Thomas Jefferson character jug produced in Japan circa 1950. Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. Among the Committee of Five charged by the Second Continental Congress with authoring the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was the Declaration's primary author, writing it between June 11 and June 28, 1776, at a three-story residence at 700 Market Street in Philadelphia. Following the American Revolutionary War and prior to becoming the nation's third president in 1801, Jefferson was the first United States secretary of state under George Washington and then the nation's second vice president under John Adams. A quill forms the handle of this jug.