Madison Hemings
American freed slave, may be son of Thomas Jefferson
Madison Hemings
Madison Hemings, born James Madison Hemings, was the son of the mixed-race slave Sally Hemings; he was the third of four children to survive to adulthood. Born into slavery by his mother's status, he was freed by the will of his master Thomas Jefferson in 1826. Based on historical and DNA evidence, a consensus of historians have come to agree that Jefferson was likely the father of all Hemings' children.
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Did Mr Jefferson Do It? - Pajamas Media
Google News - over 5 years
Madison Hemings (1805-1878), a carpenter and joiner, was given his freedom in Jefferson's will; he resettled in southern Ohio in 1836, where he worked at his trade and had a farm. Eston Hemings (1808-c1853), also a carpenter, moved to Chillicothe,
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Google News article
Exploring Grays in a Black-and-White World - Miller-McCune.com
Google News - over 5 years
Three of the Hemingses now believed by historians to have been fathered by Jefferson with Sally Hemings assumed white identities; only Madison Hemings) remained in the black community. American popular culture has long embraced the “one-drop rule,”
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Google News article
The Master and the Mistress
NYTimes - over 8 years
THE HEMINGSES OF MONTICELLO An American Family By Annette Gordon-Reed Illustrated. 798 pp. W. W. Norton & Company. $35 Sometime around 1800, an anonymous American artist produced an arresting painting entitled ''Virginian Luxuries.'' It depicts a slave owner exercising two kinds of power over his human property. On the right, a white man raises his
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NYTimes article
THIS LAND; Atop a Hallowed Mountain, Small Steps Toward Healing
NYTimes - almost 9 years
The members of the 2:20 tour follow their guide up the front steps of Monticello, past those iconic white pillars and into the domed building's aura of wonder. The wooden floor creaks like the knees of an aged host rising from his seat to explain a few things. The guide speaks in present tense of the home's most famous occupant -- Mr. Jefferson, as
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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
Editorial Observer; Interracialism Among the Jeffersons Went Well Beyond the Bedroom
NYTimes - over 13 years
Walk the grounds of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello around dawn (before the tourists come) and you enter a 19th-century landscape where you half expect to meet The Founder himself, out on one of those brisk constitutionals for which he was known. These paths and gardens were alive with Jefferson descendants last weekend, for a new version of a family
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NYTimes article
A Family Get-Together Of Historic Proportions
NYTimes - over 13 years
When they were young, their parents told them they were related to a famous man, a slave owner who became president. They called it a family secret, since outsiders would never believe that black children could be descendants of a president. But some did talk about that distant ancestor, Thomas Jefferson, and were laughed at or called liars by
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A Mysterious Grave Haunts a Town
NYTimes - over 16 years
A tale of history tinged with mystery caught the attention of the Orange County, N.Y., hamlet of Southfields yesterday, as two amateur historians declared that in their midst (sort of) lay the bones (maybe) of a heretofore unknown descendant of Thomas Jefferson. The local newspaper, The Times Herald-Record of Middletown, announced on its front page
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NYTimes article
Jefferson's Descendants
NYTimes - almost 18 years
To the Editor: In ''Jefferson Table Extended for Hemingses'' (news article, May 17), you note that the descendants of two of Sally Hemings's sons, Thomas C. Woodson and Madison Hemings, are emphasizing how their family oral histories support their claim to be descendants of Ms. Hemings and Thomas Jefferson. Yet Madison Hemings wrote a memoir in
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NYTimes article
Jefferson Table Extended for Hemingses
NYTimes - almost 18 years
If descendants of Thomas Jefferson ever accept as their relatives people who claim as forebears Jefferson and Sally Hemings, one of his slaves, the first steps were taken this weekend, however small they were. As part of the Jefferson family's 86th reunion this weekend, his descendants, a group known as the Monticello Association, for the first
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NYTimes article
Jefferson's Kin Not Ready To Accept Tie to Slave
NYTimes - almost 18 years
For the first time in nearly 90 years, descendants of Thomas Jefferson today welcomed to their annual family reunion descendants of children who claimed to have Jefferson as their father and Sally Hemings, one of his slaves, as their mother. And for long, sunlit moments late this afternoon, the two groups lingered together here on the verdant lawns
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Taking New Measurements for Jefferson's Pedestal
NYTimes - almost 18 years
In a room just across the road from Monticello, the hilltop mansion of Thomas Jefferson, a group of scholars struggled this weekend to understand the character of the third President now that it has taken on a dimension that historians almost unanimously denied for two centuries. Most people at the meeting agreed that DNA data reported last
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Defenders of Jefferson Renew Attack on DNA Data Linking Him to Slave Child
NYTimes - about 18 years
DNA evidence of Thomas Jefferson's presumed affair with his slave Sally Hemings continues to reverberate, with defenders of Jefferson arguing that others in his family could have fathered her children. A DNA analysis of living descendants of Jefferson, reported last November, was interpreted to show that Jefferson had fathered at least one child
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NYTimes article
A Jeffersonian Lesson
NYTimes - over 18 years
To the Editor: Annette Gordon-Reed (Op-Ed, Nov. 3) argues that before the recent findings about Thomas Jefferson's descendants, many historians accepted the false historical accounts of Jefferson's grandchildren, ''despite the fact that their account was riddled with patent contradictions, wild lapses in logic and obvious falsehoods.'' Ms.
