Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com: accessed ), memorial page for Sally Hemings (9 Feb 1773–1835), Find a Grave Memorial no. 8463, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Body lost or destroyed.
- 9 Feb 1773
- 1835 (aged 61–62), Charlottesville, Charlottesville City, Virginia, USA
- Body lost or destroyed
- 8463 · View Source
Sarah "Sally" Hemings (c. 1773–1835) was an enslaved woman of mixed race owned by President Thomas Jefferson.Multiple lines of evidence indicate that Jefferson had a long-term sexual relationship with Hemings, and historians now broadly agree that he was the father of her six children.
Mar 03, 2020 · Sally Hemings' Legacy Was Buried For Decades. Now, She's Finally Receiving The Memorial She Deserves. The Monticello estate is finally telling the full story.
- Death and legacy
- Later years
- Early history
- Later life
Hemings was born enslaved in 1773 and belonged to John Wayles, a lawyer and planter originally from England. She was the daughter of the enslaved woman Elizabeth Hemings (known as Betty) and, according to Hemings family tradition, of Wayles himself. Sally Hemings's son Madison Hemings said that after the death of his third wife, in 1761, Wayles took Betty \\"as his concubine.\\" In addition to her four to five children from previous relationships, Betty Hemings gave birth to six more by Wayles: Robert, born in 1762; James, born in 1765; Thenia, born in 1767; Critta, born in 1769; Peter, born in 1770; and Sally, whose given name, some historians contend, was Sarah. It is unclear whether Hemings was born before Wayles's death on May 28, 1773.
Wayles's will was proved on July 7, 1773, but the various issues involving his estate's property, which included the Hemings family, were not sorted out until January 1774. In the meantime, Betty Hemings and her younger children were sent to Guinea, the newly inherited Cumberland County home of Wayles's daughter Anne and her husband, Henry Skipwith. (They later renamed the plantation Hors du Monde.) The Hemingses, including Sally, eventually became the property of Anne Skipwith's half-sister Martha Wayles Skelton, who, on January 1, 1772, had married Thomas Jefferson. English common law that was then in effect in Virginia upheld the doctrine of coverture, which stipulated that absent a written agreement to the contrary, a married woman's property transferred to her husband. This meant that, beginning in 1774, the Hemingses were owned by Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, leaving behind $100,000 in debts, the responsibility for which largely fell on his grandson Thomas Jefferson Randolph, who was the estate's executor. Nearly everything Jefferson owned went on the auction blockhorses, cattle, land, Monticello, and more than 100 enslaved peopleto pay off his creditors. His will freed five slaves, all of them members of the Hemings family and two of them, Madison and Eston Hemings, likely his sons. Sally Hemings was not freed; her ownership transferred to Martha Jefferson Randolph.
Like the other main beneficiaries, Jefferson, who served as one of the executors of John Wayles's estate, inherited large debts, including nearly £4,000 sterling owed to British mercantile firms. Jefferson immediately sold about half of his inherited land, or about 5,000 acres, but kept all the slaves until the mid-1780s and 1790s, when he sold a number of them to help repay the debt. Jefferson moved Betty Hemings and a number of her children, including Sally, from Guinea to his Elk Hill farm, in Goochland County, and then to Monticello, in Albemarle County.
During the American Revolution (17751783), Sally Hemings remained at Monticello with her mother and siblings. Jefferson was elected governor in 1779, moving much of his household, including some of the older Hemings children, to Williamsburg and then to Richmond. Threatened by the advance of British troops under General Charles Cornwallis, Jefferson fled to Monticello in 1781, only to flee again just ahead of the arrival of British cavalry commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton. Eight-year-old Sally Hemings was among the slaves left behind at Monticello when Martin Hemings famously saw that the Jefferson silver was hidden and then faced down Tarleton's troops, who, surprisingly, left the place unmolested.
By 1782, Jefferson's wife, Martha Jefferson, had endured at least eight pregnancies with only two of her children surviving to adulthood: Martha (called Patsy), who was born in 1772, and Mary (called Polly, and later Maria), who was born in 1778. On May 8, 1782, she gave birth to Lucy Elizabeth. She then endured months of illness from complications relating to the pregnancy before dying on September 6. According to the Jefferson overseer Edmund Bacon, who was not present, on her deathbed Martha Jefferson gathered around her those closest to her: her half sisters Elizabeth Wayles Eppes and Anne Wayles Skipwith; her sister-in-law Martha Jefferson Carr; her two eldest daughters; Ursula Granger, the enslaved woman who had nursed her children; the women and girls of the Hemings family, including Sally Hemings; and, of course, Thomas Jefferson. Bacon related that Martha Jefferson told her husband that \\"she could not die happy, if she thought her four [actually, three] children were ever to have a stepmother brought over them.\\" (No record of this promise has been found in the Jefferson, Randolph, or Eppes papers.) Hemings family tradition, which in this instance historians have been unable to verify, also notes that Martha Jefferson presented Betty Hemings or one of Hemings's daughters, possibly Sally, with a cast-iron handbell commonly used to summon servants.
