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Presley Self

Replies: 56

Re: Asa Skelton Family Bible Posted for Catherine Rising Fawn MoyToy, William Presley Self

Posted: 20 Mar 2011 7:21PM GMT
Classification: Query
Before I reply, please know this is a response and not an attack, rather a critical analysis and scholarly discussion of data. I would never attack or belittle people and this is stated with respect. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but in genealogy, we need to look to the documentation first.

There is NO evidence Presley Self or his descendants were/are Cherokee - or any other Indian Nation. The evidence points in the opposite direction. Most family stories have a kernel of truth at their core but that kernel is often not what we expect it to be. In this case, there IS a probable connection to a Cherokee family, but it is by marriage and not by blood and it is collateral not direct. Presley Self's wife was PROBABLY from a collateral line of GUNTERS who have Cherokee connections by marriage but are not Cherokee themselves. Catherine "Risingfawn" was born AFTER Presley and could not possibly have been his mother and she was married to John GUNTER not William Self. This information was provided by their descendants in the 1890s and early 1900s. Even Don Greene’s book has her married to John Gunter. John was PROBABLY Amy Gunter's brother or first cousin, although this has not been proven, and Amy was the one married to Presley Self. (DNA tests show this John Gunter to be at the least a very close relative of John Gunter I and probably wife Amy Tillotson, more than likely their son.) If you will read back through this thread you will find what is recorded from the Cherokee records. I now have copies of all the applications of their descendants who applied for the Cherokee rolls - Miller and Dawes. If anyone would like to have them, I will share what I have. If you are unfamiliar with researching the Cherokee and how to interpret some of the information, let me know and I’ll gladly give you a crash course. They are not quite as straightforward as we might like, being in two languages. grin!

Regarding Catherine "Rising Fawn Fox" Smallpox Conjurer in the previously posted tree: This is not her name, this is the way Don Greene lists lineages. As best I can interpret it would be Catherine, descendant of "Rising Fawn Fox" (where he applied the last part of the English translation on Inoli or Enola - Blackfox - who is reported to be Rising Fawn's father but they did not have surnames in those days and would have claimed their mother's name not their father's) descendant of “Smallpox Conjurer.” Inoli’s father was Attakullkulla (many spellings for this name don’t let it throw you!) from the Moytoy line. Listed above is "9. Kenoteta Rising Fawn Fox (3) b: 1740" Kenoteta is ONE phonetic spelling for the name translated into English as Risingfawn. The name does not include FOX. In this lineage Smallpox Conjurer of Settico is his father and does not include Inoli at all: "Cherokee Lineages (this database is based on Starr's genealogies and corrects many of his errors. Jim has pulled together both proven facts and those SAID TO BE giving the sources he has been able to find from which this information is derived. He includes the controversial as well so as much as possible is in one place to help researchers find proof. Jim does NOT claim it is perfect. For Risingfawn, the name Kenoteta has a reference to Major John Norton's Journal 1816. The journal is on-line here: I don’t really understand the context of the note. It may only be referring to the name itself and what it means as in the journal it is spelled Kenniteagh {or Kennitea]. To my thinking these are not the same names and the spelling is nowhere close to the pronunciation. It is with that -gh, however, a very SCOTTISH way of spelling. The journal has a small family tree on page xxvi (misnumbered as xxiv – there are two of them) that includes Innoligh (Inoli or Blackfox) showing said man as father of Kennitagh “Little Turkey”. How does Little Turkey become Risingfawn? A further note on page 45 states his signature was Kanitta. This last I can see being the same as Kenotata. It is also stated Little Turkey was a mistake by the interpreters. In any case, Inoli “Blackfox” is thought to have been born about 1742-1750, Kenotata “Risingfawn” is thought to have been born about 1740. Clearly, Inoli could not then be his father as he was younger than Risingfawn.

