Mary <I>Jefferson</I> Bolling


Mary Jefferson Bolling

Goochland County, Virginia, USA
Death Jan 1804 (aged 62)
Chesterfield County, Virginia, USA
Burial Burial Details Unknown
Memorial ID 194297196 View Source

Mary Jefferson Bolling (1741-1804) was Thomas Jefferson's older sister. Born on October 1, 1741, she was the second of the ten children born to Jane Randolph and Peter Jefferson. She may have been born at her parents' residence at Fine Creek.1

Mary Jefferson married John Bolling (1737-1800) on January 24, 1760. They had ten children:

John, Jr. (Jack) (March 24, 1762-?),2 m. ca. 1786 Mary Kennon3
Thomas (February 11, 1764-December 1784)4
Jane (September 17, 1765-before May 1796)5
Ann (July 18, 1767-1785)6 m. Captain Howell Lewis
Martha (b. 1769)7 m. Peter Field Archer8
Edward (September 17, 1772-1835)9 m. Dorothy Paine (Payne)10
Robert m. Jane Payne11
Archibald m. Catherine Payne12
Mary (Polly, d. 1798) m. Edward Archer13
Son (name unknown, d. 1787)
The Bollings lived at Fairfields in Goochland County and Lickinghole Creek, just west of Goochland Courthouse. In 1785, they moved to Chestnut Grove, Bolling's family plantation in Chesterfield County, while their oldest son Jack assumed ownership of Fairfields.14

Letters among Thomas Jefferson, Mary Jefferson Bolling, and their sister Martha Jefferson Carr, as well as Jefferson's daughter Maria Jefferson Eppes, reveal affectionate family relationships. It is apparent, however, that John Bolling suffered from alcoholism, and that this was the cause of major strain in the family. Maria wrote to Jefferson in 1797 that Bolling was "much as usual, in a state of constant intemperance allmost, he is happy only with his glass in his hand ...."15 Her father spoke frankly to her of "mr. B's habitual intoxication" and his "attachment to the bottle."16 On April 22, 1800, John Wayles Eppes wrote to Jefferson, "We have reason to suppose Mr. Bolling is dead—He has been confined for some time dangerously ill & we heard yesterday it was all over—It is not absolutely certain, but I have every reason to suppose the report well founded—"17

Mary Bolling herself outlived her husband by only four years. In late January of 1804, Jefferson's granddaughter Ann Cary Randolph wrote to inform him of her death, although the exact date is not certain. Her burial location is unknown.


In their memory
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