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Dennisnef's picture
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Dennisnef
mmenge's picture
In a quick Google search, I pull up a 1999 article in the Cincinnati Enquirer quoting a descendant of Madison Hemings named Priscilla Lanier saying she only learned of a link to Jefferson in the 1980s, when a cousin began doing genealogical research. So at least in this case, the history of a link to Jefferson was not passed down through the generations. There wasn't an oral tradition of a link to Jefferson.
Margaret Menge
mmenge's picture
Under the year 1862, it says: "Bacon was not employed at Monticello until five years after Harriet Hemings's birth." This is not accurate. Edmund Bacon said to Rev. Pierson that he began work at Monticello on December 27, 1800. Harriet Hemings was born in April of 1801. At the time Bacon arrived at Monticello, therefore, Sally Hemings was four or five months pregnant with Harriet. Maybe there is still a problem with chronology. But maybe not. A man is usually still the lover after impregnating the woman. Often he draws closer to her....... Here is the specific reference: In "Jefferson at Monticello" by Rev. Hamilton W. Pierson (published 1862), Edmund Bacon said the following: "I went to live with him [Jefferson] the 27th of the December before he was inaugurated as President." Jefferson was inaugurated in 1801. Therefore, Bacon began work at Monticello on Dec. 27, 1800. Bacon was promoted to overseer of Monticello in 1806. But he began work there in 1800. It seems that his eye-witness account was dismissed due to poor attention to detail on the part of Monticello researchers and this committee.
Margaret Menge
mmenge's picture
I appreciate the information in this article, except for the last sentence, which is not correct. The sentence reads: "DNA testing in the late twentieth century, however, found no genetic link between Hemings and Carr descendants, refuting the assertion that Samuel Carr or his brother Peter had fathered Sally Hemings’s children." The DNA testing led by Dr. Eugene Foster in 1998 only involved a test on one descendant of one child of Sally Hemings -- John Weeks Jefferson, a descendant of Eston Hemings. Further, the oral tradition in the Eston Hemings family had always been that they were in some way related to Thomas Jefferson, most said through an "uncle." No DNA tests have been done on the descendants of the other three children of Sally Hemings who lived to adulthood. Two of those children "passed" into white society and are lost to history. The descendants of Madison Hemings, the fourth child, have not been tested. In sum, there has been no refutation of the assertion that Peter or Samuel Carr were involved in a long-term relationship with Sally Hemings and fathered children by her. Both Peter and Samuel Carr were in their 20s and 30s when Sally Hemings was getting pregnant and bearing children, while Thomas Jefferson was in his 50s and 60s.
Margaret Menge
Donald M. Scott's picture
Thanks for this balanced view of things. As a scholar, and writer, who's researched Jefferson and his colleagues for years, I find the whole Hemmings story to be highly suspect. As a juror on a murder trial, which attempted to use dna evidence to convict someone without success, I know DNA must be taken with a large grain of salt. As far as Paris goes - he was famously head-over-heels in love with Maria Cosway, who was married to a homosexual man, and spent much of his spare time worrying and writing about that. It's not likely he'd have had the time for Sally Hemmings - who, after all, was in her early teens and probably no competition for Cosway. Based on my research, and the jury experience, I believe Jefferson could not be indicted, let alone convicted of a love affair with a slave.
mindranger Don

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