase, promoted the Lewis and Clark expedition, and battled pirates off the coast of Africa. His accomplishments added significant land to the United States, which ensured its expansion across the continent.
  • The Family Man. Records indicate that Jefferson was very attached to his wife Martha, and spent much time with her when she was unwell. With her, he had six children, only two of which survived. After her death Thomas Jefferson never remarried.


In the end, what matters is the value God gives us and the value we find in ourselves. The epithet Thomas Jefferson chose for his tombstone reads:


“Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom and Father of the University of Virginia.”


Notably absent is any memory of his presidency. It is clear that Thomas Jefferson used his wide range of talents to live a fulfilling life in service to others, and that those accomplishments he valued the most were not necessarily those valued by society.


In today’s world, students who have unusual talents and interests often feel out of place and alone. Learning fun facts about Thomas Jefferson shows them that this national hero was a man of many interests and personality traits. Students need to know that their passions, no matter how odd, have value and can lead to greatness.




At Enlightium Academy, we place a high priority in helping students to recognize their unique God-given talents. Click on the shield below to learn more about our approach to online Christian homeschooling.

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