Monday, November 06, 2006

Paternity of Sally Hemings' Children: You Decide

Unfortunately, we will never know the truth as to whether or not Thomas Jefferson sired the children of Sally Hemings until the body of Thomas Jefferson is exhumed and his DNA is extracted and tested against those who claim to be descendants of Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson.

I tend to believe that Thomas Jefferson probably did not father any of Sally Hemings' children because there are plausible explanations for the evidence we see that "seem" to point toward Thomas as the father and because he was so dead-set against miscegenation. I realize that a strong belief in something does not guarantee one will always adhere to that belief, but most people do adhere to what they strongly believe.

These two sites weigh the evidence and come to different conclusions. You decide for yourself.

Thomas Jefferson Is Probably Not The Father of Sally Hemings' Children

Thomas Jefferson Probably IS The Father of Sally Hemings' Children

One thing I have learned about the historians who are of a liberal mind-set is that they WILL edit some of the correspondence to suit their purposes and pass it on to the unassuming public. They did it to malign the character of George Washington and they've done it with Thomas Jefferson in trying to prove that he had easy and secret access to Sally Hemings. This example comes from Annette Gordon-Reed's book Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy. She changed the wording in an 1858 letter written by Thomas Jefferson's granddaugher, Ellen Randolph Coolidge, to her husband denying the possiblity of a Jefferson-Hemings relationship.

Bryan Craig, research librarian at the Jefferson Library, at Monticello, Jefferson’s estate, faxed this reporter a photocopy of the original Coolidge letter.

The letter actually said, "His [Jefferson’s] apartments had no private entrance not perfectly accessible and visible to all the household. No female domestic ever entered his chambers except at hours when he was known not to be there and none could have entered without being exposed to the public gaze."

In Prof. Gordon-Reed’s hands, the second sentence changed, as if by magic, to "No female domestic ever entered his chambers except at hours when he was known not to be in the public gaze."

Gordon-Reed’s changes turned the letter’s meaning on its head, supporting claims that Jefferson could have had secret trysts with Hemings. Either Gordon-Reed committed one of the most dramatic copying errors in the annals of academia, or one of the most egregious acts of academic fraud of the past generation.

Ironically, it was Prof. Gordon-Reed, who politely, promptly, directed me to the Jefferson Library, where I obtained a copy of the original Coolidge letter. After I e-mailed her three times about the discrepancy, Prof. Gordon-Reed finally responded, “As to the discrepancy, there was an error in transcription in my book. It was corrected for future printings.”

In January, 2000, a panel of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation (TJMF, since renamed the Thomas Jefferson Foundation), which owns Jefferson’s Monticello home, released its Monticello report claiming there was a “strong likelihood” that Jefferson had fathered ALL of Hemings’ children.

The “scholars” who prepared the tendentious, 2000 Monticello report, led by Prof. Gordon-Reed’s reported friends, Dianne Swann-Wright and Lucia Stanton, could not be bothered to study the original Coolidge letter, and instead cited the false version published in Gordon-Reed’s book. Likewise, in 2000, Boston PBS station, WGBH, presented a “documentary,” Jefferson’s Blood, which perpetuated the hoax. The Monticello Report still cites the altered Coolidge letter (on p. 6, under "Primary Sources", and the PBS/WGBH web site for Jefferson’s Blood still has the phony version posted, in its entirety,, three years after it was proven to be false, a practice typical of the Jefferson-Hemings hoax industry as a whole.


It is true that it is still on the PBS website. I have read it for myself.

I do realize that there is a possiblity that Thomas Jefferson is the father of Sally Hemings' children, but at this point it is not a proven fact and there are too many plausible explanations for the evidence at hand. I would be very disappointed to learn that Thomas Jefferson did indeed father Sally Hemings' children.

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At Monday, December 25, 2006 6:20:00 AM, Blogger J. Wendell said...

Merry Christmas!

At Friday, December 29, 2006 1:55:00 AM, Blogger Dawn said...

Merry Christmas to you too! Hope you have a Happy New Year!

At Friday, December 29, 2006 9:03:00 AM, Blogger J. Wendell said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At Sunday, January 07, 2007 4:46:00 PM, Blogger J. Wendell said...

Ops, Thanks!

At Thursday, February 08, 2007 1:59:00 PM, Blogger Eye said...

What's happening?

At Friday, February 09, 2007 1:25:00 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Hey Eye! Great to see you. I'm busy with all manner of things (e.g., household, ministry, etc.).

What about you? What are you up to these days? Will we see a new blog entry from you anytime soon?


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