Mary Bell (Hemings) (1753 - c.1835) MP

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Nicknames: "Jefferson;"
Birthplace: Charles City, VA, USA
Death: Died in Charlottesville, VA, USA
Managed by: Catherine "Erin" Serafina Liora Spiceland
Last Updated:

About Mary Bell (Hemings)

Mary Hemings Bell:

Mary Hemings, also known as Mary Hemings Bell (1753-after 1834), was born into slavery, most likely in Charles City County, Virginia, as the oldest child of Elizabeth Hemings, a mixed-race slave held by John Wayles. After the death of Wayles in 1773, Elizabeth, Mary and her family were inherited by Thomas Jefferson, the husband of Martha Wayles Skelton, a daughter of Wayles, and all moved to Monticello.

While Jefferson was in France, Hemings was hired out to Thomas Bell, a wealthy white merchant in Charlottesville, Virginia. She became his common-law wife and they had two children together. Bell purchased her and the children from Jefferson in 1792 and informally freed them. Mary Hemings Bell was the first Hemings to gain freedom. The couple lived together all their lives. (They were prohibited from marriage by Virginia law at the time.)

In 2007 Mary Hemings Bell was recognized as a Patriot of the Daughters of the American Revolution, because she had been taken as a prisoner of war during the American Revolution. By this honor, all her female descendants are eligible to join the DAR.

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Mary Bell's Timeline

1753
1753
Charles City, VA, USA
1775
1775
Age 22
Charlottesville, Virginia, United States
1777
1777
Age 24
1780
1780
Age 27
1783
1783
Age 30
1835
1835
Age 82
Charlottesville, VA, USA
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