Mary Hemings, the first child and daughter of Betty Hemings and Abram of Mali, ... was born in 1753 when Betty was 18 years of age. Bits and pieces of information gathered and considered suggest she was likely a very bright, and apparently literate enough to teach her younger siblings to the extent of making them valuable for household functions rather than that of illiterate field hands.
Mary's existence at the time of Jefferson's wife Martha's inheritance in 1773 on the death of her father John Wayles, ... was likely very unhappy. Page 7 of Thomas Jefferson's Farm-book indicates that John Wayles apparently made an attempt to have Mary breed offspring by sending her and one other teenage female (Doll, born 1757) and two adult male slaves (births: John 1753, Davy 1755) to work on his Wingos Plantation located in Cumberland County. To the best of our knowledge, she did not give birth until she was 27 years old and named her son Joseph Fossett, ... a surname other than Hemings. It suggests to us that she likely loved the father we believe to have been Billy Fossett/Fawsett, likely a Virginia Militia soldier, perhaps killed in the war, who was an uncle to Alexander Hamilton. And, from all indications Joe Fossett had the nerve and temper characteristics of a soldier, ... certainly the courage to defy Thomas Jefferson when he left Monticello to visit his beloved wife Edy.
Mary's beloved daughter Betsy was born in 1783 when she was 30 years of age and in view of the fact the child had such prominent White features and even skin color there can be little doubt the father was White, ... a man never divulged by Mary who named the child "Betsy Hemings." Many descendents of Betsy to-date, such as Edna Jacques, believe the child's father was none other than Thomas Jefferson. A link to Cousin Edna's website and research on the topic can be reached by clicking below:
It appears from Madison Hemings reminiscence and other references that her father was the same Abram that later lived as a carpenter at Monticello and husband of a slave woman named Doll cited above. Doll's offspring by Abram would have been cousins to Mary and occurred after Betty Hemings was apparently taken by John Wayles to be his concubine.
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