About Us

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Thomas Jefferson/Jordan Henderson-

Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1748, in Virginia. After attending the College of William and Mary, he went on to become one of the most consequential men of the American Revolution. He drafted the Declaration of Independence and later served as the third President of the United States. Jefferson built Monticello overlooking a large plantation. He is presumed to have had an extensive relationship with one of his slaves, Sally Hemmings. Historians believe that he fathered at least one child with her.

Jefferson is interpreted by Jordan Henderson. He is a sophomore double majoring in Political Science and Environmental Policy. Jordan is from the southwest suburbs of Chicago. This is only his second semester at Loyola, as he transferred from Northern Illinois University in the fall of 2016.

Betty Hemmings/Christina Taylor-

Betty Hemmings was born in 1735 in Henrico County, Virginia. Having no educational background, her only occupation was a domestic servant to a man named John Wayles, who later made her his concubine. She gave birth to 13 children, six of whom are mixed-race. After Wayles dies, Betty and her children, along with over a hundred other individuals, belonged to Wayles’ daughter Martha and her husband Thomas Jefferson. During the last ten years of her life she owned her own cabin in Monticello where she raised crops and sold them to Thomas Jefferson and his family.

Betty Hemmings is interpreted by Christina Taylor. Christina is originally from Howard County, MD, but currently resides in Martinsburg, WV. She is a senior at Shepherd University with a major in history and a minor in Family and Consumer Sciences: Child Development Emphasis.  This is her eighth and final semester at Shepherd, in which she will then study and take the LSAT this fall. Following the test she then hopes to get accepted to law school by Spring and begin grad school in the Fall of 2018.

Mary Hemings/Rachel Sweeney

frances-hemmings-dean

Mary Hemings was born in 1753, most likely in Charles City County, VA.  She is the oldest know child of Elizabeth Hemings (Betty), and therefore Sally’s oldest sister. In 1774 she was brought to Monticello with her family, where she was a respected household servant.  When Thomas Jefferson was governor of Virginia, she went to Williamsburg and Richmond  with his household. She was later bought by Thomas Bell.  She became his common-law wife.  In fact, bell freed Mary Hemings, acknowledged their two children, and handed down his property to them.  Before becoming Bell’s wife, Mary had had four children but the father of them is unknown.  Jefferson was not willing to sell Mary’s other children, but because she was free she was able to remain close to them and send them clothing and items that other slaves could not have.  Mary Hemings Bell, along with her descendants lived in a house on Charlottesville’s Main Street for a hundred years.  (information and image from https://www.monticello.org/site/plantation-and-slavery/mary-hemings-continued )

Mary Hemings is interpreted by Rachel Sweeney.  Rachel is a sophomore graphic design major at Shepherd University.  She is from Westminster, MD.

 

sally-hemings

Sally Hemings/Ben Kolschowsky

 

Sarah “sally” Hemings was born in 1773 to mixed parents, Betty Hemings (a mixed slave) and John Wayles, a white man of english decent. Sally’s mother was given to Martha Wayles upon John Wayles death, and Martha was soon to be married to the young Farmer Thomas Jefferson. On the Monticello estate sally and her other mixed family members were given basic skills and made into household or artisan slaves. In 1787 Jefferson was deployed to France and took many slaves with him, among them was the 15 year old sally tasked with assisting Jeffersons daughter Martha(patsy). Patsy and Sally would spend a small time with John and Abigail Adams, before joining Thomas Jefferson in Paris. When the Revolution in France came about in 1789 the slaves of France were freed, but shortly after Sally became pregnant with her first child (suspected to be Jeffersons) and most of the slaves returned with Jefferson to Virginia with the understanding they would have their freedom at home in due time.

Upon returning to the states Sally began having children in a regular pace, beginning with Harriet in 1789 and proceeding with Beverly, Thenia, Harriet II, Madison and ending with Eston in 1808. The first three children did not make it to adulthood, and as Jefferson was a widower for almost 7 years upon returning to Virginia, its likely he fathered all of her children as they were all mixed race, now to the point many were considered to be of a different class, being treated differently than other slaves even for the north. The three youngest children were educated and eventually freed by Jeffersons daughter Martha along with Sally herself.  She lived with her freed sons Madison and Eston on their own free land in Virginia Until her death in 1835.

 

Sally Hemings spoken for by Ben Kolschowsky. Ben is a senior Political Science and Philosophy major at Loyola University Chicago. He is from the Chicago area and plans to attend to law school in the city after graduation.

(https://www.monticello.org/site/plantation-and-slavery/thomas-jefferson-and-sally-hemings-brief-account)

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