Sorry but I don't buy it. There are two Uncles which the Jefferson family tried to pin these births on. But since no birth ever occurred without TJ being availbable for fathering and the children were treated exceptionally well the Uncle link does not hold up for me.
And the births were over a twenty year span, I believe. Women in the Hemmings had a history of long-term linkages with one man and I believe Sally did that as well.
It is not likely that she would have been cavorting with Uncle at slave dances either from what I have read of her.
Fawn Brodie is not the only source of this linkage either and much information is available from the interviews done in the 1870s or 80s with one of Sally's sons. Brodie's book is a good one though and more than likely correct in its essence.
It should also be noted that these children were all quite successful and respected in their communities when they didn't "pass for white" and become anonymous like the girl. That sounds more like TJ than the shiftless ne'er do well uncles.
There is an interesting book about this by a black lady lawyer whose name I forget. I'll try and find it.
You are right that there will likely never be any definitive proof one way or the other and it is not that important. It is a fascinating means of reviewing a long lost society and its human stories.
I am not a Jefferson fan but not for this reason. Actually, I believe the affair shows a lot of positive features J. had. If true, it is a tragedy. Imagine a long-term Love which can never be revealed or acknowledged. How hard that would be.
posted on 05/05/2003 8:30:58 AM PDT
(RATS will use any means to denigrate George Bush's Victory.)
He wasn't an actual uncle, and it's only RANDOLF JEFFERSON, him specifically, that remains as a serious candidate for paternity of Hemmings children.
When Jefferson returned, so did Uncle Randolf. He has the appropriate tail-male DNA. He *played the violin* - spent much time "fiddling" down by the slave quarters. He is known to have fathered children by his own slaves.
The oral tradition of some Hemmings descendants is that a Jefferson *Uncle* (Randolf Jefferson was referred to as "Uncle" Randolf)was their forebear, not Thomas Jefferson.
Jefferson's preferential freeing of Hemmings children could have as much to do with their physical traits as the possibility he sired any of them. They would have looked nearly white. They wouldn't look like african slaves. The chances of them suceeding as free persons in the wider world was higher. They were certainly related to his wife and his own children!
Randolph Jefferson is as likely, if not more likely, father to Hemmings children as Jefferson is. Until he is eliminated, it is highly irresponsible to claim that the facts "prove" Jefferson's paternity. It's not even close.
I have no vested interest one way or another...but truth is truth. Another perfectly plausible father exists in History.
posted on 05/05/2003 9:03:44 AM PDT
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