Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The last Confederate Son

My 3rd great grandfather William M. McCurdy filed for and received a pension for home guard duty during the Civil War. His father enlisted in the Army during the War of 1812 for which he received a pension and bounty land. William M. McCurdy has a son still living. I am pretty sure he is the only one alive that can say his father was in the Civil War and his grandfather was in the war of 1812. Pretty ironic given that the year is now 2014.

Elijah M. McCurdy enlisted in the Army in South Carolina in November or December of 1813. He enlisted for and served 5 years and was discharged December 5, 1818 from Fort St. Marks. He was born in 1793 in South Carolina and was 22 years old when he enlisted.

William M. McCurdy was born in 1849 in Santa Rosa County, Florida, the son of Elijah McCurdy and his wife Barbara Sunday. He was one of five McCurdy brothers who fought in the Civil War. Two of those brothers died in the Civil War, and the other returned injured and remain disabled for the rest of his life. While I admit after reading his packet, I doubt his service, nonetheless he was granted a pension for Civil War service by the state of Florida. His widow, his third wife Florence Morris received a pension until her death in 1971.

William M. McCurdy was the father of 28 children, and only one child remains living, William I McCurdy his youngest son, who was born in 1921. His last daughter Elma died in 2011. Many of his grandchildren, and some of his great grandchildren were older than his children, which is why we can say in 2014, there is one last son of a Confederate Veteran.

Lessons from genealogy

I started on this journey because of something that didn't make sense in a family book on my grandfather's family. My grandfather in truth was who made me interested in our family history, although I didn't start researching until he had passed away. I really don't know what I thought about my family tree before I started, and I am not sure what I expected to find, but I have to say, that there has been many surprises.

I think one of the most shocking things, was to find out that with the exception of the Paxton and Timmins family, the Hardy family we have been stuck on, and the arrival of John Sunday in the United States before 1808, the rest of my family tree all has roots in the United States prior to the American Revolution. Thus my research has taught me a lot about the history of the United States.

One of the things that always interests me is the connection to different religions, and what it meant at the time. The Brownsons (Brunson) family came to the United States from England, and were members of a religious group that became the Puritans. The Trahern's were Quakers and then early Methodist Episcopalians. In South Carolina the Brunson family belonged to a church that was made up of a large portion of Huguenot immigrants to South Carolina. The Hinds, Bent, Henry and Corliss family were among the earliest settlers in Worcester county, Massachusetts, but though I know about their Church, I have not figured out it's ties. My English family were non conformists in England, and then Episcopalians ironically in the States. My child of a Baptist father and a Methodist mother became a minister of the Assembly of God Church. The religions of our ancestors is often a large part of their tale.

Another thing I learned was that only 1/3 of the colonists actually supported the American Revolution. So even though I descend from American Revolutionary soldiers such as Jesse Baker, Ripley Copeland, David Bent (father and son), and Isaac Brunson, I also descend from likely Tories or Loyalists, William Riddle and Jacob Pyburn, men who went to the Spanish Territory during or at the close of the American Revolution.

Migratory patterns are another fascinating aspect of genealogy. How, when and why people moved where they did. When Nehemiah Trahern went to Pittsylvania County, Virginia, he followed the path of many families associated with my research, the Pyburns, Brashears, and Walkers all came from Virginia to Lunenburg/Pittsylvania area in the mid 18th century. Dauswell Rogers was also in this area though he was born in Virginia. The Lincoln county, North Carolina German immigrants share surnames identical to those in Pennsylvania, which makes me wonder if they didn't come to North Carolina after arriving in Pennsylvania. Almost all my families originate in Virgina, North Carolina or South Carolina with the exception of my maternal grandmother's families. Many of my families were among the earliest settlers in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

This is why genealogy isn't just a list of names. It is literally the tale of how our country developed. These individuals are the people that made up our country. When you research your family tree, you end up learning a lot of history. Years ago I wrote this for my home page on my website. I think it tells the truth.

America ... land of the free, home of the brave.

Genealogy has taught me more about the truth in those words
than any history class I ever attended. While to the novice
genealogist, or the casual browser these pages may seem
mostly lists of names, to the experienced and avid genealogist
they tell stories of how our country developed and was made
into the land we know today.

The lives of these individuals are the basis for the foundation of
our country, the dangerous and wild paths they emigrated
along stretched this country from sea to shining sea. Each
generation has it's own story to tell ...

From the first colonists who came over in the 1600 and 1700's to a strange land looking for religious freedom,

To the Scot Irish immigrants who blazed the trails of the
wilderness looking for land they could own that was cheap or

To the Native Americans who struggled to maintain their land
and their culture amist the white intruders,

And to the European immigrants of the latter 19th and early
20th century who were seeking out a better opportunity, we
learn not only their names and their families, but can trace the
growth of our nation.

Each has faced their sorrows and their triumphs, laughter and
tears, and with courage and determination shaped for
themselves, their families and their descendants a land we can
call home. As you browse through these pages, some stories
are told, others remain hidden to be found and treasured. Amid
these pages you will find murderers and statesmen, preachers
and outlaws, mothers and warriors. Looking back allows us to
see that while we view our own lives as ordinary, time and
history can give it a different perspective. So journey along
with me through these pioneers of our past, their lives are
what made this country the land of the free and the home of
the brave. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Colonial Maryland- The Quakers, Traherns and Govers

Although I have known of the images of many of Colonial Maryland's prerogative court probate files, I never could figure out how to find the information I so desperately wanted on the estate of William Trahern in 1760. (Hint, it helps to read the directions, which involves actually editing you web address using math to get to the desired page.) So after reading the directions, viola, I found the records I wanted, only to find the page I needed was missing an image. I emailed the help desk for the Maryland State Archives and the next day I had the image. It confirmed what I had long suspected, William Trahern whose estate was inventoried in 1760 was the father of Nehemiah Trahern, but another relative popped up, Robert Gover, and after a day, when I read the documents again, I discovered that the Administrator, Robert Trahern, was a female, not a male.

