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Martha Jefferson: An Intimate Life with Thomas Jefferson

2.85  ·  Rating details ·  13 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Martha Jefferson is the first and only biography of Thomas Jefferson's greatest love and true kindred spirit, who died an untimely death at the young age of thirty-three in 1782. Drawing on a wealth of newly probed sources--including family letters, documents, and the handwritten notes left by Jefferson's famed biographer, Dumas Malone--William G. Hyland Jr. captures the c ...more
Hardcover, 310 pages
Published March 15th 2015 by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (first published November 1st 2014)
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The Colonial
Mar 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Native Virginian William G. Hyland Jr. has two books behind him featuring Thomas Jefferson, and his third moves to the Sage of Monticello’s late wife, Martha Skelton Jefferson. While it is a known fact that unfortunately Thomas burned all of his correspondence and musings upon Martha’s untimely death, Hyland claims in his introduction that through new resources found from Monticello slaves, the Skelton family, and Jefferson friends and neighbors, his research will provide a birth to death accoun ...more
May 04, 2016 rated it did not like it
Bad on me when I continued reading this 'biography' when the author admits readily that there are almost no original sources about poor old Martha's short life. This book smacked of being a love story to Jefferson, constantly challenging all the stories and speculations regarding Sally Hemings and her mother Betty while giving us very few facts about Martha. "No doubt" is used liberally throughout the book as the author speculates on Martha's contributions to the design of Monticello, her relati ...more
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was ok
Seemed a bit repetitive and speculative
Christa Van
Nov 13, 2016 rated it it was ok

Martha Wayles Skelton was a young widow when she met Thomas Jefferson. By most accounts, he was quickly smitten with her and she with him. They had a loving and happy marriage for ten years before she died at a young age after having not recovered from childbirth. Her death devastated Jefferson who did not leave his room for weeks afterwards. Although she didn't live to serve as the first lady, there is a lot of evidence that she influenced Jefferson's thinking a lot.

Unfortunately for historian
Jun 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Thomas and Martha Jefferson endured many hardships during the 10 years of their marriage, Infant deaths, the revolutionary era, and many absences from each other. Through it all they loved and supported each other. The grief stricken Thomas destroyed most letters and portraits of Martha after her death at 33 years of age, therefore, this author relied on other people's recollections and much research to complete her story. I enjoyed reading about Martha and learning more about that time in histo ...more
Dave Hoff
May 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A love story, not included in any Bio. I've read on Thomas Jefferson. A man with many gifted talents, putting them aside to tend his dying wife. Author brings out what a soulpmate, as involved with the building of Monticello and saving what she could when the British attacked, looking to kill her husband. Her relationship with the Hennings from Martha's surrogate mother, Betty Henning, to Sally and her siblings. Much about devotion in the book. Author no sensation seeker.
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William G. Hyland Jr., a native of Virginia, received his B.A. from the University of Alabama and a J.D. from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law. Before law school, he worked with a Top Secret security clearance for the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency in Washington, D. C. Hyland is a member of the Virginia and New York Historical Societies. He now lives and writes in Tampa Bay, Flor ...more

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