Thomas Jefferson: US News & World Report LIED Intentionally
This is a patently false statement. There were 25 other male relatives of Thomas Jefferson who were in Albemarle County at the time Eston Hemings was conceived, and many of them were either residents or visited Monticello. At best, you could argue only that there is a 1 in 25 chance that Thomas Jefferson was the father, but that's only if you ignore the improbability that Mr. Jefferson would have told a white LIE for the first time in his life, and if you ignore the shoddy allegations being hurled by advocates who are trying so desperately to discredit Mr. Jefferson, and thus this nation's founding principles.
Your journalistic "principles" may permit you to get away with such yellow journalism, but God views this as the ONLY unforgivable sin, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, and He will NOT be as easy on you as your cohorts in yellow journalism.
The following SCUMBAGS have been added to the list of those who delight in blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, whom God will make minced meat of soon enough:
Cover Story 11/9/98
BY BARBRA MURRAY AND BRIAN DUFFY
It begins in 1802 as an attack on America's high-minded president, the man who declared that all men are created equal. James Callender, a vengeful drunk and disappointed job seeker, accuses Thomas Jefferson of fathering illegitimate children by one of his slaves, Sally Hemings. Jefferson declines even to respond to the charge. But it becomes an unblottable stain. Political opponents and the Federalist press gleefully trumpet the alleged affair.
Decades pass and more evidence surfaces. A young man, descended from the beautiful slave woman in question, tells a newspaper in 1873 that Jefferson was his father. But a year later comes a refutation: A Jefferson biographer suggests that the woman's light-skinned children were sired not by the president but by two nephews. A hundred years on, another bombshell: A national bestseller asserts the Jefferson-Hemings liaison as fact and infers that they were genuinely in love. Defenders ridicule the allegation.
But it was not so easily dismissed. Schoolchildren with only the most casual acquaintance of history can usually be trusted to know only two things about Jefferson: That he authored the Declaration of Independence and that he was alleged to have had a long-running affair with Sally Hemings, the quadroon half-sister of his late wife, Martha.
Popular perceptions aside, the circumstantial case has grown more persuasive in recent years: Jefferson, who traveled widely and often, was found to have been present at Monticello nine months before the birth of each of Hemings's children (except for the first, a son who apparently was conceived in Paris when Jefferson was the minister to France and Sally, at 16, was his daughter's servant). Coincidence? So skeptics would have us believe.
But new evidence appears to set the stage for the final episode of the Jefferson-Hemings epic. This week's issue of the British journal Nature presents the results of scientific tests that show a conclusive DNA match between a male descendant of Sally Hemings and another man who can trace his lineage to Thomas Jefferson's paternal uncle. Advances in the mapping of the so-called Y chromosome, which confers maleness on embryos, allow scientists now to consider DNA matches of the type reported by Nature as virtual proof positive of genetic linkage. The evidence here, in other words, removes any shadow of a doubt that Thomas Jefferson sired at least one son by Sally Hemings (box, Page 63).
It would be naive to assume the new evidence will settle the old debate over Jefferson and his legacy. But the confirmation of the Jefferson-Hemings affair could provoke a fresh examination of the American experience of slavery, and of relations between the races. Moreover, it may help reconcile the disparate perceptions of blacks and whites of their common heritage. "America lives in denial," says Clarence Walker, an African-American history professor at the University of CaliforniaDavis. "This story has been part of black historical consciousness since the late 18th century." Walker recalls that when the story of Sally and Tom came up in a graduate-school discussion, his white peer dismissed it because Jefferson was a "man of the enlightenment."
The confirmation of the Hemings-Jefferson relationship will also play a pivotal role in dispelling the myth of separation between blacks and whites. "Jefferson's literal embrace of Sally, producing children, becomes almost symbolic of what the South was," notes Orlando Patterson, a professor of sociology at Harvard University and author of the forthcoming book on slavery, Rituals of Blood. "What we have now is a powerful, symbolic blurring of the lines, with the most famous of the founding fathers intimately, biologically involved [with his black slave]."
Ultimately it was word of mouth among Hemings family members that kept the story alive. Nearly 50 years after Jefferson's death, Sally Hemings's penultimate child, Madison Hemings, confides in an obscure Ohio newspaper that Jefferson was his father and, in fact, sired all of his mother's other offspring. Another ex-slave from Monticello, Israel Jefferson, backs up the tale in a later account to the same newspaper. But Jefferson defenders will have none of it. Known among critics as an overly protective "Monticello mafia," they seek other explanations for the several children Hemings had that were obviously fathered by white men, some of whom bore a striking resemblance to Jefferson. A year after Madison Hemings's Ohio interview, James Parton's Life of Thomas Jefferson purported to solve the Hemings mystery by laying the paternity of her white offspring off on Jefferson's philandering nephew, Peter Carr, son of Jefferson's sister. Others blamed another notorious Carr, Samuel.