It makes little sense for a daughter to be the administrator over a son, so Robert Trahern is the widow of William Trahern. She also affirms and does not swear that the account is accurate. To all those who do not know, that means she was a Quaker. As were the Gover family, who I dug into the records to find as much information as I could on. I also ran across a notation that Elizabeth Trahern affirmed and did not swear to an account of William Cromwell, which would seem to indicate she too was a Quaker. The importantance of her being a Quaker, with a husband from Calvert County has yet to be examined, but the marriage record for John Trahearne of Somerset shows he was not a Quaker, which in my mind at least, brings into question if Elizabeth is a relative of theirs or not.

Elizabeth Trahern died by 1703, and the account of William Trahere in probate records in 1703 in Calvert may or may not be that of a Trahern. I didn't see, though it is hard to read, any relatives listed in this accounting, whereas in the Gover documents of this time, family was the person giving the inventory, it is not for William Trahere's account. So at this juncture, we do not know if William Trahern was a son of William Trahere or not.

Based on Nehemiah's birth about 1725, it is safe to say William Trahern was at least around 60 upon his death. In the 18th century, this would be quite an old man. I did find a reference to a William Traherne in 1721 convicted to indenture and deportation to the United States in a book. This William Traherne was from Bromyard, Herefordshire, England and is the right age to be our William. (As a side note, this is the area where Thomas Traherne was from).

It does seem unusual that William Trahern would marry while indentured for seven years. It is my understanding that that was not allowed, but then, Nehemiah may not have been educated enough to have been aware of his true age, or his parents may have married later. I do not know if Bastardy bonds exist for this time frame, but if he was a bastard, he would have been indentured as a child. It is my understanding that some of these records are in the archives at Maryland.

From the inventory and account of William Trahern we learn two things. First, his wife being a Quaker, and the practice common at that time, he must have been one as well, and second, that he owned tools, and not much else, indicating he was a tradesman who did not own a slave or property. His was a modest existence, his estate after paying it's debts was just over 2 pounds of money. Records of the Govers in comparison showed that they not only owned slaves, but wills show they were property owners of large estates. So how is Robert Gover related? That is the question.

Robert Gover the first, or Senior died in 1699 leaving his estate to three sons, Robert, Samuel and Ephraim. His son Robert Jr died in 1700, leaving a daughter Rebecca, an unborn child and a widow Eliza who goes on to marry John Ward. Of this family I saw no further mention, though I haven't checked estates for John Ward.  His son Samuel married Elizabeth Roberts (Johns?) in 1706. His son Robert Gover dies before 1742 when his account is shown in records with an executrix of Eliza Freeland. Elizabeth Gover had married a Freeland in 1739 and a lag of 3 years is not uncommon in the account phase of probate. His son Ephraim married Mary Harper in 1705, and also has a son Robert Gover who dies after William Trahern. This would appear to be the right Gover.

Robert Gover names no daughters in his will, but it is impossible to clearly state he had none either, though most of the wills do seem to mention daughters, it wasn't required. There was a John Gover who indentured himself in 1750 and married in St. John's (King George's) Parish in 1757, but whether he is connected is unknown and irrelevant. There is also a Capt. Samuel Gover who dies in the same years as  Samuel Gover, likely a relative, and possibly the son of Robert Gover Jr (the unborn child) or a child of Ephraim Gover, but his child is named Samuel Gover.

So how are they related? William Trahern could be a cousin, brother in law or son in law, but since Ephraim's will precedes the death of William Trahern, we know of only three children, Robert Gover, Ephraim Gover Jr, and a daughter Mary. In the will of Robert Gover, he mentions his siblings and leaves their property to his daughters should they die without heirs, so it would appear that neither of them are married in 1760. Robert Gover's wife is named Sarah Walker and their first child is born in 1744, indicating she was most likely born no later than 1726 as she was married in 1740/1741. Robert also married Elizabeth Roberts in 1733 but no children are recorded in Quaker baptism records (from Quaker Records of Southern Maryland, Henry C. Peden Jr.)

Given that Nehemiah's mother was born likely by 1705, it sort of precludes his wife as a sister of Sarah Walker, though it doesn't rule it out completely that his mother, presumably the Robert Trahern, was a Walker. His mother could easily be Harper as well, but it is doubtful that she is a Glover, unless she is the unborn child of Robert Gover Jr. Just because Nehemiah is the only Trahern listed as next of kin, does not mean he was the only child of William Trahern as well, a matter most prevalent to the Loudon County, Virginia Trahern's who were Quakers.

Next or nearest kin signed the inventories of the deceased. It required two signatures, and generally was not witnessed by the administrator who affirmed or swore it's accuracy. That means that William Trahern, the husband of Rebeckah (last name unknown) was most likely Nehemiah's brother. It also means that Nehemiah may have had sisters. We know that the William Trahern in 1760 can not be the husband of Rebeckah (punished in 1759 for her marriage out of the Church), because she had three children with her husband after 1759. We also know that although bastards did exist, a woman who succeeded in having three bastards would have been ostracized and punished, and as I have never heard of a divorce in this time frame, we know that Rebeckah's husband can not be Nehemiah, nor could she be the Robert (on one document written Rob with small t above, which could be similar to Reb with small h above) from the probate documents.

The location of Rebeckah's admonishment is the same Quaker meetings attended by the Gover family, so I don't think it's a coincidence that Rebeckah and William Trahern were both in the same place at the same time. Especially given that we find only three Trahern families in the Colonies at this time. Adam Trehurn a Quaker in Chester, Pennsylvania whose will is viewable and left no males, the Somerset Trahearnes and our William Trahern.

