In the following article, Janie L. Hendrix, President and CEO of Experience Hendrix and the younger sister of music legend Jimi Hendrix, reflects on the lives of their grandparents, Bertram Philander Ross Hendrix and Zenora Moore. Her article reminds us of the rich entertainment heritage dating back to the beginning of the 20th Century that Jimi Hendrix drew upon when he eventually became one of the most famous and successful Rock musicians of all time.
As I reflect on the origins of the Hendrix family, it is with a sense of warmth and appreciation for those who laid the foundations that we have built upon. Ours is a rich heritage, filled with intrigue and energy. Although Jimi is the most widely known member of the family, he was not the only Hendrix with artistic talents. The blood of entertainers coursed through his veins, originating with his grandparents, Bertram Philander Ross Hendrix and Zenora Moore. To paint this colorful picture, let me take you back to the small town of Urbana, Ohio. The year is 1866. Fanny Hendricks and Bertran Philander Ross gave birth to a son who would be the grandfather of a legend. Fanny Hendricks lived on the property of Bertran Philander Ross, a prominent Caucasian grain dealer who was also one of the wealthiest landowners in Urbana.
This post-Civil War era was one of great struggles for African Americans. Prior to her union with Bertram, Fanny Hendricks, having recently ended her marriage to Jefferson Hendricks, was a single parent seeking work. The elder Bertram had previously been married as well. The exact details of Bertram’s and Fanny’s relations remain unknown; however there is speculation that Fanny may have worked in the grain mill owned by Bertram. Fanny gave the newborn the first name of his father, possibly to ensure that the community would know the lineage of her child.
Those of mixed race or African American heritage faced obstacles in Urbana. For this reason, Ross Hendricks left his place of birth and migrated to Chicago in 1896, hoping to