Randolph, Thomas Jefferson (1792-1875) Receipt for Moses Gillette, 1 January 1829.
Partially printed laid paper promissory note, issued by the estate of Thomas Jefferson, completed by hand, manuscript inscriptions on verso. Issued to Ira and Sydner Pellet for $545 for the purchase of the enslaved man, Moses Gillette, (1803-post 1880); signed by "Jeff" Randolph more than once on the verso, noting that if unpaid in a year, the amount due would double; and noting the receipt of payment, bottom right corner torn away, perhaps to signify the fulfillment of the contract and repayment of debt, matted and double-glazed, old folds, dirty on the verso, spotting, 7 3/4 x 3 5/8 in.
Upon Thomas Jefferson's death, his estate was deeply in debt. Randolph, his grandson and executor, struggled to repay this debt throughout his life by various means, and ultimately died with the estate still in the red. This particular promissory note highlights the story of the estimated 600 enslaved men, women, and children who lived some portion of their lives at Monticello, owned by Jefferson. Records from Monticello indicate that Moses Gillette, a skilled cooper who independently crafted pails and firkins on his own time, selling them back to the estate, was enslaved as part of Jefferson's estate. Monticello records also establish that Gillette was purchased by the Pellets in 1829. The Pellet brothers operated a mill somewhere in Albemarle County, Virginia. After emancipation, Gillette moved to southern Ohio, where he lived near his brother, Israel Gillette Jefferson.
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