A lot of questions arise for me now, places and things I need to check into. An examination of the Quaker minutes for the early to mid 18th century to see if the Trahern's are mentioned, examination of the rent rolls for Calvert County (and later Anne Arundel). Answers to some questions about the Quakers and the laws themselves. When Nehemiah was conscripted into the British Army during the French and Indian Wars, was he disowned from the Quakers? All I could find on the subject was that some states allowed them to pay a fine or pay someone to fight for them, which may not have been feasible for Nehemiah. Was it required to have your child registered in parish records and Quaker records (it wasn't the official church)? And when did that change? What is the parish for Calvert County, and if records exist, will I find something on Nehemiah? Was Amelia a Quaker or a protestant? By 1777 the Quaker's had outlawed slavery in Maryland (though the Episcopalian Methodists encouraged the same), so if he wasn't an Episcopalian Methodist by then that is probably why he became one.

Perhaps one day I will have both the money and time to answer some of these questions. A YDNA test on a Trahern (there aren't that many of our line left, I think we are at 4) may be helpful as well.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Steely Hager family

Steely Hager and his wife Mary had the following children.

Sterling A. Hager b 1826 in Lincoln County, TN d. after 1880 in Cooke County, TX.
Was in the Civil War where he was a prisoner of war. Married in 1847 in Lauderdale County, TN Mary Jane Huckaby. Sterling lived in 1850 in Johnson County, Arkansas, in 1860 in Franklin County, Arkansas, in 1870 in Dallas County, Texas and in 1880 in Cooke County, Texas. His son Richard Thomas Hager made the MCR claim. Richard Thomas Hager married in 1877 in Johnson County, Texas.

John A. Hager b 1828 in Lincoln County, TN d after 1880.
Did not serve in a civil war unit that I have found. In 1848 married Emily Armett Clay in Lauderdale county. Is found in the census of Lauderdale in 1850 and 1870 and in Little River County, Arkansas in 1880. In 1880 he has two grandchildren living with him that I cannot find in 1870 or 1880.

Samuel Thomas Hager b 1834 in Lincoln County, TN d 1897 in Stephens County, TX
Civil War in same regiment as Ben F. Hager. Lists his birth as Lincoln Co, TN, enlisted at Greenwood in 1862, residence was in Sebastian County, Arkansas. Occupation was a Sadler. Samuel Thomas Hager was listed as 33 years of age, 5 foot 7 inches with black hair and eyes and a dark complexion. He isn't found in any census until 1880 where he is found with his family in Travis County, Texas. He married Rachel Caroline Bush in 1857 in Johnson County, Arkansas. Both Ben and Samuel are listed as AWOL on the same dates.

Benjamin F. Hager b 1836 in Lincoln County, TN d 1864 in Scott County, AR
Enlisted in Civil war on same day and unit as Samuel Thomas Hager. AWOL dates are also identical. married in 1855 in Lauderdale County, TN and in 1857 in Hot Spring County, Arkansas. Had no children. His civil war papers list him as 23 years of age (off by a longshot), 5 foot 10 inches with black hair and eyes and dark complected. His birth is listed as Lauderdale County, TN and his residence as Sebastian.

William Daniel "Dan" Hager born 1840 in Weakley County, TN d 1880-1884
Did not serve in civil war. Married Eda Martha Burnett/Barnett in Sevier County, AR in 1865 and Martha E. Hall in 1875 in Johnson County, Texas. Residence in 1860 in Franklin County, Arkansas, in 1870 in Shoal Creek, Johnson County Arkansas (near Perry County) and in 1880 in Little River County, Arkansas. His youngest daughter has guardianship records in Saline County by 1884, and his eldest daughters married by 1882. No probate records found in Little River County.

Mary Ann Whitley (Polly) Hager is living with her sons Benjamin and Dan in 1860 and in 1880 with her son Dan Hager.

Thanks to other researchers, we have a picture of William Daniel Hager and his brother Sterling A. Hager. Richard Thomas Hager in his testimony states his father was Sterling Hager and his mother was Mary, and that his father's father was Steely Hager and his father's mother was Mary Ann. Another testimony names Dan Hager as a son of Mary Ann in this document.

Who are Steely Hager and his wife Mary?

I am still no closer into identifying the family Steely Hager or his brother Sterling A Hager come from. I am positive that his father was from the North Carolina Hager's, and from this excellent source of information on one branch there, I know that he isn't from this family. Nor is Sterling by the way, the Starling Hager he mentions did go to Missouri and is found there, so everyone who keeps spreading that information on ancestry has got it wrong. I am sure that our Hager's come from the other family, that little blurb at the end in the history given, and also from the same Steele/Steely family in the area, but nothing has led me to a clue.

I have searched early tax records I could find, probate records for neighboring Davidson County, TN, and nothing pops up. So we are no closer today to determining who Steely was than we were when I hit upon his name about 5 or 6 years ago.

I decided though in my pursuit of finding John Jones to look at Mary Polly Whitley a little closer. What I found was that in 1820 next door to Steely Hager is Pierce Whitley/Wheatley, a son of Alexander Whitley/Wheatley an American Revolution veteran and his wife. There are no Jones' in the neighborhood close by. Nor could I find a death of a Whitley that could have been her husband. The only other early marriage to a Whitley is to a Mary but her last name wasn't Jones either.

To be sure, there are young females in the home of Steely. Are they siblings of Steely or his wife, or are they her children? I doubt that they are because for Mary to have married a Whitley and had the daughters she would have had to have married at 14. Not impossible, but not as common back in 1815 as some would think.

The 1840 census in Weakley County, TN if one turns the page, lists several Whitley's, all of them related to the same Alexander Whitley/Wheatley and his wife. Tax records for the district they live show that in 1842 Steely and the Whitley's are still residing there, but they aren't in 1843. So where did they go? The Whitley's went to neighboring Graves County, Kentucky and to the county west in Tennessee, but we find nothing on the Hager's until 1860, except the marriage of the three boys in Lauderdale County, TN, Sterling A. Hager (Steely's son) in 1850 in Arkansas, and John F. Hager in 1850 in Lauderdale County, TN.

