First I would like to say how embarrassed I am for the people communicating on this board. I have searched many message boards for ALL races pertaining to my family heritage(actually my daughters--I am adopted so I am only lucky enough to be able to search one side of her family tree) and have never seen anything like this. You are right---you never see anyone searching for thier "1/16 of Russian or their great,great,great,great,great,great grandmother that was believed to be part French" It is rather ridicoulous at times, but these people searching for their Cherokee roots are doing it because it is interesting to them. They are looking for proof and truths. Stories and lessons. Distant cousins and family history. It seems that one should be flattered that so many "wanna-be" Cherokee or part of the Cherokee Heritage. It is the responsibility of those who know to educate those that dont.And it would be really nice if they could do it politely or at least reccomend a different source of information.Most of these people are trying their best and are not trying to offend anyone or be ignorant on purpose.Most of these "family legend has it" stories have been passed thru generations and they were listened to with ears of belief,whether they are true or not, and yes,many are not.But we are all trying to learn and are here on this page because we do NOT know.
I know how much I enjoyed listening to stories of my famlies historys from my elders as a child (even though I am adopted)And what an extraordinary and exciting thing to be able to tell your child his GGGGGGGG Grandfather WAS a Cherokee Chief or that Auntie walked the Trail of Tears,or that he is the cousin of a famous inventor or WHATEVER it may be. We all have a longing for our roots. Those of you who are priveleged enough to know who your ancestors are,are VERY fortunate.
We are all trying to learn--Please help us!!!!
Now, I am trying to find information out for my daughter so she can grow up being proud of her Cherokee roots as well as all of her roots.It seems that there are some knowledgable people on this forum and hopfully someone will be kind enough to help. I am no expert on any subject let alone Cherokee Geneaology so if someone knows my information to be illigitimate(or even impossible!) please do correct me.
My daughters great great great grand father was Charles (Chick) Alexander Blankenship whos mother was Martha Malinda Cavaness. Grandpa Chick told the story one time and one time only as he lay dying. He said his mother(Martha) was Cherokee and walked the Trail of Tears as a small girl.Her mother was Sarah Brown(born in N. Carolina--We dont know where)and married William Franklin Cavaness, she was his second wife and there were 5 other boys besides Martha. They were-William E.,Andrew D.,Alfred Orr,Lorenzo, and Alexander Washington.All born in Missouri I believe. Does this line of people sound familiar to anyone? I have more info if needed including some documents and photos.
My family information dead ends at Sarah Brown,and I dont even know if Brown is her maiden name or a previous married name.I have the book Cherokee Roots-Volume 1 Eastern Rolls and have been searching it but have come up with nothing.
I was also wondering if there is a list anywhere of the names of the people that walked in the Trail of Tears, preferably on-line.Or how about an online N.Carolina census lookup?
Any information or help any one is willing to give would be greatly appreciated.I would love to share if there are any cousins out there. Thanks Maryjo
I made a mistake on my first posting--Sarah Brown should have been the one that walked in the Trail Of Tears, not Martha Malinda. Sorry for the mis-info or any confusion.MJ
I'm glad that you could understand some of what I was trying to explain. Sometimes "my brain"
gets ahead of "my fingers".
To try to answer your questions: seldom would an Indian woman of a significant degree of Indian
blood leave the tribe to go with a white husband. The reasons? Sadly (read my prior post on the
advantages!) most of the time the primary purpose for the man to marry her was in order to be
allowed to stay and live with the tribe himself. In fact, this is the reason that so many "white"
names appear on the Cherokee rolls from 1750-on. In addition- if the woman was obviously "not
white", then she, her husband and children would be outcasts of a white community, and her
children would not be allowed to attend even the Subscription Schools-- they were "not white".
As to your question about a woman's name remaining on the rolls- NO! Any Cherokee who moved
away from the Indian Nation (and we were "a Nation") became citizens of the country in which
they resided ("the United States"). They not only forfeited their own tribal citizenship and rights,
but that of their descendants-- the same way that a person who moved from Germany or England
would have forfeited their citizenship in those countries. Neither these countries nor the Indian
tribes would have any reason to maintain records on these former citizens. No Indian records
would exist unless at some later date they changed their minds and applied through the Cherokee
Citizens Courts to return to the tribe and be readmitted to citizenship. Even then, few of these
former citizens actually were accepted, because people felt that if they did not choose to stay with
the tribe, help to clear the land, build the facilities and schools and defend that Nation, then they
should not expect to share in the rewards of being a citizen.
MaryJo, above you said that you had a "documented child born in 1860", then you should be able
to locate Sarah on the 1860 census to see how old she was at that time! Do not believe for one
minute that you can just skip these steps-- because you will never get any where in genealogy
unless you "follow" them, step by step, BACk from yourself through the census records. And you
made an error-- you said "the only fact THAT I KNOW is that she was born in NC". Hon-- you were
not present at the event of her birth! You should not say that "-- I know for a fact---" until and
unless you find total proof of it (a church record, for example) as it might lead you to not to at
least consider other possibilities.
