Unanswered Questions

There are many troubling aspects to the DNA study. The following is a list of a very few number of the many questions I have pertaining to the study. I encourage everyone, particularly the media to seek out the answers.

Why would Dr. Foster state to me on February 2, 1998, nine months prior to the Nature article, “Thanks very much for the information about Isham Randolph Jefferson. This is exactly the kind of information that will have to be considered if it turns out that there is Jefferson Y-chromosomal DNA in Hemings descendants. The DNA evidence in itself can’t be conclusive for a variety of reasons” and then issue a report that does not consider this type of information?

Why would Dan Jordan, on November 1, 1998, invite Dr. Foster to act in the capacity of scientist and “historian” after Dr. Foster repeatedly stated he knew nothing about the history of Jefferson and would leave that to others…why didn’t he?

Why was I not invited to stand along side Dr. Foster, as a Jefferson family historian, to present to the media the historical information that Dr. Foster had told me would be the kind of information that needed to be considered if there were a match?

Why would Dan Jordan, after announcing the appointment of a research committee on this issue, which was charged with examining all available evidence, reject my ideas and opinions on this topic based on 25 years of research?

Why would the Editor-In-Chief of Nature, Philip Campbell, not reply to my letter of November 24, 1998, requesting a “corrected scientific statement?” Why, after I had complained to Nature about the lack of a reply, did I receive the following on January 11, 1999, “I am sorry that you have not received a reply from us before.” Referring to the 2nd Nature article of January 7, 1999, Dr. Jane Rees of Nature replied, “We felt that these two complementary papers highlighted the ambiguity about paternity, and that Foster’s reply clearly stated that the leader title could be misinterpreted, and acknowledged your own help with the original study. Foster did see a precursor to the title used before publication, and so we do not feel that the title used was imposed on him in any way.”

Why did Dan Jordan, President of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation (TJMF), Dr. Foster, DNA Coordinator of the DNA study, whose story was “twisted” by a false headline, and Bob Gillespie, President of the Monticello Association, whose ancestral grandfather had again been lied about, and in a scientific journal yet, not complain to Nature about their inaccurate and misleading headline of one of our founding fathers? I suggested to all three that they jointly request a retraction or some other means of apology for disgracing Mr. Jefferson. Others and I did complain which at least resulted in the Nature article of January 7, 1999.

Why would Dr. Peter Donnelly of Oxford, one of Dr. Foster’s scientific collaborators, tell me, after I had asked him who the historical collaborators were, “You are absolutely right that the DNA evidence cannot distinguish between Thomas Jefferson, and his brother, and several other paternal male relatives being the father?” He goes on to say that Nature chose the headline and of course the press was quick to follow that line. He further states, “My position would thus be that the DNA provides strong support for the hypothesis that one of these handful of men was the father.” He went on to say “historical evidence was not his expertise.” So who were the historical collaborators? We must balance science with history here, or does that really matter? Some of the Madison Hemings descendants seem to discount DNA science, as does Lucian Truscott IV. They prefer to be happy with oral history.

Why would Dr. Foster reply to me, after I asked him the same question I had asked Dr. Donnelly, “Who were your historical collaborators?” His response was “I made those decisions.” Remember, Dr. Foster admits that he is no expert on history or family history and will leave that to others, so, who made the historical evaluation which the media and certain book sellers wish to make the public aware of when they state, “When DNA is matched with history, the simplest finding is that it was Thomas Jefferson.”

Why did these three researchers, Dr. Foster, TJMF and Monticello Association (now represented by James Truscott), not take action to try and obtain DNA samples from a deceased son of Madison Hemings (which took me 17 months to locate)? This could have possibly added to the scientific information of the study. This would have been just a continuation of the original study.

Why did the eight descendants of Madison Hemings originally give me their oral approval to exhume William Beverly Hemings and then refuse to give written approval just a few days later?

Why would Dan Jordan not list the book of his predecessor, James Bear, Jr., “Thomas Jefferson and His Unknown Brother” on his Monticello webpage? I brought this very prominent omission to his attention and to my knowledge, as of this date, it still is not listed, even though the study group did cite it as a reference. This little book has many little bits of information, and when properly assessed, make some important revelations, thus why have it available for possibly “muddying the water?”

Why wouldn’t Dan Jordan know why one of his senior historians, Cinder Stanton, and a member of the research committee, had changed her opinion on Thomas Jefferson fathering the Hemings’ children after 1993? I have since read that this was the time the Oral History Project was beginning at Monticello.

Why would Dan Jordan on January 26, 2000, again invite Dr. Foster to be present at his media event and not myself (one who has recently located an extremely crucial and important DNA source) and one most closely associated with the study from day one? I was responsible for locating descendants and in some cases persuading them to participate in the DNA study.

Why would Dan Jordan, in his January 26 announcement, fail to tell the public that he had been informed in October 1999 that another source of DNA has been located? I even suggested that he delay his announcement pending further scientific research. It was William Hemings’ father, Madison, who stated that he and his siblings were children of Thomas Jefferson. Thus, this DNA would be a vital continuation of the study. Why would Dan Jordan go ahead and give the public an incomplete study at this time, what motivated him to do this?

Why would Dan Jordan state in his study findings of January 26, in the Jeffersonian tradition, “follow truth wherever it may lead?” Dan is quite proud to present his version of Mr. Jefferson’s statement of 1820, but he seems to forget the remainder of the statement, “…nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left to combat it.” It is this entire statement that motivates those of us who pursue the truth to continue on and to use it as our motto.

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