So if Steely died in Weakley, I can find no probate, and I haven't been able to find anything on him elsewhere yet. The probate records for some of the counties can be spotty, but the truth is we just need to keep searching, because somewhere there has to be a probate even if he was insolvent.

I can't prove that Alexander Whitley is Mary's father, but I doubt that it's her in-laws, unless Steely himself had a connection, there "following" them makes little sense. Once her husband died, there would have been little to keep her with the Whitley's if it was her former husbands family. If we could even find the probate of Alexander Whitley to see if Polly was in it it would help, but I have not been able to find anything yet.

The Cherokee Question- Richard Thomas Hager's MCR claim

Before I discuss the questions that arise from Richard Thomas Hager's Mississippi Choctaw claim, I would first like to state that according to my grandfather, his grandmother always told him his father, Claude Hager was Cherokee. Now to keep this in context, you have to understand that his grandmother was a Dawes enrolled Choctaw, and while his Aunts and mother would dress up as "indian princesses" and make light of their Native American heritage, his grandmother who raised him did not. Because of this, it is difficult to believe she would have lied. She was the real deal, and there is truly no reason to think that she would have told him this about his father, or his grandfather for that matter if she didn't believe it was true. However, I am about to be a negative Nancy and tell you that the following information is pure rubbish.

Richard Thomas Hager applied under the Dawes act as a Choctaw. His MCR file is 7334. It is a confusing file in that he changes his testimony throughout the testimonies, first that his grandmother Mary "Polly" was the daughter of John Jones, and then he goes on to say that both Steely Hager and Polly were Choctaw. In one of those bizarre coincidences, the John Jones he claims to be his great grandfather is the second husband of my ancestor. While there is much we don't know of his family, there is enough that I do know that in my mind proves that John Jones the man in question is no relation whatsoever of the Hager family.

First, John Jones Sr. was a white man who lived among the Choctaw from the 1770's until his death in Sumter County, Alabama which occurred sometime after 1838. John Jones Sr and his brother Samuel Jones, and possibly a relative William Jones lived in the area of Jones Bluff. From his letters, referring to the death of Samuel Jones Sr., it is my belief that Robert M Jones is the grandson of John Jones Sr. From dawes testimonies and land claim files, we know some of his relatives, and none of them were Hagers. Second, Steely Hager and his family have a trail of residences within Tennessee. First found in 1820 in Wilson, where Steely and his wife Mary "Polly" Whitley were married in 1819. They are then found in Lincoln County, TN in 1830 through about 1834. In 1840 the family is found in Weakley county, TN. In the 1840's the children of Steely and Mary marry in Lauderdale County, TN, and from 1850 on they are found there, in Arkansas or in Texas.

The areas they reside in in 1820 are closest to the residences of the Cherokee nation, which coincides with the information my grandfather was told by his grandmother. So if in fact the Hager's were indian, they couldn't be Choctaw. All of the residence information in the MCR file is erroneous. The Hager's never lived in Mississippi, nor has any record ever been found for the Steely family in Alabama. Sterling A. Hager, who resides in Lincoln County, TN with Steely, and is felt to be his brother, resides in Alabama in Limestone County, but he is not even a part of this testimony.

For me the value of the testimony in the MCR file is the confirmation that Dan Hager was his Uncle, as he is my ancestor, and that Dan was the son of Steely Hager and his wife Mary "Polly". The testimonies in support of the file, aren't in it, though they may be found possibly in court records of Little River County, Arkansas. These testifiers, Caswell Griffith and John Layne may have testimony that is illuminating to any possible native history in the family, but until we find them, we simply have to disregard the bulk of what Richard Thomas Hager has to say.

That is not to say that I am implying Richard Thomas Hager set out to defraud the government in his claim. The truth of how lawyers signed up prospective applicants, and pretty much went forward with the claims is discussed in Congressional testimony on the Mississippi Choctaws. The truth is that they advertised and engaged in recruitment of applicants, promising them money, land and also promising other unsuspecting Americans shares in the speculation of these claims. This process wasn't unique to the Choctaw and the Dawes enrollment. The same thing happened with the enrollment of the Eastern Band of Cherokee. If one wants to educate themselves on the fraud practiced by these kind of firms, you can read about it in this book or this one. I am sorry, but it's been a few years since I read that, and I will leave it up to the readers to find the testimonies within the books.

As much as I dislike the negativity Native American community has for those searching for their "native roots", the disdain they have, and the ridicule at it being popular, I understand it in part. I get so many "relatives" who claim to be connected to my family from claims just like the one of Richard Thomas Hager. Most often the original testimonies were vague and provided no solid information linking them to the Native Americans other than an oral history. Some families have continued to pursue the claims, but again, even if they have an affidavit from the 1930's, it is still "I am native because I say so" without solid proof.

That is not to say that none of these folks had any Cherokee or other native ancestry. It brings to mind something Thomas Woodward wrote in his letters. His grandfather Howard disproved of his father because his father's grandmother had been an Indian. Given his birth, we are talking about someone in the very early 18th century, and it is possible that the Indian that Richard Thomas Hager spoke of was a few generations before Mary "Polly".

The only way we can confirm native ancestry at this point, will be through DNA. Unfortunately though, at this juncture, the only ones from the Hager family that I know of are useless to us. My Mom, myself, or any of my cousins from my grandfather have native DNA from the Choctaw side, and there is no way to determine, even if the amounts "appear" to be greater, if it is in fact from another source. The three Hager's we match to have Mexican American lineage, which on 23andme will show also as Native American ancestry. So again, we can't separate the results, except to say that none of the shared mutual DNA from my Mom and these cousins are on a segment of the DNA that 23andme designates as native American.

