Hemings

George Hughes

George Hughes was related to two important enslaved families at Monticello, the Hemings family through his father and the Granger family through his mother, Ursula Granger Hughes (1787–after 1847).  After Jefferson’s death in 1826, Hughes, his mother, and his siblings remained in slavery at Edgehill, the plantation of Jefferson’s grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph; his father was given his freedom unofficially.

After Emancipation in 1865, George Hughes was a farm manager at Edgehill, while his wife, Sarah Jane, was cook at the Edgehill School for Girls.  Hughes was a deacon of the Union Run Baptist church pastored by his brother Rev. Robert Hughes.  In 1870 George Hughes and his friend Lewis Hern, grandson of Monticello slaves David and Isabel Hern, made a successful bid for one hundred acres of Albemarle County farmland.  Hughes and Hern (Hearns) descendants still live on the property today.

Lloyd Hughes, Jr.

In 1996, four generations of the Hughes family of Fauquier County came to Monticello soon after learning of their descent from Rev. Robert Hughes of Union Run Baptist Church and head gardener Wormley Hughes of Monticello.  The connection might have been broken because their ancestor, also Wormley Hughes (1851-1901), left Albemarle County with the Union army in the confusion at the end of the Civil War. Lloyd Hughes, known as Peter, attended the University of Maryland and works for the Coca-Cola company.

Lloyd Hughes, Sr.

In 1996, four generations of the Hughes family of Fauquier County came to Monticello soon after learning of their descent from Rev. Robert Hughes of Union Run Baptist Church and head gardener Wormley Hughes of Monticello. The connection might have been broken because their ancestor, also Wormley Hughes (1851-1901), left Albemarle County with the Union army in the confusion at the end of the Civil War.

Lloyd Hughes, a lifelong resident of Fauquier County, VA, served in the U. S. Army in World War II and afterward worked as a carpenter and cook. He was proud of how his daughter Karen White’s research made the connection to Monticello and recalled his father, John Henry Hughes, who worked with horses and as a gardener, as did his Monticello ancestor:  “Gardening, it all comes back to that, yard and gardening.”

Robert Hughes

Robert Hughes was related to two important enslaved families at Monticello, the Hemings family through his father and the Granger family through his mother, Ursula Granger Hughes (1787–post 1847).  After Jefferson’s death in 1826, Robert Hughes, his mother, and his siblings remained in slavery at Edgehill, the plantation of Jefferson’s grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph; his father was given his freedom unofficially. 

Robert Hughes was the Edgehill blacksmith and a Baptist preacher.  He and his wife, Sidney Evans, a household servant, and their children became free at the end of the Civil War.  Hughes began acquiring land, owning 130 acres at his death.  He was the founding minister of the still-flourishing Union Run Baptist Church adjacent to Edgehill.  In 1997 Getting Word participants, including Timothy Hughes and some of his other descendants, witnessed the rediscovery of his grave marker.  The first word revealed on the stone was “Memory.”  

Wormley Hughes

Wormley Hughes was the oldest son of Betty Brown; his father has not been identified.  As a boy, he worked in the Monticello house and the Mulberry Row nailery.  He became head gardener, preparing flower beds and planting seeds, bulbs, and trees.  He also had charge of the valuable carriage and saddle horses in the Monticello stables.  He dug the grave of his master, who had called him “one of the most trusty servants I have.

Wormley Hughes and his wife, Ursula Granger, a niece of Isaac Granger Jefferson, had twelve children.  Hughes was informally freed by Jefferson’s daughter Martha Randolph, while the rest of his family was sold at the 1827 dispersal sale.  Ursula and some of their children were acquired by the Randolphs, for whom Hughes continued to work.  The Randolphs long remembered one of his expressions: “I am in no wise discouraged.”  Wormley and Ursula Hughes’s descendants include several ministers, as well as farmers, gardeners, blacksmiths, teachers, and archivists. 

Ann-Elizabeth Fossett Isaacs

Ann-Elizabeth Fossett was the daughter of Joseph Fossett, an enslaved blacksmith, and Edith Hern Fossett, an enslaved cook at Monticello. While her father was freed in Jefferson’s will, Ann-Elizabeth, her mother, and six of her siblings were sold in the 1827 dispersal sale. Through her family’s efforts, Ann-Elizabeth gained her freedom in 1837 and moved with her parents, her husband, Tucker Isaacs, and their children to Ohio. The Isaacs family remained in Ohio only a few years, returning to Charlottesville, where a number of their family members remained, some still in slavery. 

In 1850, Ann-Elizabeth Isaacs and her family returned to Ohio, settling on a 158-acre farm in Ross County. Their home is still remembered as a station on the Underground Railroad and their descendants—most notably William Monroe Trotter—continued the fight for freedom and racial equality. As descendant Virginia Craft Rose said in her interview, “Whatever you feel strongly about, fight for it because that’s part of your heritage.”

Fountain Hughes

Fountain Hughes spent his boyhood in slavery on the Hydraulic Mills property of the Burnley family near Charlottesville.  After the Civil War, in which his father was killed while with the Confederate Army, his mother, Mary Hughes, had to hire Fountain out for a dollar a month.  In the 1880s he purchased horses and a carriage and worked as a hack driver, but soon sought greater opportunities in Baltimore, MD.  There he worked for several decades for the Shirley family as a farmer and gardener. 

An interview with Fountain Hughes in 1949 is among the few surviving sound recordings of former slaves.  He had vivid memories of slavery in central Virginia and of the harsh conditions for black people during and after the Civil War.  His longevity attracted notice and led to numerous articles about him in Baltimore newspapers.  Shallie Marshall, his only surviving descendant, remembers outings to the Shirley farm to visit her great-grandfather, “Pap.”