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Woman of the Century/Martha Wayles Jefferson

JEFFERSON, Mrs. Martha Wayles, wife of Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States, born 19th October, 1748, in Charles City county, Va., and died 6th September, 1782, in Monticello, the President's country home, near Charlottesville, Va. She was the daughter of John Wayles, a wealthy lawyer. She received a thorough education and was a woman of strong intellectual powers, great refinement and many accomplishments. She was married at an early age to Bathurst Skelton, who died and left her a widow before she was twenty years old. Her hand was sought by many prominent men, among whom was Thomas Jefferson, the successful suitor. They were married 1st January, 1772, and set out for Monticello. Five children were born to them. In 1781 Mrs. Jefferson's health failed, and her husband refused a European mission in order to be with her. Her fifth child was born in May, 1782, and she died in the following autumn. Her husband's devotion to her partook of the romantic. Two of their children died in infancy. Mrs. Jefferson was a woman of mark in her time.