It is quite possible that someone would not know that their ancestor did not come over the
("official") Cherokee Trail of Tears, but the majority of the other tribes in the east had been
removed BEFORE 1838- the Choctaw in 1830/32, the Creeks in 1831, the Chickasaw in 1834, the
Shawnee in 1832 (etc). The Cherokees were about the last holdouts!
You said that you were trying to do most of your research "by Internet"-- MaryJo, PLEASE believe
me when I sincerely tell you that you should NEVER rely on this media! You can find any story
that will suite that particular person's "personal agenda", and I have found records that state that
one of my fifth great-grandfather's fathered a child 7 YEARS AFTER HE DIED! I do not even ask
that you believe me! All that I ask is that you leave an open mind-- and at least check out what I
am telling you in the sources that I list. I would suggest "Old Frontiers" by Brown for early records,
plus Angie Debo's book: "And Still the Waters Run" for the later dates. I work mostly from the
actual Cherokee records that I have access to, but some of my favorite books are: Adair's "History
of the Indians" and Emmet Starr's "History of the Cherokee Indians" (should be available-- they
have been reprinted). I also like "Stolen Continents" by Ronald Wright, "Cherokees and
Missionaries- 1789/1839" by Yale, "Indian Removal" by Grant Foreman, but leading the pack
would be; Kent Carter's "The Dawes Commission and the Five Civilized Tribe"; "The Intruders" by
Nancy Hope Sobar and "Cherokee Documents in the Northeastern United States" by Kutcher. That
will keep you busy for awhile!
To Jerri and anyone wishing to respond:
Thank you so much for your informative response. It is greatly appreciated. I have some other general questions perhaps you or someone could answer. How common was it for Indian women to leave The Tribe either before or after the Trail of Tears and go marry white men? Did this mean that a woman previously enrolled was "crossed off" rolls?? Or did the name stay,physically, on the roll but she would no longer recieve any Indian benefits--how did that work? Also if an Indian married a white did the white person ever go live with The Tribe?If so how was this viewed by The Tribe? Were there any instances of white spouses walking The Trail with their Indian mates?
As far as the person I am trying to search.(Sarah Brown--the name alone is like a needle in a haystack!!)I do not have a birthdate for her, but the first documented child I have for her was in 1860.(she may have had children before that or even have been married before that) Assuming the youngest a girl would concieve is roughly 15 yrs old,that would make her year of birth 1845 or earlier.So in order to be "a small girl " when (and if) she walked the Trail, that would make her in her early 20's when her first documented child was born, if she was 3 or so when she was on The Trail. The only other fact I know is that she was born in North Carolina.So I guess I need to know if it is possible for a Cherokee woman to have been born in NC around 1836 or so.If so, and from there,if it is possible that a Cherokee woman left The Tribe and married a white man and bore 5 of his children in Missouri.If all that is posible, then I will try to find her on the Drennen Roll.If not, then,I will have to continue my search for Sarah Brown in a different direction,but until I can rule her out as "a Cherokee that walked the Trail of Tears as a small girl" then my little family story is the only clue I have to go on.
Also I would be willing to bet that a long time ago, and as stories and history was passed, that people (especially white people) referred to any and/or many of the Indian Remeovals as "The Trail of Tears" just for lack of knowledge of which one was THE Trail of Tears,and also that everyone goes towards Cherokee when they could actually be talking about one of the other removed tribes,in fact.To your knowledge am I correct at all on that?
Perhaps you could reccomend a couple of your favorite and most informative books on the subject.(The Trail of Tears)I live in a remote area so am trying to do my genealogy research by internet. I have quite a few books on NA history which I scour and cross reference, but I have exhausted my own resources and can probably get my questions answered here in 10 minutes versus eons of research. The time taken to respond is surely appreciated. Thanks again MaryJo
The people who came over "The Trail of Tears" in 1838/39 (and/or the descendants of--) are shown on the 1851 Drennen roll of Indian Territory. It is not on-line, but is available on m/film from your own public or LDS library. Marybelle Chase of Tulsa published an excellent transcription of it: "Cherokee Drennen Roll of 1851", which is available from several booksellers.
HOWEVER (don't you just hate those words-- grin), "residence within the Cherokee Nation of Indian Territory" was required to be listed on that roll, and it appears that your ancestors were living in MO. Before you start telling all of the "family stories" and the reasons that they "left the tribe"-- at least consider the reality of the records. The Trail terminated here in Indian Territory, and an accounting was made of the number of those who left with the group in the east, the number of those who died during the trip, the number of those who were born on the journey-- and the number of those who arrived! No matter what you hear- people just did not "drop off" or "escape" in route. Why would they? They had a MUCH better offer than that back in 1835 to live wherever they pleased!
