Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tensaw, the Pyburn's and the Creek Indians

I have been known to be far too harsh on people who claim to be my families relatives among the Choctaw with only word of mouth and oral history as a basis. I do however, believe there is something to the rumor that the Pyburn family had a mixed blood Creek ancestress. My previous posts on the Tensaw clearly show the family lived in the settlement from 1785-1812, and there are three big questions that pertain to the family that I still can't answer after a decade of research.

We have oral history, and had believed that the native american (or indian princess as my great great grandma told it) was Mary Jane Chitty, the wife of Benjamin Jacob Pyburn. I have been in contact with Chitty researchers, and it is believed that some of the family did try to apply as Eastern Cherokee. If so, the native american on the Chitty side could come from only her mother, Mary Jane, who most believe was a Brown. I tend to think the Brown's in her home in 1850 are her sons. The fact that Mary Jane, who grew up near the border of Conecuh and Monroe, married Benjamin Jacob Pyburn is a mystery. How on earth did they meet? The family by all accounts was never a wealthy one. Add to that the fact that in 1854, I believe that's the year, Florida passed a law that anyone found to be native american living in Florida would be shipped off to the territory, we now know as Oklahoma.

Suddenly, Benjamin and his family move to Conecuh County, Alabama, just northeast of Evergreen. Benjamin's brother, A. William (most of us believe this is not Archibald, but have no idea what the A. stands for) had married Diana Snowden, the daughter of Thomas J. Snowden and Tabitha Dees. An Eastern Creek application names Diana as the Aunt, and lists the Dees family as being part Creek. This may explain why from 1860-1910 Diana never shows up on any legal paperwork, though burials in the Coon Hill Cemetery, in Santa Rosa county show the family had remained as residents. Santa Rosa has known missing pages in 1870, and from what I have pieced together, (I have missing folks 1860-1880), most of these lie east of Coonhill toward Munson and below I think it's Hwy 4 that runs to Jay, Florida.

I began to  strongly to suspect that it wasn't just these ladies who may be indian but the Pyburn's themselves. The description of Benjamin Jacob Pyburn certainly does support this, he is short, with black hair and eyes and dark skin in his civil war paperwork. That alone I know, does not mean they are indian, but when we trace the family back we have strong evidence that the possibility is reasonable. Jacob Pyburn, the 3rd of that name in our tree, married Diadema Stapleton in 1819 in Baldwin County, Alabama. Newspaper articles, earlier that year lists both Jacob, and his Uncle, Antoine Collins as residents of Pensacola who recently arrived at Mobile and describe the American ships in the Bay. For those of you who don't know, Andrew Jackson was taking Mobile from the Spanish at the time. Antoine Collins actually is listed among Andrew Jackson's papers as an agent for him, his wife was Mary Pyburn, Jacob's Aunt.

When the massacre at Fort Mims occurred, Jacob the 3rd was about 13 years old, and about 4 months later, he along with Archibald Rials enlisted in the Mississippi Volunteer unit. I have no idea why he shows up after 1813, and his father and grandmother do not, but we know that in 1810 his grandmother, listed as Frances Steel (or is it Fanny) has one male over 21 (Jacob the 2nd) and one under 21 (Jacob the 3rd) in her home in Baldwin County. In 1808 Frances had sold her land to Lorenzo Dow (though I have found references that the family tried to make a claim at a later date as her heirs). Jacob Pyburn the 2nd witnessed the will of Joseph Stiggins in 1812, and is a juror in 1810 and 1812, so he didn't leave either. When we look back even further, we see that in 1797, Jacob Pyburn age 20 is listed with a wife age 18 in the Tombigbee census. The couple does not have any children when it was taken in January, so Jacob must have been born later that year.

Who the mother of Jacob is is a very good question. She would be born about 1783. I believe she was a mixed blood Creek, but all I can prove at this point is which of the neighborhood's families she does not belong to. I know she is not a Mims, Linder, Johnston, Powell, Dyer or Stiggins. At least the evidence suggests that. I know that all but William Powell, and I would have to check that, were close neighbors of the Pyburn's (within 4-7 miles). Other close neighbors are Cornelius McCurtain, who has no legal heirs (I still think he had a Choctaw son, but that's another blog), Richard Coleman, the Weekly family, the Randon's and Josiah Fletcher. However among all of these families, only Mims, Linder, Johnston, and Weekly had children that early. So was she a mestizo, and if so, how does she relate? I still can't answer that question.

