Martha Skelton Jefferson

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Martha Skelton Jefferson (Wayles)

Nicknames: "Patty/Wayles"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: The Forest Plantation, Charles City, Virginia, Colonial America
Death: Died in Richmond, Virginia, United States
Place of Burial: Monticello, Charlottesville, Albemarle, Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of John Wayles of "The Forest" and Martha Eppes
Wife of Bathurst Skelton and Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States of America
Mother of John Skelton; Martha "Patsy" Washington Randolph (Jefferson), First Lady; Jane Randolph Jefferson; Peter Jefferson; Mary "Polly" Eppes and 2 others
Half sister of Sarah Wayles; Tabitha Skipwith; Elizabeth Eppes; Anne Skipwith; Mary Bell and 7 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Martha Skelton Jefferson (Wayles)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martha_Wayles_Skelton_Jefferson

Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson, born Martha Wayles (October 30 [O.S. October 19] 1748 – September 6, 1782) was the wife of Thomas Jefferson, who was the third President of the United States. She never became First Lady of the United States because she died long before her husband was elected to the presidency.

Martha was born to John Wayles (1715–1773) and his first wife Martha Eppes (1712–1748), wealthy plantation owners in Charles City County, Virginia.

Her father was born in Lancaster, England and emigrated alone to Virginia in 1734, at the age of nineteen, leaving family in England. He was a lawyer. Martha's mother was a daughter of Francis Eppes of Bermuda Hundred and was a widow when Wayles married her. As part of her dowry, Martha's mother brought with her a personal slave, Susanna, who had an eleven-year-old daughter by the name of Elizabeth Hemings (Betty). John and Martha's marriage contract provided that Susanna and Betty were to remain the property of Martha Eppes and her heirs forever or be returned to the Eppes family should there be no heirs. This is how the Hemingses came into the custody of Martha Wayles. Martha's mother died when Martha was three weeks old.

Martha's father remarried Mary Cocke of Malvern Hill and the marriage produced Marth's half-sister Elizabeth, who married Martha's cousin and became the mother of John Wayles Eppes. After the death of his third wife, John Wayles took up with the slave Betty and had several children, including the famed Sally Hemings.

Martha Wayles, aged 18, first married Bathurst Skelton (1744–1768) and had one son, John Wayles Skelton (1767–1771). Bathurst Skelton died in September of 1768 in Williamsburg, Virginia after an accident. Upon her husband's death, Martha moved back to her father's house with her infant son, who died suddenly of a fever on June 10, 1771.

She probably met Jefferson in Williamsburg about 1770. Following their January 1, 1772 wedding, the Jeffersons honeymooned for about two weeks at The Forest (her father's plantation) before setting out in a two-horse carriage for Monticello (Jefferson's plantation). They made the 100-mile trip in one of the worst snowstorms ever to hit Virginia. Some miles from their destination, their carriage bogged down in 2–3 feet of snow; they had to complete the journey on horseback. Arriving at Monticello late at night after the slaves had banked the fires and retired for the night, the couple settled in the freezing one-room brick building that was to be their home until completion of the famous main house at Monticello.

They had six children:

Martha Jefferson Randolph (1772–1836)

Jane Randolph (1774–1775)

unnamed son (b./d. 1777)

Mary "Polly" Jefferson Eppes (1778–1804) — Polly was said to have resembled her mother.

Lucy Elizabeth (1780–1781)

Lucy Elizabeth (1782–1785)

Martha was in frail health for much of her marriage. She is believed to have suffered from diabetes, the cause of her childbearing problems. In the famous summer of 1776 she had suffered a miscarriage and was very ill, thus Jefferson's desperation to get out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as soon as possible.

Throughout their 10-year marriage, they appeared to have been wholly devoted to each other. According to slaves who attended her in her final days, Jefferson promised his wife that he would never remarry. Jefferson was inconsolable in his loss. It was said that he collapsed just before she died. After the funeral, he refused to leave his room for three weeks. Then he spent endless hours riding horseback alone around Monticello. Not until mid-October did he begin to resume a normal life.

Martha Jefferson was, according to her daughter and to eyewitness accounts (the French delegation), musical and highly educated, a constant reader, with the greatest fund of good nature, and a vivacious temper that might sometimes border on tartness, but was completely subdued with her husband by her affection for him. She was a little over five feet tall, with a lithe figure, luxuriant auburn hair, and hazel eyes. She played the keyboard and the guitar, and she was an accomplished needlewoman. Her music book and several examples of her embroidery survive. It was she who instituted the brewing of beer at Monticello, which continued until her husband's death. She was beloved by her neighbors, and was a great patriot, raising funds for the cause before and after her tenure as First Lady of Virginia.

When she died following the birth of her sixth child on September 6, 1782, Jefferson was distraught and for years suffered from deep depression. No miniature of her survives, although there is a silhouette {See White House biography link below} and sketches of her daughter Maria Eppes, who resembled her mother. Other portraits, reputed to be of her, are of her daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph.

Wife of Thomas Jefferson. The child of wealthy plantation owners John and Martha (Epps) Wayles, little is known of her early years, save that she was attractive, well-read, and an accomplished pianist. She married Bathurst Skelton in November, 1766, and had one son (who died in 1771) by him; Skelton died in an accident in September, 1768, leaving Patty a rich widow. Sometime in 1770, probably in Williamsburg, she met a rather shy attorney and scholar named Thomas Jefferson, who was then serving in the House of Burgesses. The couple married on New Years Day, 1772, at Mr. Wayles' home, and set-off for Jefferson's new house at Monticello in a major snowstorm. By all accounts, the Jefferson's were happy, and devoted to each other, though Jefferson burned all their letters after her death. Patty's health was never very good, and it was further compromised by having five daughters and a son in 10 years. (Only the daughters Patsy and Polly survived to adulthood). Patty died of the lingering effects of her final childbirth, leaving Jefferson completely prostrated for several weeks. According to legend, Patty, on her deathbed, extracted a promise from Jefferson that he would never remarry; whatever the truth of the story, he never did. (bio by: Bob Hufford) -------------------- Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson, born Martha Wayles (October 30 [O.S. October 19] 1748 – September 6, 1782) was the wife of Thomas Jefferson, who was the third President of the United States. She never became First Lady of the United States because she died long before her husband was elected to the presidency.

Martha was born to John Wayles (1715–1773) and his first wife Martha Eppes (1712–1748), wealthy plantation owners in Charles City County, Virginia.

Her father was born in Lancaster, England and emigrated alone to Virginia in 1734, at the age of nineteen, leaving family in England. He was a lawyer. Martha's mother was a daughter of Francis Eppes of Bermuda Hundred and was a widow when Wayles married her. As part of her dowry, Martha's mother brought with her a personal slave, Susanna, who had an eleven-year-old daughter by the name of Elizabeth Hemings (Betty). John and Martha's marriage contract provided that Susanna and Betty were to remain the property of Martha Eppes and her heirs forever or be returned to the Eppes family should there be no heirs. This is how the Hemingses came into the custody of Martha Wayles. Martha's mother died when Martha was three weeks old.

