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

PARENTS

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

 

PATERNAL GRANDPARENTS

THOMAS LOGAN BROWN, born 1 May 1917 at Dougherty County, Georgia, to WILLIE (CROSS) HOOD.12 He married QUEEN ANDERSON on 30 April 1938 at Ben Hill County, Georgia.13 Thomas Logan Brown worked as a chippervat a naval store.14 15

According to New Georgia Encyclopedia,

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

 

MATERNAL GRANDPARENTS

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 SAMUEL GREEN and CARRIE LOU MAYWEATHER/MERRIWEATHER.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

 

PATERNAL GREAT-GRANDPARENTS

{UNKNOWN}.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 (Thomas) Logan and a sibling, Rosa Lee. Willie died 7 June 1966 at Lee County, Georgia.30

 

PATERNAL GREAT-GRANDPARENTS

JAMES ANDERSON, born about 1890 at Georgia.  He was the possible 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 RELEFORD/RUTHERFORD, born 10 May 1893 at Houston County, Georgia, is the daughter of CROCKETT RUTHERFORD and CAROLINE LANE. Upon her separation from her first husband, James Anderson, Ellen married to her second husband, JESSIE FERGUSON, on 2 October 1939 at Ben Hill County, Georgia. 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.

 

MATERNAL GREAT-GRANDPARENTS

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 1956.33

DAISY REESE, born about 1894 at Baker County, Georgia. She was the possible daughter of JEFF REESE and died 17 February 1944 at Edison.34

 

MATERNAL GREAT-GRANDPARENTS

SAMUEL GREEN,35 born about 1895 at Georgia, had a relationship with CARRIE LOU MAYWEATHER/MERRIWEATHER.36

CARRIE LOU MAYWEATHER/MERRIWEATHER, born 15 September 1899 at Edison, Calhoun, Georgia.37 She was the daughter of DOCK MERRIWEATHER and MARIAH/MARY IRQUAHART.38  In 1930, Carrie Lou was a patient at the Georgia State Hospital Insane Sanitarium.39 Upon her release, she married TOBE MILLER in 1945 and upon his death, married again to LEROY JACOBS SR. after 1972.  She died 24 November 1983 at Orlando, Orange, Florida.40

 

PATERNAL GREAT-GREAT-GRANDPARENTS

HORACE CROSS, born about 1850 at Georgia, USA.41  He married ALICE PRINCE on 8 January 1881 at Dougherty County, Georgia.42 He died after 1910 at Dougherty County, Georgia.

ALICE PRINCE, born about 1861 at Dougherty County, Georgia, to HECTOR PRINCE and MATILDA _____.43  She died after 1894 at Dougherty County, Georgia.

HORACE CROSS raised WILLIE (CROSS) HOOD and her siblings as a single father.44

 

PATERNAL GREAT-GREAT-GRANDPARENTS

CROCKETT RUTHERFORD, born 1857 at Georgia, to OLMSTEAD RUTHERFORD (also known as Armstead) and LUCY _______.45 He married CAROLINE LANE about 1885 at Georgia. The Rutherford family lived in Twelfth, Houston, Georgia, where Crockett was a farm laborer. He died 13 September 1937 at Hawkinsville, Houston, Georgia.46

Between 1878-1882, CROCKETT RUTHERFORD had a share crop work agreement with a J. BROWN at Hayneville, Houston, Georgia.47  We believe this individual refers to JOHN GREEN BROWN SR., born 1832 at Georgia,48 and who married CORA A. RUTHERFORD on 9 Feb 1871 at Houston County, Georgia.49 CORA A. RUTHERFORD is the daughter of JOHN H. RUTHERFORD,50 who had a share crop work agreement when Crockett’s father, Olmstead. JOHN G. BROWN was the son of DEMPSEY BROWN, who in 1850 enslaved fifty individuals, ranging from 8-months old to 44 years old.

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

 

MATERNAL GREAT-GREAT-GRANDPARENTS

DOCK MERRIWEATHER, born December 1850 at Georgia52. He was the son of HENRY MERRIWEATHER and NANCY _______53.  He married about 1885 to MARIAH/MARY IRQUAHART.

MARIAH/MARY IRQUAHART, born about 1863, was the daughter of LEUISA _______54.  She died 2 Mar 1925 and is buried with her husband at Mars Hill Cemetery in Edison, Calhoun, Georgia55.

 

PATERNAL GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GRANDPARENTS

HECTOR PRINCE, born about 1823 at South Carolina, USA.56 He married MATILDA ______ prior to 1860. The couple moved to Dougherty County, Georgia and had their first child about 1861.57

MATILDA ________, born about 1842 at North Carolina.