I am relatively sure that Mary Pyburn Collins kept in touch with her neighbors, because her daughter goes on to marry Adam Cornelius Hollinger. This marriage, I believe occurred in Pensacola, but it is interesting to note  that Jacob and his wife were living in Baldwin at that time.

 Another bothersome question is who is Jeptha (or maybe Joshua) Turvin, who married Phoebe, or Parobi Pyburn. A distant cousin found (and I have not seen) paperwork that says Phoebe and her brother Santiago (James) had cattle on this land above Pensacola in 1818. He also said he found references to land owned by Benjamin Pyburn, who we know was baptized at Tensaw in 1788. Since the 1820 census only shows Mary (also baptized with Benjamin) her husband and children (two of whom are rumored to be the children of James Innearity) and Phoebe (listed as age 40 and a widow), it appears that James and Benjamin have died by then.

There is strong reason to believe that Richard Turvin, and his son Elijah found in Santa Rosa (near Jacob by the way) are the descendants of Phoebe, but there is not proof. There is also a strong reason to believe that this is the Richard who was named as a friendly Creek. The problem is if Phoebe is born in 1780, it kind of pushes the envelope that she is the mother of Richard who was born about 1793. This question remains, and though I am interested, I have not looked for any other proof in the last few years. Phoebe of course, can be older, as if I recall, Mary is younger than her birthdate on her baptism in most of the censuses.

The last question, is who was the father of Isabelle, the daughter born to Frances Pyburn in 1788, and did she grow to adulthood. There is an Isabelle Greenwood with a John who was godparent to Jaime, the son of Mary Pyburn. Although he has a daughter by that name she was only 11, so did he marry Isabelle? His first wife, of English origin, likely had died by then.

I know from plat maps and testimonies who Frances' neighbors were. I have long suspected that someone was a relative, because she had a total of 6 children that we know of and was widowed between 1786 and 1787. I can't imagine the hardships she faced. I know her maiden name from her marriage record in 1798 to William Steel in the Archdiocese of Mobile. I know the Mullis family comes from North Carolina and Bedford County, Virginia, but can't connect her to anyone. The closest I have to a clue is that John Lawrence took the oath the same day as Jacob Pyburn the 1st in December 1784, and that John was known to have run with a James Pyburn in Georgia. While I know all the Pyburn's are related in 1780's, and that they come from two brothers, John and Richard, none of us can connect the sons of John and Richard to those we find in 1790. James in Georgia is likely a relative to Jacob, who came from Bedford area I believe (or Tennessee as the records for Virginia actually have folks who are in Tennessee at that time).

Questions, that's what always happens. You find the answer to one, but end up with two more. That's just the way it goes.


24 comments:

  1. Mary Jane Chitty was passed down as Indian and the Princess that one of the two Chitty brothers who came from England married. The only problem is the two brothers were indentured servants who were in VA. around the 1650 time frame.

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    1. Actually the Mary Jane that married into the Chitty in my family was Mary Jane, most have as Brown that married James Chitty. James was born 1800 ish.

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    2. Can you please tell me your family nationaity, cause i am a Chitty, and i was trying to find out about my family lineage.

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    3. The Chitty's were English. As to if there is more to it in the Alabama branch, that's what's the post is about

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  2. Yes , Mary Jane ( ) Brown married James , the date can be found on his land warrant record. It was thought and seldom spoken that Allen Chitty had two wives and that Mary Jane was one of them. I found the census record for James while surfing the Butler Co. records , and then ordered the land warrant record. What was passed down was that two Chitty brothers came from England and one married an Indian Princess. The G children didn,t know James was the name of their G father and thought Allen and John were the two brothers that came from England. When Ben? Pyburn and his wife Mary Jane were dug up and moved to Jay , the story was passed around that the Indian prencess,es people dug her up and took her body back home.

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    1. That is interesting. I of course got the tale from a grandchild of Benjamin and Mary. may I ask how you connect? Do you know why they moved the bodies to Jay? I agree that Mary Jane probably married a Brown. Been working on the tree because someone told me years ago that folks applied on the Eastern Cherokee Rolls, but I can't see where they did.

