Sally Hemings was the daughter of John Wayles, a white slave master, and Elizabeth Hemings, his biracial slave. When John Wayles died, his daughter, Martha Wayles Jefferson inherited his slaves, including Sally, who was an infant, as part of her inheritance. After Martha’s death, Thomas Jefferson, who promised his wife he would never remarry, had a long term relationship with Sally. He fathered six children with Sally Hemings, of which four lived to adulthood. Sally worked as a household servant, taking care of Jefferson’s wardrobe, looking after the children and doing light housework. Sally was never technically freed, but was allowed to leave Monticello following Jefferson’s death and lived, as if free, with her sons, Madison and Eston Hemings, in Charlottesville, Virginia, until her death.
Sally Heming’s children were house slaves at Monticello and trained as artisans. Jefferson freed all four of Sally’s children, Beverly, Harriet, Madison, and Eston as they came of age. Of the hundreds of slaves owned by Jefferson, only a few were given their freedom. While there are no known images of Sally, she has been described as “mighty near white… very handsome with long straight hair.”
This Sally Hemings mug is part of our African-American series profiling individuals who led notable lives.
The biographical History Mugs were created to teach and inspire individuals to learn about our diverse and interesting history. The biographies were researched and written by history enthusiast, Robert Compton. He colorized most of the historic photos and images used on the mugs, which were originally black and white or sepia tone. The images and biographies are imprinted on mugs at his studio in rural Vermont.
- Mugs are food and microwave safe.
- To preserve photographic quality we recommend hand washing.
- Mugs are usually shipped within 3-5 days.