Martha's father remarried Mary Cocke of Malvern Hill and the marriage produced Marth's half-sister Elizabeth, who married Martha's cousin and became the mother of John Wayles Eppes. After the death of his third wife, John Wayles took up with the slave Betty and had several children, including the famed Sally Hemings.

Martha Wayles, aged 18, first married Bathurst Skelton (1744–1768) and had one son, John Wayles Skelton (1767–1771). Bathurst Skelton died in September of 1768 in Williamsburg, Virginia after an accident. Upon her husband's death, Martha moved back to her father's house with her infant son, who died suddenly of a fever on June 10, 1771.

She probably met Jefferson in Williamsburg about 1770. Following their January 1, 1772 wedding, the Jeffersons honeymooned for about two weeks at The Forest (her father's plantation) before setting out in a two-horse carriage for Monticello (Jefferson's plantation). They made the 100-mile trip in one of the worst snowstorms ever to hit Virginia. Some miles from their destination, their carriage bogged down in 2–3 feet of snow; they had to complete the journey on horseback. Arriving at Monticello late at night after the slaves had banked the fires and retired for the night, the couple settled in the freezing one-room brick building that was to be their home until completion of the famous main house at Monticello.

They had six children:

Martha Jefferson Randolph (1772–1836)

Jane Randolph (1774–1775)

unnamed son (b./d. 1777)

Mary "Polly" Jefferson Eppes (1778–1804) — Polly was said to have resembled her mother.

Lucy Elizabeth (1780–1781)

Lucy Elizabeth (1782–1785)

Martha was in frail health for much of her marriage. She is believed to have suffered from diabetes, the cause of her childbearing problems. In the famous summer of 1776 she had suffered a miscarriage and was very ill, thus Jefferson's desperation to get out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as soon as possible.

Throughout their 10-year marriage, they appeared to have been wholly devoted to each other. According to slaves who attended her in her final days, Jefferson promised his wife that he would never remarry. Jefferson was inconsolable in his loss. It was said that he collapsed just before she died. After the funeral, he refused to leave his room for three weeks. Then he spent endless hours riding horseback alone around Monticello. Not until mid-October did he begin to resume a normal life.

Martha Jefferson was, according to her daughter and to eyewitness accounts (the French delegation), musical and highly educated, a constant reader, with the greatest fund of good nature, and a vivacious temper that might sometimes border on tartness, but was completely subdued with her husband by her affection for him. She was a little over five feet tall, with a lithe figure, luxuriant auburn hair, and hazel eyes. She played the keyboard and the guitar, and she was an accomplished needlewoman. Her music book and several examples of her embroidery survive. It was she who instituted the brewing of beer at Monticello, which continued until her husband's death. She was beloved by her neighbors, and was a great patriot, raising funds for the cause before and after her tenure as First Lady of Virginia.

When she died following the birth of her sixth child on September 6, 1782, Jefferson was distraught and for years suffered from deep depression. No miniature of her survives, although there is a silhouette {See White House biography link below} and sketches of her daughter Maria Eppes, who resembled her mother. Other portraits, reputed to be of her, are of her daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph.

Wife of Thomas Jefferson. The child of wealthy plantation owners John and Martha (Epps) Wayles, little is known of her early years, save that she was attractive, well-read, and an accomplished pianist. She married Bathurst Skelton in November, 1766, and had one son (who died in 1771) by him; Skelton died in an accident in September, 1768, leaving Patty a rich widow. Sometime in 1770, probably in Williamsburg, she met a rather shy attorney and scholar named Thomas Jefferson, who was then serving in the House of Burgesses. The couple married on New Years Day, 1772, at Mr. Wayles' home, and set-off for Jefferson's new house at Monticello in a major snowstorm. By all accounts, the Jefferson's were happy, and devoted to each other, though Jefferson burned all their letters after her death. Patty's health was never very good, and it was further compromised by having five daughters and a son in 10 years. (Only the daughters Patsy and Polly survived to adulthood). Patty died of the lingering effects of her final childbirth, leaving Jefferson completely prostrated for several weeks. According to legend, Patty, on her deathbed, extracted a promise from Jefferson that he would never remarry; whatever the truth of the story, he never did. (bio by: Bob Hufford) -------------------- Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson, born Martha Wayles (October 30 [O.S. October 19] 1748 – September 6, 1782) was the wife of Thomas Jefferson, who was the third President of the United States. She never became First Lady of the United States because she died long before her husband was elected to the presidency.

Martha was born to John Wayles (1715–1773) and his first wife Martha Eppes (1712–1748), wealthy plantation owners in Charles City County, Virginia.

Her father was born in Lancaster, England and emigrated alone to Virginia in 1734, at the age of nineteen, leaving family in England. He was a lawyer. Martha's mother was a daughter of Francis Eppes of Bermuda Hundred and was a widow when Wayles married her. As part of her dowry, Martha's mother brought with her a personal slave, Susanna, who had an eleven-year-old daughter by the name of Elizabeth Hemings (Betty). John and Martha's marriage contract provided that Susanna and Betty were to remain the property of Martha Eppes and her heirs forever or be returned to the Eppes family should there be no heirs. This is how the Hemingses came into the custody of Martha Wayles. Martha's mother died when Martha was three weeks old.

Martha's father remarried Mary Cocke of Malvern Hill and the marriage produced Marth's half-sister Elizabeth, who married Martha's cousin and became the mother of John Wayles Eppes. After the death of his third wife, John Wayles took up with the slave Betty and had several children, including the famed Sally Hemings.

Martha Wayles, aged 18, first married Bathurst Skelton (1744–1768) and had one son, John Wayles Skelton (1767–1771). Bathurst Skelton died in September of 1768 in Williamsburg, Virginia after an accident. Upon her husband's death, Martha moved back to her father's house with her infant son, who died suddenly of a fever on June 10, 1771.

She probably met Jefferson in Williamsburg about 1770. Following their January 1, 1772 wedding, the Jeffersons honeymooned for about two weeks at The Forest (her father's plantation) before setting out in a two-horse carriage for Monticello (Jefferson's plantation). They made the 100-mile trip in one of the worst snowstorms ever to hit Virginia. Some miles from their destination, their carriage bogged down in 2–3 feet of snow; they had to complete the journey on horseback. Arriving at Monticello late at night after the slaves had banked the fires and retired for the night, the couple settled in the freezing one-room brick building that was to be their home until completion of the famous main house at Monticello.

They had six children:

Martha Jefferson Randolph (1772–1836)

Jane Randolph (1774–1775)

unnamed son (b./d. 1777)

Mary "Polly" Jefferson Eppes (1778–1804) — Polly was said to have resembled her mother.

Lucy Elizabeth (1780–1781)

Lucy Elizabeth (1782–1785)

Martha was in frail health for much of her marriage. She is believed to have suffered from diabetes, the cause of her childbearing problems. In the famous summer of 1776 she had suffered a miscarriage and was very ill, thus Jefferson's desperation to get out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as soon as possible.