Sally Hemings would have been sixteen years old at the time Jefferson was preparing to leave Paris. \\"He desired to bring my mother back to Virginia with him,\\" Madison Hemings told Wetmore, referring to Jefferson, \\"but she demurred. She was just beginning to understand the French language well, and in France she was free, while if she returned to Virginia she would be re-enslaved. So she refused to return with him. To induce her to do so he promised her extraordinary privileges, and made a solemn pledge that her children should be freed at the age of twenty-one years.\\"
Had Hemings stayed in Paris, she would have owed her freedom to France's longstanding commitment to the so-called Freedom Principle, which dictated that slaves who set foot in France were free. Jefferson might have circumvented this tradition by registering the Hemings siblings with the government, but French law already banned the importation of black people, enslaved or free. (Anywhere from several hundred to a thousand blacks lived in Paris at the time.) To alert the authorities, then, was to risk either the Hemingses' deportation or their emancipation. In any event, Sally Hemings chose Virginia over Paris, and slavery over freedom. She had reason to do so. She had lived through one revolution and likely saw the violent potential of another in the streets of Paris. Although beginning to learn the French language well, according to her son, she likely was not fluent and she lacked the security of permanent employment. Additionally, if she had stayed in France, Hemings would have been separated from the rest of her family. If she was pregnant, the support of that family would have been an important consideration. And, assuming Madison Hemings was correct, her master had promised to free her child and any subsequent children.
Sally Hemings continued to live at Monticello, working as a house servant. According to her son Madison Hemings, \\"It was her duty, all her life which I can remember, up to the time of father's death to take care of his chamber and wardrobe, look after us children and do such light work as sewing, &c.\\" With Jefferson's tacit consent, her children Beverly and Harriet Hemings left Monticello in 1822 and lived as white people. Jefferson freed Madison and Eston in his will. After Jefferson's death, and with Martha Randolph's approval, Hemings moved to Charlottesville, where she lived in a house owned by Madison and Eston Hemings. Although Hemings remained Randolph's legal property, she and her sons were listed in the 1833 parish censuses as \\"free people of color.\\" In a version of her will written on April 18, 1834, Randolph requested that her heirs give Hemings her \\"time,\\" a means of informally freeing her without forcing her to leave the state. Hemings died before Randolph, in 1835. She was buried in an unknown grave.
In Jefferson's Virginia, sex between masters and slaves was commonplace. Such relations were never equal; were always, to one degree or another, exploitative; and they ranged from the violence of rape to long-term and affectionate common-law marriage. While Sally Hemings was in Paris, her half sister Mary Hemings entered into a relationship with a Charlottesville merchant, Thomas Bell. When Jefferson returned from France, Mary Hemings asked to be sold to Bell, with whom she now had two children, in addition to two older children. Jefferson granted her request, although not before reclaiming the older children and charging Bell for the years Mary had worked for him. Bell eventually freed his two children and bequeathed his property to them.
While master-slave relationships were tolerated locally, they could become a political liability. Evidence suggests that rumors had existed for many years about Jefferson and one of his slaves. In 1800, Jefferson, then vice president and a Democratic-Republican, ran for president against the incumbent, John Adams, a Federalist. In June of that year, William Alexander Rind, editor of the Virginia Federalist, claimed to have \\"damning proofs\\" of Jefferson's \\"depravity,\\" though he did not provide details. The next year, another of Rind's newspapers, the Washington Federalist, accused a \\"Mr. J.\\" of having had \\"a number of yellow children and that he is addicted to golden affections.\\" In 1802, James Thomson Callender, who once had been Jefferson's own hatchet man against the Federalists, turned on his former patron, now president. Having joined the staff of the Federalist newspaper the Richmond Recorder, Callender published a series of vitriolic items beginning on September 1, 1802, when he wrote: \\"It is well known that the man, whom it delighteth the people to honor, keeps and for many years past has kept, as his concubine, one of his slaves. Her name is sally By this wench Sally, our president has had several children. There is not an individual in the neighbourhood of Charlottesville who does not believe the story, and not a few who know it.\\" Callender also suggested that Hemings had an eldest child, named Tom, \\"whose features are said to bear a striking though sable resemblance to those of the president himself.\\" An anonymous poem criticizing Jefferson, which had originally been published in July in the Philadelphia Port Folio, appeared on the same page as the article. Until the 1970s, most white historians and commentators accepted the Coolidge-Randolph version of the story. In addition to questioning Callender's motives, they attacked the Madison Hemings recollections as being the product of former abolitionists and quoted favorably a contemporary writer who argued that Hemings was like a \\"scrubby\\" horse whose owner exaggerated his pedigree. In addition, historians pointed to the absence in Jefferson's records of a slave named Tom born in 1790, although descendants of Thomas Woodson (ca. 17901879) have argued that he was Sally Hemings's first child.
The Republican press rushed to deny the story, while Federalist editors gleefully ran with the tale, adding details: that Sally Hemings lived at Monticello and worked as a seamstress and housekeeper; that, according to one editorial, she was \\"an industrious and orderly creature in her behaviour\\"; and that she enjoyed good treatment and perhaps special privileges.