The parentage question. Thus it was that there were two parallel universes of thought on the Jefferson-Hemings question (story, Page 64). Among the Jefferson specialists, the question of his parentage of any Hemings offspring was answered, almost universally, in the negative. Among the multifarious Hemings heirs and in the wider black community, meanwhile, there was no doubt but that the man from Monticello had fathered children with Hemings. "Those of us who are descendants have 100 percent certaintyyou cannot modify 100 percent certainty," says Hemings descendant Michele Cooley-Quille, who comes from the Thomas Woodson branch of the family.
After the 1974 publication of Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate History by historian Fawn Brodie, mainstream white America began to buy into the story's veracity. But among the academic elite, the 1974 bestseller ignited a furious debate. Brodie's arguments, while highly persuasive, were not conclusive, and many Jefferson scholars refused to embrace them.
That's pretty much where matters stood. Until now. In fact, had it not been for Gene Foster, that's probably where matters might have stood, period. Dr. Eugene A. Foster, technically retired after a distinguished career as a pathology professor at the Tufts University School of Medicine and the University of Virginia, is a genial bear of a man, 6 foot 4, the strong, silent type. Foster jokes that he is only "technically" retired because he keeps himself busy with a constant stream of "projects of interest." One of those, as it happened, was Thomas Jefferson. Which is not altogether surprising, since Jefferson's presence is felt everywhere in Charlottesville, where Foster lives with his wife, Jane, a retired instructor of French. But Foster got onto Jefferson in a roundabout way. At dinner one evening back in 1996 with a family friend, the conversation turned to the subject of Anastasia, the daughter of the last Romanov czar, Nicholas. Specifically, the talk centered on how DNA had been used to determine whether a deceased Charlottesville woman, Anna Anderson, was the Romanov daughter Anastasia, as she claimed. Winifred Bennett, the Fosters' friend, proposed that the same methodology might be used to resolve the Jefferson-Hemings mystery. The reverberations from Fawn Brodie's book were still echoing in Charlottesville. Gene Foster was intrigued.
He started poking around. A biology professor at the university passed along word of recent advances in mapping techniques for the Y chromosome. That was fine, but where to get samples to test? Foster would have to find male-line Jefferson descendants. But Jefferson's only legitimate son died in infancy. (Jefferson's wife, Martha, gave birth to six children, but only two lived to adulthood.) That left Foster with only two Jefferson male lines to research: that of the president's brother, Randolph, and of their paternal uncle, Field Jefferson. The Randolph line looked promising at first. But it turned out that the line of direct male descendants had expired sometime in either the 1920s or 1930s.
Foster turned to the Field line. First he sought out Herbert Barger, a respected Jefferson family genealogist. Barger agreed to help. By early 1997, Foster had the names and phone numbers of seven living descendants of Field Jefferson. He fired off letters to all of them. Only one wrote back. So Barger intervened on Foster's behalf, and five of Field's descendants agreed to cooperate, allowing Foster to draw blood samples.
That was one part of the equation. But if he were to obtain a definitive Y chromosome match, Foster would need DNA from a male who had good reason to believe he was a descendant of Jefferson and Hemings. There was one obvious place to look: among the 1,400 members of the Thomas Woodson Family Association, an organization of African-Americans scattered across the country. The group is named for Hemings's first son, Tom, the child apparently conceived in Paris. Byron Woodson agreed to cooperate with Foster. But then his father, Col. John Woodson, put a stop to it. He didn't want to be messing around with subjects like illegitimacy, he said.
The Woodsons had maintained for nearly two centuries that they were descendants of Jefferson, but other branches of the family pooh-poohed the claim. Foster pressed. If they were to come up without any evidence linking the Woodson line to Jefferson, he told the colonel, "they'll say you knew that all along. But if we come up with evidence that, in fact, Jefferson was the father . . . ." Foster let the sentence drop. The colonel relented. The Woodsons, he said, would cooperate with Foster's study. Five Woodsons eventually gave blood.
Closing loopholes. But there was more to be done. The philandering Carr boys could not be dismissed out of hand. Jefferson's distinguished defenders would dismiss any paternity evidence that didn't address that question. Foster tracked down three male descendants of the Carrs. They, too, gave blood. There remained one other line of male descendants to track down, and here Foster got lucky. Eston Hemings was Sally Hemings seventh and last child and Foster identified a lone male descendant. The man readily agreed to participate. Next Foster wanted some "control" samples. These were drawn from male descendants of several old-line Virginia families. The idea was to eliminate potential similarities in the Y chromosome tests due to geographic proximity. Foster was amazed by the cooperation. These were people, he said, "who had nothing to gain." And yet they welcomed him into their homes. One even had fresh-baked brownies waiting for him when he turned up to draw blood.
