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The Descendants of Elizabeth Hemings: Mary Hemings

Elizabeth Hemings's oldest child, Mary Hemings Bell (1753-after 1834), was a house servant at Monticello until the 1780s, when she was hired out to Thomas Bell, a white merchant in Charlottesville. In 1792 Bell purchased and freed Mary Hemings, who had become his common-law wife, and in 1800 he left his property to their two children, whom he acknowledged in his will. Mary Hemings Bell's older children Joseph Fossett and Betsy Hemmings remained in slavery at Monticello.

Edith Hern Fossett (1787-1854), and some of their ten children, the family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, in about 1840.

The Fossetts' son Peter Fossett (1815-1901) (above left) finally gained his freedom in 1850 and joined his family in Cincinnati, where he became a well-known caterer, worked in the Underground Railroad, was a renowned Baptist minister, and founded a church.  His wife, Sarah Mayrant Fossett (1826-1906) (above right), Joseph and Edith Fossett's daughter Ann-Elizabeth Fossett (1812-1902) and her husband Tucker Isaacs  (1809-1874) moved in 1850 to Ross County, Ohio, where Isaacs pursued his trade as a painter.  They were active in the Underground Railroad.  Their descendants include:

Elizabeth (Bessie) Trotter (1883-1949) (left), who later married Henry Kempton Craft, a grandson of William and Ellen Craft, famous fugitive slaves and antislavery lecturers.




William Monroe Trotter (1872-1934) (right), who edited his own Boston newspaper and was an uncompromising opponent of the gradualist policies of Booker T. Washington.



William Frederick Cunningham, Getting Word participant



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