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(a narrative on the migration, history, and culture of the Indian people of Jackson and Calhoun Counties in Floridas Panhandle)
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Indians, migrations from Carolinas to Florda
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Written by Chris sewell and S Pony Hill
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From the Scott Tiwn Indian Research Society
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== The Story of the Indian People of Scott Town And Scotts Ferry Settlements in Florida ==
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During the early 1800’s, many Indian families from the Carolinas moved to the Florida panhandle. They established two main communities, one at Scotts Ferry on the Chipola River (Scotts Ferry), and another on Scotts Church Road in Jackson County (Scott Town), with smaller settlements in Calhoun, Liberty, and Holmes counties as well. These 2 core communities were the only documentable Indian COMMUNITIES in the panhandle, as established by hundreds of records from the federal and state census, military records from all the wars, local tax, court, and voter records, and special Indian School records from the Cherokee Indian Normal School in Robeson County, North Carolina, where many of the families came from. Under “Jim Crow” segregation these communities were treated as “colored” and waged a constant battle against being pushed socially into the Black community. In the second half of the twentieth century, after the end of segregation, the core communities went into decline and the population predominately shifted to other areas including Lakeland in the east, Blountstown and Marianna, in the central panhandle area, and Escambia counties Florida and Alabama in the west. This is a small part of their story.
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Note to the Reader concerning the term “Cheraw”:
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In this text the term “Cheraw” is used to describe the remnants of large eastern Siouan tribes who did and still do live in the Carolinas and Virginia. The terms “Cheraw Indians of north Florida, Florida Catawba, Florida Cheraw, Cheraw-Catawba” etc… are used to describe the families of these Indians who had moved to the Florida Panhandle from the Carolinas and settled there in the early 1800’s. It should be noted that in the same time period as such families as Scott, Oxendine, Jacobs, Hill, Conyers, Copeland, Bullard, Bass, Johnson, Blanchard, Brown, Moses, Long, Hicks, Barnwell, Stephens, Chavis, Bunch and many other Indian families from the Carolinas were settling the areas that would become Scott Town, Scotts Ferry, and Blountstown, the historic “Apalachicola Creek Indians” were being removed to Texas and Indian Territory by the federal government as part of the larger forced removal of the Five Civilized Tribes that occurred during the 1830’s.
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Various bands of Muskogee-speaking Indians under Chiefs John Blount, Ecconchatamicco, Neamathla, and Yellow Hair were removed or harassed into other areas during this period. As for the Indians living in Blountstown on the reservation, (Tvlwv Rakko) Apalachicola was their tribal town name, and they were one of many within the larger Creek Nation’s confederacy of tribal towns, (half of which spoke tribal languages other than Muskogee). The Apalachicola Creek Indian Reservation at Blountstown, headed by Chief John Blount, an Alabamu Indian, as well as 4 other Muskogee-speaking reservations in the panhandle was abolished in the 1830’s and the people told to prepare for immediate removal to the west. The Apalachicola Indians from the John Blount Reservation on the Apalachicola River (today’s Blountstown) were removed to the Alabamu Tribal Reservation in eastern Texas, where John Blount’s uncle, Red Shoes was Head Chief.
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According to all available documentary evidence the social relationship between the in-migrating “Carolina Cheraw” Indians and the departing Apalachicola Creeks is unknown. Oral histories with particular Blountstown Indian families speak of intermarriage with individual Apalachicola Creeks who did not go on the removal, but no documentary evidence has yet come to light to substantiate the large amounts of oral histories within particular families claiming these events. The degree of social interaction during the late 1830’s and 40’s between departing Apalachicola Creeks and recently arriving Cheraw-Lumbee, Catawba and other Carolina Siouan stock Indians is as yet unknown, but to date there is no documentary archival evidence of a remnant Apalachicola Creek Indian population remaining in the Jackson, Calhoun, or Liberty Counties area, though there are many descendants of other Creek tribes in the area.
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Some Creek families, like the Hill, Holly, and other families, did migrate to Florida from areas of the southeast that had formerly been in or near the Old Creek Nation, mostly South Carolina from the documentary records indications. Some of these families were of mixed Creek and Cheraw origins before coming to Florida. But upon coming to Florida, and some of these incoming Creeks did marry into the Cheraw’s settlements already established there. These families and there settlements were the roots of the established “Indian” settlements like Scott Town and others. This is different from the tens, if not hundreds of thousands of descendants of removal era Creek Indians who remained and whose descendants are everywhere in the south
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Introduction
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Over the past twenty years, my cousin, Steven Pony Hill and I have compiled records, interviewed elders, and spent hundreds if not thousands of hours in the Florida State Archives and in a dozen or so courthouse records rooms across the panhandle. This has been a search to find out the documentary history of our people. This search was encouraged and supported by our elders and community members, elders who told us the rich oral history of our people. It’s a story that we found to be very different when viewed from the outside, viewed from the perspective of non-Indians who wrote about us, knew our ancestors, and who controlled the institutions of the society that surrounded us. We found it a dark time, when we stayed as insulated within our own community as possible. Ancestors who we knew to be Indians from our grandparent’s stories and personal recollections, to our surprise the historic records called other names like Mulatto, Negros, Dominickers, and White.