We have plenty of other's who can test. My mother's cousin through her half Uncle Spencer Hager, as long as we could determine he had no other families with the same rumors, (we can't though what I have done on his mother's side suggests none). Other descendants of Margaret Rena Hager, Mary Magdeline Hager, Sterling Alexander Hager or Samuel Thomas Hager. A YDNA test, or at least the haplogroup from 23andme would help us determine if we are indeed related to the North Carolina Hagers as well. And we can search for those missing testimonies in support of Richard Thomas Hager's claim.

I will discuss who I think Mary "Polly" is in my next blog.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A change of Pace - the first chapter of my fiction

I haven't yet decided if this will be the prologue, or the first chapter. The rest of the treaty talks will be at the end of the book. The other portion will follow, unlike a flash forward, it is a flashback. The premise of the book is the story of the Choctaw from 1784 until 1830 as seen through the eyes of Peggy.  Let me know what you think.

Dancing Rabbit Creek, September 1830

The quiet of the night was disturbed by the sound of crickets in the cool crisp air and water rambling over the stones of a creek. Peggy walked among the pines and towering Oaks covered in yellowing leaves, moonlit patches lighting the uneven dirt path. Ahead she could see the orange glow of a fire, and hear the mumbled sound of many voices.

Lost in her thoughts, Peggy walked, lumbered actually, her movements lacking the gracefulness of youth. Her back, bent with age and the burdens that came with it, was seen in rounded shoulders, full hips and legs that were thick from knee to foot, almost without an ankle. Bronze skin, with the texture of a dried apple, hung over thick heavy brows in a round face with high cheek bones and a heavy nose and lips. While she appeared at once both homely and fragile, it was her eyes, small, dark and flashing, that showed her vitality, sharp mind, and reminded any who gazed upon her she was more than a frail woman. In her youth her beauty was known in far off Mobile, but those days were long past. In any case, it was not the past that brought her out on this cold fall night, but rather the future.

Peggy thought about the day, the treaty talks today were long. John Eaton and John Coffee had pressed hard. The Choctaw people were no longer welcome in this their ancestral home. The Na Hullos, white people, they were eager for this land they called Mississippi. One of seven women, Peggy had sat in the center of the talks, while Killihota spoke in favor of this removal to a land in the west that the Na Hollos wanted. The outcry of the others at the treaty at his favor was loud and fervent. The people did not want to agree to this treaty.

“Immoshi said before he died that stopping the Na Hollos was like stopping the setting of the sun” Peggy thought. Had he not died in that far off place of Washington, Peggy surmised, he would have had his heart broken at these talks. Her mother’s brother, Immoshi was known as Pushmataha, and had been one of the strongest Chiefs that the people had had. She only wished that her brothers had his strength and clarity.

As she walked into the clearing, she saw several groups settled around a large fire burning in the center of the field. The snap and pop of burning wood intermingled with the low hum of numerous voices.

Pierre, her eldest son, a tall, lean and lanky man in his mid twenties knelt down next to the fire, absently listening to a Nitakechi, his hawk-like profile visible in the firelight. In his mid fifties, and tall for the people, Nitakechi carried himself with authority, his lean muscles showing his strength and prowess as a warrior and a Chief. Her brothers Tappenahoma and Oka Lah Homma, along with her former husband Charles Juzan, and Molly Nail were also in the group.

She saw Molly shake her head, her face thin and lacking the heaviness of her own. Molly like Pierre showed some of their white father’s characteristics, while in Peggy it had not shown at all. Only a Na Hullo would look at them and see that they were fully Choctaw. Like her half brother Nitakechi, Molly was tall for a woman, retaining a handsome face, thin and graceful, even though she herself had had nine children to Peggy’s ten. Molly was also among the women elders present at the talks today.

Tappenahoma and Oka Lah Homma resembled both each other and their Uncle Pushmataha; not as tall as Nitakechi, they were stockier, their bulk no doubt enhanced by their love of the white man’s whiskey. Black hair with the beginning of grey framed intelligent eyes that lay in long faces with thick lips and large noses rounded at the tip. All of the men were dressed in traditional leather trousers, but unlike Nitakechi, they each wore a military shirt.

Unlike her brothers, whose speech was accompanied by wild hand gestures, Charles Juzan sat calmly. His hair now gray, he was still a handsome man, with fair skin, blue eyes, and a thin aristocratic face. Born of French parents, Charles had lived most of his life among the people.

As Peggy joined them, she wondered not what the night would bring, but rather how long it would take to get there.

Pierre stood “Mother”

She nodded her head in acknowledgment, but addressed instead Nitakechi, “What have I missed.”

“Not much at this point.” Nitakechi replied “So far we have been discussing only what the commissioners Eaton and Coffee said today. Tell me what is your opinion of today? You have been living among the Na Hullos, what do they think of this treaty?”

Peggy smiled, showing teeth yellow and worn. Although in the white man’s world Nitakechi was not considered a relative, among the Choctaw they were of the same moeity and clan, making them relatives of a sort. The white men at the talks today thought the presence of the seven elder women a formality, not realizing that although they did not mark the paper of these treaties, they had just as much to say in these talks.

“Pushmataha said we couldn’t win this. We can stall and talk, but ultimately we must agree” she said, the sorrow in her voice. “I fear what this means for our people, but I also realize, we have no choice. The Na Hullos have been hammering for it. The leaders in Jackson have been writing to the Father in Washington, to press the issue. It is why they passed the most recent laws, they intend on forcing us to agree.”

Charles cleared his throat, “It is likely the people of Alabama will follow suit. Now that the territory in Florida is part of the United States, even more settlers have been arriving. With the Creeks recent actions, it is likely the settlers will call for the military to force them to move. They fear another massacre like Fort Mims.”

