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Mary (Jefferson) Eppes (1778 - 1804)

Mary "Maria, Polly" Eppes formerly Jefferson
Born in Monticello, Albemarle, Virginia, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married 13 Oct 1797 (to 17 Apr 1804) in Monticello, Charlottesville, Albemarle, Virginiamap
Descendants descendants
Died at age 25 in Monticello, Albemarle, Virginia, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 21 Nov 2008
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Mary (Jefferson) Eppes is Notable.

1 Aug 1778

Mary "Polly" Jefferson was born in Monticello, Albemarle, Virginia, USA

13 Oct 1797

Polly Jefferson marries her first half-cousin, John Wayles Eppes, Senator and Congressman.[1]

15 Aug 1871

Mary "Polly" Jefferson died in Monticello, Albemarle, Virginia, USA [2]

Mary Jefferson Eppes (from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) [3]

Born August 1, 1778
Monticello, Virginia
Died April 17, 1804 (aged 25)
Monticello, Virginia

Mary "Maria" Jefferson Eppes, born Mary Jefferson (August 1, 1778 – April 17, 1804), was the younger of Thomas Jefferson's two daughters who survived infancy.

Early life and education:
Mary Jefferson was born to politician and future president Thomas Jefferson and Martha Wayles Jefferson (née Skelton). Known as "Polly the Parrot" and "gopher" in her childhood, she later chose the nickname "Maria." She was known as such until her death at age 25.

She had a sickly disposition as her mother did, who died in 1782 when Polly was five. Polly also inherited her mother's beauty, which was frequently complimented, to her chagrin. She preferred to be known for her character or mind.

In the care of the young slave Sally Hemings, at age nine Polly sailed to Europe to join her father who was serving as Minister to France. First they landed in England, where Abigail Adams, wife of the U.S. Minister John Adams, looked after the girls before they joined her father in Paris: Abigail developed a deep and lasting affection for Polly. In France Polly attended the Abbaye de Panthemont convent school with her older sister Martha (Patsy). After some time, her father had the girls tutored at home. The family returned to Virginia in 1789. After living for time in Philadelphia while Jefferson was Secretary of State, they returned to Monticello. Polly spent most of the rest of her short life in Virginia.

Marriage and family:
Maria married her childhood friend and cousin John Wayles Eppes on October 13, 1797, at Monticello. She spent much of her time until her death at his family's plantation home Eppington. They had three children, which only one survived childhood:

Baby Boy Eppes (January 1800; aged 3 days)
Francis W. Eppes (September 20, 1801 – May 10, 1881; aged 79 years)
Baby Girl Eppes (February 1804-March 1804; aged c. 1 months)

Their first child was born in January 1800; but lived only a few days. Mary gave birth to Francis W. Eppes in 1801; he was their only child to survive infancy. Their last child was born in February 1804. The baby girl was small and died later that year, much to her mother's sorrow.

Maria never recovered physically from her third childbirth, and emotionally when the baby girl died a month later. Her condition worsened and her father, by then the President, rushed home when Congress adjourned on March 27. She was moved to Monticello and nursed by Jefferson and her sister Martha. She died on April 17, 1804 and was buried beside her mother, as she had asked.

It was her death that prompted Abigail Adams to send written condolences to President Jefferson, thus ending a long silence between the two families that had been brought on by political differences during the presidential campaign of 1800. Abigail wrote movingly of the immediate affection she had felt for Maria which had never altered.


  1. Burke's Presidential Families of the United States of America / [Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd, Editor]. - 2nd Ed. London: Burke's Peerage Limited, 1981. Print.
  2. Thomas Jefferson family tree in the Monticello museum confirms that this Mary (Jefferson) Eppes died in 1804.
  3. Wikipedia: Mary Jefferson Eppes

See also:

  • E. Jay Stith, Brøderbund Software, Inc., World Family Tree Vol. 1, Ed. 1, (Release date: November 29, 1995), "CD-ROM," Tree #5156, Date of Import: Jan 16, 1999. (1995), "Electronic," Date of Import: Feb 2, 1999.

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Jefferson-633 and Jefferson-21 appear to represent the same person because: same father and dates
posted by Robin Lee

Featured German connections: Mary is 17 degrees from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 20 degrees from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 22 degrees from Lucas Cranach, 16 degrees from Stefanie Graf, 17 degrees from Wilhelm Grimm, 19 degrees from Fanny Hensel, 21 degrees from Theodor Heuss, 14 degrees from Alexander Mack, 32 degrees from Carl Miele, 13 degrees from Nathan Rothschild and 17 degrees from Ferdinand von Zeppelin on our single family tree. Login to see how you relate to 33 million family members.