Betty Hemings
American slave
Betty Hemings
Elizabeth "Betty" Hemings was a mulatto slave, who in 1761 became the concubine of the planter John Wayles of Virginia. He had become a widower for the third time. He had six children with her over a 12-year period. After Wayles died, the Hemings family and more than 100 other slaves were inherited as part of his estate by his daughter Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson and her husband Thomas Jefferson.
Betty Hemings's personal information overview.
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Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: one of history's myths? - Christian Science Monitor
Google News - over 5 years
“It is true that Sally's sons Madison and Eston were freed in Jefferson's will, but so were all but two of the sons and grandsons of Sally's mother Betty Hemings who still belonged to Thomas Jefferson at the time of his death. Sally's sons received by
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Google News article
Editorial Observer; Lust Across the Color Line and the Rise of the Black Elite
NYTimes - almost 12 years
The 1998 DNA study that linked Thomas Jefferson to the final child of his lover Sally Hemings has settled one argument and fired up another. Most historians who had argued that Jefferson was too pure of heart to bed a slave have re-evaluated 200 years of evidence and embraced the emerging consensus: that Jefferson had a long relationship with
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NYTimes article
TV WEEKEND; A Founding Father and Perhaps the Mother
NYTimes - about 17 years
He was a prominent politician, a widower who had vowed never to remarry. She was the beautiful, brilliant, socially inferior mistress he could never acknowledge, despite the many children she bore him. And at times throughout the three decades of their illicit love affair, she would toss his own words back at him. During one nasty lovers' quarrel,
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NYTimes article
Ideas & Trends; Monticello's Other Children
NYTimes - over 18 years
IF family trees are sometimes truncated by missing dates or ancestors, think about last week's discovery that Thomas Jefferson had neatly sawed off a branch. A report in last week's issue of Nature said Jefferson did father at least one child, Eston Hemings, with Sally Hemings, his black and comely slave. The study, conducted by Eugene A. Foster, a
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NYTimes article
DNA Test Finds Evidence Of Jefferson Child by Slave
NYTimes - over 18 years
DNA tests on the descendants of Thomas Jefferson's family and of Jefferson's young slave, Sally Hemings, offer compelling evidence that the nation's third President fathered at least one of her children, according to an article in the scientific journal Nature. The report is based on blood samples collected by Eugene A. Foster of Charlottesville,
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NYTimes article
Jefferson's Love Life Doesn't Equal History; A Colonial Cinderella?
NYTimes - almost 22 years
To the Editor: If you compare Brent Staples's version of "Dashing Sally" Hemings, "admired from Monticello to Paris as a great beauty" (Editorial Notebook, April 18) to the on-the-spot descriptions of her forlorn appearance when she first turned up on Abigail Adams's London doorstep, you have no choice but to congratulate Jefferson's so-called
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NYTimes article
Abigail Adams Meets Sally Hem(m)ings
NYTimes - almost 30 years
LEAD: To the Editor: To the Editor: Of the slave woman who may or may not have been Thomas Jefferson's mistress, Frances W. Saunders writes (''Sally Hemmings Steps Forth on Her Own,'' letter, April 7), ''This spirited young quadroon gave Abigail Adams a decided jolt when she appeared in London with Jefferson's daughter.'' Having just published a
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NYTimes article
NYTimes - over 35 years
THE SAGE OF MONTICELLO Vol. VI, Jefferson and His Time. By Dumas Malone. Illustrated. 551 pp. Boston: Little, Brown & Co. $19.95. THE JEFFERSON SCANDALS A Rebuttal. By Virginius Dabney. Illustrated. 155 pp. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co. $8.95. NOTHING so much fascinated 19th-century Americans about the life of a hero as his leaving of it. Deathwatches
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NYTimes article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Betty Hemings
  • 1807
    Age 72
    Died in 1807.
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  • 1795
    Age 60
    In the last decade of her life, Betty Hemings had her own cabin at Monticello, from 1795 to 1807.
    More Details Hide Details She raised produce and sold it to the Jefferson household: items such as cabbages, strawberries, and chickens. Her former cabin site is being investigated as an archeological site. It is expected to yield new information about the daily lives of the enslaved African Americans at Monticello. Historians have tended to accept the account that Betty Hemings and John Wayles had children together. Her last six children were multiracial, with majority white ancestry. As is the case of many relationships between slaveholders and slaves, documentary evidence is slight. Betty was mentioned in John Wayles' will, which some take as an indication of a relationship. However, the marriage contract between John Wayles and Martha Eppes stipulated that Betty, her mother, and their descendants, should go to Martha Wayles and her heirs forever. According to contemporary accounts, some of Betty's children (including Sally) were nearly white in appearance. Other support is found in private letters from the first decade of the 19th century, which later became public.
  • 1773
    Age 38
    After Wayles died in 1773, all eleven members of the Hemings family and 124 other slaves were inherited by his daughter Martha Wayles and her husband Thomas Jefferson.
    More Details Hide Details The Jeffersons had the Hemings children trained as skilled artisans and domestic servants, giving them privileged positions at the plantation. No member of the Hemings family worked in the fields. While resident at Monticello, Betty Hemings had two more children:
  • 1761
    Age 26
    Betty's master John Wayles was widowed three times. In 1761, after the death of his third wife, Wayles took Betty Hemings as his concubine.
    More Details Hide Details According to her descendants and other sources, she had six children with Wayles. They were half-siblings to his eldest daughter Martha Wayles, who married Thomas Jefferson. As the historians Philip D. Morgan and Joshua D. Rothman have written, there were numerous such interracial relationships in the Wayles-Hemings-Jefferson families, Albemarle County and Virginia, often with multiple generations repeating the pattern. Her children by Wayles were:
  • 1746
    Age 11
    After John Wayles married Martha Eppes, the daughter of Francis Eppes IV, in 1746, her father gave the couple Betty and her mother as part of his daughter's wedding settlement, with the stipulation that she would always belong to Martha and her heirs.
    More Details Hide Details Betty was trained as a domestic servant at one of Wayles's plantations. In the 1750s, Betty Hemings gave birth to the first four of her twelve children, whose father was a slave. The children were:
    The place of her birth is uncertain (Hemings said it was Williamsburg), but by 1746 she was recorded as the property of Francis Eppes IV of the Bermuda Hundred plantation.
    More Details Hide Details Betty's grandson Madison Hemings related the family tradition that Betty was born into slavery as the property of "John Wales" (meaning he owned her mother. The family said Captain Hemings plotted to kidnap his daughter, but Wayles took measures against this. Wayles may have sold Betty to Francis Eppes and later regained ownership of her when he married Eppes's daughter Martha as his first wife, or else her grandson Madison may have confused some of the chronology.
  • 1735
    Age 0
    Born in 1735.
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