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The Ancestry of Ketanji Brown Jackson

“Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave . . . "

History was made on Thursday, April 7th, 2022, when the Senate confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the 116th justice of the Supreme Court.

In honor of this historic event, our experts researched Ketanji Brown Jackson and Patrick Graves Jackson's family origins.

This research extends Ketanji Brown Jackson’s ancestry back several generations.

Ketanji Brown Jackson

Patrick Graves Jackson

Patrick Graves Jackson, MD, is a general surgeon at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and a professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine. His focus and specialties include pancreatic surgery, surgical oncology, and minimally invasive surgery.1

He met Ketanji Brown Jackson at Harvard University, where they were both students, and the couple wed in 1996.They have two children.

Patrick Graves Jackson

Quote from the poem "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou.


KETANJI ONYIKA BROWN, born 14 September 1970 at Washington, District of Columbia.3 She is the daughter of JOHNNY BROWN and ELLA REE ROSS. She married PATRICK GRAVES JACKSON on 12 October 1996 at Miami-Dade, Florida.4

History was made on 7 April 2022, when the United States Senate confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the 116th justice of the Supreme Court.  She was sworn in on 30 June 2022 and is the first Black woman to serve on the court.5


JOHNNY BROWN, born 15 October 1945 in Fitzgerald, Ben Hill, Georgia, to THOMAS LOGAN BROWN and QUEEN(IE) ANDERSON.6 He married ELLA REE ROSS on 17 August 1968 at Miami, Dade, Florida.7 JOHNNY BROWN served as the attorney for the Miami-Dade County School Board.8

ELLA REE/ELLERY ROSS, born 30 September 1945 at Dade County, Florida,9 to HORACE ROSS SR. and EUZERA GREEN. Her engagement announcement to Johnny was in the Miami Herald on 30 June 1968.10  She worked as the principal at New World School of the Arts in Miami.11



THOMAS LOGAN BROWN, born 1 May 1917 at Dougherty County, Georgia, to WILLIE CROSS.12 He married QUEEN ANDERSON on 30 April 1938 at Ben Hill County, Georgia.13 Thomas Logan Brown worked as a chipper at a naval store.14

According to New Georgia Encyclopedia,15

Naval stores included materials extracted from pine forests and then used in the construction and repair of sailing vessels. Typical naval stores included lumber, railroad ties, rosin, and turpentine.

Turpentiners’ work was compartmentalized into a series of seasonal tasks. In the winter, pine trees were boxed, meaning that a triangular cavity, known as a “box,” was cut into each trunk. A typical farm was divided into sections called “crops,” each of which contained about 10,000 boxed trees. With the arrival of warm weather, chippers cut the bark above each box to allow the flow of gum, or resin, into the cavity. In the spring and summer, dippers removed the resin, also known as “dip,” from the box with a trowel-shaped spade. A scrape was also used to remove the hardened gum that had accumulated in the chip above the box.16


THOMAS LOGAN BROWN died 10 January 1967 at Fitzgerald, Ben Hill, Georgia. He is buried at Queensland Cemetery in Ben Hill County.17

QUEEN ANDERSON, born 25 September 1919 at Ben Hill County, Georgia, and is the daughter of JAMES ANDERSON (also known as Jim) and ELLEN RELEFORD/RUTHERFORD.18 She was a housekeeper at a private residence and a nurse’s aide. Queen died 23 April 1998 at Miami, Dade, Florida and is buried at Dade Memorial Park (North).19



HORACE ROSS SR., born 4 September 1910 at Georgia to JIM ROSS and DAISY REESE.20 He married EUZERA GREEN about 1929 in Edison, Calhoun, Georgia.21 HORACE ROSS SR. was a landscaper and worked at the Miami Opa-Locka Airport in 1940.22 He died 24 July 1984 at Miami, Dade, Florida.23

