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Mistress Myrina Doulieur - Milwaukee. President Thomas Jefferson and his slave, Sally Hemings , and whether he fathered some or all of her six recorded children.

For more than years, most historians denied rumors from Jefferson's presidency that he had a slave concubine. Based on his grandson's report, they said that one of his nephews had been the father of Hemings' children.

Ellis had said, "The alleged liaison between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings may be described as the longest-running miniseries in American history.

Beginning in , new documentation related to this issue was published and studied by historians. In a article in American Heritage [4] and later in her bestselling biography of Jefferson, Fawn M.

Brodie suggested Jefferson had been the father of Hemings' children. In the controversy was reopened when Annette Gordon-Reed published an analysis of the historiography on this issue, deconstructing previous versions and detailing oversights and bias.

African-American historian John Hope Franklin noted all the mulattos and mixed-race slaves of the period and said, "These things [interracial liaisons] were part of the natural landscape in Virginia, and Mr.

Jefferson was as likely as any others to have done this because it's in character with the times—and indeed, with him, who believed in exploiting these people that he controlled completely.

Historically, in the s Jefferson's eldest grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph , told historian Henry Randall that the late Peter Carr , a married nephew of Jefferson's the son of his sister , had fathered Hemings' children; Randolph asked Randall to refrain from addressing the issue in his biography.

Randall passed on this information to James Parton, another historian. Parton published the Carr story, and major historians of Jefferson generally denied Jefferson's paternity for nearly years.

While some historians challenged the denial, a changed consensus did not emerge until after a Y chromosome DNA analysis was done in The DNA study showed a match between a descendant of the Jefferson male line, a descendant of Field Jefferson, and a descendant of Eston Hemings , Sally's youngest son.

It showed no match between the Carr line and the Hemings descendant. In the majority view, the DNA evidence is consistent with Jefferson being the father of Eston Hemings, plus the historical evidence favors Jefferson's paternity for all of Hemings' children.

Since then the organization has reflected this change in its exhibits, as well as publications about Jefferson and his times.

The revelations have stimulated works by a variety of scholars, who have used the consensus as a basis for studies into Jefferson, the Hemings family, and interracial American society.

In June , the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, with introduction of the new exhibit on Sally Hemings, asserted the relationship is "settled historical matter".

Jefferson became a widower at age 39 in He never remarried and died in She accompanied his daughter Maria to France in , when Hemings was 14, where they are believed to have started a sexual relationship at some time before , when she returned with him to Monticello.

Most historians now believe that Jefferson had a relationship with Hemings that lasted nearly four decades, until his death, and that Jefferson fathered her six children.

Four of Hemings' children survived to adulthood. In the antebellum period , hers would have been called a "shadow family". Historians believe her father to have been John Wayles , Jefferson's father-in-law, who as a widower had a year liaison with his mulatto slave Betty Hemings and fathered six children with her.

These quadroon children had three-quarters European, one-quarter African ancestry, and were half-siblings to Jefferson's wife Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson.

Of the four Hemings children who survived to adulthood: William Beverley, Harriet , Madison and Eston Hemings —all but Madison Hemings eventually identified as white and lived as adults in white communities.

Under the Virginia law of partus sequitur ventrem , because Sally Hemings was a slave, her children were also born enslaved.

But the children were seven-eighths European, one-eighth African by ancestry. If free, they would have been considered legally white in Virginia of the time.

In the journalist James T. Callender , after being refused an appointment to a Postmaster position by Jefferson and issuing veiled threats of "consequences," reported that Jefferson had fathered several children with a slave concubine named Sally.

His family denied the allegation. Others privately or publicly made the claim. The story of black Sal is no farce—That he cohabits with her and has a number of children by her is a sacred truth—and the worst of it is he keeps the same children slaves—an unnatural crime which is very common in these parts.

Jefferson made no public comment on the matter, although most historians interpret his cover letter from to Secretary of the Navy Robert Smith as a denial alluding to a fuller reply, which has been lost.

The Jefferson-Wayles descendants and most historians denied for nearly years that he was the father of Hemings' children. Since the midth century, there have been challenges to that denial, as historians have re-examined some of the evidence and thought to interpret it differently.

Disagreements have arisen since the late 20th century over how to interpret historical evidence related to the issue.

According to an letter by Jefferson biographer Henry S. Randall to the historian James Parton , Jefferson's grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph , said that Jefferson's surviving daughter Martha stated on her deathbed that Jefferson had been away from Monticello for 15 months before one of Hemings' children was born, so could not be the father.

But historian Dumas Malone later documented that Jefferson had been at Monticello nine months before the birth of each of Hemings' children.

