no image

Sarah (Hemmings) Hemings (1773 - 1835)

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Sarah [uncertain] (Sally) Hemings formerly Hemmings aka Hemings
Born in Charles City County, Virginiamap
Ancestors ancestors
Daughter of [uncertain] and
Descendants descendants
Died in Charlottesville, Virginiamap
Profile last modified | Created 14 Feb 2014
This page has been accessed 5,073 times.

Categories: Charles City County, Virginia, Slaves | Albemarle County, Virginia, Slaves.



Sally was a slave owned by President Thomas Jefferson through his wife's inheritance, as were her mother and siblings. Although it's unknown, there's a possibility that Sally was actually his wife's half-sister through John Wayles.[1]
Jefferson's wife Martha had died in 1782 and by 1795, Sally bore her first child by Thomas. Jefferson and Sally's intimate relationship produced 6 children born into slavery, four surviving to adulthood. They were 7/8ths European and 3 of the 4 entered white society as adults,[2] and despite the controversy, are now widely accepted as being fathered by Jefferson after his wife's death.
According to Sally's son, Madison, there was an unofficial agreement that Sally's children would be permitted to leave Monticello as they came of age at 21. The eldest, Beverly and Harriet "ran away" from Monticello with the permission and aid of Thomas Jefferson in 1822. Upon Thomas Jefferson's death, Madison, age 21 received manumission and the youngest, Easton, age 19, was allowed to live as free until he was legally freed at age 21.
Sally Hemings never married.
She was unofficially freed by Thomas Jefferson's daughter Martha (Jefferson) Randolph shortly after his death and lived with her sons for the remainder of her life.[3][4]


Sally Hemings (1773-1835)[5]

Early Life

Mother: Elizabeth Hemings[5]
Father: disputed[1]
Sally Hemings became Thomas Jefferson's property as part of his inheritance from the Wayles estate in 1774 and came with her mother to Monticello by 1776. As a child, she was probably a nursemaid to Jefferson's daughter Maria.
In 1787 Sally, age 14, joined the Jefferson family in Paris where she was a traveling companion to Thomas' daughter Maria and a lady's maid for his daughters.

Issue: Disputed

Harriet (1795-1797)[5][6]
Beverly (b.1798-aft.1822)[5][6]
dau. (1799 - 1800)[5]
Harriet (1801-aft.1822)[5][6]
Madison (1805-1877)[5][6]
Eston Hemings (1808-1856)[5][7][6]
  • Note: Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society suggested that Thomas' brother, Randolph, may have fathered some of Sally's children.[5]



  1. 1.0 1.1 May have been Thomas Jefferson's father-in-law, John Wayles.
  2. Harriet, Beverly and Eston
  3. A register of free blacks for 1833 lists Sally Hemings as free since 1826, with her son Madison. See Register of Free Negroes, Library of Virginia.
  4. One of Martha Jefferson Randolph's wills, dated April 18, 1834, asked that "Sally" be given her "time." See Will of Martha Randolph, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library. Transcription available in Quotes and Family Letters.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8
    "Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: A Brief Account."
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4
    Appendix H: Sally Hemings and Her Children.
  7. Eston is Sally's last known child
  8. This is from a different point of view than the one given by Jefferson's Monticello estate.

More Genealogy Tools

Sponsored Search

Searching for someone else?
First: Last:

No known carriers of Sally's mitochondrial DNA have taken an mtDNA test and no close relatives have taken a 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA "Family Finder" test.

Have you taken a DNA test for genealogy? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.

Images: 1
Children of Sally Hemings & Thomas Jefferson
Children of Sally Hemings & Thomas Jefferson


On 13 Mar 2018 at 13:56 GMT Anna Berkes wrote:

Please note that accepted spelling for most Hemings family members is with one "m" - see

On 3 Feb 2018 at 06:53 GMT T. Stewart wrote:

Per a report from 2000 concluded:

"The DNA study, combined with multiple strands of currently available documentary and statistical evidence, indicates a high probability that Thomas Jefferson fathered Eston Hemings, and that he most likely was the father of all six of Sally Hemings's children appearing in Jefferson's records. Those children are Harriet, who died in infancy; Beverly; an unnamed daughter who died in infancy; Harriet; Madison; and Eston."