EUZERA GREEN, born 15 June 1917 at Edison, Calhoun, Georgia, to possibly __________ MERRIWEATHER/MAYWEATHER and SAMUEL GREEN.24 She spent most of her life with her aunt and uncle, TRUDIE ROSS, and HASSIE JONES, and was considered an adopted daughter of the family.25 She died on 23 June 1989 at Miami, Dade, Florida and is buried with her husband at Dade Memorial Park (North).26



ED BROWN, born about 1885 in Georgia to WILLIAM BROWN and PATSY ALLEN.27

WILLIE CROSS was born in May 1889 at Dougherty County, Georgia, to HORACE CROSS and ALICE PRINCE.28  In 1910, Willie is living with Horace, her siblings, and several nieces and nephews.29 By 1920, she is married to SPENCER HOOD and living in Redbone, Lee, Georgia. Also living with the couple are are Willie’s children: (Thomas) Logan and a sibling, Rosa Lee. Willie died 7 June 1966 at Lee County, Georgia.30



JAMES ANDERSON, born about 1890 at Georgia.  He was possibly the son of SIMON ANDERSON and SAVILLA/ELLA BRYANT. He married ELLEN RELEFORD/RUTHERFORD on 9 February 1911 at Houston County, Georgia.31 JAMES ANDERSON was a farmer and died 30 April 1933 at Grovania, Houston, Georgia.32

ELLEN RUTHERFORD, born 10 May 1893 at Houston County, Georgia, is the daughter of CROCKETT RUTHERFORD and CAROLINE LANE. Her surname is transcribed from Rutherford to Releford on several records. Upon her separation from her first husband, James, Ellen married, JESSIE FERGUSON, on 2 October 1939 at Ben Hill County, Georgia.33 By 1945, Ellen was living in Miami, Dade, Florida, where she died 1 October 1964. Her body was removed to Fitzgerald, Houston, Georgia for burial.34



JIM ROSS, born about 1866 at South Carolina.  He married DAISY REESE prior to 1906 at Georgia. Jim was a gardener, while living in Edison, Calhoun, Georgia. Jim died in Georgia, sometime between 1946 and 1956.35 

DAISY REESE, born about 1894 at Baker County, Georgia. She was possibly the daughter of JEFF REESE and died 17 February 1944 at Edison.36 



SAMUEL GREEN, born about 4 April 1895 at Bibbs County, Georgia.37 He is likely the father of Euzera Green. 

Through DNA results, we can determine that EUZERA GREEN descends from a child of DOCK MERRIWEATHER (1858-1941) and his first wife, AMANDA BENNETT/BENNITE (1853-1900).38



HORACE CROSS, born about 1842 at Georgia.39 He married ALICE PRINCE on 8 January 1881 at Dougherty County, Georgia.40 He died after 1910 at Dougherty County, Georgia. 

ALICE PRINCE, born about 1857 at Dougherty County, Georgia, to HECTOR PRINCE and MATILDA _____.41 She died after 1893 at Dougherty County, Georgia.42



CROCKETT RUTHERFORD, born 1857 at Georgia, to OLMSTEAD RUTHERFORD (also known as Armstead) and LUCY _______.43 He married CAROLINE LANE about 1885 at Georgia. The Rutherford family lived in Twelfth, Houston, Georgia, where Crockett was a farm laborer.44 He died 13 September 1937 at Hawkinsville, Houston, Georgia.45 

Between 1878-1882, CROCKETT RUTHERFORD had a share crop work agreement with a J. BROWN at Hayneville, Houston, Georgia.46 

We believe this individual refers to JOHN GREEN BROWN SR., born 1832 at Georgia,47 and who married CORA A. RUTHERFORD on 9 Feb 1871 at Houston County, Georgia.48CORA A. RUTHERFORD is the daughter of JOHN H. RUTHERFORD,49 who had a share crop work agreement with Crockett’s father, Olmstead (see further research on J.H. Rutherford below).  

