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16194Cherokee Blood in Jackson County

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  • Jerry Triplett
    Sep 19, 2013
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      The subject of Cherokee blood remaining in Jackson County is of considerable interest to me.  This post is not intended to start a war of words but rather to seek information.

      As a child, I was told that I had Cherokee blood.  Also that many (most?) people that had been in Jackson County for decades did.  A few years ago, I started looking for that blood and the ancestors from which it came.  After a good bit of effort, I have concluded that I'm probably lily white; no NA blood.  And I am slowly coming to the conclusion that I'm just like most of the other people in Jackson Co, no NA blood.  I have so far been able to convince myself that there are families in Jackson than can be track their ancestry back to Cherokees.  But that most of the marrying of full-bloods involved a white man and a Cherokee woman and took place before about 1775.  Much of it was driven by Indian Traders from primarily South Carolina during the mid 1700's.  The Colony of SC decided that it needed to regulate the Indian trade (in 1753?) and establish set rates of exchange because it was already coming apart and hatred was beginning to show.

      Return J Meigs was appointed Indian Agent in 1801 and remained in that position until his death in 1823.  One of his jobs was to protect the Cherokees from "Intruders" and to issue "passports" to visit Indian Territory.  All of this is completely documented.  Because of his responsibilites, Cherokees that felt grieved would write to him (have someone write) with their grievances.  One such letter is from a Cherokee that had a farm on the River between today's Bridgeport and the state line.  It must have been late Spring or early Summer becaause the crops were in the ground and doing well.  Two brothers named Green (I think) appeared at the farm and told the Cherokee "leave or we will kill".  The Cherokee left.  Another incident occurred in Doran's Cove.  Whites were throwing rocks at a Cherokee family cabin.  One rock came through a door and struck the man in the face while he was sitting at the dinner table.  He left and went to Chickasaw territory in Mississippi.  The wife later left.  By 1811 during Meigs tenure as Indian Agent, some 2,00 families had left this area.

      Why am I saying this?  By the early 1800's the "marrying" was basically over and "hatred prevailed".  At some point, the Cherokees passed laws that forbade whites inhereiting from Cherokees.

      I'm convinced that original Cherokee blood remains in Jackson but not much.  Below is a part of a history of the Keys family.  Most of the Keys went to Arkansas and Oklahoma.  But some are buried in DeKalb Co.  So I know some remained.  The Riley family also left town!

      "GU-LU-STI-YU ( A-Ni-Gi-Lo-Hi, Long Hair Clan) married an English trader and translator, SAMUEL RILEY. Sam Riley married two of Doublehead's daughters, thus securing the family fortune. He seized most of Chief Doublehead's personal property after his murder in 1807. Riley was known as the "White Patron" of Gideon Blackburn's School. Although he is reported to have fathered five children by Ni-go-di-ge-yu and eleven by Gu-lu-sti-yu, it is quite possible that he falsely claimed two wives in order to ensure his entitlements to Doublehead's fortune. On April 28, 1819, Riley filed a suit for his entitlements, about fifteen days before he succumb to an illness. He is assumed to have been Doublehead's son in law solely on the basis of his last will and testament, which was accepted by the Supreme Court of the Cherokee Nation on October 25, 1825, as recorded by John Martin. Sam Riley and Gu-Lu-Sti-Yu raised their children as white in Roane Co. Tennessee, near Fort Loudon.
      The Daughter of Gu-Lu-Sti-Yu and Samuel Riley:
      6. MARY "POLLY" RILEY (A-Ni-Gi-Lo-Hi, Long Hair Clan) married SAMUEL KEYS II... Son of Riley's partner, SAMUEL KEYS. It was thought Samuel Keys was from England or Northern Ireland and settled in Maryland. At some point he moved with his sons to Indian Country, in what is now Tennessee where he partnered up with Sam Riley. Three Riley sisters married three Keys brothers. Polly married Samuel Keys II, Elizabeth Riley married Isaac Keys and Sallie Riley married William Keys.
      Taking advantage of the McMinn treaty of 1817, the three brothers built a steamboat by tying logs together and powered it by an engine they built themselves. On this boat they took their families down the Tennessee River to lay claim to land in Indian Territory in the right of their wives who were half Cherokee. They tied up near Mud Creek in Old Fabius, Jackson Co., Alabama and each family staked their reservation of 640 acres. The area is now known as Roach's Cove."  Note - This is not my work.

      I think it is also interesting to note the amount of Cherokee blood in some very well known Cherokees.  John Ross was 1/8 and Alexander McCoy (principal Chief at New Echota) was 1/16.  These were principal figures in the early 1800's but yet their Cherokee blood came from generations earlier.

      To me, another factor to consider is the effectiveness of the United States Army and General Winfield Scott during the Removal.  I'm convinced that the US Army was very effective.  In large part because the whites wanted the Cherokee lands.  If a white family tattled on their NA neighbors and the neighbors were removed at the point of a bayonet, then maybe they could take their land and possessions.  A lose / win situation.

      Now, having said all of that, I have a hobby of looking for Cherokee blood.  When I'm told about a possible connection, I, over time, try to follow that lead.  Of particular interest in today's world is DNA testing.  I know little if any specifics, but I read that you can test for NA blood.  Anyone have any in Jackson have test results that they would share?

      I'm just having fun, not trying to start a war!

      And, Clay, I am aware of the Gullatts.

      Thanks for reading.  I'm looking forward to responses.

      Jerry in Chattanooga

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