Thomas Jefferson couldn’t balance his checkbook.

Thomas Jefferson couldn’t balance his checkbook. Perhaps that’s why he could never afford to visit his sister who lived near Paducah! He was a man of amazing brilliance and achievement. He was the author of the Declaration of Independence, and a foreign envoy for the newly created United States. Some say he was the most brilliant man ever to reside in the White House. But this genius could not balance his checkbook… and he not could keep any money in his accounts. His whole life, Jefferson spent more than he took in. Even while making a rather generous presidential salary and earning an income from his plantation, Jefferson didn’t have enough to pay his bills. It got him into very deep trouble, too. After he served as President, and returned to Monticello, he could not pay for household items; yet he bought silk dresses and gilded hand mirrors for his granddaughters. At the end of his life, he owed so much that he sold his library to the United States at a price of $23,950, and that was the beginning of what would become the Library of Congress. A lottery was held to raise money to help him, but in the end, he died broke on the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. His debts exceeded $1 million in today’s currency. His only surviving child, a daughter, Martha, was left penniless. Sadly, Monticello was sold to the highest bidders at a public auction.