Monticello mansion
A view of Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, Charlottesville, Virginia, 1950. Getty Images

Sally Hemings, who was one of the 607 slaves kept by Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the U.S., was believed to be the mother of six of his children. The room of Hemings at Monticello mansion, Virginia, is currently under repair as part of a $35 million restoration project, and will be open for public next year.

Born in 1773, Hemings was the daughter of John Wayles, who was allegedly Jefferson’s father-in-law. She entered the Jeffersons household as part of the inheritance, which Jefferson acquired from his father-in-law in 1774. As a child, Hemings looked after Jefferson’s younger daughter. Hemings was 14 years old in 1787, when she accompanied Jefferson’s daughter to Paris where he was serving as the American minister to France and had called his daughter to join him.

According to accounts from Hemings’ son Madison, Jefferson and Hemings' personal relationship began in France. Jefferson was 44 years old and Hemings was 14 at that time.

The Monticello restoration will not just put the limelight on Hemings but will also tell the stories of the hundreds of slaves of Jefferson, who worked there for a lifetime.

"The Mountaintop Project is a multi-year effort to restore Monticello as Jefferson knew it, and to tell the stories of the people—enslaved and free—who lived and worked on the 5,000-acre plantation," according to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.

With the restoration work of Hemings’ room, Monticello historians hope that it helps erase from people’s minds the gossipy details about Jefferson and Hemings’ alleged relationship and will bring out her other side, which is not known to many.

“Sally Hemings was better traveled than most Americans, so we want to tell a story about her that doesn’t limit her to Jefferson’s property,” said Gary Sandling, a vice president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns and runs Monticello as a museum, according to the Washington Post.

The relationship between Jefferson and Hemings was reportedly denied for decades by his White descendants. Jefferson too tried his best not to take down notes or keep any records of Hemings during his lifetime despite his nature of taking down detailed notes of each of his slaves.

Historians have not been able to trace any photographs of Hemings, and mystery still surrounds the secret alliance between Jefferson and Hemings. In the early 1800s when Jefferson’s critics started writing indecent stories about his long-term liaison with one of his slaves, it was said that he kept her “in a room of her own” at Monticello, according to the Post.