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  3. I decend from Lucinda Chitty sister of Mary Jane Chitty Pyburn. I don't know why the Pyburns moved to Jay but there were others from that area that moved there as well, maybe the timber industry if I had to guess. Mrs Diamond who is or was , ( I need to check if she is still alive)Mary Jane Chittys g.niece , g daughter of Eliz Chitty Hammonds said the Pyburns had a grits mill, you would think one of their children would have taken it over. While we are on the Pyburns , there was a Pyburn that attended or was a delegate to the Cherokee congress in the late 1780s or 90s ?. Most of my records were lost in a flood so I,m going off memory here.I don't go back to the Pyburns but used to pass any info I came across to a woman in Texas.I am very impressed with your work and I will list some Chitty leads I never got around to, like the Cherokee Pyburn. Our Chitty story starts with two Chitty brother's who came from England around 1640s to 50s and one married an Indian princess. Valintine would have been the older of the two , with John being the one who married the princess as Val seems to of had no sons. Both got 50 acres and I assume three carts of corn and a grubbing hoe. In that time period the Govs of VA encouraged the intermarriage between Native women and English men. Indentured servants would have been the most likely class of men to intermarry. Now we skip to John Chitty of Barnwell Dist. SC., I ran across a post that said "John Chitty hung around Thurstons Indian trading post and the Rays were dark too". One of the dau. of John married a Thurston and the McMillians are connected too. I cant find much on the trading post, this is one of those things that need more research. Keep in mind that many of the Tensaw families came from SC.as well and these families filed on the Cherokee claims and later were listed as Creek (I have not seen any Cherokee claim from our Chitty line). SC. was where the Creak trading house was located and had been where most of the Creek trade had taken place from the mid 1700s. The trading house later moved to fort Hawkins in Twiggs Co. GA, looking at James Chittys land warrant we can see he is close to the fort. Taking into consideration of Chitty migration patterns, and Edward Chittys passport into Creek country, and the trading houses , I've come to the conclusion that they were involved in the Indian trade at some point. I don't think our line can ever say what tribes we descend from as they seem to have intermarried along the way, though I would think they were of Siouan stock until they left SC. GA. Now we have James Chittys siblings listed ,but we have not connected Henry Kinloch Chitty whom I think was also a sibling. James brother John named a son Kinlock , so there is a good chance Henry would fit into the family. The age difference between James and his other siblings would indicate other siblings who died or are not known or James may have had a different mother than the others. Henry Kinloch went to jail in GA. and there is a record, I never got it , it might shine a bit more light on this family as James land warrant did. There is also a Julia Chitty in Twiggs Co. GA, 1840, 1850, she also has to be connected to James and his siblings. People from our Chitty line filed on the Eastern Creek role, this role can be used to locate places that had small pockets of Native American decent populations remaining in S AL. and NW FL. There is also an Eastern Creek Ancestral roll number for " Chitty". I could never get any info from the BIA, but I think there is more info available on the Eastern Creek numbers now. Rick

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    1. Wow, that is a lot of great info. Sadly, I have neglected the Chitty research for years. My cousin you speak of is Betty Busch in Texas, she helped me a lot early on. I don't know about the Pyburn who attended the Cherokee fort but can look into that. I know that all of the Pyburn's are relatives early on, but we all are struggling connecting the Early two brother's families to the right kids at the American revolution (wills and Baptism records cover that part well).

      I really need to get with you on the early stuff on the Chitty's because I honestly don't know that I have it right. I found errors already from what I got to start with. J. E. Chitty who married was Josephine E. and not Emeline who had been married to John Cooper. Martha Chitty hadn't married Daniel Brown, it was Martha Phillips (death certificate indexed on familysearch.org). I added you to my circles on google+ so we can communicate.

      Got side tracked with the Joiner family today straightening out the lines for the Etheridges and wasted the whole day on a family that's only in the periphery. Oh well.

      Jen

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    2. I am related to most of the Diamonds in Florida and they connect to two of my other families in Conecuh.. sigh.. Conecuh isn't an easy county with so many records missing.

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    3. I think the who married who was done by Mrs. Diamonds son Alven?. There is another of the sisters of Mary Jane#2 that I always thought was wrong, I cant remember which one though. One problem with the Chittys is they used the same names over and over. When I went to Conecuh co. and spoke to Mr. Henry Ward he said he went back to the Chittys 3 times , then he thought a for a second and said his g.mother was a Varner and she was a Chitty too. Mrs. Busch is who I used to correspond with , I hope she is doing well. Rick

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    4. I have only found Margaret, Mary Jane, Lucinda, and Emeline I believe with descendants, and then Emeline's son disappears. Betty is doing well, I will let her know I talked with you. And they do use the same names over and over, which is a huge problem.