Oka Lah Homma, like his brother and Nitakechi sneered. No love was lost for the Creek. For years in his youth the Creek and Choctaw had raided each other and gone to war, as a result, his mother’s family had been killed. “We helped in the last war with the Creeks, why would they treat the Choctaw the same as those who murder their people? We have never killed the whites. We have only been their friend.”

Charles shook his head, “Yes the Choctaws are known for peace, but the settlers are pressing hard. If we fail to agree, the Choctaw may end up on the receiving end of the army this time.”

Nitakechi nodded, “Greenwood Leflore and David Folsom are over there, I wonder exactly what they think they can get out of this.”

Peggy shook her head, those fools, she thought. An armed group of Leflore and Folsom’s followers had arrived at the trading house intending to attack the followers of Moshulatubbee, Chief of another district. Nitakechi and others had supported Moshulatubbee and it was only by chance that the nation hadn’t disintegrated into a civil war. Unlike others of their age, these two felt it was their right to question and criticize their elders. That the United States recognized them was a problem, mostly because Peggy didn’t believe they necessarily had the good of the people in their hearts. Folsom, who was a staunch supporter of the missionaries was pressing hard not to remove, and Greenwood, she had heard, had written the government saying he could guarantee a removal, what other terms he suggested no one knew. That the two were allies, while seeming on opposite sides was strange, only if one didn’t consider that Greenwood was making appearances that he was not in favor of removal.

When these talks started, Greenwood’s outrage at not being recognized as the sole Chief, a fallacy he had created, had caused disruptions. It was Gaines who had smoothed things over. That the commissioners had allowed the inclusion of Nitakechi, Moshulatubbee and others, now considered by some no longer to hold their positions, was only owed to Gaines. Greenwood had not been pleased.

“I have heard Greenwood has his own agenda, and that David is being led by the missionaries” Pierre spoke up. “Folsom isn’t pleased that the missionaries weren’t allowed on the treaty grounds.”

Two men, Robert M. Jones and James McDonald approached the group. Brothers among the Choctaws, the two men were children of sisters. Both educated, they were among the new generation of Choctaws. McDonald had spent years in the Na Hullo capital studying their law. He had recently moved to Jackson to be near his mother and nephew.

“Aunt” Robert Jones said as he approached. A grandson of her father, the term Aunt was more an honor than a reality. In her people, her father’s relatives weren’t really hers. Jones was a short barrel of a man, with a thin nose, high cheek bones, and fine features. If his skin wasn’t as dark as her own, he may have passed for a Na Hullo. He was accompanied by another of her sons, Jimmy a gangly youth, who had his father’s eyes and nose, and her coloring. “With your brother’s permission, I am taking Jimmy with me. We have agreed he will go to the Academy with the other boys in a few weeks.”

Peggy nodded. Such was the way of the Choctaw. Her brother Tappenahoma was in charge of her children. Her first husband Charles, having lived with the Choctaw and traded with them understood this, but her second husband James Trahern had not. A lawyer from Virginia, he had moved to Jackson along with his brothers William and Wesley. Both Wesley and James had recently died, and their younger brother William was nothing like either of them.

Ambitious, William Trahern was living in the large plantation home of his brother Wesley, and in the guise of handling his brother’s estates, he was keeping the properties that both James and Wesley had acquired from their widows and children. William Trahern didn’t have much use for his brother’s Indian relatives, which included Peggy and her two sons Jerry and Jimmy.

“Moshulatubbee has arranged with the commissioners time for stickball games tomorrow” Robert M. Jones told the group. “He has asked that after the games if you would meet with him and his nephews to discuss the demands of the talks.”

“Of course, after we beat you at stickball” Tappenahoma answered. The rest laughed and nodded. Valor in battle was proof of a warrior among the people, but excelling at stickball was a close second. Competition among the different villages and districts, and other tribes was fierce, and no Choctaw would admit his team was inferior to another.

“Enough talk of the Na Hullo’s and these talks” Peggy said, “Let’s eat, and tomorrow we will see who is the best at stickball.”

So should that be the prologue or the first chapter. Here is the other chapter that will either be the first chapter or the prologue.

Kunsha Tikpi, Choctaw Nation
Fall 1766
British Territory

Nakshopa Hanan , Little Wild Eagle, his little round hands secure in those of Yakpa Hushi , Happy Bird, and Nahotima, She Who Seeks and Gives, toddled on chubby brown legs towards the pool of cool water. Trees blocked the sunlight, leaving only dappled patches of yellow on the cool dirt below. The clear water of the pool was created from the stream by grey white boulders carpeted with fluffs of bright green moss. The soft doe eyes of Happy Bird were alert to the surroundings, watching for cougar, bear or other predators. Fast approaching womanhood, her figure hinted at curves that were almost hidden by the soft hide of the shapeless dress she wore. White beadwork decorated the hem and the neckline, its sleeves loose hitting her just above the elbow. Soft shoes also of hide were laced to her knees, meeting the hem of her dress. Had it been cool a fur would have been wrapped around to keep her warm. As the day was unseasonably warm, she walked with all the dignity of one who perceives herself as an adult, unprotected from the elements.

Her sister Nahotima was similarly costumed, though the decoration was lacking, her dress recently made by her mother from a deer hide her father had brought home. A few years younger, Nahotima had cheeks full and chubby rather like a chipmunk. Her hair plaited into two braids shone blue black. At the cusp between childhood and adolescence, finding herself responsible for Little Wild Eagle, her baby brother, had given a spring to her step.

The hunters had had a successful hunt. Tonight would be a great celebration. There would be a great feast the meat was being roasted over fires. The smell was tantalizing after a summer consisting mainly of the corn, squash and other bounty their mother grew, both girls looked forward to the meat. Needing to help with the preparations the girls were sent off with instructions to keep him out of the way.

Little Wild Eagle laughed and splashed at the edge of the pool when the first cry was heard.

“What was that?” Nahotima spoke, as she quickly grabbed Little Wild Eagle, throwing him on her hip.

