Madison Hemings’s wife, Mary, was born into a mixed-race family of free blacks who lived near Monticello. Her mother was Eliza Hughes McCoy, daughter of a white landowner, Stephen Hughes, and his slave Chana (Chaney), whom he freed in 1798. Mary McCoy and Madison Hemings married in 1831 and lived with his mother, Sally Hemings, in a house on the main road west of Charlottesville.
After Sally Hemings’s death, the Hemingses sold their house and left for southern Ohio, settling on the border of Ross and Pike counties. They joined a rural community populated by many other mixed-race families from Albemarle County, including Mary McCoy Hemings’s own extended family, some of whom were involved in the Underground Railroad.
Mary and Madison Hemings raised nine children and spent their last years on their sixty-six-acre farm in Ross County.
“We lived and labored together”
Madison Hemings recalls his marriage and move to Ohio.
In 1831 I married Mary McCoy. Her grandmother was a slave, and lived with her master, Stephen Hughes, near Charlottesville, as his wife. She was manumitted by him, which made their children free born. Mary McCoy’s mother was his daughter. I was about 23 and she 22 years of age when we married. We lived and labored together in Virginia till 1836, when we voluntarily left and came to Ohio. We settled in Pebble township, Pike county. We lived there four or five years....
When we came from Virginia we brought one daughter (Sarah) with us, leaving the dust of a son in the soil near Monticello. We have had born to us in this State nine children. Two are dead. The names of the living, besides Sarah, are Harriet, Mary Ann, Catharine, Jane, William Beverly, James Madison and Ellen Wales. Thomas Eston died in the Andersonville prison pen, and Julia died at home. William, James and Ellen are unmarried and live at home, in Huntington township, Ross county. All the others are married and raising families. My post-office address is Pee Pee, Pike county, Ohio. (Madison Hemings recollections, Pike County Republican, 15 Mar. 1873)