Generation X (born 1964 - 1981)
Charlotte Chatfield was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Her mother, also born in Chapel Hill, was a Laboratory Technician. Her father was a veteran and mechanic from Pittsboro, North Carolina.
The youngest of three children, Charlotte grew up with her two half-brothers. She primarily spent time with her father’s family in Pittsboro, North Carolina but visited her mother's family frequently in the next town over in Chapel Hill on the weekends, holidays and summers. Charlotte participated in the marching band playing flute for six years before participating in color guard.
Charlotte attended Saint Leo University, majoring in Computer Information Systems, earning a bachelor’s degree. Charlotte also earned a Master of Business Administration from North Carolina Central University.
After joining the military Navy for a five-year stint initially as an Air Traffic Controller then as an Aviation Electronics Technician working on the fire control weapons control for the F-14, she ended up in a career in pharmaceuticals. She is currently working as an Associate Director in the medical coding field.
Charlotte is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. She has volunteered with the American Legion and other veterans’ organizations.
Charlotte enjoys genealogy, reading, attending the theatre, operas, and travel.
Charlotte and her husband are empty nesters and she has one adult child from a previous marriage and a cat.
Oral History Summary
Charlotte Chatfield: Veteran. White female ancestor's black child 1871.
Charlotte shares stories about her white great-great-great-grandmother who had a child with a black man and descended from Revolutionary War patriot William Lindsey Durham whose grandson is the namesake of the city in North Carolina; and her Welsh ancestry, descending from free people of color of Chatham County, North Carolina who trace back to patriarch Moses Myrick of Wales. She talks about growing up in the small close-knit community of Pittsboro, North Carolina; dropping out of NC A&T and enrolling in a pharmacy technician program at Durham Technical Community College; joining the U.S. Navy where she learned air traffic control; the strain of being in the military on her marriage; earning a bachelor's in Computer Information Systems; her career in clinical trials working as an associate director at a major pharmaceutical firm managing reported adverse events; meeting her second husband in the Navy; traveling to Anglesey, Wales with white American genetic cousins, after having only met online, that descend from Moses Myrick; Welsch townspeople assuming her white husband was a Myrick instead of her; visiting Bodorgan Hall, where the Welsh hosted a garden party for descendants at the Myrick estate; wanting to know more about her European H1 haplogroup and her hair since she was always questioned about her unusual combination of having brown skin with long silky hair; discovering three Revolutionary War patriots starting with her great-great-grandmother Luevinia’s death certificate, who named her mother Mary Pendergrass, who was white, and father Abe Horton, who was black; Mary's mother Martha Durham, descendant of Revolutionary War patriot William Lindsey Durham; not learning in school that there were free people of color prior to the American Revolution and instead only learning about slavery and the Civil Rights movement; joining DAR to document her family history; her patriots Matthew Durham (William's father) and “Chatham John” Pendergrass, ancestor of Mary's father; her frustration due to the individual submitting her DAR application not including her supporting documentation explaining the nuances of being a black applicant with the unusual circumstance of Luevinia being the child of a white woman and a black man, causing a delay in approval; Luevinia marrying a black man Rob and the couple residing on Pendergrass property in Orange County, North Carolina; Rob holding a great deal of land; enjoying DAR's outreach to veterans; the importance of representing people of color to which DAR is also of service; accepting DAR amends with Marian Anderson; her DAR membership providing validation since her family was here before the American Revolution, “I cannot be told to go back to Africa, our history is messy but that's what makes us Americans"; serving as a chapter officer; having a different outlook knowing she descends from a white woman; having a "Reese Witherspoon chin" like Luevinia; connecting with a white Pendergrass relative but descendants of Luevinia's white half siblings not being interested; searching for Luevinia's black brother Madison; "it's funny how we are at each other's throat with the unrest...we are all related".
Charlotte Chatfield's oral history was recorded on October 25, 2020
Membership State: North Carolina
DAR Patriot Ancestor(s)
Durham, William: North Carolina
European Descent Male