Throughout their 10-year marriage, they appeared to have been wholly devoted to each other. According to slaves who attended her in her final days, Jefferson promised his wife that he would never remarry. Jefferson was inconsolable in his loss. It was said that he collapsed just before she died. After the funeral, he refused to leave his room for three weeks. Then he spent endless hours riding horseback alone around Monticello. Not until mid-October did he begin to resume a normal life.

Martha Jefferson was, according to her daughter and to eyewitness accounts (the French delegation), musical and highly educated, a constant reader, with the greatest fund of good nature, and a vivacious temper that might sometimes border on tartness, but was completely subdued with her husband by her affection for him. She was a little over five feet tall, with a lithe figure, luxuriant auburn hair, and hazel eyes. She played the keyboard and the guitar, and she was an accomplished needlewoman. Her music book and several examples of her embroidery survive. It was she who instituted the brewing of beer at Monticello, which continued until her husband's death. She was beloved by her neighbors, and was a great patriot, raising funds for the cause before and after her tenure as First Lady of Virginia.

When she died following the birth of her sixth child on September 6, 1782, Jefferson was distraught and for years suffered from deep depression. No miniature of her survives, although there is a silhouette {See White House biography link below} and sketches of her daughter Maria Eppes, who resembled her mother. Other portraits, reputed to be of her, are of her daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph.

Wife of Thomas Jefferson. The child of wealthy plantation owners John and Martha (Epps) Wayles, little is known of her early years, save that she was attractive, well-read, and an accomplished pianist. She married Bathurst Skelton in November, 1766, and had one son (who died in 1771) by him; Skelton died in an accident in September, 1768, leaving Patty a rich widow. Sometime in 1770, probably in Williamsburg, she met a rather shy attorney and scholar named Thomas Jefferson, who was then serving in the House of Burgesses. The couple married on New Years Day, 1772, at Mr. Wayles' home, and set-off for Jefferson's new house at Monticello in a major snowstorm. By all accounts, the Jefferson's were happy, and devoted to each other, though Jefferson burned all their letters after her death. Patty's health was never very good, and it was further compromised by having five daughters and a son in 10 years. (Only the daughters Patsy and Polly survived to adulthood). Patty died of the lingering effects of her final childbirth, leaving Jefferson completely prostrated for several weeks. According to legend, Patty, on her deathbed, extracted a promise from Jefferson that he would never remarry; whatever the truth of the story, he never did. (bio by: Bob Hufford) -------------------- Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson, born Martha Wayles (October 30 [O.S. October 19] 1748 – September 6, 1782) was the wife of Thomas Jefferson, who was the third President of the United States. She never became First Lady of the United States because she died long before her husband was elected to the presidency.

Martha was born to John Wayles (1715–1773) and his first wife Martha Eppes (1712–1748), wealthy plantation owners in Charles City County, Virginia.

Her father was born in Lancaster, England and emigrated alone to Virginia in 1734, at the age of nineteen, leaving family in England. He was a lawyer. Martha's mother was a daughter of Francis Eppes of Bermuda Hundred and was a widow when Wayles married her. As part of her dowry, Martha's mother brought with her a personal slave, Susanna, who had an eleven-year-old daughter by the name of Elizabeth Hemings (Betty). John and Martha's marriage contract provided that Susanna and Betty were to remain the property of Martha Eppes and her heirs forever or be returned to the Eppes family should there be no heirs. This is how the Hemingses came into the custody of Martha Wayles. Martha's mother died when Martha was three weeks old.

Martha's father remarried Mary Cocke of Malvern Hill and the marriage produced Marth's half-sister Elizabeth, who married Martha's cousin and became the mother of John Wayles Eppes. After the death of his third wife, John Wayles took up with the slave Betty and had several children, including the famed Sally Hemings.

Martha Wayles, aged 18, first married Bathurst Skelton (1744–1768) and had one son, John Wayles Skelton (1767–1771). Bathurst Skelton died in September of 1768 in Williamsburg, Virginia after an accident. Upon her husband's death, Martha moved back to her father's house with her infant son, who died suddenly of a fever on June 10, 1771.

She probably met Jefferson in Williamsburg about 1770. Following their January 1, 1772 wedding, the Jeffersons honeymooned for about two weeks at The Forest (her father's plantation) before setting out in a two-horse carriage for Monticello (Jefferson's plantation). They made the 100-mile trip in one of the worst snowstorms ever to hit Virginia. Some miles from their destination, their carriage bogged down in 2–3 feet of snow; they had to complete the journey on horseback. Arriving at Monticello late at night after the slaves had banked the fires and retired for the night, the couple settled in the freezing one-room brick building that was to be their home until completion of the famous main house at Monticello.

They had six children:

Martha Jefferson Randolph (1772–1836)

Jane Randolph (1774–1775)

unnamed son (b./d. 1777)

Mary "Polly" Jefferson Eppes (1778–1804) — Polly was said to have resembled her mother.

Lucy Elizabeth (1780–1781)

Lucy Elizabeth (1782–1785)

Martha was in frail health for much of her marriage. She is believed to have suffered from diabetes, the cause of her childbearing problems. In the famous summer of 1776 she had suffered a miscarriage and was very ill, thus Jefferson's desperation to get out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as soon as possible.

Throughout their 10-year marriage, they appeared to have been wholly devoted to each other. According to slaves who attended her in her final days, Jefferson promised his wife that he would never remarry. Jefferson was inconsolable in his loss. It was said that he collapsed just before she died. After the funeral, he refused to leave his room for three weeks. Then he spent endless hours riding horseback alone around Monticello. Not until mid-October did he begin to resume a normal life.

Martha Jefferson was, according to her daughter and to eyewitness accounts (the French delegation), musical and highly educated, a constant reader, with the greatest fund of good nature, and a vivacious temper that might sometimes border on tartness, but was completely subdued with her husband by her affection for him. She was a little over five feet tall, with a lithe figure, luxuriant auburn hair, and hazel eyes. She played the keyboard and the guitar, and she was an accomplished needlewoman. Her music book and several examples of her embroidery survive. It was she who instituted the brewing of beer at Monticello, which continued until her husband's death. She was beloved by her neighbors, and was a great patriot, raising funds for the cause before and after her tenure as First Lady of Virginia.

When she died following the birth of her sixth child on September 6, 1782, Jefferson was distraught and for years suffered from deep depression. No miniature of her survives, although there is a silhouette {See White House biography link below} and sketches of her daughter Maria Eppes, who resembled her mother. Other portraits, reputed to be of her, are of her daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph.

