The Wall Street Journal reviews In Defense of Thomas Jefferson, a book that concludes,
emphatically, that the male Jefferson family member who fathered Eston Hemings could have been any one of at least seven males. There were, [author William G. Hyland Jr.] notes, “two dozen-plus Jefferson males (with DNA markers in common) roaming Virginia at the time.” The seven include Jefferson’s younger brother, Randolph, who had already fathered slave children and who had been invited to Monticello nine months before Eston’s birth. Mr. Hyland does not exclude Thomas Jefferson as a possible father of Eston. But he deplores the false assumption that today’s limited DNA evidence can answer the question one way or another.
Seems reasonable enough, although the Journal does not ask a question that the book’s title most strongly provokes: Why does Mr. Jefferson need a defense?
FOR MORE: Click on the “Thomas Jefferson” link below this post to read more on the former president. And for primary resources related to Sally Hemings, see these posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6. And for a discussion of Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves (2012) by Henry Wiencek, go here and here.
IMAGE: Thomas Jefferson by kamilya on Worth1000.com