Jefferson–Hemings controversy

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Thomas Jefferson

The Jefferson–Hemings controversy is a dispute over the nature of the relationship between Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson.


The controversy has been around since the early 1800s since it was started by a man of disrepute, James T. Callender. However, the debate was amplified by a 1998 article in Nature which proclaimed DNA proof of Jefferson's fathering of children with Hemings.[1]


The journal Nature issued a retraction two months later, noting that "The title assigned to our study was misleading in that it represented only the simplest explanation of our molecular findings".[2]


Herbert Barger, the Jefferson family Genealogist, led the dispute of many of these claims. He put together exhaustive research, and searched for 18 months for the grave of William Hemings.[3] He said: "My study indicates to me that Thomas Jefferson was NOT the father of Eston or any other Hemings child. The DNA study along with historical information, indicates that Randolph is possibly the father of Eston and maybe the others."[4]


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