JOHN G. BROWN was the son of DEMPSEY BROWN, who in 1850 enslaved fifty individuals, ranging from 8-months old to 44 years old.50

CAROLINE LANE, born about 1865 at Georgia, and died sometime after 1940.51



JOHN GREEN, born October 1846 at Georgia, married to ELLA THORNTON about 1875.52 John died between 1910 and 1920 in Georgia.  

ELLA THORNTON, born March 1855 at Georgia to WILLIAM THORNTON and ROSE CULTBRETH. She died 30 November 1929 at Cordele, Crisp, Georgia.53 

DOCK MERRIWEATHER, born December 1850 at Georgia.54 He was the son of HENRY MERRIWEATHER and NANCY _______.55 He married, first, to AMANDA BENNETT/BENNITE prior to 1880.56 After Amanda’s death, Dock married, second, to MARIAH IRQUAHART.57

AMANDA BENNETT/BENNITE, born about 1853 in Georgia. She died between 1880 and 1885. 



HECTOR PRINCE, born about 1823 at South Carolina.58 He married MATILDA ______ prior to 1860. The couple moved to Dougherty County, Georgia and had their first child about 1861.59

MATILDA ________, born about 1842 at North Carolina.60



OLMSTEAD RUTHERFORD (also seen as Armstead), born about 1820 at Virginia.61 He married LUCY _______ before 1852.62 Olmstead was a laborer and in 1867, Olmstead’s family had a share crop work agreement with JOHN H. RUTHERFORD of Houston County.63

LUCY _______, born about 1825 at Georgia.64

The Freedmen's Bureau entry for Olmstead Rutherford, circa 1867, lists a contract with John H. Rutherford to “Join forces to put {land} in order,” and once in repair, “a just division of mules, land fowl shall take place (with) each Party” (

Prior to the contract, in 1860, JOHN H. RUTHERFORD enslaved sixty-five individuals, ranging from 6 months old to 80 years old. The Rutherford property, located outside of Hayneville, consisted of 700 acres of land.62


The above research was prepared by Sarah J. Dery, the Research & Library Services Manager the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.







61950 U.S. Federal Census, Fitzgerald, Ben Hill, Georgia; Janathan Brown (1946).

7Florida, U.S., Marriage Indexes, 1822-1875 and 1927-2001, Ella Ree Ross and Johnny Brown.

8"Supreme Court nominee has a Hurricane connection,"

91950 U.S. Federal Census, Miami, Dade, Florida; Ella R. Ross (1945).

10The Miami Herald (Miami, Florida), 30 June 1968, Engagement Announcement.

11"Supreme Court nominee has a Hurricane connection,"

12Ben Hill County Probate Court, Georgia Death Certificate, #9232, Thomas Logan Brown. 

13Ben Hill County Probate Court, Georgia Marriages, Thomas Brown to Queen Anderson. 

141930 United States Federal Census, Bowens Mill, Ben Hill, Georgia; Logan Brown (1912).  

15Sullivan, Buddy, "Naval Stores Industry," New Georgia Encyclopedia, last modified Nov 3, 2020. 

16Moores Creek National Battlefield, Naval Stores, 

17Georgia Certificate of Death, Custodian’s No. #9232, Thomas Logan Brown. 

18Ben Hill County Probate Court, Georgia Death Certificate, #9232, Thomas Logan Brown. 13 U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, Queenie Anderson, 261-60-2875 14 Florida Death Certificate, # 98-057618, Queenie Anderson. 

19Florida Death Certificate, # 98-057618, Queenie Anderson.

20Florida Death Certificate, # 84-063159, Horace Ross Sr.

211930 United States Federal Census; Edison, Calhoun, Georgia; Ross family.

22U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947, reg. 16 Oct 1940; serial #3993, order #1630.

23Florida Death Certificate, # 84-063159, Horace Ross Sr.

24Florida Death Certificate, #89-061147, Euzera Green.

25Descendants of Dock Mayweather,

26Florida Death Certificate, #89-061147, Euzera Ross. 