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    5. In fact, it was Lucinda's that gave me a headache the other day. Death dates but can't find a death record and not in census, etc.

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    6. There is a Martha Brown buried in the Pyburn cem , as well as a Mrs Johnson, that's why I always excepted the Brown marrage. Mrs Diamond said the Bedingfields were related to the Chittys as well as I Think the Bells. Eliz married Hammonds? , had one dau that married a Diamond. Melvina married Stevens also buried in Pyburn cem.they had I know some daughters. Lucinda married John Shell , most of our line is on accestery.com.

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    7. I had always accepted the Brown marriage until I found some Death Records. I did find a Chitty married to a Jim Johnson born 1866, but can't find her first name yet. I will check the Bedingfields. I knew about the Stephens and hammonds as well. Reading Melvina Stephens pension application now.

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  4. I,ve looked for my copy of the Eastern Creek ancestral roll numbers and cant find them. My two contacts seem to have passed away, so my only other option is to see if the tribal office has them and is willing to give me a copy. You need a copy as you research the Tensaw area. The EC # for Chitty is 11180, I think there is one for a Steel from the Tensaw area as well. You might have more Eastern Creeks in your line. Rick

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  5. I think those numbers online on Fold3.com (the packets). Even though Fanny married a Steel there are no children so I can just look up the Chitty file.

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  6. I have been researching an ancestress named Elizabeth Nancy CHOATE for years. She married Joseph FAIR/FARR Jr. and they lived in Burke Co., NC for a long time. There are descendants who applied for Cherokee(?) citizenship because of her and were turned down. Her son William Fair/Farr and his wife Elizabeth Holmes were both noted as part native on the 1850 census. Nancy may be the daughter of Austin CHOATE and Elizabeth Naomi (Oma or Omi) PYBURN. Austin was born 1748 in Lunenburg, Pittsylvania Co., VA. His wife was born 1753, but no one is sure who her parents were, but not Edward Pyburn. Austin is the son of Christopher Choate who was an Indian trader. Even if Austin isn't the right father, I'm pretty sure Nancy connects to Christopher Choate somehow. Christopher had a son in the Wautauga Confederacy in eastern Tennessee (Emanuel) who was also an Indian trader and married to a Cherokee woman. Some say his wife Prudence Staley was Cherokee.

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  7. Debra,
    I have been in contact with several researchers over the years, and have seen the Elizabeth Choate information.

    I think we all agree that the Pyburn's before 1800 are related. It's just how that's so dang frustrating.

    I figure my Jacob Pyburn was born 1755 or earlier, and is a grandson of John or Richard ( I think John because if I recall Richard's sons went somewhere other than Lunenburg).

    The problem is figuring out if it is Benjamin, John or James Pyburn that they are the children of.

    I do think that the Jacob Pyburn in Tennessee is not the son of Benjamin but a grandson (born 1786 ish if I recall). Because there are no passport records for my Jacob and his family, I tend to think they came down the river from Tennessee, and perhaps his mother was the Phoebe I saw mentioned somewhere associated with Benjamin of TN.

    I wish we could say Elizabeth was the sister or cousin of my Jacob, it would be so nice if we could... these dang Pyburn's are a pain for this period.

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  8. I'm trying to find out my family history need help

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  9. I am a great great grandson of Lucinda Chitty Shell. I live in Tahlequah, OK., the Capitol of the Cherokee Nation. I would love to be able to learn more about my Native roots, but have hit a brick wall.

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  10. Sadly, there isn't any proof. I can tell you that a great granddaughter of mary Jane Chitty had no native DNA

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    1. It's highly possible that only her Mother's, Mother's line all the way back was returned and that a test of a Chitty male from Mary Jane's line would return much different results. The DNA factory is not at all dependable, so unless 2 out of 3 companies returned the same result where both male and female lines are tested, results are inconclusive and cannot be reported as fact.

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    2. autosomal dna gives you percentage of native american dna, though not by tribe. You may say it isn't accurate but three companies have been accurate as well as the gedmatch admixtures on my mom's native members I have tested. Neither the granddaughter of Archie Bald Pyburn nor the great grandson show DNA showing native genes. I can't go by me, my 5 percent comes from my mom.

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    3. My mother's great grandmother was 3/4 choctaw, she's got just under 10 percent native DNA, her father's first cousin has 15 percent native dna. The person I tested is a great granddaughter of Mary Jane Chitty, Lucinda's sister. If the story about the family was true she should have native american DNA... but she doesn't.

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