Skip to comments.Descendants of Jefferson, Slave Hemings Hold Reunion in Ohio
Posted on 07/17/2005 7:31:35 PM PDT by Jean S
CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (AP) - In their first meeting away from Thomas Jefferson's estate in Virginia, about 65 people who believe they are descendants of the nation's third president and slave Sally Hemings gathered for a weekend reunion in southern Ohio.
"My son is only 4, so I want him to meet his black cousins," said Lucian Truscott of Los Angeles, a Jefferson descendant who has spoken at several previous reunions.
Two of Hemings' surviving four children, who claimed to be Jefferson's sons, settled in southern Ohio: Madison Hemings settled in Pike and Ross counties, while his brother, Eston Hemings, moved to Chillicothe in the 1830s and left for Wisconsin in 1852.
The gathering drew people from Ohio, California, New York, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Washington.
Hemings' descendants have been trying for years to gain official recognition that Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, fathered at least some of Hemings' children.
Their argument was bolstered in 1998, when DNA tests found that a male in Jefferson's family fathered Hemings' last child, Eston.
Some Jefferson family members, however, dispute Hemings' family ties to the third president and have refused her descendants membership in the family's exclusive Monticello Association.
Oral historian Beverly Gray, who has spent 30 years researching slave families at Jefferson's Monticello estate at Charlottesville, Va., said the reunion was a milestone in advancing racial understanding.
"This reunion helps the various parts of the family stay together and engage in the healing needed to overcome the effects of slavery," she said.
This story can be found at: http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGBZW7G1ABE.html
Movin' on up!
Well according to some experts the father was Jefferson's younger brother. But we will never know for sure.
Then again other than those involved does anyone really care????????
Clinton cared when his Black son rumor came up. Jefferson was a handy "Two wrongs make a right."
That kid was never Clinton's. Clinton as far as we know is unable to sire any kids and I don't for a minute think Chelsea is his biological kid. Then again I really don't care about the Clinton's any more than I have to.
Alas, Lucian Truscott IV is a left wing jerk. Unlike at least one brother that I know, and unlike his father who was a truly great man.
The DNA tests that were performed showed that Sally Hemmings first child was not related to Jefferson, and were unable to show if subsequent children were decendents of Jefferson. Contemporary accounts suggest that subsequent children of Sally Hemmings were likely descended from Randolph Jefferson, Thomas's brother.
In any case, Thomas Jefferson's wife was half sister to Sally Hemmings mother (Mrs. Jefferson and Sally Hemming's common father had a habit of visiting the slave cabins).
So the cousins are just another generation back that what LT IV is telling them. On the other hand, who looks back hundreds of years to find their virtue or blame? That habit belongs more to the English royalty from which we won our independence, rather than the habits of citizens of the republic that we enjoy and safeguard.
Trust the AP to repeat the lie as established fact in their headline...
I remember reading about a nephew, one Randolph Jefferson, in this connection.
That has been thoroughly debunked now. DNA evidence proved it false once and for all. The most likely candidate is Jefferson's brother. He used to spend considerable time in the slave quarters.
Yes I think that is correct.
Don't you mean the imaginary decendants of Jefferson?
Along the same lines as the decendants of unions between humans and creatures from outer space -- that reunion, of course, would be held in Roswell, New Mexico.
I always believed that he did father some children by slaves. What would make him any different than any other master back then? He was a human being after all. Doesn't take away from what he did for this country though.
People have a right to know their roots.
I have no trouble believing that a lonely widower could find some solace, perhaps even love, with a woman who was half-sister to his beloved late wife, and was said to look very much like her. We tend to focus on the fact that Sally Hemings was "black," and forget that she was apparently quite pale and had Caucasian features, as she was the daughter of Jefferson's father-in-law.
Our founding fathers don't all have to be perfect paragons to be worthy of our highest esteem and gratitude. If a man loves his late wife's half-sister, it may not be exemplary behavior, but is it the crime of the century? Is it so wrong that we have to expend millions of words protesting against the accusation?
I agree with you.
Great post. Well said.
I am reading Thomas Sowell's book, Black Rednecks and White Liberals. While I dont know yet if this situation is mentioned with Jefferson it can be surmised some 50 pages in that former slaves of men like Jefferson led much better lives then other Southern blacks and the Hemmings case would prove it true also.
I am reading McCullough's book on John Adams. When Jefferson returned to Monticello after a long stay in France, his slaves picked him up joyfully and carried him into the house. On the other hand, Jefferson was overly enthusiastic about France back then.
I can see Jefferson being friends with Frenchmen back then. But no excuse for today's American politician.
You may be right. I have heard the kid was a Clinton look-alike, that everyone considered him Bubba's kid.
Clinton's worst immoral deeds were directed against our free republic: trying to destroy our military, selling secrets to China, selling pardons, selling access to the president, corrupting the office of the president beyond anyone's imagination.
I too disputed the Monticello docents, in the presence of a black family who WANTED to believe the worst of Jefferson.
The horror of slavery is that he could have screwed Sally if he wanted to. He OWNED her.
But we hope that his sense of honor stopped him.
After all, he was no BJ Clinton!
Thanks for your reply. I'm glad to hear that there are a few of us.
If it had been proven it would be one thing but to convict a man on wishful thinking is heinous.
Sally was played by Thandie Newton in the movie a few years back.
I would not have blamed Nick Nolte not one bit.
Even if twas true, it is certain sure that her first child was no descendant of him. Later children we don't know if it was his or his brother.
I guess I am bugged because a black guy I met at a car wash claimed to be descended from Jefferson. I was sorry to inform him that there was no medical evidence that could distinguish between being a descendent of Thomas, or being a descendent of Randolph, who was widely known to frequent the slave cabins.
The odd thing is that the contemporary accusations occured before Sally Hemmings had any children, and after her first child was born (again, DNA analysis has shown that he was no descendant of any Jefferson) the charge was not renewed.
Boy, the feller was as angry as if I had called his mother a bad name.