Additionally, "The DNA testing found no genetic link between the Hemings and Carr descendants, refuting Jefferson’s grandchildren’s assertion that his Carr nephews fathered Sally Hemings’s children."

On 19 Sep 2017 at 20:56 GMT Barbara Mills wrote:

DNA shows that only one of Sally Hemming's children has Jefferson DNA -- after either a 9 year or 38 year relationship depending upon who you read, really?

Fact: Her youngest son was conceived after their return from France, and there were several other male Jeffersons available to be the father. Until Thomas Jefferson's DNA can be accessed, which so far has been refused, whether or not he is the father can be neither proved nor disproved. All of Sally Hemming's descendants have been accepted into the Jefferson Family Association, according to what I have read.

On 29 Dec 2016 at 02:19 GMT Renee Malloy Esq wrote:

Author David McCullough wrote the book, John Adams. Please see the first person accounts recorded when the Adams family took care of Sally, before TJ finally took custody. Also, please know that TJ personally insured his slave children would be given their freedom by demanding the VA State Legislature pass a law only for them. They lived FREE in VA and where known to be TJ's children due to their unique status. NO other slaves were allow to live free in VA. Evidence of his parenthood is overwhelming.

On 28 Dec 2016 at 21:24 GMT Thom Anderson wrote:

It seems there is one group that WANTS to think that TJ fathered children with Sally whether true or not and another that WANTS to disbelieve it, whether true or not. Personally, I have no problem with where the facts. The rumors (not saying this to bias one side of thinking) started in the early 19th century and, as I understand it, the DNA evidence later proved those rumors to be untrue. Later, I heard DNA evidence does say that the children were fathered by one of six Jefferson males but not necessarily TJ. Some use circumstances to support that it was TJ and not one of the other six, but those circumstances actually supported that it would have been one of the other five.

Not sure what the thinking is today. Can anyone describe it in 50 words or fewer?

On 2 Mar 2016 at 03:00 GMT Renee Malloy Esq wrote:

According to VA law, if a slave was liberated, he/she would have to leave the state. To circumvent this law, Jefferson petitioned the VA legislature to allow his children to remain in Virginia after he freed them in his will, according to the author of the book, Thomas Jefferson, by Appleby. This fact was reported in the Wikipedia site for Sally Hemings, see footnote 33.

Also, see at: President Jefferson never publically denied assertions concerning his slave children. In fact, they were the ONLY slaves given freedom in his will. And thanks to his Legislative efforts, they lived near Monticello as Free persons of color, according to the 1830 Albemarle County census. In the Albemarle County 1833 census they are all listed as free WHITE persons.

On 1 Mar 2016 at 12:06 GMT Michele (Britton) Camera wrote:

What is the title and number of the VA law you mentioned? What is the date of its passage? Do you happen to have a link to the statute?

On 26 Feb 2016 at 02:10 GMT Renee Malloy Esq wrote:

Jefferson was such a wonderful slave owner that he got the entire VA state legislature to pass a LAW declaring his children by Sally as FREE and they lived free after his death. Circumstantial evidence? Jefferson and I are 5th Cousins 5x removed via Alice Fox Banks.

On 26 Feb 2016 at 01:57 GMT Michele (Britton) Camera wrote:

Vincent, not only is the marriage PLACE not on the map, the marriage itself is a fantasy.

Where is the evidence that a marriage ceremony between Sally Hemmings and Thomas Jefferson ever took place? Where is evidence that Jefferson referred to Hemmings in public as his wife? What legal marital rights did Hemmings enjoy as the wife of Jefferson?

On 22 Mar 2015 at 16:41 GMT Vincent Piazza wrote:

the marriage place is not on the map

Sally is 25 degrees from Rosa Parks, 21 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 15 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

H  >  Hemmings  |  H  >  Hemings  >  Sarah (Hemmings) Hemings