William G. Hyland Jr.: Jefferson-slav...

William G. Hyland Jr.: Jefferson-slave liaison fiction

There are 19 comments on the Orlando Sentinel story from Apr 12, 2009, titled William G. Hyland Jr.: Jefferson-slave liaison fiction. In it, Orlando Sentinel reports that:

As we celebrate Thomas Jefferson 's 266th birthday today, one statement should be made concerning our greatest Founding Father: He was either the most prolific, hypocritical liar in American history or the victim of the most profane, 200-year-old defamation of character in legal annals.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Orlando Sentinel.

ajnock

United States

#1 Apr 13, 2009
Mr. Hyland's logic may exonerate Thomas Jefferson. Enemies of America believe they can damage this nation by impugning it's founders. Perhaps they can. But in the process of Mr. Hyland's defense of Thomas Jefferson he completely indicts other close relatives thereby confirming that the Jefferson clan was abusive.

Though I may not bear total responsibility for the actions of all members of my household under my authority, I do bear some. Mr. Jefferson was not guiltless of what took place in his household (assuming it was all non consensual).
DriveBy Poster

Schaumburg, IL

#2 Apr 13, 2009
This seems to be an intellectual exercise at best; I think the more important question is, why is it so important to this writer to prove the stories are false? Is there some thinly veiled racism in finding the accusation so outrageous?
The same question could be asked of those hoping to prove the Thomas Jefferson-Hemmings relationship; why is it so important to prove it existed?
Orlandoan

Orlando, FL

#3 Apr 13, 2009
It's never ceased to amaze me that the people who are so absolutely certain that Thomas Jefferson had a child with Sally Hemmings have, at least recently, dismissed the possibility that someone who had Thomas Jeffersons' exact DNA (his brother Randolph) and who was at Montecello as often as Thomas Jefferson, and who was well known to take advantage of his position for any number of illicit trysts, could have been more likely than Thomas Jefferson to have had a child or few with slaves. And until the time comes where the DNA of one sibling can be positively from anothers' DNA (especially two people who lived over 250 years ago), then I'll side with Mr. Hyland.
Some Other Guy

United States

#4 Apr 13, 2009
This should give an idea of how much you can trust conclusions that are supposedly "scientific" and "official."

Welcome to the age of "Wikiality," where the so-called truth is based on popular thinking rather than on reality.
Junior

Orlando, FL

#5 Apr 13, 2009
DriveBy Poster wrote:
This seems to be an intellectual exercise at best; I think the more important question is, why is it so important to this writer to prove the stories are false? Is there some thinly veiled racism in finding the accusation so outrageous?
The same question could be asked of those hoping to prove the Thomas Jefferson-Hemmings relationship; why is it so important to prove it existed?
Of course it's important to BLACKS. They want to prove something against any white who helped build this county. Then they can scream about why they are still suppressed by whitey. Typical garbage from black racists.
Bondosan

Brentwood, TN

#6 Apr 13, 2009
Oh, dear God, William G. Hyland, Jr. is at it again.

The Hemings-Jefferson relationship has been an obsession of his for years, but unfortunately (for him), the evidence overwhelmingly points to a sexual relationship between the two.

And it simply isn't that remarkable. Slaves were the personal property of the slaveholder. There was no option to refuse a sexual advance.

Furthermore, Hemings was the half-sister of Jefferson's deceased wife. Three of her four grandparents were white. Some of her children "passed" as white once they got their freedom (the only ones of Jefferson 200+ slaves to be freed, not sold).

It's time for Mr. Hyland to get over it and get on with his life.
Bondosan

Brentwood, TN

#7 Apr 13, 2009
Well now this is most peculiar.

I posted earlier about the fact that the overwhelming amount of historical evidence points to a relationship between Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson, and yet my post was removed shortly after it went up.

Nonetheless, I would encourage readers to actually do a little follow-up on their own. Particularly recommended is Annette Gordon-Reed's The Hemingses of Monticello.

William G. Hyland, Jr. has an obsession about the Jefferson-Hemings story. Unfortunately (for him), the facts are simply not on his side, and he has to do both intellectual and scholarly contortions to make his case.

Do readers realize that Sally Hemings was Jefferson's deceased wife's half-sister (they had the same father), and that she was, by contemporary accounts, extremely beautiful and looked a great deal like Jefferson's wife?

Or that of Jefferson's more than 200 slaves, it was only Sally Hemings, her children, and other relations who were eventually set free?

Or that Sally Hemings's son Madison himself wrote that his mother was Jefferson's "concubine"?

I would also direct readers to the PBS Web site, and look up the Frontline episode entitled "Jefferson's Blood."

I don't know what motivates William G. Hyland, Jr., but I would encourage him to grow up and move on with his life.
ajnock

United States

#8 Apr 13, 2009
DriveBy Poster wrote:
This seems to be an intellectual exercise at best; I think the more important question is, why is it so important to this writer to prove the stories are false? Is there some thinly veiled racism in finding the accusation so outrageous?
The same question could be asked of those hoping to prove the Thomas Jefferson-Hemmings relationship; why is it so important to prove it existed?
It is most important to the 21st Cent race hustlers. White guilt is a perishable commodity. It needs replenishing frequently. There are only two founder's names well known to the government educated. Washington and Jefferson. "Proving" them rapists is an important "fact" in the race business. In a small way, Hyland can stymie the hustlers, but in the end it is a vain effort.

My point is that even if Thomas was not involved with the slave, something untoward happened in his house. A member of his extended family was involved. So Hyland goes to great lengths to exonerate President Jefferson, but, in so doing, gives support to the generalized abuse accusations. It puzzles me why one would go to that much trouble over a technicality.

