‘Thomas Jefferson’

In this excerpt from 'The Hemingses of Monticello,' author Annette Gordon-Reed examines the contradictions inherent in the relationship between Hemings and Jefferson families-united by slavery and blood ties. The relationship began at the childhood home of Jefferson's wife Martha Wayles Jefferson, a Williamsburg-area plantation known as the 'The Forest.' At that estate, the Hemings matriarch Elizabeth bore several children with her owner, John Wayles. Elizabeth's last child, Sally became half-sister, servant and confidante to Martha Wayles Jefferson, as well as mother of several children by Thomas Jefferson.