News Release

C. H. Burton, Post Office Box 263, Keswick, Virginia 22947

Date: August 1, 2005
Contact: C. H. Burton,

For Immediate Release

New monograph vindicates Jefferson of charge

he fathered children of Sally Hemings!

If you thought DNA proved President Jefferson fathered a child of his slave – think again! Albemarle County researcher and genealogist, Cynthia H. Burton, sheds new light on the old legend. Struck by the hypocrisy that President Jefferson might have fathered children with his servant Sally Hemings, Burton devoted years of independent study to examining the details of the story.

Burton has compiled her research in a volume entitled JEFFERSON VINDICATED that, as the subtitle implies, reveals “Fallacies, Omissions, and Contradictions in the Hemings Genealogical Search.” New findings that focus on the infamous, yet inconclusive DNA; Jefferson’s health and his activities at the time; accounts of witnesses; origin of the myth; and the possibility that Sally’s children were fathered by Randolph Jefferson or other men carrying the Jefferson Y chromosome also are considered. Numerous sources are examined in an attempt to resolve ambiguities and to determine relevance and credibility – ultimately, vindicating Mr. Jefferson of the paternity charges.

Not only is Jefferson country explored for clues to the mystery, the author also follows the Hemingses in their trek west revealing little-known facts about an extraordinary family in their fulfillment of the “American dream.” Responding to a special issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly on this topic, she exposes flaws in their analysis. Along with the most thorough examination of the Hemings story to date, fresh new discoveries and details are revealed as never before available to the general public.

James A. Bear, Jr., Emeritus Director and Curator of the Thomas Jefferson (Memorial) Foundation contributed the foreword for this effort. His 30-year tenure at Monticello produced significant research and numerous publications; but he is best known for his work as editor of Jefferson at Monticello and as co-editor of both Jefferson’s Memorandum Books and The Family Letters of Thomas Jefferson.

Born of rumors in party politics, the Hemings legend has come full circle. Citizens of Albemarle County passed a resolution in 1840, “vindicating the memory of Mr. Jefferson from posthumous slanders” with regard to his private character. These individuals were his neighbors, who as they stated, “had an opportunity of personally knowing the true state of the facts.” Burton has a rich family history in early Albemarle and has been studying the historic neighborhood and its inhabitants for almost 30 years.

This is not the first time since the DNA tests were released in 1998 that the theory that Thomas Jefferson fathered Sally’s youngest child, Eston, has been seriously called into question. For instance, in April 2001, a “Scholars Commission” of more than a dozen professors released a 550-page report on a year-long inquiry into the issue that concluded that Thomas Jefferson probably was not Eston’s father.

Why does any of this matter? Jefferson denied the “Sally” allegation, so the charge calls into question his integrity. As a Founding Father, this reflects upon his political principles and the moral foundation upon which those principles were based. Exposing the abundant misconceptions surrounding the controversy allows us to better understand our past and our present.

Donning the front cover of this volume is an obscure Paris portrait of Jefferson dating back to late 18th or early 19th Century; and the back cover image was contributed by Henry L. Burton of Albemarle County.

Title: Jefferson Vindicated
Subtitle: Fallacies, Omissions and Contradictions in the Hemings Genealogical Search
Author: Cynthia H. Burton
Foreword by: James A. Bear, Jr.
Binding: 8-3/8 x 10-7/8, soft cover.
Approx. 225 pages incl. charts, illustrations,
Appendix, 500+ endnotes, and Index.
ISBN 0-9767775-0-9

Jefferson Vindicated can be ordered from with the link on the right.

%d bloggers like this: