Monticello Slaves who gained freedom

Reading Level: Elementary School

Jefferson freed two slaves in his lifetime and five in his will. Three others ran away and were not pursued. All were members of the Hemings family. The seven he officially freed had skills they could use to earn money.


Freed by Jefferson during his lifetime

  • Robert Hemings (1762-1819), freed 1794
  • James Hemings (1765-1801), freed 1796


Freed in Jefferson’s will (1826-1827)

  • Joseph (Joe) Fossett (1780-1858)
  • Burwell Colbert (1783-1850+)
  • Madison Hemings (1805-1856)
  • John Hemmings (1776-1833)
  • Eston Hemings (1808-1856)


Left Monticello but not pursued

  • James Hemings (born 1787)
  • Beverly Hemings (born 1798)
  • Harriet Hemings (born 1801)


Other Monticello slaves who gained freedom

Many other Monticello slaves also gained freedom. Most gained their freedom after being sold following Jefferson’s death in 1826. A few successfully ran away.