Jefferson so closely that it was plain that they had his blood in their veins He [Randolph] said in one instance, a gentleman dining with Mr.

Jefferson, looked so startled as he raised his eyes from the latter to the servant behind him, that his discovery of the resemblance was perfectly obvious to all.

Randolph told Randall that the late Peter Carr , Jefferson's nephew by his sister and a married man at the time, had fathered Hemings' children, as an explanation for the "startling" close resemblance that every visitor to Monticello could see.

According to legal professor Annette Gordon-Reed , by this act, he was violating a strong social taboo against naming a white man as the father of slave children, to explain the strong physical resemblance seen by visitors.

She suggested he would only have done so for the more compelling reason of protecting his grandfather. Because of the social taboos about this topic, Randolph requested, and Randall agreed, to omit any mention of Hemings and her children in Randall's three-volume biography, Life of Thomas Jefferson He also suggested that he had personally seen records supporting it — but no such record has been found.

Randall's letter relating Randolph's family account of the Peter Carr paternity was a "pillar" of later historians' assertions that Carr was the father of Hemings' children, and Jefferson was not.

In November , Ohio newspapers reported that one of Jefferson's sons by Sally Hemings living in a central Ohio county was not allowed to vote or testify in court due to Ohio laws regarding his race.

On July 7, , Chillicothe, Ohio census taker William Weaver noted in his official census book beside the entry for "Hemmings, Madison", recording "This man is the son of Thomas Jefferson.

In , the issue received renewed, widespread attention after publication of an interview with Madison Hemings , who asserted that Jefferson was his father.

He was interviewed about his life as a slave at Monticello, and his account was published in an Ohio newspaper. Then age 68, Hemings claimed Jefferson as his and his siblings' father.

He said that when Jefferson and Sally Hemings were still in Paris, she became pregnant with his child. Slaves could petition for their freedom in France, and Hemings initially demurred when Jefferson asked her to return with him to Virginia.

Based on Jefferson's promise to free her children when they came of age, she returned with him to the United States from France.

In , James Parton published his biography of Jefferson, in which he attributed the content of Madison Hemings' memoir to the political motives of a journalist who interviewed him.

He and other critics essentially discounted Madison's memoir, while attributing to him a range of negative motives for telling his story. In his work, Parton repeated the Jefferson family's oral history about a Carr paternity and the claim that Jefferson was absent during the conception period of one of Hemings' children.

Succeeding 20th-century historians, such as Merrill Peterson and Douglass Adair , relied on Parton's book as it related to the controversy.

In the s, as part of his six-volume biography of Jefferson, Malone was the first to publish a letter by Ellen Randolph Coolidge, Randolph's sister that added to the Carr paternity story.

But she claimed that the late Samuel Carr, brother to Peter and also a nephew of Jefferson's through his sister, had fathered Hemings' children.

Like Peter, Samuel was married when Hemings' children were born. Neither of the Randolphs named Jefferson's nephews as putative fathers of Hemings' children until after the men had died.

They noted he had expressed antipathy to blacks and miscegenation in his writings, and he was thought to have a "high" moral character.

The manuscripts for Thomas Jefferson's Farm Books were rediscovered and published for the first time in , edited by Edwin M.

They provided extensive data about slaves and slave births, including all of Sally Hemings' children, and have been used extensively by researchers.

Black oral history preserved the account of the Jefferson-Hemings relationship and the place of African Americans at the center of United States history.

Black historians began to publish material related to the mixed-race Hemings descendants. Lerone Bennett , in his article, "Thomas Jefferson's Negro Grandchildren," published in Ebony in November , examined the current lives of individuals claiming descent from this union.

In , historian Pearl M. It was based on material from the Farm Books, as well as a detailed timeline of Jefferson's activities developed by historian Dumas Malone in his extensive biography.

This was published in several volumes beginning in the s. Graham noted that Hemings conceived her children only when Jefferson was in residence at Monticello, during a time when he traveled frequently and was away for lengthy periods.

Graham also provided biographical information on Sally's children; she supported accounts that Hemings and Jefferson had several children together.

In , Fawn M. In , Thomas Jefferson's Farm Book was published in an edited version, after having been rediscovered.

Its records of slave births, deaths, purchases and sales, and other information has provided researchers with considerable data about the lives of slaves at Monticello, including the births of all Sally Hemings' known children.

Dumas Malone documented Jefferson's activities and residencies through the years. Here is an illustration of Machu Picchu circa AD.

It is exceedingly difficult to find illustrated reconstructions of this and any other Andean city so unfortunately this rather hokey image is the best I could yet find.

