Peter Hemings was the son of Betty Hemings, matriach of the Hemings family at Monticello, and was an older brother of Sally Hemings. According to Jefferson, Peter learned brewing "with entire success" and possessed "great intelligence and diligence both of which are necessary." Confident of Hemings's skill, Jefferson suggested to James Madison the that he send someone to Monticello learn brewing from Peter in 1820.
Besides his periodic brewing tasks, Peter Hemings was the Monticello tailor. From 1796 until 1809 he had been the principal cook. Jefferson prasied his muffins as a "great luxury to me." Hemings and his wife Betsy had at least five children. Purchased by a relative after Jefferson's death and given his freedom, he earned a living as a tailor in Charlottesville.