Skip to Main Content

Thomas Jefferson Statue at the University of Missouri

Primary sources, scholarship, news reporting, and views from the MU community regarding Thomas Jefferson and the Jefferson statue on Francis Quadrangle

Resources from

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation, stewards of Jefferson's Monticello plantation near Charlottesville, VA, states unambiguously on its website, "Years after his wife's death, Thomas Jefferson fathered at least six of Sally Hemings's children." Explore primary sources and scholarship about Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson, and their descendants through these links:

DNA Evidence

In November 1998, Nature published the results of an analysis of DNA from male-line descendants in the Jefferson and Hemings families. After reviewing the molecular evidence, the report's authors concluded that Thomas Jefferson likely was the father of Eston Hemings Jefferson, the sixth and last child of Sally Hemings.

In a column published in the same issue, historian Joseph J. Ellis (writing with geneticist Eric Lander) acknowledged that the DNA testing "offer[ed] strong evidence that Jefferson fathered at least one of Hemings' children." Ellis's National Book Award-winning bestseller American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson, published just two years earlier, included a five-page appendix in which the author expressed his doubt that Jefferson had fathered any of Hemings's children.