By Marissa Johnson
Virginia Robinson, also affectionately known as Aunt Peachy, told Gayle Jessup White that she was a descendant of Thomas Jefferson. Though Aunt Peachy was exceedingly superstitious to the point she believed pigs could see blood in clouds, her family believed her tale of the family’s relation to Thomas Jefferson.
Aunt Peachy wasn’t sure of her own age, but the family’s link to Thomas Jefferson is a fact she’s sure of. It is estimated she was born around 1870. People who knew her described her as “illiterate and superstitious, kindly and childlike.” Yet this woman was the last surviving link who was able to tell White of her heritage.
Ancestry DNA helped White to prove her link to Thomas Jefferson’s daughter Martha. There are not a lot of documents to prove the link, but there is enough documented evidence to prove the family’s oral history.
White’s great-grandparents were Rachel Robinson and Moncure Robinson Taylor. But, in order for the link to Jefferson to be 100% proven, White would have to go to Moncure’s white descendants for DNA samples to prove Moncure is her grandmother’s father.
This was first reported in The Root.
White says she was happy to find her white relative, another descendant of Jefferson. The comment section, however, saw mixed views on whether White’s genetic link to Jefferson was a positive or a negative.
Johnson commented, “Perhaps if conditions in this country for African Americans were different, I could embrace a story like this…when I look in the mirror I see evidence of the crimes committed against my ancestors. I do not need DNA to tell me that. And whether it was Thomas Jefferson or the Irish overseer, it makes no difference.”
Pam Ward commented and claims her cousins are descendants of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings also and that Fawn Brode wrote a biography that included Jefferson’s link to Hemmings. For this, she was allegedly forced into an early retirement by UCLA in the 1970’s.