Sarah (Sally) Hemings was born in 1773 as a daughter to Elizabeth (Betty) Hemings and slave owner John Wayles who died in same year. To the best of our knowledge, she was born at Wayle's Guinea Plantation as indicated in Thomas Jefferson's Farm-book inventory of slaves existing in 1774 following death of his father-in-law John Wayles. Our view is that John Wayles maintained Betty Hemings, and perhaps other slave women on his different plantations as concubine for his pleasure when spending time at each one away from his home mansion at the Forest Plantation and White wives in Charles City.
Sally's father like those of thousands and tens of thousands of other children of mixed racial heritage in the America of her time, ... were essentially polygamists in fathering children by multiple women. By the time Thomas Jefferson inherited John Wayles' slaves to be added to those inherited from his father Peter Jefferson, ... it is unlikely that Sally did not also have siblings and cousins by women other than her mother Betty Hemings. Chattel slavery was all about the power of men to have their way when they wanted and how desired with landed and human properties. It is a fallacy to imagine that John Wayles or any other slave owner only fathered children that we know about.
Much has been written and discussed about the relationship that evolved between Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson. Our interest in her is the before, during and after effects of her life, ... including us with or without acknowledgement of existence as descendents of Thomas Jefferson. What matters most to us about Sally Hemings are the descriptions of her life passed on by our ancestor Madison Hemings and his daughter and grand-daughter Mary Elizabeth Hemings Butler Speers, ... our grandmother we knew in the flesh as a caring, kind, literate Christian mother who referred to Sally as "the Black Mariah" called such by many Hemings because she bore close resemblance to Jefferson's daughter Maria often referred to by Jefferson as "Mariah."
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