Wife of Thomas Jefferson. The child of wealthy plantation owners John and Martha (Epps) Wayles, little is known of her early years, save that she was attractive, well-read, and an accomplished pianist. She married Bathurst Skelton in November, 1766, and had one son (who died in 1771) by him; Skelton died in an accident in September, 1768, leaving Patty a rich widow. Sometime in 1770, probably in Williamsburg, she met a rather shy attorney and scholar named Thomas Jefferson, who was then serving in the House of Burgesses. The couple married on New Years Day, 1772, at Mr. Wayles' home, and set-off for Jefferson's new house at Monticello in a major snowstorm. By all accounts, the Jefferson's were happy, and devoted to each other, though Jefferson burned all their letters after her death. Patty's health was never very good, and it was further compromised by having five daughters and a son in 10 years. (Only the daughters Patsy and Polly survived to adulthood). Patty died of the lingering effects of her final childbirth, leaving Jefferson completely prostrated for several weeks. According to legend, Patty, on her deathbed, extracted a promise from Jefferson that he would never remarry; whatever the truth of the story, he never did. (bio by: Bob Hufford) -------------------- Born: 1748, October 19 "The Forest" plantation, Charles City County, Virginia

 

Father: John Wayles, barrister and landowner, born 31 January, 1715 in Lancaster, England; died 23 May, 1773 in Charles City County, Virginia

 

Mother: Martha Eppes Wayles, born 10 April, 1712 in Bermuda Hundred, Chesterfield County, Virginia; married John Wayles on 3 May, 1746; died 5 November, 1748

 

When Martha Eppes married John Wayles, she brought with her, as part of her dowry, an African slave woman and the woman's half-black, half-white daughter. The woman, enslaved in Africa, sailed to Virginia on a slave ship commanded by an English sea captain with the last name Hemings. Captain Hemings impregnated the slave who gave birth to a daughter she named Betty. The slave and her daughter were sold to Francis and Frances Eppes, and they gave the young enslaved "Betty Hemings" to their daughter Martha Eppes family. When Captain Hemings learned that the newly married Wayles had inherited his concubine and their daughter Betty, he offered to buy the pair. Wayles refused to sell them. He would eventually have six children by her.

 

Martha Wayles Jefferson never knew her mother Martha Eppes Wayles since she had died two weeks and three days after giving birth to her.

 

After the death of his first wife, Martha Eppes (the mother of Mrs. Jefferson), John Wayles married two more times; he married secondly to Mary Cocke by whom he had one [name unknown] daughter who died young; John Wayles married a third time, on 3, January 1760 to Elizabeth Lomax, with whom he had three daughters. After the death of Elizabeth Lomax (28 May 1763), Wayles took the half-black half-white slave Betty Hemings as his concubine and had six children by her. Betty Hemings was mentioned in the will of John Wayles, thus providing evidence that she really was his mistress and not merely his slave.

 

The first husband of Elizabeth Lomax was Reuben Skelton - he was the brother of Martha Jefferson's first husband, Bathurst Skelton; thus Martha Wayles Skelton's brother-in-law was her stepmother's first husband.

 

Ancestry: English; Martha Jefferson's father was an English immigrant. Her maternal great-great grandparents Francis Eppes and his wife Frances emigrated from England to Virginia sometime before 1659.

 

Birth Order and Siblings: She was the eldest of seven half-sisters and three half-brothers. Her first half-sister [name unknown] died young and was the child of her father's second marriage; her next three other half-sisters were Elizabeth Wayles Eppes, Tabitha Wayles and Anne "Nance" Wayles Skipworth, daughters from Wayles' marriage to his third wife, Elizabeth Lomax. Her last three half-sisters were Thenia Hemings (born 1767), Critta Hemings (1769-1827) and Sally Hemings (1773-1835) who like her three half-brothers, Robert Hemings (born 1762-1819), Hemings (born 1765) and Peter Hemings (born 1770) were the children out of wedlock of John Wayles and his half-white half-black slave Betty Hemings.

 

Martha Jefferson's half-sister Elizabeth Wayles (daughter of John Wayles and his second wife Elizabeth Lomax) married Francis Eppes (the nephew of Martha Eppes Wayles, the first wife of John Wayles and mother of Martha Jefferson); thus Martha Jefferson's half-brother-in-law was also her first cousin.

 

Physical Appearance: Above medium height, slight, auburn hair, hazel eyes

 
  • No facial image of Martha Jefferson survives; there is one silhouette; some visitors left descriptions of her
 

Religious Affiliation: Church of England

 

Education: There exists no record of formal education. Considering the domestic skills and intelligence many contemporary observers made of her, Martha Wayles Jefferson was likely educated at home by traveling tutors in literature, poetry, French, Bible study; with notable accomplishment on the pianoforte and harpsichord, she likely received considerable length of training in music. Certainly a young woman of her region, era and wealth would also be trained in sewing and medicinal preparations

 

Occupation before Marriage: No record of her early years exist but in light of her father's wealth and prominence, Martha Wayles Jefferson likely played a social role at their plantation; later skills at Monticello would also suggest she received basic training on running a plantation, making household staples; she also assisted her father with management of crop business accounting.


Marriage: First husband: 18 years old, to Bathurst Skelton (June 1744 - 30 September 1768) planter, on 20, November 1766 likely at "The Forest" plantation; they lived at his Charles City County plantation for one year and ten months, the endurance of their marriage as Bathurst died in 1768.

 

Second Husband: 23 years old, to Thomas Jefferson (13, April 1743– 4, July 1826) lawyer and member of the House of Burgesses for Albermarle County (1769-1775), on 1, January, 1772 at "The Forest" plantation; they departed for a honeymoon in the cottage on the property of what would become later famously known as Monticello, though the mansion house was not yet built

 

Children: by her first marriage, one son; John Skelton (1767–1771)

 

by her second marriage, five daughters, one son; Martha "Patsy" Jefferson Randolph (1772–1836), Jane Randolph Jefferson (1774–1775), an unnamed son (died in infancy, 1777), Maria “Polly” Jefferson Eppes (1778–1804), Lucy Elizabeth Jefferson [1] (1780-1781), Lucy Elizabeth Jefferson [2] (1782–1785)

 

Polly Jefferson married John Wayles Eppes (1773-1823), her first cousin (her mother Martha Wayles Jefferson and his mother Elizabeth Wayles Eppes were half-sisters) and also her second cousin (her maternal grandmother Martha Eppes Wayles and his paternal grandfather Richard Eppes were siblings)

 

Occupation after Marriage: Much as she had for her father during his periods of widowhood, Martha Jefferson ran the plantation life of Monticello. It was a considerable responsibility: reading recipes to slaves and overseeing food preparation in the kitchens; food preservation; clothing needs for the family and slaves; and managing the house slaves and their responsibilities. Among the few remaining examples of her handwriting is a precise ledger of the plantation's main cash crop, tobacco, suggesting she worked with Jefferson more as a full partner in this one aspect of life at Monticello than would be otherwise usual.

 

Numerous contemporary accounts of visitors and guests to Monticello consistently suggest that Martha Jefferson was an active hostess when she felt well; her beauty, grace and especially her musical skills were frequently commented upon; she and Jefferson read literature and poetry to each other, and played musical duets together, he on the violin.

