After being accepted at the University of Virginia, Jacqueline Yurkoski came to Charlottesville with her parents and agreed to answer some questions about how a Sally Hemings descendant of the younger generation feels about her ancestry. She looks forward to a career in medicine.
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Tagged with “Jefferson Descent”
Three daughters of Consuelo and Elmer Wayles Roberts were interviewed together in Los Angeles: Paula Henderson, Robin Roberts-Martin, and Ellen Hodnett, a teacher and school principal. They recalled their father, a graduate of U.C.L.A., a mortician, and a probation officer. In 1976 he told Time magazine he thought Thomas Jefferson would be “unhappy about man’s inability to learn anything about living with his fellow man, despite all the advances in technology.”
Martha Boston, who carried on the Hern/Hearns family tradition of a belief in the importance of education, was the youngest of eight children of Bernard Clinton Hearns and Clara Jones Hearns. Her father, “a very progressive man” in her eyes, worked on the railroad to save money to buy the family farm. Her mother, “seeking the best for her children,” sent her as a child to Baltimore to live with a sister, so she would have the opportunity for better schooling.
Jillian Sim, a writer and mother of two, was raised in the white world. Her grandmother, Ellen Love, an actress, told her many family stories heard from her mother, Anita Hemmings Love. She mentioned connections to Jefferson and an English sea captain, but never spoke of descent from enslaved people. Jill Sim learned of her African American ancestry only after her grandmother’s death in 1994.
Zeta Brown Nichols grew up in Keswick, just east of Charlottesville. She shared memories of life in the area in the 1940s and 50s. Like many others in the Hern family, she became a teacher, initially in a one-room schoolhouse in western Albemarle County and later at Albemarle Training School. She learned of her connection to Monticello from her aunt Martha Hearns Boston, also a teacher.
Anne Slaughter and four other descendants of Monticello gatekeeper Eliza Tolliver Coleman were interviewed together in 1995. All live in the Washington, DC, area and work (or worked) in various departments of the federal government. They shared their memories of Eliza Coleman’s daughters Lucy Coleman Barnaby Page and Grace Coleman Harris and recalled summers spent at the Monticello gatehouse. Members of the extended Coleman family lived at Monticello for more than a century—far longer than any of the property’s owners.
Stephen De Windt moved with his family from the San Francisco Bay area to Pasadena when he was twelve. He attended Pasadena City College and Arizona State University. After a career in the airline industry, he became an actor—a “background artist”—in Hollywood.
John Quill Taylor King was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the son of Alice Woodson, a teacher, and John Quill Taylor, a doctor. When his mother remarried after his father’s death, he took the surname of his stepfather, Charles King, a funeral director. King graduated from Fisk University in 1941 and then entered the U.S. Army. He retired from the Army Reserves as a Major General.