Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson is not likely remembered… on her birthday- it is too close to the sad spectacle that is Halloween and she seems an inconvenient part of a private life made all too public. Jon Meacham, Andrew Burstein, and Annette Gordon-Reed view Jefferson’s beloved wife as just another one of his victims- these “experts” crafting the historical image of Jefferson as “an ardent lover” at best, at worst a sex fiend.
How else could a beautiful, talented, and educated… young widow be duped so completely; unless the master sexual predator of his day ensnared her in his diabolical web?
We know very little of their relationship… because Jefferson wanted it that way. What we can figure is that they were kindred. Perhaps, Jefferson had truly found the female incarnation of himself. Her death changed him forever. Her life should not be discounted nor pitied.