Friday, September 20, 2013

The Trahern Chronicles- James Trahern Sr.and his children, James N. Trahern and Jerry Trahern

James Trahern was the eldest son of Nehemiah and Amelia. He apparently had a wife and children in Virginia before coming to the Mississippi Territory, as we find an obituary for a James Trahern, Jr in Hinds county in 1824. Not long after a Mary Trahern, probably his widow marries J.W. Minor. She dies though, as he remarries within a few years. I found a newspaper article from 1829, the same year as James Trahern's death that states he is to testify for a case that involves his brother John's children in Jackson, Mississippi. His probate records indicate that he gave all his possessions to his brother William, and do not consist of any substantial information.

The case involving John Trahern's children, as heirs of their mother, actually is several cases. Some of the information is available in the Chancery records online for Virginia, but the case in which he was to testify is not. So until someone can go to Virginia, we do not know if he testified or not. It does give us a time frame for his death though, because James Trahern, deceased is named in his brother Wesley's probate information in 1829 as well.

James Trahern's children from his first wife have no known descendants, as we do not find them anywhere except as previously mentioned.

We do know that sometime 1814-1816, James had a relationship with Margaret or Peggy, the wife of Charles Juzan. Exactly when she and Charles Juzan seperated is debatable. Primarily because of her youngest daughter, Eliza Ann Juzan, who gives her age in 1885, as born 1814, and on her tombstone it says 1819. She herself is quoted in a newspaper article that she did not know how old she was. I suspect that Peggy and Charles had already seperated by the time that James Trahern and Peggy had their son James N. Trahern. Peggy was a mixed blood Choctaw and niece of the Chief Pushmataha.

James N Trahern was listed as age 21 in 1835 at the Choctaw Academy which puts him born about 1816. His broken tombstone was transcribed by the wpa and has his birth year as 1814. James's brother Jerry was, I suspect, born after James returned from Virginia, as in 1830 William Trahern, the brother of James has a boy under 5-9 in his home, two boys 10-14, a boy 15-19, a male 30-39 and himself. This corresponds with Jerry, James N., George W., and William Trahern's ages. I have no idea who the male 30-39 was, if he is a relative or not. As in the autobiography for William's son William Eustace Trahern there is no mention of siblings other than his brother James ( or an earlier marriage), I suspect that if this household does include William's children, they died before William Eustace Trahern was born.

Jerry Trahern is described as having been in trouble with the law and having died near Jackson, Mississippi around the same time as his mother, Peggy, in 1846. He never married and had no heirs. This information came from the land files for Peggy and was obtained from conversations with Sandra Riley.

As previously mentioned, James N. Trahern attended the Choctaw Academy. He arrived in April 1831 with his cousin, George Washington Trahern, and another cousin, Joseph P Lancaster. He isn't listed among the students in the articles I found on the academy until 1835. An expenditure for his return was found in a government record dated March 21, 1839. It is not clear if James Trahern returned to Mississippi, but it is assumed he was sent home to the new Choctaw nation in present day Oklahoma.

In 1843, James N. Trahern married Sarah Hall, the half breed daughter of William Hall and his wife Susan Riddle. By 1849 James was a clerk in the Moshulatubbee district of the Choctaw Nation. He later became a judge for the same district, and is said to have occupied the post longer than any other judge. Though he was a judge, he was not a superior court judge for the Choctaw nation. From information I have run across, he was, along with his sons Lysander, "Don" and James D. "James Jr" members of the Choctaw congress at some point.

During the Civil War, late in 1860, Sarah Hall's brothers were killed in a slave uprising instigated by an overseer. Only one of her brother's survived the killing and avenged the murders with the help of a slave, the father of Squire Hall. It must be at this time that James and Sarah, along with the other members of the Hall family (except Sarah's Aunt, Margaret Hall Geary), sold the family land, which was located near or on the present Skullyville Cemetery, and their slaves to Walker Folsom. Though James is listed as a slave owner in 1860, he is not indicated as the owner of any freedman on the Choctaw rolls, nor are any of the Halls. Walker Folsom is though.

It is also during this time that the Choctaws had the Skullyville Convention. Tandy Walker was the second Governor of this time frame, and it is during his tenure that the Butterfield Stage route came into being. James N. Trahern was given the right to a stop along this route. This is probably because Sarah Hall, his wife, was a cousin of Tandy Walker. Trahern Station was located next to the Council house for the Mushulatubbee district. It is said, that across from the Council House if you looked out a window, you could see the grave of Mushulatubbee, who was Sarah Hall's great Uncle.

James and Sarah Hall had a large family. Their children were Louvina, Lysander, Robert, Catherine, James D., Joseph Hall and William Trahern. By 1885, William Trahern had either died or moved away, as no records have been found for him. James D. Trahern never married and assisted in raising his half sisters, the result of James N Trahern's second marriage to Virginia Parelli Clossen. These sisters were Docia and Minnie Trahern.

Sarah Hall Trahern died December 28, 1873 and James N. Trahern died March 29, 1883.

The Council House eventually became the home of an Ainsworth. Trahern Station burial ground was located next to the house. For years broken tombstones that had survived were piled up under trees in the area of this historical landmark, however, a cousin told me a few years back, the stones have been disposed of, and no markers survive to commemorate the family burials. Fortunately pictures of the graveyard were taken several years ago and can be accessed on the Leflore County genweb website.

I will list the descendants of James N. Trahern in the next blog.

These are pictures of James N. Trahern provided by descendants of Caty Trahern and of Docia Trahern.

Minnie Trahern

James D. Trahern

Catherine Trahern

Docia Trahern

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