In the distance war cries mingled with the cries and screams of women and children. Happy Bird looked around quickly. Though in reality still a child, she knew that raids upon villages by other tribes, especially the Creek were not uncommon. Any and all who were in the way would be slaughtered or captured. If captured a woman or child would be a slave, and sometimes, if lucky, adopted. A man would be tortured. Frightened, her heart hammering as fast as a hummingbirds wings, Happy Bird knew they weren’t safe this close to the village.

“Quickly now,” she took a handful of mud and rubbed it all over the face of her brother and sister, and then her own. “See that circle of bushes, hide and be quiet!”

Happy Bird rushed into the center of a nearby set of bushes, thick and dense, she could easily hide herself, and Nahotima took Little Wild Eagle and did the same. There was no need to silence Little Wild Eagle with her hand. From the time they were infants Choctaws were trained to be quiet, and make no cries while hanging from their cradle board. Her arm around his little round body, Little Wild Eagle almost thought it was a game; however, Nahotima was breathing fast and shallow and he felt her heart beating fast against his back. Not old enough to understand why, he knelt in the bushes quiet and frightened.

After several hours, the moon now in the sky, they crept out from their refuge. The screams and war cries were silent. In the distance, the orange glow of several fires could be seen.

“Stay here.” Happy Bird whispered. “I will give the call of the mockingbird when I return. If you hear anything else, hide. When it is safe take Little Wild Eagle and go to Kunsha, tell them of what has happened. Find father’s brother, the Red Shoes, he will keep you safe.”

Eyes wide, Nahotima nodded. Her heart still beat fast in her chest. She found no matter how hard she tried, she could not keep her body from shaking.

Happy Bird crept silently toward the village. She found the mutilated bodies, their heads bloody, their eyes staring blankly. None of the hide shelters remained. Everywhere there was death and destruction. Her eyes burned from the smoke, and unshed tears. Finding some unspoiled food she snatched it, and ran back to her sister.

“They are dead. The village is burned. There is nothing to return to.” Happy Bird’s voice was dull and listless. “We must get to Kunsha, tell them, so we can come back and give them their cry.”

She handed some berries and dried meat to Nahotima and Little Wild Eagle. The spare meal did little to assuage their hunger, but there was nothing else. Now was not the time to cry. She would do that when she told her clan, then and only then could she mourn her parents and other family members. Their scanty meal finished, Nahotima and Little Wild Eagle looked at her.

The full moon above was the only light to guide them on the five mile journey through a forest with thick green undergrowth. With no weapons, or light, Happy Bird knew that the predators or even the Creeks may be hidden from view. They may not be safe from harm, but they had no choice, they could only flee to Kunsha and the safety of their clan. For with the people, clan was family. Although he was not a relative, her father’s brother would help them, or perhaps, other members of their own clan would take them in. Without a male relative of their mother’s, they no longer had anyone to look out for them, but this was the least of her worries.

Looking to the night sky for direction, Happy Bird headed off to the direction in which she knew Kunsha lie. Nahotima and Little Wild Eagle followed.

If the Shue doesn't fit - a look at the X and 12th Chromosome

Mom's fourth great grandmother Susan/Susannah or Suzie is proving to be a bit of a genealogical headache. A post from 1998 gave a name for her of Shue. By the time I found the post two years later, the email was no longer valid, and since the writer has died, so no one has been able to see or contact her about her source. Her source was a hand written list from her Aunt or great Aunt, a grandchild I believe of Edley Rogers from the post.

For years I have looked for Shue, Shew, or Shye. The only ones in Virginia, and North Carolina (who are related), all have probate and bible records that conclusively seem to disprove that Susan was a member of their family. I looked at the kids names, and decided to look at Audley or Edley for a clue. I did find some Audley's but again, there was enough documentation to appear to rule out that as well.

So, I have been stuck. Until this week, when an anonymous tester, a Hoskins cousin, accepted my share request. The tester is matching on Chromosome 12 in an area my Mom already had 6 matches with on 23andme, and a few more on gedmatch. Two of those matches were Rogers. Bingo, I thought, but then she didn't match them. But, she matched everyone they matched. I scratched my head, until I figured out, there is a gap between her matches on the 12th, and that's where the Rogers cousins fit, any overlap was too small to be recognized as a match.

I went and contacted the matches, and noticed, there was a Sizemore. Hmm, so I tested her against all 4 Sizemore descendants Mom shares with. She matched all 4. One of those was on the same segment on the 12th. She promptly responded and  I looked at her tree. Within a half hour I found who she had in common with the Sizemores, Wiley Jones and Malvina Anderson.  Aside from the Sizemore cousin on 12, another lists the surnames Anderson and Jones. Thus far we also have two more who have relatives in Morgan County, Kentucky sharing this segment, and some Wallin family members who have a ydna trail to Elisha Wallen but not a paper trail.

Mom's Sizemore matches are on the X-chromosome to two sisters and their Aunt, and the one on the 12th. She matches two Wallins on the 12th, and 2nd, and another Wallen descendant on 11 and elsewhere.

I knew without looking that the X-chromosomal matches had to come from the Rogers family. It's pretty simple actually. Except for two individuals, all of Mom's maternal X donators were born in England. On her paternal X donators, the Trahern's only have one white, William Riddle who was born in 1760, the DNA from his mother of course who is unknown. That only leaves the Rogers side.

That leads me to two females. Mahala/Mariah and Susan. Studying the trees available, I knew that we didn't have enough information, nor a way to get Mahala up to the area, but we did for Susan, and to be honest, she's just a better fit for this.

I spent several hours looking for and adding a tree for the Sizemore and Hoskins cousin. On the Sizemore I wanted to find the X donators. Ultimately, I did find two that are Anderson and Jones in her line. A Rachel Jones, whose parents I can't find information on (William Jones and Mary Osborne in Clay County, Kentucky) and Nancy Anderson, the wife of Jesse Roberts. Other surnames include Couch, Sizemore, and Napier (a dead end).

