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Madison Hemings

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Madison Hemings listed with his mother and siblings on Jefferson's bread ration list, Feb. 1810 
Farm Book, page 134, Massachusetts Historical Society

 

Madison Hemings listed with his mother and siblings in Jefferson's Farm Book, Feb. 1810 
Massachusetts Historical Society

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Madison Hemings helped build the Emmitt House hotel, Waverly, OH

Madison Hemings helped build the Emmitt House hotel, Waverly, OH

Dates alive: 
1805–1877
Occupation: 
Carpenter

Madison Hemings learned the woodworking trade from his uncle John Hemmings.  He became free in 1827, according to the terms of Thomas Jefferson’s will. Hemings and his brother Eston left Monticello to live with their mother, Sally Hemings, in the town of Charlottesville.  Together they purchased a lot and built a two-story brick and wood house. 

 

In 1831, Madison Hemings married a free woman of color, Mary McCoy.  In the late 1830s the Hemingses left Virginia for a rural community in southern Ohio, where Mary Hemings’s family was already settled.  Madison Hemings helped build several structures in the notoriously anti-black town of Waverly.  He gradually accumulated property and, by 1865, he and his family were living on their sixty-six-acre farm in Ross County.  Madison and Mary Hemings raised nine children.  When his recollections were recorded in 1873, he gave his history in a matter-of-fact manner, referring to Jefferson as his father a number of times.  His reputation as a man of his word survived in the family of white neighbors to the present day.

 

Excerpts: 
Ancestry: 
Related People: 

Ambiguous Identities

Learn more about how the mixed-race Hemings family navigated the color line.

 

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