The Info List - John Wayles

John Wayles (January 31, 1715 – May 28, 1773) was a planter, slave trader and lawyer in the Virginia Colony. He is historically best known as the father-in-law of Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States.


1 Early life and education 2 Career 3 Marriage and family 4 Elizabeth Hemings and children 5 Legacy 6 See also 7 Further reading 8 References 9 External links

Early life and education[edit] Born in Lancaster, England
in 1715, to Edward Wayles and wife Ellen Ashburner, Wayles emigrated as a young man to the English colony of Virginia, likely during the 1730s. Career[edit] In Virginia, Wayles became part of the planter elite. His plantation, called "The Forest", was located in Charles City County. This was one of the first four shires in the colony and located in the Tidewater region along the north side of the James River. Wayles also worked as a lawyer and slave trader. Jefferson began legal work for Wayles in 1768. [1] Marriage and family[edit] Wayles married Martha Eppes (b. at Bermuda Hundred
Bermuda Hundred
on 10 April 1721) on 3 May 1746. As part of the wedding settlement, her parents gave the new couple an African slave woman and her young mixed-race daughter Elizabeth or Betty Hemings. The girl was the daughter of an English sea captain named Hemings. Hemings family tradition tells that Captain Hemings tried to buy Elizabeth from Wayles; but he refused to sell her.[2] Martha Eppes Wayles gave birth to fraternal twins on 23 December 1746, but the girl was stillborn and the boy lived only a few hours.[citation needed] About two years later, on 30 October 1748, Martha Wayles had her only surviving child, also named Martha.[citation needed] The mother died less than a week later on 5 November 1748, at the age of 27. In those years, women had a high rate of mortality related to childbirth. Secondly, Wayles married Mary of the Cocke family, also of the planter class of Malvern Hill. They had several children:

Sarah, did not survive to adulthood. Elizabeth, born 24 February 1752; she married an Eppes. Tabitha, born 16 November 1753; and Anne, born 26 August 1756.

Wayles' second wife died sometime between August 1756 and 1759. On 26 January 1760, Wayles married his third wife, Elizabeth Lomax Skelton (she was the widow of Reuben Skelton, an older brother of his daughter Martha's first husband). They had no children. She died on 10 February 1761. Elizabeth Hemings and children[edit] Several sources attest that after the death of his third wife, the widower Wayles took his mixed-race slave Elizabeth Hemings, then about 26 years old, as his mistress.[3] According to the oral history presented by Madison Hemings, Betty Hemings "was taken by the widower Wayles as his concubine."[4] Elizabeth, also called Betty, already had four children. Together, Wayles and Betty Hemings had six mixed-race children, (often called "a shadow family" in that society[citation needed]):

Robert, James, Critta, Thenia, Peter, and Sally Hemings.[5]

As their mother was a slave, the children were all born into slavery under the principle of partus sequitur ventrum, which had been part of Virginia law since 1662. They were three-quarters European in ancestry and half-siblings to Wayles' daughters by his wives. Wayles was not known to acknowledge his children by Betty, nor did he free her or them in his will. Legacy[edit] His first daughter Martha first married Bathurst Skelton, younger brother of Reuben Skelton. He died young. A few years later, Martha married Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
in 1772. They had two daughters who survived to adulthood, but only one lived past age 25. Her father, John Wayles, died a year later at age 58 in 1773. He left substantial property, including slaves, but the estate was encumbered with debt.[6] Martha and her husband Jefferson inherited all eleven members of the Hemings family and 125 other slaves, 11,000 acres of land, and ₤4,000 in debt. Jefferson and other co-executors of the Wayles estate worked for years to clear it of debt. Martha died in 1782 and most historians believe that years later the widower Jefferson took his wife's mixed race half-sister, Sally Hemings, a slave woman he owned as his concubine and fathered her six children.[7] See also[edit]

Sally Hemings Jefferson– Hemings controversy Annette Gordon-Reed

Further reading[edit]

Annette Gordon-Reed
Annette Gordon-Reed
(1997/1998), Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy, reprint with new foreword about DNA
evidence, Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia
University of Virginia
Press. Annette Gordon-Reed, (2008), The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. Robert F. Turner (2001/2011), The Jefferson- Hemings Controversy: Report of the Scholars Commission , Durham,NC: Carolina Academic Press. Cynthia H. Burton (2005), Jefferson Vindicated: Fallacies, Omissions, and Contradictions in the Hemings Genealogical Search "", Charlottesville, VA: Self published.


^ Meacham, Jon (2012). Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power. p. 54. ISBN 9781400067664.  ^ "Memoirs of Madison Hemings". Frontline. Public Broadcasting Service - WGBH Boston. Retrieved 29 November 2011.  ^ "John Wayles", Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Encyclopedia, Monticello, accessed 10 March 2011. Sources cited on page: Madison Hemings, "Life Among the Lowly," Pike County Republican, March 13, 1873. Letter of December 20, 1802 from Thomas Gibbons, a Federalist planter of Georgia, to Jonathan Dayton, states that Sally Hemings
Sally Hemings
"is half sister to his [Jefferson's] first wife." ^ Blassingame, John (1977). Slave Testimony: Two Centuries of Letters, Speeches, Interviews, and Autobiographies. p. 475. ISBN 0807102733.  ^ "John Wayles", Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Encyclopedia, Monticello, accessed 10 March 2011. Note: Thomas Turner letter published in the Boston Repertory of May 31, 1805, referring to John Wayles and Sally Hemings, said that "an opinion has existed . . . that this very Sally is the natural daughter of Mr. Wales (sic), who was the father of the actual Mrs. Jefferson." ("Natural" as applied to children meant illegitimate.) ^ Death notice from The Virginia Gazette, June 3, 1773: "On Friday last died, at his house in Charles City, JOHN WAYLES, Esquire, attorney at law." ^ " Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
and Sally Hemings: A Brief Account". Monticello. Retrieved 6 November 2017.  Quote: "Ten years later [referring to its 2000 report], TJF [ Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Foundation] and most historians now believe that, years after his wife's death, Thomas Jefferson was the father of the six children of Sally Hemings mentioned in Jefferson's records, including Beverly, Harriet, Madison and Eston Hemings."

