Johnny James Young was descended from Susan Scott, a Monticello slave who was brought to northern Alabama by Jefferson’s great-grandson William Stuart Bankhed in 1846. When Young was growing up, his family was still closely tied to Bankhead’s descendants and some family members lived on and farmed their land. Johnny James Young helped with the cotton crop as a child and raised cotton as an adult. “I’ve been a farmer all my life,” he said. The church and music were important to him and for years he performed with a successful family gospel quartet, the “Young Memorial.” Today, many of Susan Scott’s descendants carry on a vibrant gospel music tradition.
Calvin Jefferson, who is descended from the Grangers as well as the Hemingses of Monticello, grew up in Washington, DC. After working for the U. S. Postal Service, he became an archivist for the National Archives and Records Administration, from which he retired in 2007 after thirty years. He did not learn of his family’s connection to Monticello until 1996. He has a strong interest in his family history and continues research on the Hemings family, particularly Betty Brown and her descendants.
Through his mother, Minnie Lee Young Diggs, Eliga Diggs is descended from Reuben and Susan Scott, enslaved foreman and domestic servant, brought to northern Alabama by Jefferson’s great-grandson William Stuart Bankhead in 1846. From the age of eight Diggs had to work hard on the family tenant farm, on land rented from Bankhead’s descendants, the Hotchkiss family. He served two years in the U. S. Army, had various construction jobs, and was a control room operator at a paper mill when he retired. He has been active in local civic organizations and once ran for mayor of North Courtland.
Eliga and Doris Owens Diggs have four children, one of whom married professional baseball player Gary Redus. While he didn’t hear stories of the Scotts, he remembers hearing about his great-grandmother Mildred Scott Young, who loved roses: “The roses are still at the old home site there.”
Lester B. Diggs, who has lived in Courtland his whole life, attended Alabama State University and worked for Reynolds Metals Company. Through his mother, Minnie Lee Young Diggs, he is descended from Reuben and Susan Scott, enslaved foreman and domestic servant, brought to northern Alabama by Jefferson’s great-grandson William Stuart Bankhead in 1846.
Diggs grew up on a farm owned by the Hotchkiss family, who are Bankhead descendants, and he describes cotton cultivation in his interview. He also recalls meeting Martin Luther King in 1956 in Montgomery, shortly after King’s house was fire-bombed.
Bessie Dorsey was a descendant of Wormley and Ursula Hughes through their grandson Philip Evans Hughes (1853-1925). Mrs. Dorsey lived most of her life in Washington, DC, raising and providing an education to her son, George Harrod, who went on to hold several prominent positions in the federal government. Her relatives have relied on her memories in their exploration of their family history.