Revisionists perpetuating the allegation that Thomas Jefferson… fathered all of Sally Hemings’ children now believe history is on their side. The pressures of political correctness have relegated reasonable discourse on the issue to the fringe. A scholar who questions the findings of writers like Annette Gordon-Reed, must be prepared to be labeled a racist. The discipline of history demands that consensus never be granted immunity, regardless of social convention or political correctness. A fair evaluation of the evidence provides reasonable doubt in the revisionists’ narrative. Thus far, they show little interest in fielding these questions:
- Where was Sally ? Jefferson was at Monticello nine months before the birth of her children (so was the rest of his extended family) but there is almost no evidence showing she was there. Sally was Patsy’s handmaiden and reasonable historical inference would place them together- including the periods when Patsy did not live at Monticello.
- Can we really trust the “conception windows?” There is no way of proving that Sally Hemings carried her children full term. Birth records from the 19th century make it difficult to see six full term pregnancies for one woman. What about the more than 20 windows when Hemings did not conceive?
- Is the oral history truly reliable? Madison Hemings was the only child to claim Jefferson was his father. His descendants will not submit to DNA testing. Eston Hemings descendants have the male Jefferson gene, but have never claimed to be descendants. Confused yet?
- Can we stop talking about secret passages? It is well documented that revisionists have misquoted or ignored critical evidence proving no servants could have entered Jefferson’s bedroom without being seen.
- Are we ready to acknowledge the inconsistencies in the DNA testing? There were 25 Jefferson’s who possessed that Y-chromosome within 100 miles of Monticello. Randolph Jefferson, Thomas’ brother and his five sons, need further scrutiny.
- Why did Sally stop having children in 1808? Jefferson took up full-time residence at Monticello in 1809, shouldn’t there be more children? Jefferson was 64 years old when he allegedly fathered Eston Hemings in 1808.
- Can we throw Callender’s reputation back on the ash heap of history, where it belongs? There is no proof he ever visited Charlottesville, the DNA test proved there was no ‘Tom’ Jefferson conceived in France, and no one can identify a shred of credibility in his reporting.