I’m afraid I view the information in John Norton’s journal with a certain amount of distrust and will say why here. I have been working on this journal and its author and am rapidly coming to the conclusion John Norton was a fraud. He *claimed* to be half-Cherokee, son of an abducted Cherokee boy and Scottish mother. Most accounts of Major John Norton seem to indicate his father was part of his life, but in his own account he says he was taken to an "aunt" who knew his father, remembered the attack, and connected him to his family. Interestingly, while other people in the journal have names, he NEVER names the cousin, aunt OR his father, although the "aunt" certainly would have known his father's name. This aunt was the widow of Risingfawn. (She DID live at Creek Path the journal says and Creek Path is where the Gunters lived, their location being called Gunters Landing, now Guntersville, Alabama, a fair way from Keowee, SC.) It is based on this information that the lineage for Norton on Jim’s site was constructed. One of Norton’s reasons for coming to Cherokee country was to honor his father’s grave. This note appears on the Hicks site:
The Journal of Major John Norton, 1816, xxiv;
"Norton's father was of the Cherokee Nation...
"...there is a Moravian missionary account of a visit to Springplace (Georgia), of this "Captain Norton, by birth a Cherokee, but adopted by the Mohawks," who had come to "cover the grave of his father with wampum."

It is interesting to note he would almost assuredly been told the Watts family was his, but when telling of the valley in which they met named for Watts, he never claims that family as his own. One would think if he had just discovered this information he would have noted it in some way. This is also related in slightly different terms on page xxvi and page 72 of the journal.

John Norton’s father was variously counted as being in the British Army before the younger’s birth and of joining up at the same time his son did, being sent to British Canada at the same time as his son. Unless the elder never returned to Scotland -providing he joined with his son, that is – when did he make his way to Cherokee country? His son had already deserted the British Army so why didn’t he go along? If that was not the case, how was it John Norton was looking to cover his father’s grave in Cherokee country and not know where it was? Did his father desert them in Scotland and return to Cherokee Nation? His father was old enough to know who his own people were if he sired a son in 1770 and to be able to tell his son the story, so John Jr. should not have had to guess. The best way to hide fraud is not to lie, it's to not say anything. In addition to this, the time line of his life does not line up with his father having been captured as a boy at Kuwoki (Keowee) when it was destroyed by the British and spirited off to Scotland to be raised and educated. Kuwoki was razed by the English in 1760. In most accounts, John Norton is SAID to have been born about 1760. This would have been impossible if his father was captured as a boy in late winter or spring 1760. There WAS a John Norton baptized in Scotland in the area where Major Norton was supposedly born and the parents' names are correct according to his story. That son was baptized in 1770. Whether the elder John Norton was a renamed Cherokee lad or not cannot be determined. John Norton may or may not have been a fraud, the jury is out on that count, but his account is noted and is the only basis for some of the information. His journal was written to be published but not as a scholarly work. We don't know how much is fact and how much is embellishment or whether it is credible or not.

So, either Risingfawn's father was Blackfox or it was Smallpox Conjurer of Settico or these were two names for the same person (very possible in Cherokee culture, although not as likely given the names of the women involved as Risingfawn would have been married to his first cousin both same clan. Clan affiliation comes from the mother and their mothers would have been sisters as Risingfawn’s mother-in-law was Gigoneli and Blackfox was married to Gigoneli’s sister therefore from the same clan. Marriage within ones clan is forbidden) or this is a blending of two Risingfawns (also very possible – and much more likely - as this was one of the names of Major George Lowrey Jr. who was Risingfawn’s brother-in-law). One of the branches is out of U-Lu-Ste (Gigoneli) and the other out of Moytoy (Blackfox). Smallpox Conjurerer’s family is not yet noted. That might account for the confusion of whether she was Catherine Risingfawn or Catherine Moytoy. You can see how it is very convoluted and you must sit down with the DOCUMENTATION, not just books written about. I wouldn’t even accept Jim Hicks’ work as gospel – I don’t – and he wouldn’t want you to either.