Maryjo, those who did not want to relinquish their tribal citizenship by separating from the tribe and came to Indian Territory were given FREE land, NO taxes, FREE schools for their children, NO state/federal military duties, payment for their improvements left in the east, one year's subsistence of food for themselves and their families, retained their eligibility for the payments already due under to old treaties, and were later paid for their share of the eastern lands. Now, do you believe that people would leave and sacrifice what they had fought so hard to keep (tribal membership) and move to Missouri, BUY land, PAY taxes, become subject to serve in the military at the whim of any state or federal official, pay for subscription schools for their children, and forfeit all money already due them from their lands and property in the east? I really haven't found anyone who did in 30+ years of research, but am open minded to any solid proof of it.
You seemed to think that we discourage people searching for "their roots" and in most cases we are simply saying; "look at the FULL story" and do it realistically! In a recent series of messages, one person was SWEARING that her ancestor was listed on an eastern roll as Cherokee in "the 1830's", and was also shown on the 1902 Dawes Roll. ANYONE could check the USGS site to see that the person on the Dawes Roll was only 32 years old as of 1 Sep 1902, and according to his 1900 U.S. census entry, had been born in the west. Yet the person kept insisting that she was right, and because she was doubted, she became so abusive that I had to censor her messages! I'm not a mean person and don't like to have to do that- but at time I must, for the sake of the others who are searching for their ancestors on this site and want to learn.
Thanks for sharing that with me. I am very happy for your friend and that letter made me cry because I know exactly how that person feels.Hopefully I will find my BLOOD relatives before I am 55.Im 36 now so the clock is ticking--
but success stories keep me going!! Wish me luck and enjoy the rest of your week! MJ
I recently had the total pleasure of placing an adoptee in touch with his own, BLOOD cousins! Since his adoption records were not yet opened, and everyone who knew the truth (as you indicated) had lied to him, we started this search (so to speak) "in the cellar". Actually, we had to wait for "the technology" to catch up with our needs.
I received a letter from him just a few days ago, and with your permission- I'd like to share it with you;
"Jerri, Thank you SO much for your perseverance and devotion to the search for my biological family. I have been in touch with my cousin, and in him I feel as if I had found the brother that I was never privileged to have. The family is organizing a full family reunion at the home place in Illinois to celebrate and for the first time in my 55 years, I feel that I am a whole person, and "belong". May God bless you"
My point is, MaryJo-- NEVER give up on your own search. It may take years (this did- three, to be exact!), but the rewards are indescribable to someone who was NOT adopted.
Thank you everyone for all your information and advice. All the Brown stuff came flying over my head at incredible speed, but I will continue in my search to find who and what my daughters Sarah Brown is. I WILL go by the records when I can find them and all the info I can gather will be taken into account, and I honestly appreciate everyones time in responding.
And please all--dont argue on my account--I trust the information you all have given as being true to the best of your knowledge.
Jerri-I DO believe you about the internet searching and the records. I, being adopted, am living proof that people change records and lie on official paperwork. I have no idea "what" I am except full-blood human.(Though I am fairly sure Im not Black or Asian!!HaHa)No racial prejudice intended.
THANK YOU SO MUCH ALL
I will write again if I need more help or information, and I look forward to hearing from anyone who has anythig more to add.
Thank you for your concern about reporting the actual facts about the history of the Cherokees.
Yes- John Crutchfield (b 23 Aug 1823 in the old Cherokee Nat'n, died 15 Sep 1886 Collin Co TX) was well-known to these men, but they were even better acquainted with John's father- Joseph Crutchfield ("white"). Joseph had been the overseer of the large James Vann Plantation at the time that James Vann was murdered and soon after Joseph married James' widow; Margaret "Peggy" (Scott) Vann. Peggy died soon after her marriage to Joseph, leaving her share of the large Vann estate to her husband (full account in the Moravian Spring Place Diary). Then Joseph married Chinossa Halfbreed and from that marriage several children were born, the oldest being John. But Joseph didn't bring his family over The Trail of Tears- because Joseph left the Cherokee Nation east, even before 1835. He was accused of converting property and money of the Andrew Miller estate for his own use (he was one of the administrators) and fled the eastern Cherokee Nation for "parts unknown" PRIOR to the Trail of Tears- and the 1835 Henderson Roll, to avoid being charged. Joseph and his family "disappeared" for awhile (MO?), then showed up in Collin County TX where some of their relations- the Jeremiah Horn family, had migrated and settled as members of The Peters Colony (ref: 1850 census of Collin Co TX). John and Joseph are buried in one of the Horn family cemetery, west of McKinney, in Collin County. I am a direct descendant of the Horn family and have visited those graves.
