Sunday, October 25, 2015

Tall Tales or Addressing Rumors Part 1- Why I don't think the Sunday's are Indian

Below is a post I made to our family group on Facebook. Someone suggested I add it to our tree, but then, since I don't know that 41 other tree's are going to add it, I thought I would also address this rumor here. It's not the only rumor I plan on addressing, just the first.

So been thinking about this. I have always doubted the Sunday Indian thing. Mama Hardy had an Indian princess story but it was Mary Jane Chitty, and not from her Mccurdy grandfather. Now she's not the best source of info, but I know that my Aunt's talked to folks and traveled to cemeteries. And no where in her notes did Aunt Patt have that story, though she had stories. But it isn't just that.

I think to illustrate my point I am going to talk about another relative. Thomas Woodward's remininces are a group of letter's with some of the best info on the Poarch Creek folks. When I read them, I realized his grandpa Howard was my ancestor Nehemiah Howard. In his story he talks about the fact that his grandma or great grandma had been part indian and his grandpa had not liked his father because of it. Thomas was born near where Barsheba Collins married John Sunday and he was about 5-10 years younger. I think that folks just don't think about how hard and unlikely it would be to have a full blooded woman living in polite white society.

Up to the American revolution well Georgia was the wilds. It was what Alabama and Mississippi were until the 1830's but where these folks lived had a large settlement by 1800-1810. And the one thing the Creeks were known for, was killing. They raided the Choctaw, the Chickasaw, the whites. Especially the upper Creeks. They were the infamous red sticks of the Creek war in 1812. That is why from 1792-1796 the US tried to get the Choctaw and Chickasaw and Cherokee to fight the Creeks. They were attacking and killing people. Sophia Durant's wild ride pregnant to warn folks in Pensacola.. well that's right about the time that our Barsheba was born. Folks in Georgia, didn't really like the Creeks. They were afraid of them. So bringing a Creek into their society would have been hard. And not just because of the whites
First you have the fact that the Creek's are matriarchal. So a woman's status is linked to her clan. It wasn't something any Creek or Choctaw or Chickasaw would give up lightly. At all. And up to 1800 as many white man had children and abandoned them as stayed within all of the five civilized tribes. Because well, most of them besides (sorry) being just men and dogs, well, they saw the Indians as less than human beings. The relationships with the women was a way to succeed in their trade and trapping, and nothing more. Sure some folks did marry and remained with their wives, and sure some didn't see them as less than human, but generally, being an Indian was just as bad as being a black or slave. That culture, it isn't easily just forgotten. There is a difference between those early settlers in 1750 or earlier who married Indians and those after the American Revolution. There wasn't that many whites then. It was easier to marry an Indian and have a family in South Carolina and North Carolina then than it was by 1800.

So if Barsheba Collins had Indian in her, it was probably like Thomas Woodward, a few generations back. Enough that she could pass. So if Barbara Sunday was Indian, she wasn't that much, and most likely you won't ever find proof of it. Georgia wasn't Tensaw and the Tombigbee. Those settlements were in the territory of the Indians not outside of it. Tensaw was made up of a lot of Tories. These were folks not wanted in the United States, so maybe it made them more lenient, but we know that they had a large community of mixed blood families. I don't think I have ever read of another community like it. So comparing the Poarch Band and the rest of the Indians and expecting things to be the same, well, it just wasn't. There were individuals who successfully lived as neighbors to the Choctaws and Chickasaws, not so much the Cherokee until later because well, they were busy raiding and killing whites up to 1800 too, but the number's are so much smaller than folks think about. A handful of families in different areas. But we know that Barsheba married John in the earliest settled area of Georgia. That he resided in a county that had a larger community, so it just seems unlikely that Barsheba was a full blood, or even a half blood. It just does.

I don't know if anyone else has considered how remarkable what John Sunday was when he gave Jinny manumission with her children. Most slave owners who had children didn't do that. Heck a lot of them had those kids by rape, so what he did was unusual, and it always struck me as an important fact. 


  1. Thomas is my Grandfather Edison Woodward 3rd Grandfather I believe. The family still lives in Dahlonega Ga. Peace and Blessings.

    1. Didn't realize we were kin through the Howard's