Back to Catherine "Rising Fawn Fox" Smallpox Conjurer from that tree: The information that Catherine Rising Fawn was Shawnee is unsupported and highly suspect. Were there two Catherine Rising Fawns? Possibly. Was one Cherokee and one Shawnee? Possibly. But let's examine the evidence in a logical manner. Just because it is printed in a book or published on the Web does not make it so. In fairness to Mr. Greene, I think this is a misinterpretation of his book as I have yet to find Catherine “Rising Fawn Fox” Smallpox Conjurer in his book. Maybe I haven’t looked hard enough, but I just don’t find it. That being said, so far, no one has offered up a single shred of evidence to support it other than Mr. Greene's book and various articles published on the Web, mostly based on Mr. Greene. That I WILL challenge. Where is the documentation? Mr. Greene takes almost all the known and documented Cherokees from Starr's work - who was a Cherokee, interviewing Cherokee people, mostly in the 1800s and on-site. Starr was not perfect. He made his share of mistakes, some based on his own particular biases, but his work and the body of documentation available today has made it possible to document these families, correcting relationships along the way (many caused by the fact that Grandmother and Grandfather, Aunt and Uncle can refer to ANY elder person regardless of their actual relationship) that Mr. Greene suddenly claims are ALL Shawnee. How likely is it they were ALL ignorant of their heritage? Not very likely at all. That has to be questioned by anyone doing serious genealogy research. Show me the proof, please! Until it can be supported by some sort of documentation or *authenticated* family records - other than hearsay - it is not a fact, it is a possibility only. I'm willing to look at it and give it very serious study and consideration, but show me the proof. Until then, I must stand with what is available and known from the Cherokee Nation and from the various records of the US Government, correspondence between settlers and the families back home, traders, explorers’ journals, etc. I know everything the government holds might not be honest and truthful, but much of it is in this time frame before the avarice set in, and many of the accounts we have are first hand accounts, the records of the agents and commissioners in the agencies, explorers and missionaries, and the traders among the Nations.

There is, indeed, spreading on the Internet the story of one Thomas Pasmere Carpenter being a settler at Jamestown about 1627. There he is SAID to marry a Shawnee girl named "Pride" - a name very suspect as it follows no naming pattern of any Indian Nation. They are SAID to have a son named Trader Carpenter about 1635 who the reader is led to believe is Amatoya although it is not said outright, merely inferred. Later Amatoya would be called Moytoy and became chief of Tellico town way down in TN between what is now Knoxville and Chattanooga. His name is said to be a combination of the Cherokee word for water - ama and a French word matai. This is supposed to mean "Water Conjurer" but the French verb matai means to subdue, to master, to watch, not to conjure. Matai is a Hebrew variation of the name Matthew. But why would he have a Cherokee and French name if his mother was a Shawnee and his father English at a time in Colonial Jamestown where the Cherokee were not likely known and the French were anathema? The two languages are very different Shawnee being Algonquian and Cherokee being Iroquoian. The Cherokee name Amadoya (Amatoya) can have different meanings, depending on how it is *pronounced*. If it is A-ma-do-ya it means more akin to water beaver (a-ma being water and do-ya being beaver). If it is Am-a-do-ya it is salt beaver. And the do-ya can be pronounced different ways as well. It largely depends on the dialect. There is credible thought to the name being a derivative of Amo-adawehi which more closely means “rainmaker”. It is unknown whether this is a given name or a title. And it was common for Cherokee names to change throughout life depending on events and personal characteristics. Yes, the Cherokee and Shawnee were at one time friendly (well AFTER 1635) when the Cherokee gave shelter to a band of Shawnees in the 1660s, although not long after they became bitter enemies and were not allied again until 1776. They are not similar peoples.

Someone in this thread says there are Carpenter family journals in England that give this information, but so far no one has been willing to produce them. They should be taken to a museum or historical society to be authenticated. Then they should be shared, preferably in a digitized format so people can judge for themselves. When you are dealing with well-known, already well-documented people, there is going to be a very high degree of skepticism - and there should be - when unsupported information is put out that claims to go back beyond the limits of recorded and recordable history and counters known documentation.

There were also NO historical reports of the Shawnee around Jamestown. The others that came there, or with whom the settlers fought or traded, were named, but no mention of the Shawnee, (just as there was no mention of the Cherokee) in those early years. In fact, in the early part of the 17th century, the only possible mention of them came from the Dutch in 1614 who reported the Sawwanew east of the Delaware River, the traditional lands of the Shawnee – and others – but this word generally just meant southern. The French found them mostly along the Ohio River in the 17th century. But they were never mentioned around Jamestown.

