About the Family
Robert Jemison, Jr.
Robert Jemison, Jr. was a bridge builder, a mill owner, ran toll roads and a foundry, and owner of surface coal mines, a stage line, and six plantations. Jemison was a major advocate for the construction of a hospital for the humane treatment of the mentally ill. Largely through his efforts Tuscaloosa was selected as the site for Bryce Hospital. He served as both a state senator for Alabama and as a Confederate senator during the Civil War. After the war, with his personal fortune lost, Jemison continued his efforts for the state, devoting considerable time and efforts to rebuilding The University of Alabama, most of which was destroyed during the Civil War.
Following the death of her parents, the mansion was passed down to Cherokee Jemison, the only child of Senator Jemison and his wife. Cherokee's daughter, Minnie, later inherited the home and raised her five children there throughout the early 1900's. They were the last generation to grow up in the mansion and later sold the home in 1936 after the death of their mother, Minnie Van de Graaff. The Jemison-Hargrove-Van de Graaff family line included many notable names who contributed to the growth and history of Tuscaloosa including lawyers, politicians, soldiers, army officers, football stars, and a world-renowned physicist.
Explore the stories of individual Jemison family members below. Simply hover over or click on an image to learn more!