Now it was time to test. Foster had 19 samples in all. A fellow pathologist at the University of Virginia extracted the DNA from the blood samples. Foster numbered and coded them, then stowed them in a bubble-wrapped envelope. Researchers at Oxford had agreed to test the samples. Foster flew to London, the samples secure in his carry-on. A bus from Heathrow airport deposited him at the ancient university town, and Foster delivered the samples to researcher Chris Tyler-Smith, whom Foster describes as his "main collaborator." First the two men placed the materials in a refrigerator. Then they toddled off to a pub for lunch.
The rest, as the saying goes, is history, albeit of a peculiar sort. According to Hemings's heirs, Jefferson fathered seven children by her, four boys and three girls. Foster's meticulously collected samples were tested by three different Oxford labs using different procedures. The results fail to match the Field Jefferson line with the Woodson line, Hemings, or, interestingly, with the heirs of the Carr brothers. But the tests did establish a definite Y chromosome match on Eston Hemings, who was born in the second term of Jefferson's presidency.
What does that mean? That one can say with certainty that Sally Hemings bore Thomas Jefferson at least one son. But the tests do not preclude the possibility that there were other offspring. Indeed, abundant historical evidence suggests that this is so.
Beverly and Harriet Hemings very likely had Jefferson blood. After being allowed to run awaya privilege granted only to Hemings's childrenthe two blended into white society in the Washington, D.C., area. Today, they may have hundreds of descendants who have never suspected that their ancestry is either African or presidential.
Madison Hemings cannot be ruled out. Freed by Jefferson's will, he settled among blacks in Ohio, where he told an interviewer that his mother was Jefferson's "concubine" and he and his siblings were the president's children. But Madison's Y chromosome line cannot be tested; one of his three sons vanished into white society and the other two had no children. (But one daughter had a son who became California's first black state legislator.)
Tom, the boy conceived in Paris, still may have been Jefferson's son, even though there was no DNA match in his family line. The negative may have resulted from an unknown malean illegitimate fatherbreaking the Y chromosome chain.
The link with Eston Hemings could easily have been missed. Freed with his brother Madison, he moved to Wisconsin, changed his name to Eston Jefferson, and gave everyone the impression he was white. One of his sons, John Jeffersonredheaded like the third presidentwas wounded at Vicksburg while serving as a lieutenant colonel in the Union Army. A century later, descendants working on the family tree kept hitting a dead end, running up against the name "Hemings." Not until they read Fawn Brodie's book did they sense they were kin to a slave and a president.
With Gerald Parshall and Lewis Lord
A FATHER'S GIFT
The use of Y chromosome testing to verify the long-debated assertion that Thomas Jefferson fathered at least one slave child is among the more dramatic consequences of a scientific discovery early in this century, one that helped gain a 1933 Nobel Prize for American geneticist Thomas Hunt Morgan. By studying fruit flies, Morgan found that recognizably different bundles of genes, which he called X and Y chromosomes, determine whether the insects are male or female. He soon recognized that the pattern holds in higher organisms, including humans. Inheritance of two X's, one from each parent, confers femaleness, while an X from mother and a Y from father produce a male.
In people, the sex chromosomes are but one pair among 23 pairs of chromosomes in all, each packed with genes. Most chromosomes get shuffled in succeeding generations. By contrast, Y chromosomes carry a unique set of genes and, except for rare, random mutations, pass down unchanged through generations. They thus provide a deep view into the string of males in any man's ancestry.
Perfect match. The methods used to identify individual Y chromosomes have arisen only in the past 10 years or so. The key is identification of distinct genetic markers, sometimes called polymorphisms, which are typically stretches of "nonsense" DNA between the actual genes. They can vary widely from one man to the next. One or two markers can be identical purely by coincidence, but if many (scores are known) are identical, chances mount that two men have a recent, common ancestor. The British labs that performed the Jefferson tests compared 19 markers, all matched exactly those found in a descendant of Field Jefferson, the president's uncle, and a descendant of Eston Hemings Jefferson, Sally Hemings's youngest son. The researchers, who published their results in this week's Nature, put the odds of a non-Jefferson match at less than 0.1 percent, based on their failure to find any Y chromosome that came close to matching the Jefferson pattern in 1,200 samples from unrelated men.
Even if no match were found among living men in the Hemings and Jefferson lines, or between some but not all subbranches of those lines, that would not exclude unions between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. The genetic trail could have been broken in subsequent generations if any of the mothers in the presumed chain actually had her son by a man outside the Jefferson line. Similarly, while people linked to Jefferson via a maternal link would probably carry some of his genes on other chromosomes, the Y chromosome test cannot show that.
Study of Y chromosomes has brought other big payoffs for genealogists and geneticists. Members of a Jewish priesthood, the Cohanim, who by tradition must be sons of a priest and who date their ancestry back 3,300 years to Aaron, older brother of Moses, found their Y chromosomes to be so similar that they must indeed share a common ancestor from about that long ago.Charles W. Petit