 

For the first three years of her marriage, while Jefferson was still a member of the House of Burgesses, Martha Jefferson would likely have accompanied him to the colonial capital of Williamsburg when the burgesses was in session, and taken part in the social life there, that she had known from her own early years. Martha Jefferson was separated from her husband during his tenure as a Virginia delegate to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia (1776), at which time he authored the Declaration of Independence. While Jefferson served as Governor of Virginia (1779-1781) during the American Revolution, however, Martha Jefferson briefly joined him in Richmond, to where he moved the capital city from Williamsburg, then more vulnerable to British attack by sea. Martha Jefferson's health began to rapidly deteriorate, the result likely of having given birth to seven children in less than fourteen years. The British invasion of Virginia under Lord Cornwallis in 1781 forced her to flee Monticello for their more isolated Bedford County home "Poplar Forest," and it weakened her16-month old daughter Lucy, who died weeks later. Jefferson shortly thereafter resigned his position as governor and promised his wife that he would refuse any more political posts. Thus Jefferson turned down an important diplomatic mission to Europe. Her final pregnancy proved more burdensome than her marital separations; she died four months after childbirth.

 

As the Governor of Virginia's wife during the Revolution, Martha Jefferson assumed one large public role, albeit more symbolic than active; in response to a request from Martha Washington, she agreed to head a list of prominent Virginia women donating necessities and financial support and making other voluntary efforts on behalf of the Continental Army.

 

Martha Jefferson, however, was also to leave an unwitting legacy to her husband on two accounts. With the death of her father in 1772, Martha Jefferson inherited substantial property, including approximately 11,000 acres of land (retaining 5,000) and slaves, including her half-siblings. By law, his wife's property became his own upon marriage, and so Jefferson came into ownership of his slave half sister-in-laws Thenia, Critta and Sally and brother-in-laws Robert and James Hemings.

 

Since they were one-quarter African-American and three-quarters white and also related by blood to Martha Jefferson, the five Wayles-Hemings children occupied a unique role within the Jefferson family. None were called "slaves," but always referred to as "servants." They worked in the most personal and private servantile roles at Monticello. In 1790, Robert Hemings bought his freedom and joined his wife and daughter in Richmond, where they worked for a doctor. James Hemings was particularly close to Jefferson, working as his personal aide or "body servant," traveling with him to Philadelphia during the Second Continental Congress and later to Europe. While in Paris, James Hemings studied the culinary French arts; upon returning to Virginia, he trained his younger brother Peter to oversee the detailed French cooking that Jefferson now insisted on serving. Jefferson gave James Hemings his freedom. Critta Hemings helped to raise her half-nieces Patsy and Polly. Thenia Hemings was the only one of Martha Jefferson's half-siblings who was sold as a slave - to family friend and future President James Monroe.

 

As a DNA study believed accurate by officials at Monticello indicate, Jefferson and his half sister-in-law Sally Hemings parented at least one, possibly several illegitimate children after the death of Martha Jefferson. Public knowledge of even the rumors that the President parented several slave children became a scandal during his Administration. While the land inheritance from John Wayles doubled the acreage of Jefferson's own patrimony of land, he also inherited Wayles' substantial debts that lingered and would contribute to Jefferson's own financial troubles in retirement from the presidency.

 

Death: 33 years old September 6, 1782 Monticello, Virginia

 

Burial: Monticello, Virginia

 
  • Martha Jefferson died 18 years before Thomas Jefferson was elected President in 1800; she is the first of five women who were married to men who would become President after their deaths.

Martha was born to John Wayles (1715–1773) and his first wife Martha Eppes (1712–1748), attorney, slave trader, business agent for the Bristol-based tobacco exporting firm of Tarell & Jones, wealthy plantation owners in Charles City County, Virginia.

Her father was born in Lancaster, England and emigrated alone to Virginia in 1734, at the age of nineteen, leaving family in England. He became a lawyer. Martha's mother was a daughter of Francis Eppes of Bermuda Hundred and was a widow when Wayles married her. As part of her dowry, Martha's mother brought with her a personal slave, Susanna, who had an eleven-year-old daughter by the name of Elizabeth Hemings (Betty). John and Martha's marriage contract provided that Susanna and Betty were to remain the property of Martha Eppes and her heirs forever or be returned to the Eppes family should there be no heirs. This is how the Hemingses came into the custody of Martha Wayles. Martha's mother died when Martha was three weeks old.

Martha's father remarried Mary Cocke of Malvern Hill and the marriage produced Martha's half-sister Elizabeth, who married Martha's cousin and became the mother of John Wayles Eppes. After the death of his third wife, John Wayles took up with the slave Betty and had several children, including the famed Sally Hemings.

Martha Wayles, aged 18, first married Bathurst Skelton (1744–1768) and had one son, John Wayles Skelton (1767–1771). Bathurst died in September of 1768 in Williamsburg, Virginia after a sudden illness. Upon her husband's death, Martha moved back to her father's house with her infant son John, who died suddenly of a fever on June 10, 1771.

She probably met Jefferson in Williamsburg about 1768. Following their January 1, 1772 wedding, the Jeffersons honeymooned for about two weeks at The Forest (her father's plantation) before setting out in a two-horse carriage for Monticello (Jefferson's plantation). They made the 100-mile trip in one of the worst snowstorms ever to hit Virginia. Eight miles from their destination, their carriage bogged down in 2–3 feet of snow; they were "obliged to quit the carriage and proceed on horseback". Arriving at Monticello late at night after the slaves had banked the fires and retired for the night, the couple settled in the freezing one-room, twenty foot square brick building, the "Honeymoon Cottage" or South Pavilion. It was to be their home until completion of the famous main house at Monticello.

They had six children:

Martha "Patsy" Washington Jefferson Randolph (1772–1836) Jane Randolph (1774–1775) unnamed son (b./d. 1777) Mary "Polly" Jefferson Eppes (1778–1804) — Polly was said to have resembled her mother. Lucy Elizabeth (1780–1781) Lucy Elizabeth (1782–1785)

Martha was in frail health for much of her marriage. She is believed to have suffered from diabetes, the cause of her childbearing problems. In the famous summer of 1776 she had suffered a miscarriage and was very ill, thus Jefferson's desperation to get out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as soon as possible.

Throughout their almost eleven-year marriage, they appeared to have been wholly devoted to each other. According to slaves who attended her in her final days, Jefferson promised his wife that he would never remarry. Jefferson was inconsolable in his loss and "was led from the room almost in a state of insensibility by his sister Mrs. Carr, who, with great difficulty, got him into his library where he fainted, and remained so long insensible that they feared he would never revive." After the funeral, he withdrew to his room for three weeks. Then he spent endless hours riding horseback alone around Monticello. His daughter Martha wrote, "In those melancholy rambles I was his constant companion, a solitary witness to many a violent burst of grief." Not until mid-October did he begin to resume a normal life when he wrote, "emerging from that stupor of mind which had rendered me as dead to the world as was she whose loss occasioned it."