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What continues to emerge as the endless work of documenting our history through the records of the dominant mainstream society is a steady confrontation with challenges to our survival as a group of people, a community, legally, socially, and spiritually. This is a struggle that from the very beginnings of our identity as a unique people on the American scene many centuries ago to our contemporary fight for a place in the America of the twenty first century, we have won, if only by our continued survival.
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The story of the Cheraw Indians of north Florida, a tribal people who have lived in the Apalachicola and Chipola River valleys of Florida for nearly two hundred years, is a long and circuitous one. Though far from having the large populations of the past two centuries, today there are still many individuals and families living in several historic rural hamlets. Since the 1950’s, the heart of this tribal community is Blountstown, in Calhoun County, the center of Indian political life for the past 60 years. The 3 historic settlements addressed in this narrative were once population strongholds during the segregation era (1860-1960). The settlements of ‘Scott Town’, in Jackson County, ‘Woods” in Liberty County, and ‘Scott’s Ferry’, in Calhoun County, despite being located in separate counties, all are fairly near to each other geographically, with Scott Ferry and Woods separated by the Apalachicola River.
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As with all communities, times changed and by the end of the 1950’s, many families were already relocating to Blountstown, Marianna, and other areas, near and far. The history of The Cheraw Indians of North Florida can be divided into three distinct time periods;
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1800-1860, the time of migration to Florida by Cheraw and Creek families through to the Civil War
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1860-1960, the Civil War to the end of segregation (the Civil Rights era)
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1960-present, the post-segregation era and struggles for tribal government, infrastructure, and State and Federal acknowledgement.
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Each time period in the story of The Cheraw Indians of North Florida has its own unique challenges and adaptations by the people to the pressures of the day. In the beginning the colonial frontier was a wild and rough place, and the situations in the Carolinas of the times led the first few families to migrate to Spanish Florida. Many were successful and the establishment of Indian hamlets at Scotts Town and Scotts Ferry led to a thriving and unique way of life for the people. This can be clearly seen in the census and tax records of the times that show that the pre-conflict Scotts Ferry was one of the most thriving communities in the county.  The documentary evidence for Scott Town shows a similar situation there, with the people of the Indian settlements listed as ”Free Persons of Color” (as distinct from Free Negro) on the census and doing well. With the coming of the conflict between the north and south the situation would change, and a new social reality would unfold. In the years before the Civil war, ones status as a slave or descendent of a slave, or as a free person would be the main mechanism defining social status.
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In the dark days after the War Between the States, skin color came to be a determining factor of one’s social standing, and a new era of unrestricted racism began. In this text I hope to shine a small amount of light on what has been the journey of a unique people so far, and a story of survival. There is still much research to be done. It is hopeful that the younger generations of The Cheraw Indians of North Florida will support the ongoing struggle to strengthen the community by participating in the life of the tribal community.
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CHAPTER 1 “A Very Large Nation” –The Colonial Period
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Little is known about the Catawba Tribe prior to their first encounters with Europeans. They were known to the Cherokee as "Ani-Suwa'li", or "the Suwali people." The Catawba Tribe was actually a loose confederation of tribes who all spoke a version of the Siouan language. Known by such general names as the Cheroenhaka, Esaw, Isaw, Sara, and Saraw, this confederacy of eastern Siouan peoples included the Kadapau, Sugaree, Coree, Coharie, Manahoac, Hassinunga, Shakori, Eno, Occaneechi, Saponi, and Tutelo. Encountering them in 1701, explorer John Lawson described them as
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"the Esaw Indians, a very large Nation, containing many thousands of people."
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In the early 1600's many important historic incidents occurred which would affect the Catawba descendents for generations. Already suffering from constant raids from the Iroquois and Tuscarora on their northern border, and the Cherokee to the west, the Catawba now faced a new threat, European colonists pushing inland from the east. Catawba Indians being taken captive by raiding parties of Iroquois and Cherokee were being sold as slaves to the colonists and this did nothing to better the situation. From 1616 to 1630, Opechancanough, successor of Powhatan, and chief over all the Algonquin speaking tidewater tribes, expressed his displeasure with the encroaching white men by waging a bloody war. Indian captives were taken in increasing numbers from the tidewater tribes during this time and forced into slavery. Those Indians not taken as slaves were forced to wander the Maryland, Virginia, and Carolina area. In 1657 the English forced most of the Powhatan remnants onto reservations in Virginia and the Siouan tribes were gathered in four main concentrations:
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"The Monacan, along the James; the Saponi along the Rivana and James Rivers and Otter Creek; the Tutelo in the Roanoke Valley; and the Occaneechi on islands at the confluence of the Roanoke and Dan Rivers."
