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Reader of background histories
Reader of background histories
About MeLong time Jefferson fan. Came by it naturally as my father was considered by many as a Jefferson historian. Have visited both his homes multiple times and read as much as I can about the history of the sites, including the families that were enslaved. Particularly interested in the Hemmings family, of which Sally was a part, but not the whole. John, James, Burrell, all Hemmings were incredible men and should be noted because what they achieved "in spite of slavery."
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To all those that argue over Sally Hemmings and Thomas Jefferson. Those saying no to the liason, and those that say it existed really need to look deeply at the history, both oral and what "little bit" of written history there is. This is what is written and proven. Sally (SARAH) was the daughter of Elizabeth Hemmings, who was known by written history to have had a sexual relationship with John Wayles, Jefferson's father in-law. This would make Jefferson's wife the half sister of Sally. More than one source says that Martha (his wife) made him promise not to re-marry, probably because of her life with step-mothers and not wanting her children to endure such a life. When Jefferson was in France, Sally accompanied Patsy, Jefferson's daughter to France when Sally was around 14. She spent three years there with her primary friend being her brother James. She could have asked the French Government to become free and left, but she didn't. In that period, it would have been approved. Conjecture says that she learned a great deal in France. Sometime in those years, she and Mr. Jefferson are supposed to have become more than Master/Slave. For all of those that think this strange, remember that the age of consent for "white" girls at the time was 10. Mr. Jefferson persuaded her return to Virginia, even promising to release all of her future children at age 21. HE KEPT THIS PROMISE! Sally was pregnant at the time they came back to Monticello. Since she was a slave in the home of Jefferson in France, it is doubtful she ran around at 15-17 looking for someone to have sex with, especially since for most of the time, she didn't even know the language. This leaves Jefferson. It is written that she was beautiful, probably had a resemblance to Martha, very importantly, had her mannerisms, having been part of his wife's inner-sanctum since her birth. With all that said, here is the truth of everything. In looking at the man that was Thomas Jefferson, one needs to walk in his shoes. He lost his wife to childbirth. It was written that “he was morose for months.” In Sally, he may have found something he lost. We will never know. However, it makes no difference as to who he was. His place in the founding our nation remains unchanged. His granddaughters adored him and called him “Grand Papa.” His service to our new country was invaluable. He was the “notoriety” of the neighborhood when he was home from Washington City and really got tired of being the center of attention. Let me put it this way. We may never know the WHOLE truth of the Hemmings/Jefferson connection. I propose this. None of you lived during his time, went through his trials and hardships. None of you can even attempt to imagine Sally's feelings, why she made the decisions that we know about, and know enough about her opportunities to know why she made the choices she did. Let's address the dignity of each, the stations they lived in life, and realize that we will NEVER really get it. Those are my thoughts. The loneliness of Jefferson, the uncertainty of a young enslaved woman's life, may have made the match more possible or less possible. WHO KNOWS?Reader of backg...
April 26, 2015 on Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: A Brief Account