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Looking Beyond Jefferson the Icon To a Man and His Slave Mistress
NYTimes - over 19 years
THOMAS JEFFERSON'S slave mistress is: 1) a figment of a disappointed office seeker's imagination; 2) a common assumption among blacks; 3) a convincing figure in a contrarian book by Fawn Brodie, a historian; 4) that saucy maid in the movie ''Jefferson in Paris''; 5) a historian's worst nightmare; 6) a fact. All of the above help shape the
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A Question of Paternity
NYTimes - about 20 years
To the Editor: Naturally I was very pleased with Richard Brookhiser's review of my book ''The Long Affair: Thomas Jefferson and the French Revolution, 1785-1800'' (Nov. 17). There is, however, one correction I need to propose. Mr. Brookhiser writes, ''But the author weakens his point by slippery arguments of his own -- writing, in passing, that
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CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK; 'Jefferson': Turning a Dubious Premise Into Fact
NYTimes - almost 22 years
Nobody is immune, it seems, to the politics of race and sex, not even the drafter of the Declaration of Independence and our third President, Thomas Jefferson. This, at least, seems to be one of the lessons of "Jefferson in Paris," the new movie by the celebrated team of Ismail Merchant, James Ivory and Ruth Prawer Jabhvala, which depicts scenes
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FILM REVIEW; Jefferson's Entanglements, In History And in Love
NYTimes - almost 22 years
IN a leafy glade, Thomas Jefferson joins a group of French aristocrats as they coyly debate the merits of passion versus intellect. This is how "Jefferson in Paris," the most gilded Merchant-Ivory film yet, rearranges Jefferson's famous "My Head and My Heart" love letter into a battle of bons mots. Here and throughout the film, the effect is that
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FILM VIEW; When Pols Didn't Worry About the 'Character Issue'
NYTimes - almost 22 years
EVEN AS POLITICS HAS COME to be dominated by tales of scandal and misconduct, so two projects (a film about to be released and one in the script stage) about long-dead leaders, Washington and Jefferson, will plunge us into the character issue of the 18th century -- at the risk of importing the intellectual vacuums of the 20th. "Jefferson in Paris"
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NYTimes article
'NONSENSE' ABOUT A JEFFERSON SLAVE MISTRESS
NYTimes - almost 33 years
To the Editor: In his review of Nancy Caldwell Sorel's ''Ever Since Eve'' (May 9), Anatole Broyard quotes Miss Sorel as saying that Thomas Jefferson was one of those who ''behaved badly'' toward his ''illegitimate children,'' and that his case was complicated by the ''fact'' that the mother of the children was ''a black slave.'' Here again we
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Madison Hemings
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1877
    Age 72
    Died on November 28, 1877.
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  • 1873
    Age 68
    In 1873, Madison used an Ohio newspaper interview, titled, "Life Among the Lowly," to address the Jefferson/Hemings controversy, where he stated that he did believe Jefferson was his father.
    More Details Hide Details In this interview, Madison also states, "I was named Madison by the wife of James Madison, who was afterwards President of the United States. Mrs. Madison happened to be at Monticello at the time of my birth, and begged privilege of naming me, promising my mother a fine present for the honor. Madison and Mary Hemings were the parents of 10 surviving children. According to his memoir, their daughter Sarah (named for his mother) and an unnamed son who died in infancy were born in Virginia; nine more children were born in Ohio. He had a quiet life as a modestly successful free black farmer and carpenter. The Jefferson–Hemings controversy concerns the question of whether, after Jefferson became a widower, he had an intimate relationship with his mixed-race slave, Sally Hemings, resulting in his fathering her six children of record. The controversy dates from the 1790s. In the late twentieth century historians began reanalyzing the body of evidence. In 1997, Annette Gordon-Reed published a book that analyzed the historiography of the controversy, demonstrating how historians since the nineteenth century had accepted early assumptions and failed to note all the facts. In this book, Annette Gordon-Reed discusses many important facts that other writers of the Jefferson–Hemings controversy were too biased to support. The biggest fact that has been ignored so to speak, is the freedom and run away's of Sally Hemings children.
    According to Madison's 1873 memoir, his older brother Beverley and his older sister Harriet moved to Washington D.C. in 1822 when they "ran away" from Monticello.
    More Details Hide Details Jefferson ensured that Harriet was given money for her journey. Because of their light skin and appearance (they were 7/8 European or octoroon), both identified with the white community after their moves and probably changed their names. Hemings said they had married white spouses of good circumstances, and moved into white society. They apparently kept their paternity a secret, as it would have revealed their origins as slaves, and disappeared into history.
