In August, I drove from Washington, D.C. to Nelson County, Va. (a three hour trip) where my great-great grandmother Lucy Ann Jackson was a slave from birth until the end of the Civil War. (I was fortunate to have discovered a 1935 newspaper article where my great-great grandmother—who was 114 at the time—discussed her early life on the Rhodes Plantation in Nelson County and later on the Harris Plantation in the same county.)
My first stop in Nelson was the county seat of Lovingston where I visited the courthouse and the library in search of the birth and marriage records of my great-great grandmother and her husband, Squire Jackson. While I failed to find any birth or marriage records, the library did provide additional information about my great-great grandmother’s second owner, Colonel James Harris. Turns out the colonel’s family was one of the original settlers of Nelson County. Harris also served in the Virginia state legislature. In 1845, Col. Harris married Jacintha Rhodes and, I suspect, my great-great grandmother went with her from the Rhodes plantation to the Harris Plantation.
I also began to connect the dots as to why the last name of the three children that my great-great grandmother had prior to emancipation was Harris, something I discovered in a 1870 Census available on Ancestry.com. My great-great grandmother worked in Col. Harris’s home helping to raise his and his wife’s children. And the colonel was most likely the father of my great-great grandmother’s first three children—James Harris, Charles Harris and Lucy Ann Harris. (She had a total of 14 kids.)
I’ll have more on my visit to Nelson County and nearby Augusta County, Virginia in my next blog.