m. 13 Oct 1797
Facts and Events
John Wayles Eppes (April 19, 1773September 13, 1823) was an attorney, a United States Representative and a Senator from Virginia. One of the wealthy planter class, he married his first cousin Maria Jefferson, the youngest surviving daughter of Martha Wayles Skelton and Thomas Jefferson. After her early death following the birth of her third child, Eppes was a widower for five years before marrying Martha Burke Jones from North Carolina.
Descendants of his slave Betsy Hemmings, who was with his household from the age of 14, say that Eppes as a widower took her as a concubine when she was about 21. The oral tradition among her descendants is that their relationship continued through his second marriage, and she had several children with him. Hemmings was buried next to Eppes in the planter's family cemetery at Millbrook plantation, and her grave is marked by a fine tombstone. Martha Jones Eppes chose to be buried at her daughter's plantation.
Eppes was born at Eppington in Chesterfield County, Virginia, the only son and youngest of six children of Francis Eppes and Elizabeth (née Wayles) on April 19, 1773. He attended the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia and graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia in 1786. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1794 and commenced practice in Richmond, Virginia.