Jefferson never publicly commented on the charges. Neither did he ever send Sally Hemings or her children away from Monticello. He weathered the scandal and was resoundingly reelected to the presidency in 1804. But the rumors never went away. Two of his grandchildren, Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge and Thomas Jefferson Randolph, took pains to quash the tale. Randolph wrote, but apparently did not send, a letter to the editor of the Pike County Republican contradicting the account of Israel Jefferson. Coolidge, meanwhile, insisted that any relationship between her grandfather and a slave woman was unthinkable. \\"There are,\\" she told her husband, \\"such things, after all, as moral impossibilities.\\" She and her brother instead pointed to Jefferson's nephews, Peter Carr and Samuel Carr, as likely fathers of Sally Hemings's children.
In Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy (1997), the legal historian Annette Gordon-Reed presented what amounts to a detailed brief arguing that Jefferson was most likely the father of Hemings's children. Then, the next year, Dr. Eugene A. Foster, et al., published the results of a genetic study concluding that \\"a Jefferson male\\" had fathered Eston Hemings. That study also ruled out the Carr brothers as possible fathers and found no link between the Jeffersons and Thomas Woodson. An investigation by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which has owned and operated Monticello since 1923, accepted in January 2000 that Jefferson was probably the father of Hemings's children; in 2018 the foundation began treating Jefferson's paternity as a fact. The Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society was founded in 2000 to combat that Monticello report, which it described as \\"the product of shallow and shoddy scholarship.\\" Some scholars and Jefferson defenders subsequently argued that Jefferson's brother Randolph Jefferson may have been the \\"Jefferson male\\" in question, pointing to the recollections of the former Monticello blacksmith Isaac Granger Jefferson. He recalled in 1847 that Randolph Jefferson \\"used to come out among black people, play the fiddle and dance half the night.\\" Prior to 2000, no family members or historians had argued for Randolph Jefferson's paternity, and historians have found no solid evidence of his presence at Monticello during any of the known periods of conception. Many scholars now agree that Thomas Jefferson was the likely father of Sally Hemings's children.
Sally Hemings (1773-1835) is one of the most famous—and least known—African American women in U.S. history. For more than 200 years, her name has been linked to Thomas Jefferson as his “concubine,” obscuring the facts of her life and her identity.
- Sally Hemings’ Early Life
- Sally Hemings’ Relationship with The Jefferson Family
- The Return to Virginia and Ensuing Scandal
- Controversy and Legacy
Hemings was born around 1773, although the exact date of her birth is unknown as are the identities of her real parents. A longstanding rumor holds that Hemings is the daughter of Elizabeth Hemings, a slave, and John Wayles, her master. Madison Hemings claimed that his grandmother and her master had six children together which set in motion a cycle that would continue into another generation.Wayles had a daughter with his wife Martha who would, in turn, go on to wed the founding father, Thoma...
Thomas and Martha Jefferson had two children together: Martha (nicknamed “Patsy”) and Maria (nicknamed “Polly”) before Martha Sr. passed away in 1782. Two years later, Jefferson was sent to Paris to serve as the United States Minister to France. Jefferson had taken Patsy along to Paris with him and soon sent for nine-year-old Polly to join as well. Sally Hemings was selected from the household staff to escort Polly on the treacherous Atlantic voyage.The pair first disembarked at London where...
The now 16-year-old Hemings returned to Monticello in 1789 and resumed her role as a maid to the Jefferson girls. This time, though, without receiving a wage. Hemings and Jefferson continued their intimate relationship after their return and Hemings went on to bear the president six children starting in 1790.Four of their six offspring would survive into adulthood and, true to his word, Jefferson eventually granted them their freedom. Sons Madison and Eston (born in 1805 and 1808, respectivel...
The relationship between Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson is often described as an “affair” and she is referred to as his “concubine” or “mistress.” Yet since a slave’s body was the literal property of her master, she had no legal right to refuse his advances. Modern critics argue that if Hemings had no right to refuse Jefferson then she was not able to willingly consent and therefore the “affair” between master and slave was nothing more than rape.The true nature of the relationship betwee...
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Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com: accessed ), memorial page for Eston Hemings Jefferson (21 May 1808–3 Jan 1856), Find a Grave Memorial no. 10606815, citing Forest Hill Cemetery, Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin, USA ; Maintained by Diane Midkiff (contributor 12450322) .
- 21 May 1808, Albemarle County, Virginia, USA
- Section 3, Lot 018, Grave 3
- 3 Jan 1856 (aged 47), Wisconsin, USA
- Madison, Wisconsin
Aug 21, 2017 · Sally Hemings, the black female slave who was raped and forced to bear children by third American president Thomas Jefferson, died in Charlottesville. At his last press conference in the aftermath of white terrorist violence in Charlottesville, President Trump sarcastically noted that, since Jefferson and Washington owned slaves, their ...
Jun 16, 2018 · One of the things my Hemings cousins and I were seeking in attending the family reunions in 1999 and over the next several years was the right to be buried at Monticello in the graveyard, should ...
Sally Hemings' descendants & Monticello grave... 00:58 Today they make note of things like where Sally and her brother lived and parts of the home that were built by slaves.