Martha Jefferson was, according to her daughter and to eyewitness accounts (the French delegation), musical and highly educated, a constant reader, with the greatest fund of good nature, and a vivacious temper that might sometimes border on tartness, but was completely subdued with her husband by her affection for him. She was a little over five feet tall, with a lithe figure, auburn hair, and hazel eyes. She played the keyboard and the guitar, and she was an accomplished needlewoman. Her music book and several examples of her embroidery survive. During Martha's first year at Monticello, she instituted 170 gallons of beer at Monticello, which continued until her husband's death. She was beloved by her neighbors, she raised funds for the cause before and after her tenure as First Lady of Virginia. Martha Washington had contacted Martha to work with the Ladies Association to raise money for the colonial troops. The Association raised $300,000 to buy over 2,000 linen shirts for Washington's army.

When she died following the birth of her sixth child on September 6, 1782 on Friday at 11: 45 AM, Jefferson was distraught. No miniature of her survives, although there is a silhouette {See White House biography link below} and sketches of her younger daughter Maria Eppes, who resembled her mother. Other portraits, reputed to be of her, are of her elder daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph. -------------------- Born: 1748, October 19 "The Forest" plantation, Charles City County, Virginia

Father: John Wayles, barrister and landowner, born 31 January, 1715 in Lancaster, England; died 23 May, 1773 in Charles City County, Virginia

Mother: Martha Eppes Wayles, born 10 April, 1712 in Bermuda Hundred, Chesterfield County, Virginia; married John Wayles on 3 May, 1746; died 5 November, 1748

When Martha Eppes married John Wayles, she brought with her, as part of her dowry, an African slave woman and the woman's half-black, half-white daughter. The woman, enslaved in Africa, sailed to Virginia on a slave ship commanded by an English sea captain with the last name Hemings. Captain Hemings impregnated the slave who gave birth to a daughter she named Betty. The slave and her daughter were sold to Francis and Frances Eppes, and they gave the young enslaved "Betty Hemings" to their daughter Martha Eppes family. When Captain Hemings learned that the newly married Wayles had inherited his concubine and their daughter Betty, he offered to buy the pair. Wayles refused to sell them. He would eventually have six children by her.

Martha Wayles Jefferson never knew her mother Martha Eppes Wayles since she had died two weeks and three days after giving birth to her.

After the death of his first wife, Martha Eppes (the mother of Mrs. Jefferson), John Wayles married two more times; he married secondly to Mary Cocke by whom he had one [name unknown] daughter who died young; John Wayles married a third time, on 3, January 1760 to Elizabeth Lomax, with whom he had three daughters. After the death of Elizabeth Lomax (28 May 1763), Wayles took the half-black half-white slave Betty Hemings as his concubine and had six children by her. Betty Hemings was mentioned in the will of John Wayles, thus providing evidence that she really was his mistress and not merely his slave.

The first husband of Elizabeth Lomax was Reuben Skelton - he was the brother of Martha Jefferson's first husband, Bathurst Skelton; thus Martha Wayles Skelton's brother-in-law was her stepmother's first husband.

Ancestry: English; Martha Jefferson's father was an English immigrant. Her maternal great-great grandparents Francis Eppes and his wife Frances emigrated from England to Virginia sometime before 1659.

Birth Order and Siblings: She was the eldest of seven half-sisters and three half-brothers. Her first half-sister [name unknown] died young and was the child of her father's second marriage; her next three other half-sisters were Elizabeth Wayles Eppes, Tabitha Wayles and Anne "Nance" Wayles Skipworth, daughters from Wayles' marriage to his third wife, Elizabeth Lomax. Her last three half-sisters were Thenia Hemings (born 1767), Critta Hemings (1769-1827) and Sally Hemings (1773-1835) who like her three half-brothers, Robert Hemings (born 1762-1819), Hemings (born 1765) and Peter Hemings (born 1770) were the children out of wedlock of John Wayles and his half-white half-black slave Betty Hemings.

Martha Jefferson's half-sister Elizabeth Wayles (daughter of John Wayles and his second wife Elizabeth Lomax) married Francis Eppes (the nephew of Martha Eppes Wayles, the first wife of John Wayles and mother of Martha Jefferson); thus Martha Jefferson's half-brother-in-law was also her first cousin.

Physical Appearance: Above medium height, slight, auburn hair, hazel eyes

No facial image of Martha Jefferson survives; there is one silhouette; some visitors left descriptions of her Religious Affiliation: Church of England

Education: There exists no record of formal education. Considering the domestic skills and intelligence many contemporary observers made of her, Martha Wayles Jefferson was likely educated at home by traveling tutors in literature, poetry, French, Bible study; with notable accomplishment on the pianoforte and harpsichord, she likely received considerable length of training in music. Certainly a young woman of her region, era and wealth would also be trained in sewing and medicinal preparations

Occupation before Marriage: No record of her early years exist but in light of her father's wealth and prominence, Martha Wayles Jefferson likely played a social role at their plantation; later skills at Monticello would also suggest she received basic training on running a plantation, making household staples; she also assisted her father with management of crop business accounting.

Marriage: First husband: 18 years old, to Bathurst Skelton (June 1744 - 30 September 1768) planter, on 20, November 1766 likely at "The Forest" plantation; they lived at his Charles City County plantation for one year and ten months, the endurance of their marriage as Bathurst died in 1768.

Second Husband: 23 years old, to Thomas Jefferson (13, April 1743– 4, July 1826) lawyer and member of the House of Burgesses for Albermarle County (1769-1775), on 1, January, 1772 at "The Forest" plantation; they departed for a honeymoon in the cottage on the property of what would become later famously known as Monticello, though the mansion house was not yet built

Children: by her first marriage, one son; John Skelton (1767–1771)

by her second marriage, five daughters, one son; Martha "Patsy" Jefferson Randolph (1772–1836), Jane Randolph Jefferson (1774–1775), an unnamed son (died in infancy, 1777), Maria “Polly” Jefferson Eppes (1778–1804), Lucy Elizabeth Jefferson [1] (1780-1781), Lucy Elizabeth Jefferson [2] (1782–1785)

Polly Jefferson married John Wayles Eppes (1773-1823), her first cousin (her mother Martha Wayles Jefferson and his mother Elizabeth Wayles Eppes were half-sisters) and also her second cousin (her maternal grandmother Martha Eppes Wayles and his paternal grandfather Richard Eppes were siblings)

Occupation after Marriage: Much as she had for her father during his periods of widowhood, Martha Jefferson ran the plantation life of Monticello. It was a considerable responsibility: reading recipes to slaves and overseeing food preparation in the kitchens; food preservation; clothing needs for the family and slaves; and managing the house slaves and their responsibilities. Among the few remaining examples of her handwriting is a precise ledger of the plantation's main cash crop, tobacco, suggesting she worked with Jefferson more as a full partner in this one aspect of life at Monticello than would be otherwise usual.

Numerous contemporary accounts of visitors and guests to Monticello consistently suggest that Martha Jefferson was an active hostess when she felt well; her beauty, grace and especially her musical skills were frequently commented upon; she and Jefferson read literature and poetry to each other, and played musical duets together, he on the violin.

