James Marshall Hendrix

November 27, 1942

27 Year(s)

September 18, 1970

2

Epitaph

"James Marshall Hendrix, a legendary soul who unleashed melodies that transcended time. Forever cherished, his spirit resonates in each note he played."

by James “Al” Hendrix

Biography

Hendrix had African American and Irish ancestry. His paternal grandfather, Bertran Philander Ross Hendrix, was born in 1866 out of an extramarital affair between a woman named Fanny and a grain merchant from Urbana, Ohio, or Illinois, one of the wealthiest men in the area at that time. Hendrix's paternal grandmother, Zenora "Nora" Rose Moore, was a former dancer and vaudeville performer. Hendrix and Moore relocated to Vancouver, where they had a son they named James Allen Hendrix on June 10, 1919; the family called him "Al".

 

In 1941, after moving to Seattle, Al met Lucille Jeter (1925–1958) at a dance; they married on March 31, 1942. Lucille's father (Jimi's maternal grandfather) was Preston Jeter (born 1875), whose mother was born in similar circumstances as Bertran Philander Ross Hendrix. Lucille's mother, née Clarice Lawson, had African American ancestors who had been enslaved people. Al, who had been drafted by the US Army to serve in World War II, left to begin his basic training three days after the wedding. Johnny Allen Hendrix was born on November 27, 1942, in Seattle; he was the first of Lucille's five children. In 1946, Johnny's parents changed his name to James Marshall Hendrix, in honor of Al and his late brother Leon Marshall.

 

Stationed in Alabama at the time of Hendrix's birth, Al was denied the standard military furlough afforded servicemen for childbirth; his commanding officer placed him in the stockade to prevent him from going AWOL to see his infant son in Seattle. He spent two months locked up without trial, and while in the stockade received a telegram announcing his son's birth. During Al's three-year absence, Lucille struggled to raise their son. When Al was away, Hendrix was mostly cared for by family members and friends, especially Lucille's sister Delores Hall and her friend Dorothy Harding. Al received an honorable discharge from the US Army on September 1, 1945. Two months later, unable to find Lucille, Al went to the Berkeley, California, home of a family friend named Mrs. Champ, who had taken care of and had attempted to adopt Hendrix; this is where Al saw his son for the first time.

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