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Arguably the most influential event to occur in the 1600's happened in 1660 when Virginia determined that "…an Indian sold by another Indian or an Indian who speaks English and who desires baptism will now receive his or her freedom." This allowed many Algonquin and Siouan war captives held in slavery in the colonies to regain their freedom, but it also provided incentive for their masters to downplay the Indian ancestry of those in servitude in order to retain them. These former slaves quickly rejoined their tribesmen bringing with them their acquired skills as carpenters, wheelwrights, and ferry operators. Most importantly, these newly freed Indians brought with them their new English names and Christian religion. Unfortunately they also retained the stigma of being former slaves, a condition which would cause their white neighbors to eye them with suspicion for generations.
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In 1713, the confederated eastern Siouan Nations signed a Treaty of Peace with the Virginia Colonial government at Williamsburg. Among the different Nations represented were the Occaneechi, the Stuckanok, the Tottero, and the Saponi. At the invitation of Governor Spottswood of Virginia, these Indians settled a four-square-mile reservation encompassing the north and south side of the Meherrin River. On the north banks were the Nansemond and related Algonquin-speaking bands, on the south were the Siouan-speaking Tutelo, Saponi, Cheroenhaka, Eno, a small band of Catawba, and also an Iroquoian-speaking band of Tuscarora who had avoided the war with the Carolina settlers just 2 years earlier. Spottswood endorsed the construction of Fort Christanna where the Indian children had mandatory training in academics and Christianity. After the closing of the Fort Christanna School a few of the students followed headmaster Charles Griffin and enrolled at the Brafferton Indian School at William and Mary.
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Because of the continued hostilities between these Nations and the Iroquois to the north, the governors of New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia held a conference at Albany in September of 1722 to hammer out a peaceable agreement between the Tribes on their borders. Governor Spottswood undertook negotiations for the "Christanna Indians" whom were composed of "the Saponies, Ochineeches, Stenkenoaks, Meipontskys, and Toteroes."
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In addition to their traditional native enemies, it is obvious that the remnant tribes considered the encroaching white settlements as an almost equal threat. It also appears that, on the subject of trespassing whites, even the Algonquin and Siouan peoples could agree and cooperate. On October 24, 1723 the Virginia Government spoke out on behalf of the Meherrin and Nansemond Nations and warned the North Carolinians:
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"Whereas, the Maherin and Nansemond Indians have this day complained that notwithstanding the repeated orders of this government for security to them the possession of their lands, whereon they have many years past been seated, between the Nottoway and Maherine Rivers, divers persons under pretense of grants from the Government of North Carolina surveyed the lands of the said Indians and begun to make settlements within their cleared grounds."
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This report is especially interesting as it implies that portions of the Nansemond had obviously moved west of their ancestral homes around Norfolk, Virginia, and were living with the Meherrin between the Nottoway and Meherrin Rivers.  Peace with the tribes to the north allowed the remnant Eastern Sioux to live in peace and relative obscurity for several years. All was not completely serene, however, as a letter to the governor from one R. Everand, a settler living near the Meherrin Indians, refers to disturbances involving the Meherrins and Nottoways in 1727. Everand says that the Meherrins denied any attacks on the Nottoways, stating
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"..they lay the whole blame upon the old Occaneechy King and the Saponi Indians."
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It is evident that Virginia continued to trade with these Nations and found the trade relations lucrative enough to employ an interpreter to "the Saponi and Occaneechi Indians" as late as 1730. After 1730, a group of Saponi undertook one of many trips south to take up residence among the Catawba. Conditions must not have been to their liking, as they soon returned to the Virginia-North Carolina border accompanied by "some Cheraws." Upon arriving at their old lands between the Roanoke and Meherrin, they petitioned Lt. Governor Gooch for permission to resettle in Virginia, which was granted in 1733.
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Possibly because of the inability to posses communal lands, or most likely because of acculturation, it is apparent that the eastern Siouan remnants began to live as individual landowners during the 1730 to 1740 period. It is also during this period that land deeds begin appearing under the names of such "Other Free Persons" surnames as Scott, Chavis, Goings, Bunch, Collins, and Gibson. With each new land patents by a concentration of these families, a report of eastern Siouan people would be generated. For example, after William Chavis, Thomas Parker, Gideon Gibson, and Henry Bunch recorded their land grants on the Eno River in Orange County, North Carolina adjoining the lands of William Eaton, a report from the Colonial Records of NC identifies a group of 30 to 40 Saponi had settled on the lands of William Eaton. The Siouan identity of these persons is further bolstered by reports such as one originating in Orange County in 1742 regarding some Saponi Indians accused of hog stealing:
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"Alexander Macharton, John Bowling, Manicassa, Captain Tom, Isaac, Harry, Blind Tom, Foolish Jack, Charles Griffin, John Collins, Little Jack, Indians, giving security for good behaviour."
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Governor Clarence Gooch of Virginia reported to the Colonial Office for the years 1743 to 1747 that the
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"Saponies and other petty nations associated with them…are retired out of Virginia to the Cattawbas."
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This time period corresponds to the appearance of such English surnames as Harris, Stephens, Scott, Brown, and Canty among the Catawba. A 1761 report counted 20 Saponi warriors in the area of Granville County, NC and this corresponds to the "Mulatto, Mustee or Indian" taxation in Granville of such families as Anderson, Jeffries, Davis, Chavis, Going, Bass, Harris, Brewer, Bunch, Griffin, Pettiford, Evans, and others in the 1760's.