In the interest of fairness and looking at all the angles, there IS a *legend* that under Chief Opechancanough, who was the leader of the Powhatan Confederacy between about 1618 until its end in 1644, a group was sent out, led by his son Sheewa-a-ne, to settle the Shenandoah Valley. It is said the Shawnee descended from this group and are named for the son. An explorer named Edward Bland about 1650 wrote about an argument between two of the leaders in Chief Opechancanough's time, resulting in one murdering the other. This might have occasioned the party leaving, especially if his son was one of the parties involved and being sent away into exile or for safety's sake, but this is not known. It makes more sense for this to have happened just before the end of the Powhatan “Confederacy” which was largely destroyed by the British in 1644, when a treaty with the Powhatan allies led to the first “reservation” of land in the colonies (not an Indian Reservation as we know it today). In either case, IF the legend IS true, there were NO Shawnee before at the earliest 1618, so "Pride", if she existed, who was born about 1615 according to the story was probably from one of the Nations in the Powhatan Confederacy around Jamestown as the Shawnee would have arisen in the Shenandoah Valley according to the legend. Could she have been one of the group sent out to settle the Shenandoah? Certainly, that’s possible. Could they have come back to visit and brought Pride along? Certainly that is a possibility, but how likely given the turmoil? If they were sent out, it was more likely it was to preserve the people and their culture, to find a safe place for them all to live in peace. We can’t really answer that, can we? But again, this statement of Shawnee heritage tends to lose its validity as the traditional lands for the Shawnee are not the Shenandoah Valley – although they did come and settle there eventually - and their language is NOT closely related to any in the Powhatan Confederacy, but closer to that of the Sauk-Fox and Kickapoo who lived around Detroit, Saginaw Bay and the Wabash area of Indiana. You would expect the Shawnee language to be identical to, or at least VERY close to that of the Powhatan Nation if they were, indeed, descendants of Chief Opechancanough. This tends to negate the story. Keep in mind THIS IS ONLY A LEGEND and there is no proof. No one really knows where the Shawnee came from only where they were and were not. Also keep in mind that the colony of Virginia covered a huge area that at one time stretched almost to Canada, nearly to the Pacific and included all of what is now KY, OH, VA, WV, parts of TN, NC, MD and some of the Caribbean Islands, so it is rightly recorded they were located in Virginia Colony, but you need to do your homework and know WHERE in the VA of that time and compare it to the US of this time to know if the location is logical. I believe if the Shawnee had been around Jamestown, they would have appeared in the records along with all the other Indian Nations that were chronicled there.

How did a mixed White/Shawnee boy from Jamestown Virginia become a much loved and respected Cherokee chief in Tennessee? That doesn't make a lot sense. I'm not saying it couldn't happen. Given Cherokee history and the number of mixed-blood chiefs that led, I suppose it very well could, but they ALL had Cherokee blood, not just another Nation’s. There would be more to the story than that and there would have been some historical note of it prior to the last few years as Moytoy was a well-known personage in both Cherokee and White society. The British were VERY big on antecedents and his would have been explored. (This Moytoy was NOT one of the Cherokees who went to England on a “peace” mission with Attakullakulla and others in 1730. That was possibly his grandson.) There was never any mention in any history - European OR Cherokee - of Moytoy’s parents being other than Cherokee AND the accounts of the time have him being from Chota, not Jamestown. The earliest RECORD of Cherokee contact in Virginia is in 1668 or 1669.

There are some large problems with this lovely and romantic account.

1. There does NOT appear to be a Thomas Pasmere CARPENTER on the census in Jamestown. There DOES appear to be a Thomas PASSMORE and his wife Jane on the muster (census) of 1624/25. Other records in Colonial VA show him to have been a carpenter by trade, but not to own that trade as a surname. The following is from the official Jamestown site where they have posted transcripts and extracts of the early documents. You should still try to see the originals.
You can find a discussion of that here on the CherokeeGene mailing list: Joy is a meticulous researcher and gives her sources.
Contact Jamestown yourself and ask if you can get copies.

