Author: Madison Hemings

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

“Life Among the Lowly, No. 1” by Madison Hemings (March 13, 1873)

In “Life Among the Lowly, No. 1,” published in the Pike County Republican on March 13, 1873, Madison Hemings writes about his father, Thomas Jefferson, his mother, Sally Hemings, and his enslaved upbringing at Monticello. The title is likely a reference to Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1852). Located in Waverly, Ohio, the Republican was edited by S. F. Wetmore, a Republican Party member who was interested in the plight of freedmen. He conducted the interview with Hemings and likely assisted in the writing of the memoir. An editorial published five days later by the competing Waverly Watchmen called into question Hemings’s motives. In December, Wetmore published another memoir, “Life Among the Lowly, No. 3”—this one by Israel Jefferson, another former Monticello slave.

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