John was eligible for tribal membership, because after Joseph's death Chinossa, John's mother, came into the Cherokee Nation of Indian Territory, and reestablished her tribal citizenship. She is buried in the Landrum Cemetery, in Craig Co OK.
As for the Forman account- I was not there --- but neither was the author.
I've seen a lot of your responses here and elsewhere over the years, and I certainly respect your care for historical truth and attention to records. That's why I'm offering the following pieces of documentation in reponse to a statement you make in the previous posting. You wrote, "The Trail terminated here in Indian Territory, and an accounting was made of the number of those who left with the group in the east, the number of those who died during the trip, the number of those who were born on the journey-- and the number of those who arrived! No matter what you hear- people just did not "drop off" or "escape" in route."
On the question of "dropping off," here is the petition of John Crutchfield to the National Council, asking that he be granted Cherokee citizenship.
He offers some impressive names in support of his claim; in the original, the signatures of these men (Bushyhead, Kerr, Ross, Fields) appear to be in their own hands, not the annotations of a copyist. So it looks as if his story was convincing to them, and their support probably suggests that his family was personally known to them.
CHM-58 (Okla Hist Soc microfilm)
To the National Committee and Council
The undersigned your petitioner would respectfully represent that he is
a Cherokee and a citizen of Texas having never lived in the Cherokee
Nation, when his father emigrated west he stopped in Missouri, and when
he grew up, he (himself) moved into Texas, and would now respectfully
ask your Honorable Body to grant him the privilege of citizenship, as he
wishes to reside among his people, and which your petitioner will ever
We the undersigned would respectfully recommend Mr Crutchfield to be a
peaceable and good citizen.
Frederick A. Kerr
On the question of escape, here is an excerpt from Grant Foreman's Indian Removal: The Emigration of the Five Civilized Tribes of Indians, Norman: Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 1956 (copyright 1932), p.291. Foreman is describing the three earliest parties, which removed under military supervision before the Cherokee asked for and received permission to travel under their own supervision.
"Twenty-eight hundred of them [Cherokee] were divided into three detachments, each accompanied by a military officer, a corps of assistants, and two physicians. The first with about 800 in the party departed June 6; the next with 875 started on the fifteenth.
The first party forcibly placed on the boats was in charge of Lieut. Edward Deas and was made up of Cherokee Indians from Georgia who had been concentrated at Ross's Landing. They were escorted by soldier guards aboard a little flotilla consisting of one steamboat of 100 tons, and six flatboats, one of which was constructed with a double-decked cabin. In the excitement and bitterness accompanying the enforced embarking of the Indians and their crowded condition aboard the boats, the conductors thought it best not to attempt to muster and count them until later.
Starting early on the morning of the ninth they reached Decatur at six o'clock to take the train to Tuscumbia but were compelled to remain until the next day. Then "the Indians and their baggage were transferred from the boats to the Rail Road cars. About 32 cars were necessary to transport the Party, and no more could be employed for want of power in the [two] Locomotive Engines. As the Indians were much crowded on the train the twenty-three soldiers were discharged. The first detachment reached Tuscumbia at three o'clock and boarded the steamboat SMELTER which 'immediately set off for Waterloo at the foot of the rapids without awaiting for the 2nd train of Cars with the remainder of the Party.' When the second party reached Tuscumbia they went into the camp awhile waiting transportation by water. As the guard had been discharged, whisky was introduced among them, much drunkenness resulting, and OVER ONE HUNDRED OF THE EMIGRANTS ESCAPED [emphasis mine]. The remainder were carried by water aboard a keel boat and a small steamer about thirty miles to Waterloo.
Here the party was united and set out on the eleventh aboard the steamboat SMELTER and two large double decked keel boats; the next afternoon they reached Paducah, Kentucky, where Lieutenant Deas left one of the keel boats which he found superfluous. He succeeded in mustering the Indians after a fashion and found that he had 489. "
So the party of about 800 was down to 489 within six days.
And a final note: the accounting of departures, arrivals, births, and deaths you mention also includes numbers in a column headed "desertions." In fact, 182 desertions are counted--24 in the party led by Hair Conrad, 148 in the party of Jesse Bushyhead, and 10 in the party of Old Field. As I have shown elsewhere, when you examine the numbers in this accounting carefully, adjusting for births, deaths, desertions, and accessions, there is a discrepancy of about 1300 between the number of Cherokee who departed and those who arrived--that is, about 1300 who drop out of these records. We can't say certainly that there were therefore 1300 individual Cherokee who walked away from the removal parties; the accounting may have been inexact at both departure and arrival. But these records surely suggest that not all those who started the Trail and lived were among those who arrived in Indian Territory. Crutchfield's case, as described in his petition, is surely not unique.