I have a theory, which I have to prove, and certainly when I get the data on the Sanders, Eagle, and Wallin cousins who share on the 12th, and contact the other X matches in common, we may prove or disprove the theory, however, my gut instinct, which has so often steered me in the right direction in my genealogy searches, tells me this is on the right track.

I looked for Andersons in Scott County, Virginia. And found out there were several in early Washington County, Virginia, which became Russell, then Scott. This is pretty significant because the Roberts, Wallen, and Rogers family all have roots there too at the same point and time. Since Susan married first Joseph Rogers, a son of Dauswell Rogers, and then James Wallen, a grandson of Elisha Wallen and a son of Elizabeth Roberts.

In my search I found a Capt. John Anderson, whose children are documented in a 1916 publication. Alas, there is no Nancy, Malvina (Vina) or Susannah, but there was an Audley Anderson. Hmm, Susan names her son Edley H. Rogers, and he in turn names a son Edley Anderson Rogers. Coincidence, maybe, but you know, it's a pretty funny one if it is. I need to contact the researcher for this line and find out the source for his children. A bible or probate rules out other children, but if there is no paper source, then it wouldn't be the first case I have run across where an author left off some children.

My theory is, Susan is a paternal cousin or sibling of Nancy and Malvina Anderson. As such she would get the same maternal X chromosome or part of it, from the mutual grandmother on the male side. The women are all about the same age. Jesse Roberts did live in the same area in Virginia before moving to Clay county, Kentucky, so it's not a giant leap to think there may be a link between the three women. Researchers have always said Susan died in Kentucky, a fact I dismissed entirely because there was no documentation.

Now with the addition of the Wallen/Wallin family, a slight wrench is thrown into this theory. Of course, I don't have a complete trail from them yet back to Elisha Wallen, and they may not either, but they theorize that their Thomas Wallin is a descendant of John Wallen and Elizabeth Roberts. This fits with the link to the Sizemore cousins since they have both Jesse Roberts and a female Blevins in their line, but it doesn't yet fit into the other matches. So it's a possibility as well that Susan is a Blevins or a Roberts as well. I don't know why I don't like the Wallen angle, I just don't think she fits with anyone, and they are just better documented than the Roberts, and I honestly don't know enough on the Blevins. If this is true though, we have several other families we have to "get" to that point to match, where the Anderson surname is already present in several of the trees.

On another note, that pesky 11th chromosome conundrum in my Mom's matches. Because she's now matching several Wallen family members, apparently from Susan, it may be a coincidence (IBS segment) or it may be a clue in the match on 11 that a Rutledge cousin (descendant of Joseph Wallen) is matching a small segment with my mom, both Henry Rogers descendants and a descendant of William Rogers (Dauswell's son). Since mom and her closer Rogers cousins also match the Rutledge elsewhere, this may not be a match at all to Dauswell (the most common ancestor). Or it may be that Dauswell is either related to the Wallen or Blevins family (through his mother) or his wife is. Given that Joseph Blevins, Elisha Wallen, and Dauswell all seem to be in the same places at the same time, I am not closed to the theory that he married a relative of Elisha Wallen or his wife.

The pesky part of 11 you ask? Well, mom has a 74 cM match in one segment on this chromosome. The 74 cM match could be anywhere from a first cousin twice removed (impossible by ages) to second cousin once removed, to a third cousin. He's an adoptee. Here is the pesky part. The back half of this segment clearly matches all three Rogers descendants (and the Rutledge portion I just spoke of), but the front half, has several matches, and guess what, none of those matches, match a single one of the Rogers. Among the surnames on that front half, Anderson and Blevins are two I know of off the top of my head.

The theory on this particular segmental match is that the adoptee, let's call him the Barrett cousin (not his real name) got the back half from his Rogers MCA and the front from the other. At present I am looking at the other half possibly being George Washington Adams (mom' s 2nd great grandfather) or Mahala Mariah (mom's 3rd great grandmother). If though, we can connect on the 12th to surnames matching on the 11th, we may just prove that that pesky 11th is actually DNA contributed by Susan.

If I won the lottery - a genealogists dream

With the mega jackpots of the lottery these days, most of us dream of what we would do if we win. Here is what I would do, of course, to win you have to actually buy a ticket.

My grandfather has about 12 or so first cousins alive. I would do a DNA test on as many as I could to see if we could break down those genealogical walls. Most especially, I want the mitochondrial group of the one cousin whose got the female native mitochondrial DNA, Roverta's son, and the ydna of the Adams side.

I would do the ydna of my cousin from the Hagers, both my mom's male first cousin and her nephew. I would do the ydna on my Dad and his brother, or my brother. I would search out some of those Pyburn, McCurdy and Hardy males and do one on them too. While I am at it I would do an autosomal test on at least a few cousins from the Hardy, Pyburn, and Beck family. I would test some of the descendants of John Lunsford Barnes to see if we can finally match some of those Brunsons and Franklins I know we have to match somewhere. I would track down another branch of those families and test them too.

I would take a trip to Richmond, Virginia, Washington D.C, and the archives in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Heck, if I won enough money, I would just move within 4 hours of D.C., since so many of my ancestors are from Maryland or Virginia early on. I would visit the archives in Oklahoma, with enough, I would just see if I could purchase the microfilm that has all the Choctaw records I need to look at. I would visit the archives in Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida too.

I would take the time off, and finish the fiction book I am writing, and maybe start the non fiction book I want to write on the Choctaw. I would visit Syracuse and Jefferson county, NY, maybe even the areas in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont that my early colonial's lived in.

I would organize a gigantic reunion in Florida for my family there, and one in Oklahoma for the family there. I would finally meet some of those "cousins" that I have corresponded with for so many years.

I would finally have the time, money and resources that every genealogist dreams of.