SUBMITTED BY: Lakeysha Medlin (vetted and edited by Cheri Todd Molter)
(Click images to enlarge)
My name is Lakeysha Medlin, and this story is about my 3rd Great Grandfather Jefferson “Jeff” Sanders.
Jefferson “Jeff” Sanders was my 3rd Great Grandfather. He was born on April 12, 1839 in the Lynches River area of Chesterfield County, SC to Charles Funderburk and Tempa Sanders. Tempa Sanders was listed as a free person.
Jeff Sanders married Mary Hailey and they had four children: Minnie, Hattie, Ester and Isiah. Jeff married again, this time to Sarah Smith, on August 30, 1914. They were older in age and did not have any children.
In 1862, during the Civil War, Jeff Sanders was drafted into service in South Carolina. Jeff served in the South Carolina Troops as a laborer, cook, and body servant to Captain Asa “Ace” Evans in and around the Charleston, SC area until the end of the war. Asa Evans was the brother of Brigadier General Nathan George “Shanks” Evans. Since Jeff moved to North Carolina after the war, he was one of the Black Confederate veterans whose service was recognized in Union County, along with nine enslaved men who had served. Of this group of veterans, Jeff was the was the only colored male who was listed as a “free negro.”
According to historical documentation from the Union County library, Jeff Sanders later became a farmer in Union County. A number of his descendants live in the Wingate, NC area. These descendants included my 2nd Great Grandfather, Isiah Sanders. Isiah Sanders married Mattie Jane McCullough. They had nine children including my Great Grandmother, Armenter RubyMae Sanders. Armenter married William Bivens. They had five children, including my Grandmother, Mary Ruth Reid. Mary married James “JC” Reid. They had fifteen children, including my mother, Mary Bernette Reid.
Jeff died on November 4, 1932 in Union County, North Carolina at the age of 93 and he is buried in Wingate, North Carolina at Nicey Grove Baptist Church.
Through controversy and pushback, on December 8, 2012, a monument was dedicated at the base of the Confederate Soldiers Monument in downtown Monroe, North Carolina to honor the ten known Black Confederate veterans from Union County.
Unfortunately, I was unaware of this dedication; though a letter was provided to my Grandmother Mary and her sister, both of them forgot to communicate this to the family. However, I have visited and took pictures of the moment, I have obtained a copy of the letter that was sent to my Grandmother, a copy of Jeff’s application for Pension, and I have received a ribbon that was given out on the day of the dedication of the Confederate Pensioners of Color marker.
(Click image to enlarge. This monument in Monroe, NC was dedicated to Jeff Sanders and other African Americans who served the Confederacy during the Civil War on Saturday, December 8, 2012.)
On August 22, 2017, I felt the need to share this statement on my Facebook Page about the request of and the forced removal of Confederate statues and monuments, “Being that someone within my bloodline is listed on a monument, it made me wonder how do I feel about it. I conclude that because of what the Confederacy represented then and what it represents now…..it bothers me none if those statues, this memorial stone is removed. It doesn’t change the honor that I have for my 3rd Great Grandfather for enduring what he did, only God knows what those details are, AND he survived it.”
My story, my Confederate History,