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In 1757, the Virginia governor at Williamsburg received a delegation of Indians including "King Blunt and the thirty-three Tuscaroras, seven Meherrins, two Saponies and thirteen Nottoways."
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This date corresponds to military and land records of "free persons of color" such as William Allen, Adam Ivey, James Evans, Benjamin Chavis, Allen Sweat, James Jones and Isham Scott who were residing in the ancestral Siouan areas of Halifax County, NC along the banks of the Roanoke River. John R. Swanton also reports that the Meherrin Indians
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"..were living on Roanoke River in 1781 with the southern bands of Tuscarora and Saponi, and the Machapunga."
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In addition to the Siouan people, there were also remnants of Algonquin tribes residing in the North Carolina-Virginia border country. Near Norfolk, in the Dismal Swamp area, resided a remnant of the Nansemond Nation. On July 15, 1833 the Quality Superior Court of Norfolk County entered the following minutes:
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"The Court doth certify upon satisfactory evidence of white persons Produced before it, that Asa Price, Wright Perkins, Nathan Perkins, Pricilla Perkins, Nelson Bass, Willis Bass, Andrew Bass, William Bass son of William Bass, Joseph Newton, and Henry Newton, &  Allen Newton, Polly Newton, Sally Newton, & Hestor Newton are not free-Negroes or Mulattoes, but are of Indian descent and that each of them have a certificate separately thereof …"
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Again on July 20, 1833, the same Court again addressed the issue of certain persons' race:
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"The Court doth certify upon satisfactory evidence of white persons Produced before it that Andrew Bass and Lavina his wife, Elizabeth Bass wife of William Bass son of William Bass, Jemima Bass Sr., Peggy Bass, Jemima Bass Jr., Elizabeth Lidwin, Mary Anderson, Priscilla Flury, Jerusha Bass the wife of William the son of Willis, Frances the wife of James Newton, Lucy Trummel wife of William Trummel, Andrew Bass Jr., Patsy Bass, William Bass, William Newton, Betsy Weaver, Nancy Weaver, and Sally Weaver, that they are not Free Negroes or Mulattoes, but are of Indian descent and that each of them have a certificate separately thereof…"
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These two reports are quite significant in the documentation of the eastern Siouan people, as the Bass, Anderson, Perkins, and Weaver surnames appear frequently among the mixed-blood communities spread from Virginia to Florida.
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Just south of the Nansemond of Norfolk, across the border in Chowan County, what remained of the Chowan Nation were still very much present. In 1724, a total of 11,360 acres was set aside for the Chowan Indians near Bennett's Creek. Over the years the large Chowan reservation was chipped away as the Indians sold small tracts to satisfy debts and otherwise provide for the tribal needs. In 1734 James Bennett, Thomas Hoyter, Charles Beasley, Jeremiah Purkins (probably 'Perkins'), John Robbins, John Reading (probably 'Reed'), & Nuce Will, "Chief men of the Chowan Indians", sold land on Bennett's Creek in the part of Chowan County which later became Gates County.
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In 1758, "James Bennett, John Robbins, Chief men of the Chowan Indians" sold 300 acres of Indian land by deed proved in Gates County, and again in 1763 there appears a record of "James Bennett, James Bennett jr., Amos Bennett, being Bennett's Creek Indians" sold land acknowledged in Chowan County Court. Though a clear record existed to support the Chowans' continued claim to their land, this did not stop several local white land speculators from attempting to uproot them.
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In 1790 a petition was submitted form Gates County to the North Carolina Legislature, which read:
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"The petitioners request the legislature to pass a law validating acquisition by a group of descendants of Indians and blacks. In 1724 the Chowan Indians received 11,360 acres of land in Chowan County, later Gates County. The Indians sold most of the land. The Indian men all died, and the women mixed with Negroes. The free blacks and their mixed-blood children served as soldiers for the colonials in the Revolution. Supported by William Lewis, Samuel Harrell, and other white men, they seek title to small remnants of the aforesaid tract of land."
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Disguised as an attempt by charitable citizens to assist a poor, desolate people, was a dark conspiracy to liquidate any future land claim by these descendants of the Chowan Nation. Asserting that the Indian men had died and the women had "mixed with Negroes" served two purposes; first claiming that all the Indian men had died would effectively negate the land title, and second, claiming Negro ancestry for the group would deny them further legal recourse. Records clearly prove a direct male descendant line from the James Bennett, John Robbins, Jeremiah Perkins, and John Reed of 1734 to many of the families mentioned in 1790, yet this glaring fact was ignored. Censused as part of this community of Chowan Indian descendants in 1790 were the Reed, Robbins, Blanchard, Bennett, Cuff, Weaver, Mitchell, and Hunter families, surnames which had already begun appearing in other mixed-blood communities before 1790. Military, land, and tax records reveal that the eastern Siouan remnant families continued to concentrate their settlements in their ancestral lands around the Eno, Tar, Roanoke, Meherrin, and Nottaway Rivers at the border of North Carolina and Virginia. In addition to these settlements and the well-known one on the Catawba reservation, other smaller bands had also spread further into Virginia, south to the Drowning Creek area of mid-southern NC, and along the Wateree and Pee Dee Rivers of South Carolina. Referring to Indians in Virginia in 1763, Lt. Governor Francis Fauquier wrote to the Lords Commissioners of Trade and Plantation Affairs that:
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"There are some of the Nottoways, Meherrins, Tuscaroras, and Saponys, who tho' they live in peace in the midst of us, lead in great measure the lives of wild Indians."
