On November 16, 1835, the Alexandria Gazette ran a story about a visit to George Washington’s new tomb, which had been constructed at Mount Vernon four years earlier. A reporter on the scene observed, “Eleven colored men were industriously employed in levelling the earth, and turfing around the sepulcher. . . . They stated they were a few of the many slaves freed by General George Washington, and they had offered their services upon this last and melancholy occasion, as the only return in their power to make to the remains of the man who had been more than a father to them; and they should continue their labors as long as anything should be pointed out for them to do. . . . I trust their names will not be forgotten, and that the circumstance here mentioned may be a recommendation to them during life.”1 The reporter then recorded their identities: Sambo Anderson, William Anderson, Berkley Clark, William Hayes, Dick Jasper, Morris Jasper, George Lear, William Moss, Joe Richardson, Levi Richardson, Joseph Smith, and Nancy Quander—the only woman—who cooked for the men while they worked.
Nancy Carter Quander was one of the daughters of George Washington's slave Suckey Bay and by virtue a slave herself, married Charles Quander of Maryland following her release to freedom. She was a spinner and landscaper; records have been found and kept of her work on the Mount Vernon grounds. She worked in the back room of the slave housing, spinning cloth for George Washington's garments. It is believed that she was unable to read or write, therefore after her release from Mount Vernon, no records can be found of her life thereafter.
Written by Jessie MacLeod, Associate Curator, George Washigton's Mount Vernon
Nellie Quander, an educator in the public schools of the District of Columbia, an incorporator and the first international president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
Charles Henry Quander was the first black dairyman and milk distributor in Alexandria, Va. He is the father of Nancy Quander, and worked on Hayfield Plantation; a slave plantation in present-day Fairfax County (the land of which is now Hayfield Secondary School). Once he was freed (probably after the Civil War), he bought two acres of land at a time up until his holdings amounted to 88 acres. When he died, his land around what became Quander Road was divided up among his children and then subsequently among their heirs.
Dominick Quander became the first black member of the Prince George's Board of Education after the Emancipation proclamation in 1863.
Charity Quander Young was one of the first black school principals in Maryland.
Dr. John Quander was a member of the first graduating class of Howard University Medical School.
John Edward Quander was president and founder of a black-owned New York bank.
Frances Quander married Jeremiah Hawkins, the first mayor of North Brentwood in 1903. In addition to managing the family business, she was the town Treasurer.
Dr. Joseph Quander, direct descendant of Dr. John Quander is the first black doctor on the faculty of the University of Texas - Austin.
James Quander, the first black permanent deacon ordained since the Catholic Church revived the deaconate program in 1971, and he was also one of the first people to use insulin as a treatment for diabetes.
Elizabeth Ann Quander was one of the first lead singers with the Duke Ellington Band. For a ceremony in her honor, she sang at the White House for former president Jimmy Carter in 1977, long after her retirement.
The Quanders: Since 1684, an Enduring African-American Legacy was released on January 29, 2021 and is available for purchase. Written and published by author and family historian, Judge Rohulamin Quander, this is the first detailed, historical account of the internationally known Quander family, one of the oldest documented African American families in the country with a 350 year lineage dating back to colonial Maryland. This new book is the first primary single source encapsulating this fascinating, multi-century story.