Sally Hemings


Jefferson as the “Architect of American Liberty”

In Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty, (Basic Books, 2017), John B. Boles offers us another biography of Thomas Jefferson. In his brief introduction, he mentions that his aim is to present Jefferson as “politician, party leader, executive; architect, musician, oenophile, gourmand, traveler; inventor, historian, political theorist; land owner, farmer, slaveholder; and son, father, grandfather.” He cautions readers that his portrait…
M. Andrew Holowchak
April 23, 2024

Sally Hemings’ Bedroom

“Historians have made a discovery just in time for the July 4th holiday” (2018), writes Natalie Dreier of the National/World News. “They have found the living quarters for Sally Hemings, the enslaved woman who bore six children to one of the country’s founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson.” Where at Monticello is this bedroom? Michael Cottman of NBC News says that Hemings’ bedroom was…
M. Andrew Holowchak
December 13, 2023

A “Proof” Gone Bad in the Jefferson Paternity Issue

After the 1998 DNA study in Nature indicted Thomas Jefferson apropos of the paternity of Eston Hemings and the rest of Sally Hemings’ children, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation (hereafter, TJMF)—now merely the Thomas Jefferson Foundation—formed a committee to examine the DNA study and strands of historical evidence. In 2000, the foundation declared, “The DNA study, combined with multiple strands…
M. Andrew Holowchak
September 13, 2023

Randolph Visits Monticello, with Perks

The epistolary exchange between Thomas Jefferson and Randolph Jefferson, younger by 12 years and acknowledged by almost all historians to be cognitively challenged, is sparse. It begins during Jefferson’s last year in Paris, 1789. Thomas begins the letter thus, “The occurrences of this part of the globe are of a nature to interest you so little that I have never…
M. Andrew Holowchak
September 6, 2023

Assessing the Consilience Argument for Jefferson’s Paternity of Sally Hemings’ Children

It is too common today, vis-à-vis Jefferson’s avowed sexual involvement with Sally Hemings, to fall back on what I call the Consilience Argument: in effect, the argument everything (biological and historical evidence) argues for a relationship and nothing argues against it. That begins with the 2000 Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation’s 2000 study of the DNA evidence and historical evidence. They…
M. Andrew Holowchak
July 21, 2023

Suppression of Free Speech at Poplar Forest

On November 3, 2022, in response to an invitation of group of Thomas Jefferson mavens, I went to Jefferson’s get-away residence at Poplar Forest. I was asked to join their tour, to begin at 12:30 p.m., and to field questions after the tour. I was asked also to bring any books on Jefferson that I wished to sign and to…
M. Andrew Holowchak
November 14, 2022

The Jefferson Hemings Myth

Did Thomas Jefferson father any children with Sally Hemings? The historical profession argues, yes. But the evidence does not support this conclusion as Professor M. Andrew Holowchak explains in this video. https://youtu.be/GweMqp4zdjw
July 4, 2022

The Myth of Tom and Sally

In 1993 the Washington Post published an article on research being conducted by an accomplished Richmond lawyer named Robert Cooley. According to this article, among many additional details in regard to the subject, Cooley had been working with scholars for years to examine land deeds owned by the descendants of Thomas Jefferson, for the purpose of investigating specifically what land…
H.L. Dowless
October 17, 2019
Review Posts

Taking Back Thomas Jefferson

“There is not a truth existing which I fear, or would wish unknown to the whole world.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1826, days before death It is now accepted as a fact that one of the preeminent Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson – the Apostle of Liberty and Reason – engaged in an illicit sexual relationship with one of his slaves, Sally…
James Rutledge Roesch
March 10, 2015