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The North and South Carolina border became a favored haunt of the Eastern Sioux as early as the 1730's. In addition to the previously mentioned Saponi "retired out of Virginia to the Cattawbas" a band of Cheraw brokered a deal with Welsh Baptist settlers from Delaware for land in present-day Marlboro County. A large group of Nottoway, numbering about 300, was reported on "the northern frontiers of South Carolina between 1748 and 1754."
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Beginning in the 1790's many of these families from the Roanoke area began to assert their Indian ancestry in courts across South Carolina. In 1794, the South Carolina Legislature received a petition from Isaac Linagear, Isaac Mitchell, Jonathan Price, Spencer Bolton, William N. Sweat, and 29 other "free persons of color" seeking to repeal the "Act for imposing a poll tax on all free Negroes, mustees, and mulatoes." On April 6, 1832 a certificate was issued to South Carolina resident Sarah G. Jacobs, which cancelled her requirement to submit to the free Negro tax, included the fact that
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"she appears to be of Indian descent."
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A petition to the Legislature in 1859 inquiring if "persons of Indian descent are considered to be free persons of color and liable for the poll tax." caused a determination that Frederick Chavis, Lewis Chavis, Durany Chavis, James Jones, Mary Jones, and Jonathan Williams "do not qualify under the term 'free person of color' as they are of Indian ancestry."
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When the Gibson family arrived in South Carolina from the Halifax area, their presence caused much of a stir. Gideon Gibson came to the attention of the South Carolina Common's House of Assembly in 1731 when a member announced in Chamber that several "free colored men with their white wives had emigrated from Virginia with the intention of settling on the Santee River." Governor Robert Johnson summoned Gideon and his family to explain their presence there and, after meeting them, reported:
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"I have had them before me in Council and upon examination find that they are not Negroes nor slaves but Free People, that the father of them here is named Gideon Gibson and his father was also free, I have been informed by a person who has lived in Virginia that this Gibson has lived there several years in good repute and by his papers that he produced before me that his transactions there have been very regular, That he has for several years paid taxes for two tracts of land and had seven Negroes of his own, That he is a carpenter by Trade and is come hither for the support of his family…I have in consideration of his wife's being a white woman and several white women capable of working and being Serviceable in the county permitted him to settle in this Country."
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30 years later, incidents would occur which would, no doubt, cause the Governor to regret his decision. Gideon's son, Gideon Gibson jr., was living on the south side of the Pee Dee River at a place called Duck Pond. On July 25, 1767, as a leader of the Regulators, Gideon was involved in a skirmish with a constable's party near Marrs Bluff on the Pee Dee. The South Carolina Gazette reported on August 15th that Gibson's band of Regulators was a:
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"…gang of banditi, a numerous collection of outcast mulattos, mustees, free Negroes, etc. all horse thieves from the borders of Virginia and northern colonies…headed by one Gideon Gibson.."
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Henry Laurens, a prominent Charleston merchant, described Gideon Gibson in this way:
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"Reasoning from the colour carries no conviction…Gideon Gibson escaped the penalties of the Negro law by producing upon comparison more red and white in his face than can be discovered in the faces of half the descendants of the French refugees in our House of Assembly."
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A comparison of the "Other free persons" head of households who appear in the early 1800's at the NC/VA (Halifax area) border and the NC/SC (Dillon and Sumter area) border reveal an obvious parallel of eastern Siouan families. Surnames shared between these two groups include Scott, Richardson, Chavis, Clark, Going, Jones, Hathcock, Locklear, Mitchell, Sweat and Williams. There can be no denying that the South Carolina settlements are a branch of the older, ancestral settlements of the Roanoke River area. Further evidence reveals that bloodlines also spread north to previously established reservation areas in Virginia and Maryland. Northampton County, on the eastern shore of Virginia, is home to the Gingaskin Indian reservation, a parcel of over 600 acres set aside for this band of Indians. 1733 brought an in-migration of Catawba and Siouan families to the Gingaskin reservation was reported by Lt. Governor Gooch, and these families had such surnames as Fisherman, Guy, Jeffries, Collins, Scott, Daniel, Stevens & Cross. These families joined (and intermarried with) a pre-established community of mixed white/Portuguese/Gingaskin Indian peoples who bore such surnames as Harmon, Webb, Bingham, Weeks, George, Driggers, Landrum, Jacobs, Carter, Pool, Lang, Francis & Moses.
