Randolph Has Been Mentioned As The Father of Sally’s Children
During a one-sided conference at the University of Virginia in March 1999, Annette Gordon-Reed said that no one had ever raised the idea that Thomas Jefferson’s brother, Randolph, might have been the father of any of Sally Hemings’ children.
John d’Entremont, a Professor at Randolph Macon Women’s College in Lynchburg, VA, commented during another one-sided panel discussion, that the focus in the 19th century was primarily on Peter and Samuel Carr and only now when the nephews are ruled out scientifically do some people, grasping at straws, come up with his brother.
The research committee of Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Report states “…there are no known references (prior to the 1998 DNA results) to Randolph Jefferson as a possible father of Sally Hemings’ children”. Some of these research committee members were also participants in the above mentioned panels.
In fact, Herbert Barger, based on his own research, raised the idea of Randolph Jefferson as well as one of Randolph’s sons, Isham, as the possible father of children of Sally Hemings to Dr. Foster well before the DNA study was concluded. However, Dr. Foster did not provide this essential material to Nature.
In addition, Mrs. Rebecca McMurry has provided a written statement that she was told by her mother “that the ‘yellow people’ at Monticello were the offspring of Mr. Jefferson’s brother, Randolph.
On February 23, 1999, WAVA 105.1 Radio, aired a call-in program with host Janet Parshall and guest David Barton. A caller named Diane had this to say:
Janet: Do you remember when this story broke, do you remember what you thought when it was reported that in fact he had fathered Sally Hemings’ youngest son?
Diane: Well, I was pretty skeptical because my father is an amateur historian who grew up by Monticello and my father told me right off the bat, that it was not Jefferson, it was his brother.
Diane: And I never heard that reported anywhere and that’s why I was so fascinated when I flipped on your show and heard David talking about it, because my father had told me immediately that’s not true, it was the brother, and I never, ever heard anybody else even suggest that it might have been, so that’s why I’m thrilled to hear this.
Janet Parshall: Oh good, Diane thank you so very much for being with us. (Note to Diane, Please contact Herbert Barger or the TJHS if you read this.)
In the 1980’s, Mrs. Karyn Traut, a playwright living in North Carolina, also reached the conclusion, after seven years of Jefferson research, that Randolph was the father of Sally’s children. She spent two years writing a play based on this research, called “Saturday’s Children“. For her, the DNA study indicated that her research had been correct. A Jefferson did father at least one of Sally’s children.
The TJMF argues that Randolph is unlikely to have fathered any of Sally Hemings’ children because no one else had ever thought so prior to the DNA study. Since this isn’t true, the argument is not valid. Just because they were not aware of what other people thought, doesn’t mean it can’t be so.