In fact, Machu Pikchu as it should be spelled was not a city, but an estate for Incan emperor Pachakuti. If it seems small for a city, now you know why.

The complex is located almost feet above sea level.

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Parton published the Carr story, and major historians of Jefferson generally denied Jefferson's paternity for nearly years.

While some historians challenged the denial, a changed consensus did not emerge until after a Y chromosome DNA analysis was done in The DNA study showed a match between a descendant of the Jefferson male line, a descendant of Field Jefferson, and a descendant of Eston Hemings , Sally's youngest son.

It showed no match between the Carr line and the Hemings descendant. In the majority view, the DNA evidence is consistent with Jefferson being the father of Eston Hemings, plus the historical evidence favors Jefferson's paternity for all of Hemings' children.

Since then the organization has reflected this change in its exhibits, as well as publications about Jefferson and his times. The revelations have stimulated works by a variety of scholars, who have used the consensus as a basis for studies into Jefferson, the Hemings family, and interracial American society.

In June , the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, with introduction of the new exhibit on Sally Hemings, asserted the relationship is "settled historical matter".

Jefferson became a widower at age 39 in He never remarried and died in She accompanied his daughter Maria to France in , when Hemings was 14, where they are believed to have started a sexual relationship at some time before , when she returned with him to Monticello.

Most historians now believe that Jefferson had a relationship with Hemings that lasted nearly four decades, until his death, and that Jefferson fathered her six children.

Four of Hemings' children survived to adulthood. In the antebellum period , hers would have been called a "shadow family".

Historians believe her father to have been John Wayles , Jefferson's father-in-law, who as a widower had a year liaison with his mulatto slave Betty Hemings and fathered six children with her.

These quadroon children had three-quarters European, one-quarter African ancestry, and were half-siblings to Jefferson's wife Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson.

Of the four Hemings children who survived to adulthood: William Beverley, Harriet , Madison and Eston Hemings —all but Madison Hemings eventually identified as white and lived as adults in white communities.

Under the Virginia law of partus sequitur ventrem , because Sally Hemings was a slave, her children were also born enslaved.

But the children were seven-eighths European, one-eighth African by ancestry. If free, they would have been considered legally white in Virginia of the time.

In the journalist James T. Callender , after being refused an appointment to a Postmaster position by Jefferson and issuing veiled threats of "consequences," reported that Jefferson had fathered several children with a slave concubine named Sally.

His family denied the allegation. Others privately or publicly made the claim. The story of black Sal is no farce—That he cohabits with her and has a number of children by her is a sacred truth—and the worst of it is he keeps the same children slaves—an unnatural crime which is very common in these parts.

Jefferson made no public comment on the matter, although most historians interpret his cover letter from to Secretary of the Navy Robert Smith as a denial alluding to a fuller reply, which has been lost.

The Jefferson-Wayles descendants and most historians denied for nearly years that he was the father of Hemings' children. Since the midth century, there have been challenges to that denial, as historians have re-examined some of the evidence and thought to interpret it differently.

Disagreements have arisen since the late 20th century over how to interpret historical evidence related to the issue.

According to an letter by Jefferson biographer Henry S. Randall to the historian James Parton , Jefferson's grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph , said that Jefferson's surviving daughter Martha stated on her deathbed that Jefferson had been away from Monticello for 15 months before one of Hemings' children was born, so could not be the father.

But historian Dumas Malone later documented that Jefferson had been at Monticello nine months before the birth of each of Hemings' children.

Jefferson so closely that it was plain that they had his blood in their veins He [Randolph] said in one instance, a gentleman dining with Mr.

Jefferson, looked so startled as he raised his eyes from the latter to the servant behind him, that his discovery of the resemblance was perfectly obvious to all.

Randolph told Randall that the late Peter Carr , Jefferson's nephew by his sister and a married man at the time, had fathered Hemings' children, as an explanation for the "startling" close resemblance that every visitor to Monticello could see.

According to legal professor Annette Gordon-Reed , by this act, he was violating a strong social taboo against naming a white man as the father of slave children, to explain the strong physical resemblance seen by visitors.

She suggested he would only have done so for the more compelling reason of protecting his grandfather. Because of the social taboos about this topic, Randolph requested, and Randall agreed, to omit any mention of Hemings and her children in Randall's three-volume biography, Life of Thomas Jefferson He also suggested that he had personally seen records supporting it — but no such record has been found.

Randall's letter relating Randolph's family account of the Peter Carr paternity was a "pillar" of later historians' assertions that Carr was the father of Hemings' children, and Jefferson was not.