For the first three years of her marriage, while Jefferson was still a member of the House of Burgesses, Martha Jefferson would likely have accompanied him to the colonial capital of Williamsburg when the burgesses was in session, and taken part in the social life there, that she had known from her own early years. Martha Jefferson was separated from her husband during his tenure as a Virginia delegate to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia (1776), at which time he authored the Declaration of Independence. While Jefferson served as Governor of Virginia (1779-1781) during the American Revolution, however, Martha Jefferson briefly joined him in Richmond, to where he moved the capital city from Williamsburg, then more vulnerable to British attack by sea. Martha Jefferson's health began to rapidly deteriorate, the result likely of having given birth to seven children in less than fourteen years. The British invasion of Virginia under Lord Cornwallis in 1781 forced her to flee Monticello for their more isolated Bedford County home "Poplar Forest," and it weakened her16-month old daughter Lucy, who died weeks later. Jefferson shortly thereafter resigned his position as governor and promised his wife that he would refuse any more political posts. Thus Jefferson turned down an important diplomatic mission to Europe. Her final pregnancy proved more burdensome than her marital separations; she died four months after childbirth.

As the Governor of Virginia's wife during the Revolution, Martha Jefferson assumed one large public role, albeit more symbolic than active; in response to a request from Martha Washington, she agreed to head a list of prominent Virginia women donating necessities and financial support and making other voluntary efforts on behalf of the Continental Army.

Martha Jefferson, however, was also to leave an unwitting legacy to her husband on two accounts. With the death of her father in 1772, Martha Jefferson inherited substantial property, including approximately 11,000 acres of land (retaining 5,000) and slaves, including her half-siblings. By law, his wife's property became his own upon marriage, and so Jefferson came into ownership of his slave half sister-in-laws Thenia, Critta and Sally and brother-in-laws Robert and James Hemings.

Since they were one-quarter African-American and three-quarters white and also related by blood to Martha Jefferson, the five Wayles-Hemings children occupied a unique role within the Jefferson family. None were called "slaves," but always referred to as "servants." They worked in the most personal and private servantile roles at Monticello. In 1790, Robert Hemings bought his freedom and joined his wife and daughter in Richmond, where they worked for a doctor. James Hemings was particularly close to Jefferson, working as his personal aide or "body servant," traveling with him to Philadelphia during the Second Continental Congress and later to Europe. While in Paris, James Hemings studied the culinary French arts; upon returning to Virginia, he trained his younger brother Peter to oversee the detailed French cooking that Jefferson now insisted on serving. Jefferson gave James Hemings his freedom. Critta Hemings helped to raise her half-nieces Patsy and Polly. Thenia Hemings was the only one of Martha Jefferson's half-siblings who was sold as a slave - to family friend and future President James Monroe.

As a DNA study believed accurate by officials at Monticello indicate, Jefferson and his half sister-in-law Sally Hemings parented at least one, possibly several illegitimate children after the death of Martha Jefferson. Public knowledge of even the rumors that the President parented several slave children became a scandal during his Administration. While the land inheritance from John Wayles doubled the acreage of Jefferson's own patrimony of land, he also inherited Wayles' substantial debts that lingered and would contribute to Jefferson's own financial troubles in retirement from the presidency.

Death: 33 years old September 6, 1782 Monticello, Virginia

Burial: Monticello, Virginia

Martha Jefferson died 18 years before Thomas Jefferson was elected President in 1800; she is the first of five women who were married to men who would become President after their deaths. Martha was born to John Wayles (1715–1773) and his first wife Martha Eppes (1712–1748), attorney, slave trader, business agent for the Bristol-based tobacco exporting firm of Tarell & Jones, wealthy plantation owners in Charles City County, Virginia.

Her father was born in Lancaster, England and emigrated alone to Virginia in 1734, at the age of nineteen, leaving family in England. He became a lawyer. Martha's mother was a daughter of Francis Eppes of Bermuda Hundred and was a widow when Wayles married her. As part of her dowry, Martha's mother brought with her a personal slave, Susanna, who had an eleven-year-old daughter by the name of Elizabeth Hemings (Betty). John and Martha's marriage contract provided that Susanna and Betty were to remain the property of Martha Eppes and her heirs forever or be returned to the Eppes family should there be no heirs. This is how the Hemingses came into the custody of Martha Wayles. Martha's mother died when Martha was three weeks old.

Martha's father remarried Mary Cocke of Malvern Hill and the marriage produced Martha's half-sister Elizabeth, who married Martha's cousin and became the mother of John Wayles Eppes. After the death of his third wife, John Wayles took up with the slave Betty and had several children, including the famed Sally Hemings.

Martha Wayles, aged 18, first married Bathurst Skelton (1744–1768) and had one son, John Wayles Skelton (1767–1771). Bathurst died in September of 1768 in Williamsburg, Virginia after a sudden illness. Upon her husband's death, Martha moved back to her father's house with her infant son John, who died suddenly of a fever on June 10, 1771.

She probably met Jefferson in Williamsburg about 1768. Following their January 1, 1772 wedding, the Jeffersons honeymooned for about two weeks at The Forest (her father's plantation) before setting out in a two-horse carriage for Monticello (Jefferson's plantation). They made the 100-mile trip in one of the worst snowstorms ever to hit Virginia. Eight miles from their destination, their carriage bogged down in 2–3 feet of snow; they were "obliged to quit the carriage and proceed on horseback". Arriving at Monticello late at night after the slaves had banked the fires and retired for the night, the couple settled in the freezing one-room, twenty foot square brick building, the "Honeymoon Cottage" or South Pavilion. It was to be their home until completion of the famous main house at Monticello.

They had six children:

Martha "Patsy" Washington Jefferson Randolph (1772–1836) Jane Randolph (1774–1775) unnamed son (b./d. 1777) Mary "Polly" Jefferson Eppes (1778–1804) — Polly was said to have resembled her mother. Lucy Elizabeth (1780–1781) Lucy Elizabeth (1782–1785)

Martha was in frail health for much of her marriage. She is believed to have suffered from diabetes, the cause of her childbearing problems. In the famous summer of 1776 she had suffered a miscarriage and was very ill, thus Jefferson's desperation to get out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as soon as possible.

Throughout their almost eleven-year marriage, they appeared to have been wholly devoted to each other. According to slaves who attended her in her final days, Jefferson promised his wife that he would never remarry. Jefferson was inconsolable in his loss and "was led from the room almost in a state of insensibility by his sister Mrs. Carr, who, with great difficulty, got him into his library where he fainted, and remained so long insensible that they feared he would never revive." After the funeral, he withdrew to his room for three weeks. Then he spent endless hours riding horseback alone around Monticello. His daughter Martha wrote, "In those melancholy rambles I was his constant companion, a solitary witness to many a violent burst of grief." Not until mid-October did he begin to resume a normal life when he wrote, "emerging from that stupor of mind which had rendered me as dead to the world as was she whose loss occasioned it."

