Sally Hemings Fact 1: She was born into slavery sometime around the year of 1773 in Charlottesville, Virginia in the United States of America.
Sally Hemings Fact 2: Her mother was also a slave, her name was Betty Hemings. Her father was actually their master and he as called John Wayles.
Sally Hemings Fact 3: Her father, John Wayles, was a well known slave trader. Historically, he is recognized as the 3rd President of the United State's, Thomas Jefferson's, father-in-law.
Sally Hemmings Fact 4: She was fair skinned as she was mixed race and had mainly European ancestry. She had long, dark, straight hair. Her children were seven-eighths European in ancestry so their skin was white.
Sally Hemings Fact 5: The law stated that children born to enslaved mothers were legally considered slaves under the law of partus sequitur ventrem - a legal doctrine related to slavery.
Sally Hemings Fact 6: She had a half sister called Martha Wayles who was approximately 25 years older. She married Thomas Jefferson and following the death of John Wayles, the couple inherited the Hemings family estate which included 11,000 acres of land and 135 slaves. The children of Betty Hemings were not assigned to work on fields, they were given privileged assignments.
Sally Hemings Fact 7: She was sent to Paris along with a girl called Polly. She was sent to work for Thomas Jefferson, who was now a widower and had been appointed the American envoy to France.
Sally Hemings Fact 8: Whilst Sally Hemings was in Paris, slavery was abolished in France, following the 1789 Revolution. Thomas Jefferson paid her wages and at the end of her trip, she could have stayed in France as a free woman.
Sally Hemings Fact 9: She decided to return to the United States under the promise that Thomas Jefferson would allow her children to be freed at the age of twenty-one.
Sally Hemings Fact 10: According to documentation and records by Thomas Jefferson, Sally Hemings went on to have six children after she returned to the United States of America. The father of her children is not recorded, however, some sources believe that Thomas Jefferson was the father. Her children were called Harriet I, Beverley, Unknown, Harriet II, Madison and Eston.
Sally Hemings Fact 11: True to his word, the four surviving children were freed from slavery. Although some chose to run away from Monticello, their escape was not pursued and they were allowed to go freely. Beverly, Harriet, Madison and Eston were freed from slavery.
Sally Hemings Fact 12: Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States of America. He started building Monticello when he was 26. This was his primary plantation and it was located near Charlottesville, Virginia. The plantation was used for the cultivation of mixed crops, tobacco and wheat. This is where Sally Hemings was an enslaved woman owned by her master Thomas Jefferson.
Sally Hemings Fact 13: She had several relatives who were a mixture of slaves and masters. Some of them also became well known historically. Her relatives include James Hemings, John Hemings, Mary Hemings, John Wayles and Frederick Madison Roberts.
Sally Hemings Fact 14: There is much speculation about the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings. Matters concerning whether or not he fathered Sally's six children are known as the 'Jefferson-Hemings Controversy'. Evidence strongly supports the conclusion that Thomas Jefferson was the father of Sally Hemings' children.
Sally Hemings Fact 15: Her first name was actually Sarah. She lived until the age of approximately 61-62. She died in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1835.
Short Facts about Sally Hemings for Kids
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