You will see the following source citation for some of the sites carrying the story of Thomas Pasmere Carpenter, but you should note whether they give an EXACT page number or not. So far I haven’t found one. Without the page number this is simply a bibliography listing, it is not a source. Even if you find a page number, you need to check with Jamestown to see if the original document is available and if you can order a copy:
Immigration: 1627, Jamestown, Virginia. Name: THOMAS CARPENTER : -- Source Publication Code: 275 Annotation: Comprehensive listing of early immigrants, in various arrangements to assist the researcher. Pages 1-189 contain passenger lists; pages 193-295 are indexes. Source Bibliography: BANKS, CHARLES EDWARD. Topographical Dictionary of 2885 English Emigrants to New England, 1620-1650. Edited, indexed and published by Elijah Ellsworth Brownell. Philadelphia: Bertram Press, 1937. 295p. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1957. Repr. 1987.

I went and had a look at this particular reference. Firstly, Virginia was not New England. Secondly, there IS a Thomas Carpenter referenced on page 177. Page 177 is entitled Wiltshire, the location given in the story for Thomas Pasmere Carpenter’s origins. It gives his name, the parish he was from – Amesbury, and the reference for the source of the entry - Pope. When you look up Pope in the key it is Pioneers of Massachusetts, published in 1900. This is obviously not the Thomas Pasmere Carpenter of the story who is chronicled as coming to Jamestown direct, although Barbados is mentioned, too, but not Massachusetts.

2. You can see a digitized copy of his original land grant at James City (Jamestown) made in 1624 NOT in 1627 when he is claimed in the account above to have arrived: Click the link at the beginning of the index entry. This grant is one of those documents which proves his trade is carpenter not his surname. If you can't read it - very hard with the old script and kind of grainy - it reads in part " Thomas Passmore of James City Carpenter and to his heirs and assigns forever..." and there is an extract of the grant in the book The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River. Google Thomas Passmore Jamestown and look for the link to Google Books. This book is downloadable in its entirety and is a volume including extracts of the documents from Jamestown. (It still requires verification as extracts can contain errors. We are human after all - :)) My 13th great grandfather, William Claiborne, surveyed and patented the land Thomas Passmore received - way cool to see that!

3. The name Thomas Pasmere Carpenter appears to come from an INDEX entry for the land grant of one Robert Marshall in 1628 with a reference to his new lease adjoining that of Thomas Pasmore (sic). You can see that land grant here: Click the link at the beginning of the index entry. This grant, on careful examination, does show the name Pasmore, maybe Passmore (it’s just hard to tell for sure whether that is another s or the hump of the M. My read is single s), but not Pasmere.

There are stories on the Web, all word for word the same about Thomas Pasmere Carpenter and his Shawnee wife Pride. These are all obviously cut and pasted from someplace else. One such site, makes the following claim (cut and pasted from the site)

- --- The "lease" granted to THOMAS PASMERE CARPENTER was abandoned when Carpenter went to live with the Indians mid 1628. The lease was then passed to Robert Marshall 20 September 1628. Source of Documentation . Jamestown Records, Virginia Archives, Virginia Land Grants. - - -

But that’s not what the grant to Marshall says. It says his land adjoined that of Mary Bayly and Thomas PASMORE. Nowhere does it state Thomas had abandoned the lease and it was being given to Marshall, it says they were neighbors. It IS indexed as Thomas Pasmere Carpenter, but when you read the grant - and you have to know something of old writing styles, particularly that they often wrote in the ancient Roman, ie Latin, manner WITHOUT punctuation and the forms of the letters - you can see it is Thomas Pasmore, not Pasmere, and Carpenter does follow and there is absolutely no punctuation anywhere. However, the other records all show this to be his trade. This Thomas Pasmere Carpenter is supposedly the person the previously posted Shawnee lineage for Amatoya Moytoy is based on. The fact that it comes from the on-line INDEX to the Virginia Land Grants at the Library of VA and is copyrighted 2005 leads me to believe this name only appeared at that time and not before and is a very modern piece of information, not an old family account. Printed references that extract this land grant - ie, Adventurers of Purse and Person, one of the premier sources of extracted records of Colonial Virginia, among others (but still only a tool, not a substitute for the originals), show Pasmore or Passmore and most add the comma after the surname and before Carpenter, accounting for the lack of punctuation in the document, based on the forms of the times.

