Thomas C. Woodson
(c. 1790-c. 1879) was an African American whose first known appearance in the documentary record is in a deed of 1807 in Greenbrier County, Virginia (now West Virginia).Shortly after 1820, he left Virginia for Ohio, where he lived for some years in Chillicothe and afterward in nearby Jackson County, where he was a very successful farmer.He
wife Jemima raised a family of eleven children, many of whom became ministers or educators.
The strongest evidence supporting Thomas C. Woodson's connection to Monticello
is the enduring oral history in the Woodson family.In the 1970s descendants of Woodson
, through five of his
children, renewed contact with each other for the first time in several generations.They learned that they preserved a family history that was almost identical in its basic statements, including that Thomas Woodson
was the son of Thomas Jefferson
and was sent away from Monticello
at some point in his boyhood.
...No document has yet been found to link Thomas C. Woodson with Monticello, Sally Hemings, or Thomas Jefferson.
The testimony of Sally Hemings's known son Madison is in conflict with the identity of Thomas Woodson
as her son.
If Thomas C. Woodson
was Sally Hemings's son born in 1790, he
would have been a father at sixteen and a landowner at seventeen; his
wife would have been eight years older than he
.While this is not necessarily impossible, it would have been highly unusual.
The 1998 DNA study indicates that Thomas C. Woodson
was not Thomas Jefferson's son.
Based on all the information available to us at this time, the committee cannot establish that Thomas C. Woodson
was the child of Sally Hemings -- despite a compelling oral tradition that almost certainly dates to Woodson's lifetime.
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