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With the influx of Catawba, individuals on the reservation began adopting military titles such as 'Captain' and 'Major', a phenomenon which occurred at the same time among the reservated Catawba and the Pamunkey on their King William County reservation. Some of these newly united families were not long to stay, however, and Gov. Gooch again reported in 1743 that some of them had left to rejoin the Catawba on their reservation. In 1792, the Virginia General Assembly ordered that the Gingaskin Indian Town land be divided up. The 690-acre tract was split into 27 lots that were allocated to the surviving tribal members, among whom appeared the surname Driggers and Francis (both surnames which occurred with frequency among the 'other free persons' of Halifax, NC in 1790). Twenty-one years earlier South Carolina Regulators reported that they had tracked a convicted felon named Winslow Driggers (who had earlier escaped from a jail in Savannah, Georgia) and captured him
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"near Drowning Creek, in the Charraw settlement."
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By the 1850's the Driggers surname was also common among another remnant Indian group, the Nanticoke of Maryland. Interestingly enough, the Nanticoke also shared the surnames of Harmon and Clark in common with the eastern Siouan of Halifax, NC. In 1855, Levi Sockum sold powder and shot to his son-in-law Isaac Harmon. Sockum was charged with violating a law that forbade supplying firearms to Negroes and mulattoes. Harmon and Sockum both denied any Negro ancestry.
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A relative of the two men, Lydia Clark, claimed to be the last full-blood Nanticoke. She testified that Harmon's ancestor was an enslaved African who had married his mistress. The half-breed offspring of this union, Lydia Clark testified, had intermarried with some of the remaining Nanticoke. Judge George Fisher, who had prosecuted Harmon and Sockum, later wrote an article for a newspaper in 1895. Fisher reminisced that Harmon was "a young man, of perfectly Caucasian features, dark chestnut brown hair, rosy cheeks and hazel eyes; and by odds the handsomest man in the courtroom, and yet he was alleged to be a mulatto." 
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After peace was made between the Virginia tribes and their ancient enemy, the Iroquois in 1722, a band of Siouans traveled north and settled on the Susquehanna at Shamokin, Pensylvania, under Iroquois protection. Their chiefs were allowed to sit in the great council of the Six Nations, and the political status of the tribe was described as "that of a 'prop', or 'support', between the logs in the wall of the Long House." In 1771 these eastern Sioux, now lumped together under the name of "Tutelo", were settled on the east side of Cayuga inlet, about 3 miles from the south end of the lake. In the 1880's, Horatio Hale interviewed Nikonha whom he described as the last full-blood Tutelo living among the Iroquois. Nikonha informed Hale that his Tutelo name was "Washinga" and gave Hale lengthy description of the Tutelo dialect, which upon later examination, proved to be clearly Siouan and closely related to the Catawba language. Nikonha died in 1871.
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Chapter 2 “Forced, in a measure”-  The Mulatto Label
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  For the last 200 years numerous Indian descendants have been fighting a legal, and often racially charged, battle due to historical and modern-day race classification. The dreaded historical beast of southeastern Indian communities that continues to rear its ugly head is the fact that from the mid 1700’s to after 1900 most Indian groups or individuals east of the Mississippi were racially classified as “Mulatto.” The reasons and justifications for this are rooted deeply in the history of southern slavery, land ownership, and political power. Prior to 1850 the federal census and most county tax books only distinguished 4 types of persons; free white males, free white females, free persons of color, and slaves. By the record keeping of the time Indians not taxed were not supposed to be recorded at all. These non-taxed Indians assumedly lived on reservations and therefore were not required to be subject to federal census or county tax recordings. However, the inhabitants of many state reservations and some federal Indian land grants were recorded on these documents.  In 1705 the Virginia Legislature passed into law that
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“the offspring of an Indian and a White is a Mulatto.”
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This law went on to state that if the half-Indian ‘mulatto’ was to marry a white person then that ‘mulatto’ and his or her offspring were to be legally regarded as ‘white’ (this is undoubtedly where the notion arose that a person should be of at least ¼ blood to be considered an Indian).
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The Virginians were using the word ‘mulatto’ in its historical usage, from the root word ‘mule’, meaning any crossbreed. With the independent formation of the lower southern states, each state adopted racial classifications roughly equivalent to that of Virginia.
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Florida’s official race laws stipulated that any mixed-blood person, whether of white/Negro, white/Indian, Indian/Negro, white/Hispanic, or whatever, were to be legally and socially classified as ‘mulatto’.
 +
 
 +
  Prior to 1850 federal censuses were performed primarily for tax and land ownership recording purposes, and most Indians were either not recorded, or included in the ‘other free persons’ or ‘free persons of color’ categories. Beginning in 1850, persons contracted to perform the federal census were encouraged to inquire as to person’s self-identification due to the fear of
 +
“Light skinned Negroes trying to pass themselves off as whites or Indians.”
 +
Given that there were only three available categories, white, black, or mulatto; that persons who appeared to be obviously mixed-blooded of any kind were to be listed as ‘mulatto’; and that persons taxed could not be listed as ‘Indian’ (who were inherently non-taxed); it is not surprising that there were few persons recorded as ‘Indian’ east of the Mississippi from 1850 to 1900.