PATERNAL GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GRANDPARENTS

ARMSTEAD/OLMSTEAD RELFORD/RUTHERFORD (also known as Armstead), born about 1820 at Virginia.58 He married LUCY _______ before 1852.59 Olmstead was a laborer and in 1867, Olmstead’s family had a share crop work agreement with JOHN H. RUTHERFORD of Houston County.60

LUCY _______, born about 1825 at Georgia.61

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” (Ancestry.com)

Prior to that time, 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.

Notes

1https://www.medstarhealth.org/doctors/patrick-graves-jackson-md

2https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article258467833.html

3https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ketanji_Brown_Jackson

4https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/22/politics/who-is-ketanji-brown-jackson-family/index.html

5https://www.supremecourt.gov/publicinfo/press/oath/oath_Jackson.aspx

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," https://news.miami.edu/stories/2022/02/supreme-court-nominee-has-a-hurricane-connection.html

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," https://news.miami.edu/stories/2022/02/supreme-court-nominee-has-a-hurricane-connection.html

121950 U.S. Federal Census, Miami, Dade, Florida; Ella R. Ross (1945).

13The Miami Herald (Miami, Florida), 30 June 1968, Engagement Announcement.

14Ben Hill County Probate Court, Georgia Death Certificate, #9232, Thomas Logan Brown.

15Ben Hill County Probate Court, Georgia Marriages, Thomas Brown to Queen Anderson.

16Sullivan, Buddy, "Naval Stores Industry," New Georgia Encyclopedia, last modified Nov 3, 2020. https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/business-economy/naval-stores-industry/

17Moores Creek National Battlefield, Naval Stores, https://www.nps.gov/mocr/learn/historyculture/upload/Naval-Stores.pdf

18Sullivan, Buddy, "Naval Stores Industry," New Georgia Encyclopedia, last modified Nov 3, 2020. https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/business-economy/naval-stores-industry/

19Ben 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.

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, #64-044200, Ellen Ferguson.

25Descendants of Dock Mayweather, https://docplayer.net/2313902-Descendants-of-dockmayweather.html#show_full_tex

26Florida Death Certificate, Euzera Ross.

27Additional Research Needed.

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.

30U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, Willie Cro Hood.

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

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

33Georgia Death Certificate, #24373, Jim Ross.

34Georgia Death Certificate, #2475, Daisy Ross.

35Georgia Death Certificate, #2475, Daisy Ross.

36Descendants of Dock Mayweather, https://docplayer.net/2313902-Descendants-of-dockmayweather.html#show_full_tex

37U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014, Carrie Miller, 259-60-9216.

381900 U.S. Federal Census, Edison, Calhoun, Georgia; Jack Maymather household.

391930 United States Federal Census, Midway, Baldwin, Georgia; Merriweather family.

40Descendants of Dock Mayweather, https://docplayer.net/2313902-Descendants-of-dockmayweather.html#show_full_tex

411870 United States Federal Census, Dougherty County, Georgia; Cross family.

42Georgia, U.S. Compile Marriages, 1851-1900.

431880 United States Federal Census, Dougherty County, Georgia; Prince family.

441910 United States Federal Census, Militia District 945, Dougherty County, Georgia; Cross extended family.

451880 United States Federal Census, Hayneville, Houston County, Georgia.

46Georgia Death Certificate, #23353, Crock Relford.

47Georgia, U.S. Property Tax Digests, 1793-1892.

481900 United States Federal Census, Militia District 542, Houston County, Georgia.

49Georgia, U.S. Marriage Records From Select Counties, 1828-1978.

501850 United States Federal Census, District 10, Houston County, Georgia; Rutherford family.

511870 United States Federal Census, Hayneville, Houston County, Georgia; Rutherford family.

521920 U.S. Federal Census, Edison, Calhoun, Georgia; Doc Maryweather household.

531880 U.S. Federal Census, District 4 and 5, Early, Georgia; Henry Merriweather household.

541880 U.S. Federal Census, District 574, Calhoun, Georgia; Lewis Household.

55Georgia, U.S., Deaths Index, 1914-1940, Mariah Mayweather, 2 March 1925.

561870 United States Federal Census, Dougherty County, Georgia; Prince family.

571870 United States Federal Census, Dougherty County, Georgia; Prince family.

58U.S. Freedman’s Bureau, 1865-1878.

591880 United States Federal Census, Hayneville, Houston County, Georgia; Rutherford family.

60Georgia, U.S. Property Tax Digests, 1793-1892.

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

62Highway map from Ellie Loudermilk at Perry Area Historical Society.

Acknowledgments

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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