27Georgia Certificate of Death, Custodian’s No. #9232, Thomas Logan Brown. / U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, Logan Brown. 

28U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, Willie Cro Hood. 

291910 United States Federal Census, Militia District 945, Dougherty County, Georgia; Cross family. 

30Georgia Death Certificate, #16075, Willie C. Hood. 

31Houston County Probate Court, Marriage License, page 145. 

32Georgia Department of Public Health Death Certificate, Jim Anderson. 

331940 United States Federal Census, Bowens Mill, Ben Hill, Georgia; Ferguson Household. 

34Florida Death Certificate, # 54-044200, Ellen Ferguson 

35Georgia Death Certificate, #24373, Jim Ross. 

36Georgia Death Certificate, #2475, Daisy Ross. 

37U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-200, Sam Green. 

38DNA Testing through Willie Watson Sr. (third cousin). 

391870 United States Federal Census, Dougherty County, Georgia; Cross family. 

40Georgia, U.S. Compile Marriages, 1851-1900, Horace Cross and Alice Prince.  

411880 United States Federal Census, Dougherty County, Georgia; Prince family. 

421910 United States Federal Census, Militia District 945, Dougherty County, Georgia; Cross extended family. 

431880 United States Federal Census, Hayneville, Houston County, Georgia; Rutherford Household. 

441900 United States Federal Census, Militia District 542, Houston County, Georgia: Rutherford household. 

45Georgia Death Certificate, #23353, Crock Relford. 

46Georgia, U.S. Property Tax Digests, 1793-1892; Rutherford, Crocket. 

471850 United States Federal Census, District 10, Houston County, Georgia; Rutherford family. 

48Georgia, U.S. Marriage Records from Select Counties, 1828-1978; Cora Rutherford and John Brown. 

491870 United States Federal Census, Hayneville, Houston County, Georgia; Rutherford family. 

501880 U.S. Federal Census, Hayneville, Houston, Georgia, Brown family. 

511930 U.S. Federal Census, Twelfth, Houston, Georgia; Croff Rulliford family. 

521880 United States Federal Census, household of John Green.  

53Georgia, U.S., Death Records, 1914-1940, Ella Green, certificate number 29137. 

541880 U.S. Federal Census, District 4 and 5, Early, Georgia; Henry Merriweather household. 

551870 United States Federal Census, District 4 and 5, Early, Georgia; household of Dock Merriweather.  

561880 United States Federal Census, District 574, Calhoun, Georgia; household of Dock Merriwther. 

571900 United States Federal Census, Edison, Calhoun, Georgia; Maymather household.  

581880 United States Federal Census, District 574, Calhoun, Georgia; household of Mose Lewis. 

591900 United States Federal Census, Militia District 1316, Calhoun, Georgia: Louisa Lewis household.  

601870 United States Federal Census, household of Hector Prince. 

611880 United States Federal Census, Hayneville, Houston, Georgia; Rutherford family. 

621870 United States Federal Census, Houston County, Georgia; Rutherford family. 

63U.S. Freedman’s Bureau, 1865-1878; Armsted Rutherford.  

641870 United States Federal Census, Houston County, Georgia; Rutherford family. 

651860 United States Federal Census, District 11, Houston, Georgia; John H. Rutherford family.


Thanks to the following individuals who aided in this research:

Tammy Miles
Ben Hill County Probate Office

Megan Willson
Houston County Probate Office

Ellie Loudermilk
Perry Area Historical Society

Georgette Lipford
Central Georgia Genealogical Society

Joby Collins
Houston County Superior Court Deputy Clerk

Rachel Minetti
The Georgia Historical Society

Blog: Read more about the research process

For Vita Brevis, Research & Library Services Manager Sarah Dery discusses how she and fellow researchers uncovered the Rutherford family line in Justice Jackson's family, detailing the process of how they were able to trace the family back to pre-emancipation Georgia.

Vita Brevis

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