Martha Jefferson was, according to her daughter and to eyewitness accounts (the French delegation), musical and highly educated, a constant reader, with the greatest fund of good nature, and a vivacious temper that might sometimes border on tartness, but was completely subdued with her husband by her affection for him. She was a little over five feet tall, with a lithe figure, auburn hair, and hazel eyes. She played the keyboard and the guitar, and she was an accomplished needlewoman. Her music book and several examples of her embroidery survive. During Martha's first year at Monticello, she instituted 170 gallons of beer at Monticello, which continued until her husband's death. She was beloved by her neighbors, she raised funds for the cause before and after her tenure as First Lady of Virginia. Martha Washington had contacted Martha to work with the Ladies Association to raise money for the colonial troops. The Association raised $300,000 to buy over 2,000 linen shirts for Washington's army.

When she died following the birth of her sixth child on September 6, 1782 on Friday at 11: 45 AM, Jefferson was distraught. No miniature of her survives, although there is a silhouette {See White House biography link below} and sketches of her younger daughter Maria Eppes, who resembled her mother. Other portraits, reputed to be of her, are of her elder daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph. -------------------- Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson, born Martha Wayles (October 30 [O.S. October 19] 1748 – September 6, 1782) was the wife of Thomas Jefferson, who was the third President of the United States. She never became First Lady of the United States because she died long before her husband was elected to the presidency.

Martha was born to John Wayles (1715–1773) and his first wife Martha Eppes (1712–1748), wealthy plantation owners in Charles City County, Virginia.

Her father was born in Lancaster, England and emigrated alone to Virginia in 1734, at the age of nineteen, leaving family in England. He was a lawyer. Martha's mother was a daughter of Francis Eppes of Bermuda Hundred and was a widow when Wayles married her. As part of her dowry, Martha's mother brought with her a personal slave, Susanna, who had an eleven-year-old daughter by the name of Elizabeth Hemings (Betty). John and Martha's marriage contract provided that Susanna and Betty were to remain the property of Martha Eppes and her heirs forever or be returned to the Eppes family should there be no heirs. This is how the Hemingses came into the custody of Martha Wayles. Martha's mother died when Martha was three weeks old.

Martha's father remarried Mary Cocke of Malvern Hill and the marriage produced Marth's half-sister Elizabeth, who married Martha's cousin and became the mother of John Wayles Eppes. After the death of his third wife, John Wayles took up with the slave Betty and had several children, including the famed Sally Hemings.

Martha Wayles, aged 18, first married Bathurst Skelton (1744–1768) and had one son, John Wayles Skelton (1767–1771). Bathurst Skelton died in September of 1768 in Williamsburg, Virginia after an accident. Upon her husband's death, Martha moved back to her father's house with her infant son, who died suddenly of a fever on June 10, 1771.

She probably met Jefferson in Williamsburg about 1770. Following their January 1, 1772 wedding, the Jeffersons honeymooned for about two weeks at The Forest (her father's plantation) before setting out in a two-horse carriage for Monticello (Jefferson's plantation). They made the 100-mile trip in one of the worst snowstorms ever to hit Virginia. Some miles from their destination, their carriage bogged down in 2–3 feet of snow; they had to complete the journey on horseback. Arriving at Monticello late at night after the slaves had banked the fires and retired for the night, the couple settled in the freezing one-room brick building that was to be their home until completion of the famous main house at Monticello.

They had six children:

Martha Jefferson Randolph (1772–1836)

Jane Randolph (1774–1775)

unnamed son (b./d. 1777)

Mary "Polly" Jefferson Eppes (1778–1804) — Polly was said to have resembled her mother.

Lucy Elizabeth (1780–1781)

Lucy Elizabeth (1782–1785)

Martha was in frail health for much of her marriage. She is believed to have suffered from diabetes, the cause of her childbearing problems. In the famous summer of 1776 she had suffered a miscarriage and was very ill, thus Jefferson's desperation to get out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as soon as possible.

Throughout their 10-year marriage, they appeared to have been wholly devoted to each other. According to slaves who attended her in her final days, Jefferson promised his wife that he would never remarry. Jefferson was inconsolable in his loss. It was said that he collapsed just before she died. After the funeral, he refused to leave his room for three weeks. Then he spent endless hours riding horseback alone around Monticello. Not until mid-October did he begin to resume a normal life.

Martha Jefferson was, according to her daughter and to eyewitness accounts (the French delegation), musical and highly educated, a constant reader, with the greatest fund of good nature, and a vivacious temper that might sometimes border on tartness, but was completely subdued with her husband by her affection for him. She was a little over five feet tall, with a lithe figure, luxuriant auburn hair, and hazel eyes. She played the keyboard and the guitar, and she was an accomplished needlewoman. Her music book and several examples of her embroidery survive. It was she who instituted the brewing of beer at Monticello, which continued until her husband's death. She was beloved by her neighbors, and was a great patriot, raising funds for the cause before and after her tenure as First Lady of Virginia.

When she died following the birth of her sixth child on September 6, 1782, Jefferson was distraught and for years suffered from deep depression. No miniature of her survives, although there is a silhouette {See White House biography link below} and sketches of her daughter Maria Eppes, who resembled her mother. Other portraits, reputed to be of her, are of her daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph.

Wife of Thomas Jefferson. The child of wealthy plantation owners John and Martha (Epps) Wayles, little is known of her early years, save that she was attractive, well-read, and an accomplished pianist. She married Bathurst Skelton in November, 1766, and had one son (who died in 1771) by him; Skelton died in an accident in September, 1768, leaving Patty a rich widow. Sometime in 1770, probably in Williamsburg, she met a rather shy attorney and scholar named Thomas Jefferson, who was then serving in the House of Burgesses. The couple married on New Years Day, 1772, at Mr. Wayles' home, and set-off for Jefferson's new house at Monticello in a major snowstorm. By all accounts, the Jefferson's were happy, and devoted to each other, though Jefferson burned all their letters after her death. Patty's health was never very good, and it was further compromised by having five daughters and a son in 10 years. (Only the daughters Patsy and Polly survived to adulthood). Patty died of the lingering effects of her final childbirth, leaving Jefferson completely prostrated for several weeks. According to legend, Patty, on her deathbed, extracted a promise from Jefferson that he would never remarry; whatever the truth of the story, he never did. (bio by: Bob Hufford) -------------------- Everything you might want to know: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martha_Jefferson

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Martha Skelton Jefferson's Timeline

1748
October 30, 1748
Charles City, Virginia, Colonial America
1766
November 20, 1766
Age 18
1767
November 7, 1767
Age 19
1772
January 1, 1772
Age 23
Williamsburg, James City, Virginia, Colonial America
September 27, 1772
Age 23
Monticello, Albemarle, Virginia, United States
1774
April 3, 1774
Age 25
Monticello, Charlottesville, Albemarle, Virginia, USA
1777
May 28, 1777
Age 28
Monticello, Charlottesville, Albemarle, Virginia, USA
1778
August 1, 1778
Age 29
Monticello, Charlottesville, Albemarle, Virginia, USA
1782
May 8, 1782
Age 33
Monticello, Charlottesvile Albermarle Virginia USA
September 6, 1782
Age 33
Richmond, Virginia, United States