In November , Ohio newspapers reported that one of Jefferson's sons by Sally Hemings living in a central Ohio county was not allowed to vote or testify in court due to Ohio laws regarding his race.

On July 7, , Chillicothe, Ohio census taker William Weaver noted in his official census book beside the entry for "Hemmings, Madison", recording "This man is the son of Thomas Jefferson.

In , the issue received renewed, widespread attention after publication of an interview with Madison Hemings , who asserted that Jefferson was his father.

He was interviewed about his life as a slave at Monticello, and his account was published in an Ohio newspaper.

Then age 68, Hemings claimed Jefferson as his and his siblings' father. He said that when Jefferson and Sally Hemings were still in Paris, she became pregnant with his child.

Slaves could petition for their freedom in France, and Hemings initially demurred when Jefferson asked her to return with him to Virginia. Based on Jefferson's promise to free her children when they came of age, she returned with him to the United States from France.

In , James Parton published his biography of Jefferson, in which he attributed the content of Madison Hemings' memoir to the political motives of a journalist who interviewed him.

He and other critics essentially discounted Madison's memoir, while attributing to him a range of negative motives for telling his story. In his work, Parton repeated the Jefferson family's oral history about a Carr paternity and the claim that Jefferson was absent during the conception period of one of Hemings' children.

Succeeding 20th-century historians, such as Merrill Peterson and Douglass Adair , relied on Parton's book as it related to the controversy.

In the s, as part of his six-volume biography of Jefferson, Malone was the first to publish a letter by Ellen Randolph Coolidge, Randolph's sister that added to the Carr paternity story.

But she claimed that the late Samuel Carr, brother to Peter and also a nephew of Jefferson's through his sister, had fathered Hemings' children. Like Peter, Samuel was married when Hemings' children were born.

Neither of the Randolphs named Jefferson's nephews as putative fathers of Hemings' children until after the men had died.

They noted he had expressed antipathy to blacks and miscegenation in his writings, and he was thought to have a "high" moral character.

The manuscripts for Thomas Jefferson's Farm Books were rediscovered and published for the first time in , edited by Edwin M. They provided extensive data about slaves and slave births, including all of Sally Hemings' children, and have been used extensively by researchers.

Black oral history preserved the account of the Jefferson-Hemings relationship and the place of African Americans at the center of United States history.

Black historians began to publish material related to the mixed-race Hemings descendants. Lerone Bennett , in his article, "Thomas Jefferson's Negro Grandchildren," published in Ebony in November , examined the current lives of individuals claiming descent from this union.

In , historian Pearl M. It was based on material from the Farm Books, as well as a detailed timeline of Jefferson's activities developed by historian Dumas Malone in his extensive biography.

This was published in several volumes beginning in the s. Graham noted that Hemings conceived her children only when Jefferson was in residence at Monticello, during a time when he traveled frequently and was away for lengthy periods.

Graham also provided biographical information on Sally's children; she supported accounts that Hemings and Jefferson had several children together.

In , Fawn M. In , Thomas Jefferson's Farm Book was published in an edited version, after having been rediscovered. Its records of slave births, deaths, purchases and sales, and other information has provided researchers with considerable data about the lives of slaves at Monticello, including the births of all Sally Hemings' known children.

Dumas Malone documented Jefferson's activities and residencies through the years. His documentation in his multi-volume biography published — provided the details that Pearl Graham analyzed to show Jefferson was at Monticello for the conception of each of Hemings' children.

She never conceived when he was not there. Martha Randolph, Jefferson's daughter with Martha Wayles Jefferson, had made a deathbed claim that Jefferson was away for a month period during which one of the Hemings children was conceived.

Gordon-Reed shows this claim is not supported by Malone's documentation; Jefferson was at Monticello at the time of conception of each child. In the historian Winthrop Jordan said that Jefferson was at Monticello "nine months prior to each birth" of Hemings' children, during a year period when he was often away for months at a time.

He acknowledged that the relationship was possible. In , a statistical analysis of the conception data and Jefferson's residencies concluded it was 99 percent likely that he was the father of her children, and that there was only a 1 percent chance that he was not the father of all her children.

This analysis, commonly referred to as a Monte Carlo simulation , was done by Fraser D. Neiman, head of archaeology at Monticello.

The Hemings children were named for people in the Randolph-Jefferson family or who were important to Jefferson, rather than for people in the Hemings family.

When mixed-race children were sired by the master, they were frequently named after people from his family.

At working age, they were each apprenticed to the master carpenter of the estate, the most skilled artisan, who was also their uncle.

This would provide them with skills to make a good living as free adults. According to Annette Gordon-Reed, Thomas Jefferson's treatment of Sally Hemings children is a good indication that he could have fathered the children.

