Sally Hemings Biography
(Thomas Jefferson’s Slave)
Birthday: August 5, 1773 (Leo)
Born In: Charles City County, Virginia, United States
Sarah "Sally" Hemings was a mixed-race enslaved woman who was owned by Thomas Jefferson, former president and one of the founding fathers of the United States of America. According to most historians, Jefferson fathered all her seven children. The historians also speculate that they had a relationship that lasted for years. Four of their children ultimately made it to adulthood and each of them was granted freedom by Jefferson. The daughter of an enslaved biracial woman and her master, Hemings spent her early life in various other plantations in Virginia before she was moved to Jefferson’s home, Monticello, while she was still a child. In 1787, she travelled with Mary Jefferson—Thomas Jefferson’s daughter—to France where she grew rather close to the widowed statesman. Most historians generally agree that it was during this period that Jefferson established a sexual relationship with Hemings. She would accompany him back to the US and would remain enslaved until his death. After Jefferson freed her children, she spent the last nine years of her life with her two younger sons who built a house in Charlottesville, Virginia. She witnessed her grandchild being born in that house. While the parentage of her children had been a much-debated issue for a long time, a 1998 DNA study concluded that there is a match between the Jefferson male line and a descendant of Hemings' last son, Eston Hemings.