jefferson's blood
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beautiful octoroon - miss anna heming (1902)
This article originally appeared in the Scioto Gazette, a Chillicothe, Ohio newspaper, on August 7, 1902 under the sub-heading "Granddaughter of Thomas Jefferson Described in Glowing Pen Picture by Judge Sibley; Probably a Sister of Eston Hemings." Judge Sibley contributed his recollections of Eston Hemings, and Eston's daughter Anna, to supplement an earlier sketch of Hemings' life that had appeared in the paper on August 1.
The Sketch of Eston Hemings, in your weekly issue of Saturday last interested me not a little. From the personal resemblance, it appears probable that he was a son of the great man who drew the Declaration of Independence: and this is clearly so if Hemings told the truth regarding his mother . Such relations as his statement suggests, were in perfect harmony with the practical ___ of the old slave system in Jefferson's time, and until the abomination was wiped out.

Besides, he was familiar with Parisian society--tinctured, indeed with French notions on some subjects--and as all know, Puritanic ideas regarding the relations of men and women never have been potent on that side of the British channel.

I am not, however, to be understood as rating Mr. Jefferson below some of his distinguished compatriots in private morals. The character of Aaron Burr will at once be recalled. Even Ben Franklin was not, as a young man, wholly impeccable, while Alexander Hamilton wrote a pamphlet in extenuation of a liaison out of which a political scandal had been made.

The circumstance, then, that Thomas Jefferson should become a father by one of his own slaves, derives any unusual interest from his position in social and public life other than the occurrence in itself considered. Such things characterized slavery as long as it lasted.

With so much by way of preliminary, I come to some matters in personal history, out of which arise facts that relate, I presume, to the Eston Hemings family. During the fall of 1849 I attended a "Manual Labor School" at Albany, in Athens county, Ohio. It had some local fame as an "Abolition School," as students were received in it regardless of color. I think two brothers named Lewis, were at its head, aided by others. There I met a beautiful octoroon, in her early teens who was introduced to incoming students as "miss Anna (or Ann) Heming, the grand daughter of Thomas Jefferson." Her hair was kinky, but a rich dark chestnut in color, while her black lustrous eyes were far the finest that I then had ever seen.

In her cheeks the vormil red did show

Like roses in a bed of lillies ___

Fairer than the whiteish of her mater the transparent beauty of her complexion was the wonder and talk of both boys and girl. I do not remember where she was said to have come from, and since leaving the school in 1850, never have heard of her, nor of anyone with like name until reading the sketch of Eston Hemings in the Gazette.

As I recollect the name was Hemings...

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