It took genealogist Brenda Gene Gordon many years to discover that she is descended from a U.S. Vice President
How on earth could Brenda Gordon not have known that her great-great-great-grandfather was Vice President Richard M. Johnson? Wasn’t this fact passed proudly from generation to generation inside her family?Johnson was clearly a man ahead of his time, who made no effort to hide his relationship with the woman he had "inherited" from his father.
No, it was not.
Why not? Because the woman who bore Johnson’s two children – a woman named Julia Chinn – was, by law, a Negro. [Link]
For example, nearly twenty years after Johnson's retirement, it was brought up during the Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858. Douglas insinuated that Lincoln approved of interracial marriage. Lincoln deflected this charge by saying that the only distinguished person he knew of who felt that way was "Judge Douglas's old friend Col. Richard M. Johnson." [Link]