The Life Of Thomas Jefferson's Most Trusted Servants

1651 WordsOct 15, 20157 Pages
Among the hundreds of slaves at Monticello resided James Hemings, a young man who, through his renown family and unique skills, became one of Thomas Jefferson 's most trusted servants. Son of Elizabeth Hemings, a half African, half European slave, and John Wayles, Jefferson 's Father-in-Law, James was a half brother of Martha Jefferson. James and his direct siblings, although considered to be black based on the ethnicity of their mother, were actually only one fourth African, with the remaining three fourths of his ethnicity being European. This led their appearance to be described as "bright" when compared to the other slaves. The blood connection kept the Hemings family closer to the Jefferson family than any other slaves. James travelled throughout the country and beyond with Jefferson, accompanying him to France after he accepted a position as America 's ambassador. Leaving in 1784, James followed Jefferson, who had brought the young slave to learn the art of French cooking. In 1787, James and Jefferson were joined by another member of the Hemings family, Sally, a girl of only fourteen years at the time who would eventually become Jefferson 's mistress. However, by entering France, the two young slaves had become free through the country 's "Freedom Principle," which invalidated any form of human ownership on the French mainland soil. For the next two years in France, James would continue developing his skills as a chef and Sally would gain experience as a lady 's
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