Harriet Hemings did not begin working as a weaver until she was fourteen years old. Another example is that unlike other slaves, Madison Hemings stated that until they were put to work, they would run errands with Sally.

This was very uncommon. Most importantly, Gordon-Reed notes that Jefferson freed all the Hemings children. Theirs was the only slave family to all go free from Monticello; they were the only slaves freed in their youth and as they came of age, and Harriet Hemings was the only female slave he ever freed.

Jefferson avoided publicity this way, but the gentry at the time noted the Hemingses' absences; Monticello overseer Edmund Bacon noted in his memoir published after Jefferson's death that people were talking about Harriet's departure, saying that she was Jefferson's daughter.

In his will, Jefferson freed the younger brothers Madison and Eston Hemings, who were approaching the age of To enable them to stay in Virginia, Jefferson's will petitioned the legislature for permission for them to stay in the state with their families.

Such legislative approval was required by laws related to manumission and free blacks. Jefferson also freed three older males from the extended Elizabeth Hemings family; they had each served him for decades.

His will also requested that they be allowed to stay in the state. According to an initial report on the findings of a DNA study which tested the Y-chromosome of direct male-line descendants of Eston Hemings, and other related tests, there is a high probability that Thomas Jefferson was the biological father of Eston Hemings, with a nearly perfect match between the DNA of Jefferson's paternal uncle and the descendants of Eston Hemings.

In the Monticello Commission's report on the paternity question, Dr. David Page, one of the committee's scientific case reviewers, recommended that additional research needed to be done into "the local population structure around Monticello two hundred years ago, as respects the Y chromosome," before entirely ruling out the possibility of the paternity of any of the other 7 potential paternity candidates.

With the Eston Hemings descendant found consistent with the Jefferson male line, and inconsistent with the Carr male line, formerly skeptical biographers, such as Joseph Ellis and Andrew Burstein, publicly said they had changed their opinions and concluded that Jefferson had fathered Hemings' children.

So, as far as can be reconstructed, there are no Jeffersons other than the president who had the degree of physical access to Sally Hemings that he did.

In , the Thomas Jefferson Foundation , which operates Monticello, issued a report of its own investigation, which concluded by accepting Jefferson's paternity.

Daniel P. Jordan, president of the foundation, committed at the time to incorporate "the conclusions of the report into Monticello's training, interpretation, and publications.

New exhibits at Monticello show Jefferson as the father of the Sally Hemings children. In its January issue, the William and Mary Quarterly published Forum: Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings Redux, a total of seven articles noting the changed consensus and the developing new views on Jefferson.

Neiman, who studied the statistical significance of the relationship between Jefferson's documented residencies at Monticello and Hemings' conceptions.

It stated in its overview:. Though many quarreled with the portrayal of Hemings as unrealistically modern and heroic, no major historian challenged the series' premise that Hemings and Jefferson had a year relationship that produced children.

In the fall of , the National Genealogical Society published a special issue of its quarterly devoted to the Jefferson—Hemings controversy.

In several articles, its specialists concluded that, as the genealogist Helen M. Leary wrote, the "chain of evidence": historical, genealogical, and DNA, supported the conclusion that Thomas Jefferson was the father of all of Hemings' children.

Foster later said that Barger was "fantastic" and "of immense help to me". Turner and Paul Rahe, among others. In the group published its report, in which the majority concluded there was insufficient evidence to determine that Jefferson was the father of Hemings' children.

The report states that it is a matter about which reasonable people can disagree but the majority of the authors' conclusions, "range from serious skepticism about the charge to a conviction that it is almost certainly false".

Their report suggested that his younger brother Randolph Jefferson, or one of his sons, was the father, and that Hemings may have had multiple partners.

They emphasized that more than 20 Jefferson males lived in Virginia, eight within 20 miles of Monticello.

Their report summary goes on to state "The most important results from the DNA testing may well have been the determination that Thomas Woodson, long thought by many to be the Tom referred to by James Callender in as having been conceived by Sally Hemings in Paris, and having a strong physical resemblance to the President could not have been the son of Thomas Jefferson.

Subsequent DNA testing of descendants of a third Woodson son confirmed the earlier results. Most of us believe this goes far towards undermining any remaining credibility of the original Callender allegations.

But the Monticello Jefferson-Hemings Report, examining Randolph Jefferson as a candidate, found that he made only four recorded visits to Monticello in September , September , May , and sometime in , and none coincided with possible dates of Sally Hemings' conceptions.

Similarly, no documentation of a Randolph visit appears at the probable conception time for Madison Hemings.

John H. Works, Jr.

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