When we take true/false tests we are always told to apply this premise: If any part of the answer is false, it's all false. That should not vary just because this is genealogy. Scientific proof is still scientific proof. Legal proof is still legal proof. The standard is to apply the burden of proof and the burden of proof depends on preponderance of evidence. In a court of law, would this hold up? No, it would not. There is more than reasonable doubt here as the very basis for the parentage of Moytoy is flawed, making the claim of Catherine “Rising Fawn Fox” Smallpox Conjurer as his descendant flawed as well and extremely suspect. This makes a great difference. If there is a Carpenter family journal that can refute the official colonial records and original land grants, someone needs to produce it, otherwise, this story must be considered a fabrication, based on an indexing error.

If the name Catherine “Rising Fawn Fox” Smallpox Conjurer comes from the Shawnee book - and like I said, I can’t find it - look to see what proof he offers. Write to him and ask him to support the conclusions with documentation. But I don’t think that’s what his book says, that’s a misread. I’m really not sure WHAT his book claims about Thomas Pasmere Carpenter. His way of presenting is convoluted, it’s impossible to make anything of it. What is said in one place often appears to be negated in another. No wonder there’s so much confusion. If he’s been doing genealogy for 40 years, he knows to present in a form that’s readable and understandable. This book is not, which leaves it open to misinterpretation and misquotation. And I could not find sources anywhere to support this, only the cut and pasted stories that flow from the Moytoy story. There are millions of unsupported and totally incorrect lineages floating around, especially on the Web, that are suddenly accepted as gospel and copied into family trees without the first bit of research to corroborate them, then pass into acceptance as fact when they are fiction. Why? Because they are "in print so they must be so." NOT. Even Burke’s Peerage - the most highly regarded of all publications on the Peerage, Gentry, etc of Great Britain, the American Presidents and others, is periodically revised to correct errors as well as add new material. They don’t claim to be perfect, but they are perfectly conscientious and scrupulous in applying genealogic standards. Apply the burden of proof rule, please, and don't accept things just because you see them in print. This is a blending of several families and none of the "proof" offered is proof, it is theory that dissipates in the face of the proof that DOES exist.

If this information is predicated on the Asa Skelton Bible, copies of those pages are at the four links below. The corroborating evidence mentioned as being there is not just as David Newlin said it was not. There is no way from this Bible record to connect to the Cherokee.

If you have this information posted in a family tree, please take it down or if you really feel you must keep it posted on-line, in some way alter it so it is understood there is no proof and it is simply SAID to be, then look for the proof. I hope you find the proof - real proof, not just a printed something - and can prove what I’ve found wrong. I make mistakes, too. That would show someone was REALLY researching this family and this information, not just accepting at face value what someone has gotten from someone who has gotten from someone. That’s REAL genealogy. If you don’t want real genealogy that is certainly your privilege, go buy a book and claim it as yours or download someone else’s GEDCOM and merge it on your program, but please, don’t proliferate this on the Web. For now, it is a lovely romantic story, but it’s just that - a story - until there is proof it isn’t fiction.

SubjectAuthorDate Posted
SReynolds3925 24 Aug 2009 6:55AM GMT 
jadhunt 24 Aug 2009 4:11PM GMT 
whisper2sky59 24 Aug 2009 10:38PM GMT 
SReynolds3925 21 Mar 2011 1:21AM GMT 
noelschutz1 25 Dec 2012 3:00PM GMT 
Hurricane4Uon... 25 Dec 2012 4:37PM GMT 
SReynolds3925 28 Dec 2012 7:23AM GMT 
JacksonJennif... 20 May 2010 8:07PM GMT 
DavidMNewlin 27 Mar 2011 6:32PM GMT 
JohnFSmeltzer 30 Apr 2012 12:23PM GMT 
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