Ann-Elizabeth Fossett Isaacs

Dates Alive: 1812-1902

Family: Fossett, Hemings, Hern

Ann-Elizabeth Fossett was the daughter of Joseph Fossett, an enslaved blacksmith, and Edith Hern Fossett, an enslaved cook at Monticello. While her father was freed in Jefferson’s will, Ann-Elizabeth, her mother, and six of her siblings were sold in the 1827 dispersal sale. Through her family’s efforts, Ann-Elizabeth gained her freedom in 1837 and moved with her parents, her husband, Tucker Isaacs, and their children to Ohio. The Isaacs family remained in Ohio only a few years, returning to Charlottesville, where a number of their family members remained, some still in slavery. 

In 1850, Ann-Elizabeth Isaacs and her family returned to Ohio, settling on a 158-acre farm in Ross County. Their home is still remembered as a station on the Underground Railroad and their descendants—most notably William Monroe Trotter—continued the fight for freedom and racial equality. As descendant Virginia Craft Rose said in her interview, “Whatever you feel strongly about, fight for it because that’s part of your heritage.”


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