Nash, Gary B.; Hodges, Graham R.G. (2008), Friends of Liberty: Thomas Jefferson, Tadeusz Kosciuszko, and Agrippa Hull. A Tale of Three Patriots, Two Revolutions, and A Tragic Betrayal Of Freedom In The New Nation, pp. 129–130, New York: Basic Books

External links[edit]

"Getting Word; African Americans at Monticello", Plantation & Slavery, Monticello Genealogy.com - The Wayles Family; First Generation

v t e

Thomas Jefferson

3rd President of the United States
President of the United States
(1801–1809) 2nd U.S. Vice President (1797–1801) 1st U.S. Secretary of State (1790–1793) U.S. Minister to France (1785–1789) 2nd Governor of Virginia
Governor of Virginia
(1779–1781) Delegate, Second Continental Congress
Second Continental Congress

Founding documents of the United States

A Summary View of the Rights of British America (1774) Initial draft, Olive Branch Petition
Olive Branch Petition
(1775) Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms (1775) 1776 Declaration of Independence

Committee of Five authored physical history "All men are created equal" "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" "Consent of the governed"

1786 Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom

freedom of religion

French Revolution

Co-author, Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen


Inaugural Address (1801 1805) Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves Louisiana Purchase Lewis and Clark Expedition

Corps of Discovery timeline Empire of Liberty

Red River Expedition Pike Expedition Cumberland Road Embargo Act of 1807

Chesapeake–Leopard affair Non-Intercourse Act of 1809

First Barbary War Native American policy Marbury v. Madison West Point Military Academy State of the Union Addresses (texts 1801 1802 1805) Cabinet Federal judicial appointments

Other noted accomplishments

Early life and career Founder, University of Virginia


Land Ordinance of 1784

Northwest Ordinance 1787

Anti-Administration party Democratic-Republican Party Jeffersonian democracy

First Party System republicanism

Plan for Establishing Uniformity in the Coinage, Weights, and Measure of the United States (1790) Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions A Manual of Parliamentary Practice (1801)

Jeffersonian architecture

Barboursville Farmington Monticello


Poplar Forest University of Virginia

The Rotunda The Lawn

Virginia State Capitol White House
White House

Other writings

Notes on the State of Virginia
Notes on the State of Virginia
(1785) 1787 European journey memorandums Indian removal letters Jefferson Bible
Jefferson Bible
(1895) Jefferson manuscript collection at the Massachusetts Historical Society The Papers of Thomas Jefferson


Age of Enlightenment American Enlightenment American Philosophical Society American Revolution


Member, Virginia Committee of Correspondence Committee of the States Founding Fathers of the United States Franco-American alliance Jefferson and education Religious views Jefferson and slavery Jefferson and the Library of Congress Jefferson disk Jefferson Pier Pet mockingbird National Gazette Residence Act

Compromise of 1790

Sally Hemings

Jefferson– Hemings controversy Betty Hemings

Separation of church and state Swivel chair The American Museum magazine Virginia dynasty


United States Presidential election 1796 1800 1804


Bibliography Jefferson Memorial Mount Rushmore Birthday Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Building Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Center for the Protection of Free Expression Jefferson Lecture Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Star for Foreign Service Jefferson Lab Monticello
Association Jefferson City, Missouri Jefferson College Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
School of Law Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
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Jefferson nickel Two-dollar bill

U.S. postage stamps

Popular culture

Ben and Me (1953 short) 1776 (1969 musical 1972 film) Jefferson in Paris
Jefferson in Paris
(1995 film) Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
(1997 film) Liberty! (1997 documentary series) Liberty's Kids
Liberty's Kids
(2002 animated series) John Adams
John Adams
(2008 miniseries) Jefferson's Garden (2015 play) Hamilton (2015 musical) Jefferson–Eppes Trophy Wine bottles controversy


Peter Jefferson
Peter Jefferson
(father) Jane Randolph Jefferson
Jane Randolph Jefferson
(mother) Lucy Jefferson Lewis (sister) Randolph Jefferson (brother) Isham Randolph (grandfather) William Randolph
William Randolph
(great-grandfather) Martha Jefferson
Martha Jefferson
(wife) Martha Jefferson
Martha Jefferson
Randolph (daughter) Mary Jefferson Eppes (daughter) Harriet Hemings (daughter) Madison Hemings
Madison Hemings
(son) Eston Hemings (son) Thomas J. Randolph (grandson) Francis Eppes (grandson) George W. Randolph
George W. Randolph
(grandson) John Wayles Jefferson
John Wayles Jefferson
(grandson) Thomas Mann Randolph Jr.
Thomas Mann Randolph Jr.
(son-in-law) John Wayles Eppes (son-in-law) John Wayles (father-in-law) Dabney Carr
Dabney Carr
(brother-in-law) Dabney Carr
Dabney Carr

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