Jefferson's Tomata  LbNA # 46126

Placed DateMar 23 2009
CountyLynchburg city
LocationLynchburg, VA
Found By EllBee
Last Found Jul 24 2010
Hike Distance?

Tomatoes are arguably the most controversial edible plant of all time. Is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable? Is it Something bigger? Is it Poisonous or is it Delectable. Certainly no sandwich is complete without its beautiful red hues or its sometimes sweet finish or it's sometimes tangy zing. Here in our little city in the hills you will have to decide.

In the early 1700's Tomatas were thought to be poisonous, Being a member of the nightshade family,the cows wouldn't eat them, so Tomatas(you say TOMATOES, I say TOMATAS,(Ask Sinatra) Let's call the whole thing off) were often grown for their flowers.

There is a story... On a visit to Lynchburg, Thomas Jefferson terrified one of the locals when he paused to snack on a tomata on the steps of the Miller-Claytor house. (Therefore proving the Tomata wasn't poisonous)

Some credit Jefferson for introducing tomatas to America. While Jefferson was in Paris in the 1780s he sent tomata seeds to Robert Rutherford, who grew and devoured tomatas in Berkeley County in western Virginia. By 1800 Rutherford had convinced only one other person to eat them.

The Irony is that Tomatas were Indignous to the Americas and introduced to Europe by Cortez. The original pronunciation was CHA' MA TOS

Don't forget Jefferson was Ambassador to France and introduced French influences to the New World (including wine production, Cuisine, Etc. (Probably America's First Chef)

While he was president, Jefferson noted that fresh tomatas were sold in markets in Washington. They were sold in Alexandria by 1806, which suggests that they were used for culinary purposes by at least some residents. In 1814 they were eaten in Harpers Ferry. In the same year, John James ate them in a public inn near the Natural Bridge in western Virginia. Where they were considered a staple.

In his Garden Kalendar (1809-24) Jefferson recorded the fruit (or veg. if you prefer) in charts of vegetables available in Virginia. Tomatas commonly appear in jefferson family recipies.

Built in 1791, the Miller-Claytor House is probobly the oldest house in Lynchburg. It was Moved in the 1970's from 9th & Church Streets, from Downtown to Riverside Park. This is home to The Tamata.

To Find the Stamp, go to the garden, walk down the path to the main entrance to the porch. Four columns from the left at the base, under porch deck, above rock pillar is the fruit (or veg). Feel FREE to sit on the steps and enjoy Jefferson's Tomata. (After All Thats What He Did)

Thomas Jefferson is a visionary and patriot of the American Revolution, Author of the Declaration of Independence, and an endless source of inspiration to all of us who strive to be patriots in our everyday endeavors.

(Please See: Citizen, Statesman, Patiot & Jefferson's Retreat)