Like I said, if my son commits a felony, technically I am guiltless, but I still bear great guilt of another kind.
Margo

United States

#9 Apr 13, 2009
Personally I'm not all that impressed with the character argument. As I'm sure we all know what people say is quite often different from what they actually do.

However there are a number of points against the Sally Hemmings story:

1. Callender's published stories are wrong in every detail he gives about Sally from her appearance to the number and age of her children. It is in fact very probable that Callender never heard of Sally Hemmings and his choice of the name 'Sally' for his imaginary slave-mistress was completely coincidental.

2. Contrary to common practice and the supposed testimony of Sally's son Madison neither she nor her children recieved any kind of special treatment. Jefferson's records show they were housed and fed like the other slaves and reveal no special gifts to Hemmings or her offspring. Worse men than Jefferson did quite a lot for their slave mistresses and mulatto children so this is good evidence that there was no relationship between them.

3. Jefferson himself denied the charge of keeping a slave mistress though he admitted to the far more serious one of making advances to a friend's wife. Surely his word deserves at least as much credence as Callender's?

As Hyland points out there were a dozen or so Jefferson males in and out of Montecello whenever he was in residence any one of whom might have fathered Eston, the only certain Jefferson offspring among Sally's brood. Surely it isn't defaming a woman to suggest that just maybe she slept with more than one man in her entire life?
Margo

United States

#10 Apr 13, 2009
Ajnock is quite right in pointing out that Jefferson did nothing to prevent the sexual abuse of his female slaves - assuming it was abusive that is. While Sally certainly was not free to say no it is quite possible she didn't want to. Given that she herself was a very light mulatto - near white according to a fellow slave - she may have felt liaisons with White men were less demeaning than marriage to a darker black man would have been. The color bar had a lot of nuances in those days.

Personally I have little patience with the sentimental portrayal of a Jefferson/Hemmings affair as a great romance but it isn't entirely impossible that Sally had a genuine fondness for whatever man or men fathered her children. However the odds are none of them were her owner.
London

Frisco, TX

#11 Apr 13, 2009
WHO CARES?
Bondosan

Brentwood, TN

#12 Apr 14, 2009
If you travel to South Carolina, you'll see that one name stands above all others. It adorns schools, buildings, institutes, reservoirs, and many other facilities.

They recognize the achievements of a man who lived to be over 100, who served in the United States Senate for 50 years. A man who built his entire career on the importance of keeping the South segregated.

In fact, he ran for president in 1948 against Harry Truman on a Dixiecrat platform of segregation, and won 39 electoral votes. In one of his famous speeches during the campaign, he said:

"I wanna tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that there's not enough troops in the army to force the Southern people to break down segregation and admit the n****r race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches."

All of his friends described him as the perfect Southern gentleman. He did have strongly held views about race, of course, but he was a distinguished, accomplished man who loved his family.

His name? Strom Thurmond.

And oh yes, he just happened to father a daughter with a black maid.

If it hadn't come to light, no one would have believed it. Look at the man's history, look at his words, look at his actions, look at his career! "Impossible!" they would say. "How dare you impugn his dignity, his memory, his honor!"

And yet men are men. And when they have complete and total authority over a woman, they often take advantage of that power.
Margo

United States

#13 Apr 17, 2009
All quite true, Bondosan. But not grounds for assuming guilt on the basis of an accusation - especially when said accusation can be proven to be personally and politically motivated AND is counter to known facts.

Callender's 'Black Tom' never existed - that's proven fact. Madison Hemming's so called witness is second hand filtered through the the agency of a reporter with an agenda, and disproven on several points as well. Thomas Jefferson certainly belongs on the list of possible father's of Easton Hemmings but he is far from alone and given his age and health far from the most probable.
Margo

United States

#14 Apr 17, 2009
Thomas Jefferson is no great hero of mine - though the man surely could write!- and frankly it wouldn't bother me if it were proven that he had an entire harem of black concubines. What annoys the heck out of me is positive assertions being made on bad to non-existent evidence.
A Virginian

AOL

#15 Jun 20, 2009
"I don't know what motivates William G. Hyland, Jr., but I would encourage him to grow up and move on with his life."

Hey Bondosan -
How many years have you studied and researched this issue? You probably got your "accurate" info from the liberal media. Try picking up a book that has "facts", you know, real stuff that someone had to go to various repositories to study. People like Mr. Hyland and others who have written on this controversy (and won't let go of it) do it because they know there has been much manipulation associated with the interpretation of the DNA study. Ignorance has contributed to keeping this rumor alive, yours included. Thank God there are some persistent people out there who know a lie when they see it. tjheritage.org jeffersondna.com
Spend some time learning about a subject before you critize others for knowing what they are talking about.
wwwSyphaxFamilyR eunioncom

Goleta, CA

#16 Jul 1, 2009
Is there a photo of Randolph Jefferson floating around out there?
If so, email it to Royce@RoyceJefferson.com
www.RoyceJefferson.com
www.BernardsJefferson.com
www.RolandsJefferson.com
wwwSyphaxFamilyR eunioncom

Goleta, CA

#17 Jul 1, 2009
Randolph Jefferson's Family Tree. Click below.

http://www.bernardsjefferson.com/thejefferson...
chicisto

Saint Louis, MO

#18 Aug 28, 2013
Here's one of the chief skeptics presenting his case. I must forewarn you that his method of speaking is very forceful:

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/289471-1
Dolly Selanik

Reynoldsburg, OH

#19 Dec 17, 2013
The DNA results are not conclusive because they show only a male of the Jefferson clan, not really any man in particular. Jefferson had all girls, and the DNA sample was of a male. More likely man of the Jefferson family was brother Randolph.

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