James Lilburne Jefferson was born about 1795 or 1796, and died unmarried and childless in Lynchburg, Virginia, on October 22, 1836.
Called Lilburne by his family, James Lilburne Jefferson’s birth and death dates are uncertain. He was the youngest son of Anne (Lewis) and Randolph Jefferson, probably born at Snowden in Buckingham County, Virginia.
In 1813, his father, Randolph Jefferson, wrote to his brother, Thomas, that Lilburne had declined an invitation to study at Monticello and had joined the Virginia Volunteers. The War of 1812 was in progress and Lilburne was likely about eighteen years old. During the war he served in the Light Infantry, 7th Regiment, Virginia Militia, as a private under Captain Boaz Ford of Buckingham County. He was in active service at least from August 19, 1814 – February 22, 1815. He was stationed at Camp Carter near Richmond, Virginia.
In February 1816, when his father’s estate was being contested in Buckingham County, Virginia, the court required a legal guardian for Lilburne, indicating he was not yet twenty-one years old. Beginning in August of 1817, Lilburne was postmaster at Scott's Ferry, Virginia, across the James River from Snowden, his father’s plantation. He served there as postmaster until 1819. In October of 1819, Lilburne was commissioned as a Ensign in the Fluvanna County Militia.
By 1830, Lilburne was living in Lynchburg, Virginia. There is no indication that he ever married. Sometime in 1836, James Lilburne Jefferson died. His brother, Peter Field Jefferson, handled his estate in Albemarle County, Virginia.
Bernard Mayo and James A. Bear, Jr., eds., Thomas Jefferson and his Unknown Brother (Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1981).
Joanne Yeck, The Jefferson Brothers (Kettering, OH: Slate River Press, 2012).
James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds.. Jefferson's Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767-1826 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997).
Edith F. Axelton, Virginia Postmasters and Post Offices, 1789-1832 (Athens, GA: Iberian Publishing Co., 1991), 6.
U.S. National Archives, War of 1812, muster rolls
James Lilburne Jefferson to Thomas Jefferson, 18 February 1816, Small Special Collections, University of Virginia.
James Lilburne Jefferson to Thomas Jefferson, 19 April 19 (1816), Small Special Collections, University of Virginia.
Vertical files, Fluvanna Historical Society, Fluvanna County, Virginia.
Land deeds, Albemarle County, Virginia. “ Jefferson vs. Jefferson,” Albemarle County Chancery Case, Library of Virginia.
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