Thomas C. Woodson - Wellston Ohio
Posted by: Team RAGAR
N 39° 05.302 W 082° 32.315
17S E 366933 N 4327709
Quick Description: Illigitmate son of Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States, and slave/mistress Sally Hemmings.
Location: Ohio, United States
Date Posted: 11/27/2008 5:57:36 AM
Waymark Code: WM589K
Woodson Cemetery, final resting place of Thomas C. Woodson. Never heard of Tom Woodson? Maybe you have heard his story. You see, oral tradition holds two neat accounts involving Thomas Woodson.
One tradition tells us that Mr. Woodson is actually the son of Sally Hemings, slave and possible mistress of Thomas Jefferson.
Another oral legend tells that Thomas Woodson is in fact the son of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings.
Evidence has been presented supporting and denying these claims.
True or not, it makes for one neat history lesson in Jackson County.
What's the Real Story?:
The claim that Thomas Jefferson fathered children with Sally Hemings, a slave at Monticello, entered the public arena during Jefferson's first term as president, and it has remained a subject of discussion and disagreement for nearly two centuries.
In September 1802, political journalist James T. Callender, a disappointed office-seeker who had once been an ally of Jefferson, wrote in a Richmond newspaper that Jefferson had for many years "kept, as his concubine, one of his own slaves." "Her name is Sally," Callender continued, adding that Jefferson had "several children" by her.
Although there had been rumors of a sexual relationship between Jefferson and a slave before 1802, Callender's article spread the story widely. It was taken up by Jefferson's Federalist opponents and was published in many newspapers during the remainder of Jefferson's presidency.
Jefferson's policy was to offer no public response to personal attacks, and he apparently made no explicit public or private comment on this question (although a private letter of 1805 has been interpreted by some individuals as a denial of the story). Sally Hemings left no known accounts.
Jefferson's daughter Martha Jefferson Randolph privately denied the published reports. Two of her children, Ellen Randolph Coolidge and Thomas Jefferson Randolph, maintained many years later that such a liaison was not possible, on both moral and practical grounds. They also stated that Jefferson's nephews Peter and Samuel Carr were the fathers of the light-skinned Monticello slaves some thought to be Jefferson's children because of their resemblance to him.
The Jefferson-Hemings story was sustained through the 19th century by Northern abolitionists, British critics of American democracy, and others. Its vitality among the American population at large was recorded by European travelers of the time. Through the 20th century, some historians accepted the possibility of a Jefferson-Hemings connection and a few gave it credence, but most Jefferson scholars found the case for such a relationship unpersuasive.
Over the years, however, belief in a Thomas Jefferson-Sally Hemings relationship was perpetuated in private. Two of her children - Madison and Eston - indicated that Jefferson was their father, and this belief has been relayed through generations of their descendants as an important family truth.
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