 +
 
 +
    For a perfect example of the confusion suffered by lawmakers attempting to place these mixed-bloods into some neat category, read this excerpt from the 1871 North Carolina Joint Senate and House Committee as they interviewed Robeson County Judge Giles Leitch about the ‘free persons of color’ living within his county:
 +
 
 +
      Senate: Half of the colored population?
 +
      Leitch: Yes Sir; half of the colored population of Robeson County were never slaves at all…
 +
      Senate: What are they; are they Negroes?
 +
      Leitch: Well sir, I desire to tell you the truth as near as I can; but I really do not know what they are; I think they are a mixture of Spanish, Portuguese and Indian…
 +
      Senate: You think they are mixed Negroes and Indians?
 +
      Leitch: I do not think that in that class of population there is much Negro blood at all; of that half of the colored population that I have attempted to describe all have always been free…They are called ‘mulattoes’ that is the name they are known by, as contradistinguished from  Negroes…I think they are of Indian origin.
 +
      Senate: I understand you to say that these seven or eight hundred persons that you designate as  mulattoes are not Negroes but are a mixture of Portuguese and Spanish, white blood and Indian blood, you think they are not generally Negroes?
 +
      Leitch: I do not think the Negro blood predominates.
 +
      Senate: the word ‘mulatto’ means a cross between the white and the Negro?
 +
      Leitch: Yes sir.
 +
      Senate: You do not mean the word to be understood in that sense when applied to these people?
 +
      Leitch: I really do not know how to describe those people.
 +
   
 +
Regardless of the tax or land reasoning behind the ‘mulatto’ classification, a close examination of other factors can give a clearer picture of a group’s social and legal standing. Although members of the Apalachicola River settlements of Cheraw Indians were marked as mulatto on federal censuses, they were not held to the same legal or social restrictions as free persons of Negro blood. For example, Florida Legislation of 1848 required free Negroes and mulattoes to have a white guardian appointed by the local magistrate and was restricted from owning property. No person in Florida of Catawba origin was ever assigned a white guardian, and Jacob and Absalom Scott were both early Florida landowners. Jacob Scott’s 160 acres, mill and ferry were valued at $2,000 in 1860, actually making him one of Calhoun County’s more prosperous citizens.
 +
    As the country hung on the edge of Civil War, the southern white power structure was making huge efforts to dis-empower and regulate any non-white non-slave persons in their midst. White slave owners feared that “free Negroes, Mulattoes and Indians” held natural anti-slavery sentiment and would support the North should war break out. To encourage free mixed-bloods to move beyond the boundaries of their states, many southern Legislatures approved tax regulations which imposed double taxes on “free persons of color”, required them to pay tax on their wives (a financial burden not imposed on white households) and restricted them from carrying firearms. Every state, which passed these restrictions, was the subject of petitions by Indian individuals and families who felt that they should not be the subjects of such ‘free person of color’ laws. In 1857, William Chavis was arrested and charged as “a free person of color” with carrying a shotgun, a violation of North Carolina state law. He was convicted, but promptly appealed, claiming that the law only restricted free Negroes, not persons of color. The appeals Court reversed the lower Court, finding that:
 +
 
 +
                              “Free persons of color may be, then, for all we can see, persons colored by Indian blood, or persons descended from Negro ancestors beyond the fourth degree.”
 +
 
 +
    Prior to 1850, the Catawba who had settled on the Apalachicola were recorded as ‘other free persons’ or ‘free persons of color’ on Jackson and Calhoun County tax rolls. In 1856 Florida tax books changed their format from a ‘free persons of color’ bracket to a ‘free Negroes & Mulattos’ bracket. At that point, the Catawba were taxed as ‘white’. After the conclusion of the Civil War the tax books changed again, this time with the race of an entire page of taxed persons being listed at the top of the page. On these new books, some of the Catawba head of households are taxed as ‘white’, some are taxed as ‘colored’, and the several inter-related Scott families were listed on a separate page with no racial header.
 +
 
 +
  Often the tax records of Jackson and Calhoun disagree with the racial classification of Cheraw- Catawba recorded on the federal census. Taxed as ‘free persons of color’ Jacob Scott and his wife Polly Harmon are recorded as ‘white’ on the 1850 census, and then later as ‘mulatto’ on the 1860. Francis E. Hill and his wife Elizabeth Scott are first censused as ‘white’ in 1850, then as ‘mulatto’ in 1860, while Francis Hill was consistently taxed as ‘white’.
 +
    As has been discussed by many scholars, the ‘Indian’ stereotype was already prevalent among eastern whites as early as the 1850’s. The typical understanding among southern whites was that all Indians had long hair, did not speak English, and, most importantly, all lived out west. Eastern Indian descendants were known to have varying hair colors and textures, varying eye colors, and a wide range of skin complexions, even as early as the 1700’s, most probably due to intermarriage with early Spanish, French, and English traders. Most officials were at a loss when trying to categorize these people into a social structure that allowed for only two races, black and white.  An excerpt from the 1910 petition of the ‘Croatan’ Indians of Sampson County, North Carolina, shows the prevalent attitude of southern whites towards mixed-blood Indians:
 +
 
 +
                  “Since 1868, the white people in Sampson County, as a rule, have classed these Indians with the Negroes and refused to accept them except as Negroes. They have consequently been forced, in a measure, with the Negro race, but they steadfastly refused to be classed with        Negroes. They have refused to attend the churches and the schools of the Negroes or to co-mingle with them on terms of social equality. It is marvelous that they have been able to maintain their racial status so well under the adverse social and political status which has been forced upon them by the white people.”
