Museum Discovers Link Between Former President and Terrebonne Resident

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A slave’s refusal to be sold lead her descendants to Terrebonne Parish, local historian finds.

Margie Scoby, a historian with the Finding Our Roots African American Museum, found ties between black families from Terrebonne and President Thomas Jefferson. The reveal of the family ties was presented at the Terrebonne Genealogical Society’s meeting Saturday, Jan 25.

“She told them she was not leaving with Wilson,” said Scoby. “I didn’t think a slave could have that much power.”

The “she” Scoby was referring to was Susan Randolph, a slave owned by the Jefferson family.

According to Scoby, Susan and her children were almost sold to a man named Wilson, but Susan refused and was instead sold to James Cage, owner of Woodland and Ashland Plantation, for $600. After the purchase, Susan and her children were moved from Virginia to Terrebonne Parish.

Susan Randolph and her four children – Frank, William, Thomas, and George – are listed in Jefferson’s inventory. Thomas Jefferson kept detailed inventories of both his, and his sister Lucy’s properties. Slaves were considered property.

Of the seven photos Scoby revealed, Dora Lyons Reason was identified as the great granddaughter of General Lyons, a black sheriff of Terrebonne Parish during the reconstruction era. Dora’s father, and General Lyon’s grandson, was named Abe Lyons. Abe married to Cora Hite.

Cora Hite’s sister, Emily Hite was married to Frank Lewis. Frank Lewis’s mother, Susan Randolph, and his three siblings were all owned by Lucy Jefferson.

“I don’t think it was what they were expecting,” said Scoby, of the event. She said it went “spectacular.”