Madison Hemings Photo

Madison Hemings

Born: Jan 18, 1805

Death: Nov 28, 1877

Birthplace: Virginia

Nationality: United States

Madison Hemings

Date of Birth : Jan 18, 1805
Date of Death : Nov 28, 1877
Birth Place : Virginia

Madison Hemings, born James Madison Hemings, was the son of the mixed-race slave Sally Hemings; he was the third of four children to survive to adulthood. Born into slavery by his mother's status, he was freed by the will of his master Thomas Jefferson in 1826. Based on historical and DNA evidence, historians widely agree that Jefferson was probably the father of all Hemings's children. At the age of 68, Madison Hemings claimed the connection in an 1873 Ohio newspaper interview, titled, "Life Among the Lowly," which attracted national and international attention. 1998 DNA tests demonstrate a match between the Y-chromosome of a descendant of his brother, Eston Hemings Jefferson, and that of the male Jefferson line. Some historians continue to debate the issue. After Madison and his younger brother Eston were freed, they each worked and married, living with their families and mother Sally in Charlottesville until her death in 1835. Both brothers moved with their young families to Chillicothe, Ohio to live in a free state. Madison and his wife Mary lived there the remainder of their lives; he worked as a farmer and highly skilled carpenter.


  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Sally Hemings
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