    Madison grew up at Monticello. His surviving mixed-race siblings were an older brother Beverly and sister Harriet, and a younger brother Eston. According to his 1873 memoir, Madison was named for Jefferson's close friend and future president James Madison at the request of Madison's wife Dolley.
    More Details Hide Details Madison lived as a child with his siblings and mother, who were all spared from hard labor. He described Jefferson as kind but showing little or no paternal interest in the Hemings' children.
  • FORTIES
  • 1852
    Age 47
    In 1852, Madison's brother, Eston, moved with his family away from Ohio (and his brother) to Madison, Wisconsin, to get further from possible danger due to passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.
    More Details Hide Details Slave catchers were known to kidnap free blacks and sell them into slavery, as demand and prices were high in the Deep South. In Wisconsin, the family all took the surname Jefferson and entered the white community. They lived according to their appearance and mostly white ancestry. Their oldest son John Wayles Jefferson served as a Union officer in the American Civil War, and was promoted to colonel. Their son Beverly also served in the Union Army and married a white woman. Their daughter Anna married a white man. All Eston's descendants identified as white.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1836
    Age 31
    In 1836 Madison, Mary and their infant daughter Sarah left Charlottesville for Pike County, Ohio, probably to join his brother Eston, who had already moved there with his own family.
    More Details Hide Details They lived in Chillicothe, which had a thriving free black community, abolitionists among both races, and a station of the Underground Railroad. Surviving records in Pike County state that Hemings purchased for $150 on July 22, 1856, sold the same area for $250 on December 30, 1859, and purchased for $10 per acre on September 25, 1865. The Hemings had more children born in Ohio.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1835
    Age 30
    After Madison and his younger brother Eston were freed, they each worked and married, living with their families and mother Sally in Charlottesville until her death in 1835.
    More Details Hide Details Both brothers moved with their young families to Chillicothe, Ohio to live in a free state. Madison and his wife Mary lived there the remainder of their lives; he worked as a farmer and highly skilled carpenter. Among their ten children were two sons who served the Union in the Civil War: one in the United States Colored Troops and one who enlisted as a white man in the regular army. Among Madison and Mary Hemings' grandchildren was Frederick Madison Roberts, the first African American elected to office on the West Coast. He served in the California legislature for nearly two decades. In 2010 their descendant Shay Banks-Young, who identifies as African American, together with a Wayles' and a Hemings' descendants who each identify as European American, received the international "Search for Common Ground" award for work among the Jefferson descendants and the public to bridge gaps and heal "the legacy of slavery." They have founded "The Monticello Community" for descendants of all the people who lived and worked there in Jefferson's lifetime.
  • 1831
    Age 26
    In September 1831, in his mid-twenties, Madison Hemings was described in a special census of the State of Virginia as being: 5"7 3/8 Inches high light complexion no scars or marks perceivable". Forty-two years later at the time of his interview, a journalist described him as "five feet ten inches in height, sparely made, with sandy complexion and a mild gray eye." In 1834 Madison wed Mary Hughes McCoy, a free woman of mixed-race ancestry (her grandfather Samuel Hughes, a white planter, freed her grandmother Chana from slavery and had children with her.) They had two children born in Virginia.
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  • 1827
    Age 22
    As Jefferson did not free their wives and children, all were sold along with Monticello's nearly 130 other slaves at auctions in 1827 to settle the heavy debts against his estate.
    More Details Hide Details The men and their friends worked to buy the freedom of their families.) Although the three older men had served Jefferson for decades, Madison and Eston were distinguished by being freed as they "came of age" at 21. Madison was nearly 21 at the time of Jefferson's death; Eston was "given his time" and freed before age 21. Knowing that his estate was in debt and that freed slaves could not legally remain in Virginia for more than one year, Jefferson by his will requested the legislature of Virginia to guarantee the manumission of the five slaves, and to grant the men special "permission to remain in this State, where their families and connections are." Both requests were evidently granted. Twenty-one-year-old Madison Hemings was emancipated almost immediately after Jefferson died; Eston soon after. The brothers rented a house in nearby Charlottesville, where their mother Sally joined them for the rest of her life. (She was not formally freed but was "given her time" by Jefferson's surviving daughter Martha Randolph, who was also Hemings' niece). In the 1830 Albemarle County census, Madison, Eston and Sally Hemings were all classified as free whites.
  • 1826
    Age 21
    Born into slavery by his mother's status, he was freed by the will of his master Thomas Jefferson in 1826.
    More Details Hide Details Based on historical and DNA evidence, historians widely agree that Jefferson was probably the father of all Hemings's children. At the age of 68, Madison Hemings claimed the connection in an 1873 Ohio newspaper interview, titled, "Life Among the Lowly," which attracted national and international attention. 1998 DNA tests demonstrate a match between the Y-chromosome of a descendant of his brother, Eston Hemings Jefferson, and that of the male Jefferson line. Some historians continue to debate the issue.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1805
    Age 0
    Born on January 18, 1805.
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