 +
 
 +
  Physically described over the years as “dark skin-dark hair-dark eyes”, “mixed-blooded almost white”, “at the least mixed-blooded”, “Caucasian-Indian” and to quote the Jackson County School Superintendent “…from their appearance can very easily be considered as belonging to the white race…of course possible that they might have a large percentage of Indian blood.”; we must take all of the evidence as a whole, boil it down, and come to a conclusion. The Apalachicola River Cheraw were considered to be persons of Indian ancestry, and were not legally or socially held to the restrictions of bearing Negro blood.
 +
 
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
Chapter 3 “A Company of Friendly Indians”
 +
The Florida Frontier
 +
 
 +
  The previous two chapters discussed the overall state of the remnant eastern-Siouan/Cheraw people in the late 1700’s to early 1800’s, and the racial climate they had to endure daily. In turning our attention to the history of the immigrant Cheraw-Catawba Indian community of northwest Florida, we must address their ancestral families, and their tribal origins. The majority of the family groups who migrated into Florida in the 1820’s, had previously maintained residence on the dwindling Catawba reservation lands in northwestern South Carolina. By the time of the Florida migration, the majority of the reservation lands had been leased to white farmers, and the Catawba were surviving economically by the collection of lease payments and pottery sales. The lack of land to live on, and the inability of the government of South Carolina to collect the white settlers’ lease payments, caused many Catawba families to migrate outside the Carolinas, many going south, others to the west.  The core of the Catawba families who settled into Florida bore the surnames of the major early Catawba families, Ayers, Brown, Scott & Stephens. Jacob Scott, Joseph Scott, & Absalom Scott were direct familial connections to the Catawba reservation, and Isham Scott (possibly a cousin to the former three) had connections to the Catawba-Siouan Indians on the Gingaskin land in Northampton, Virginia. Richard Jeffries, also a core member of the Florida Catawba, was the son of Silvia Scott and Andrew ‘Drury’ Jeffries (grandfather of Parker Jeffries mentioned later) who also had ties to the Catawba in Northampton. Jeffreys/Jeffries descendants have been identified as descendant of the Catawba tribe in many different places, and in different eras. By 1842 several members of the Jeffries family had migrated to Greene County, Ohio, where Parker Jeffries filed a Supreme Court case after he was denied the right to vote. The jury found
 +
 +
“that the plaintiff is of the Indian race, the illegitimate son of a white man and a woman of the Indian race, and that he has not more than one fourth of the Indian race in his veins.”
 +
 +
R.F. Dill, a Greene County, Ohio historian, published in 1881 a compilation of short biographies of leading Greene County residents. Here he mentioned
 +
 +
“James Jeffreys…son of Silas and Susan Jeffreys…Silas was a descendant of the Catawba Tribe of Indians.” And also mentioned “Mason Jeffreys…son of Uriah and Caroline Jeffreys…Uriah was a descendant of the Tribe of Catawba Indians.”
 +
 +
Over ten years later, and hundreds of miles to the south, another document of Jeffreys Catawba descendancy arises. In 1881 Dr Joseph McDowell, of Fairmont, Georgia filed a petition with the U.S. Senate and the Indian Office asking for
 +
 +
“Catawba Indians, and 81 in number” The report stated that “William Guy, of Granville, GA (sic NC), and Simon Jeffries, of Bellville, VA, Catawba Indians, served five years in the Army (Rev War) and were honorably discharged, and these people are their descendants.”
 +
 
 +
The fact that Catawba families had migrated into northwest Florida is beyond doubt. In September, 1853, a band of 18 Indians, all of whom claimed to be Catawba, was reported by Brigadier General G.B. Hall as wandering near Stockton, Alabama (near present-day Atmore, Alabama). Their leader was named Taylor, and the band represented two families: Taylor and Houser. There were four men in the group; the rest were women and children. They said they came from northwest Florida, and were en route to Arkansas, but were stranded for lack of money and had been begging corn and potatoes in Alabama where residents were anxious to get rid of them. The fate of the Houser family remains unknown, but the Taylor family established a household among the Creeks in Atmore, Alabama.   
 +
  When the Catawba families arrived, they were not the only Indians in the area; however, plans were already underway to clean the landscape of the Creek and Seminoles residing there. By the end of 1839 the final emigration of the Creek Indians living within the treaty reserves along the Apalachicola was complete, except for several bands of hostiles still hiding in swamps, and several communities of “White Stick” Friendly Creek allowed to stay according to the stipulations of the Treaty of Fort Jackson. However, treaty, tax, and census documents record the presence of another group of Indians living in the area of the Apalachicola River. These ‘other’ Indians were obviously considered different and separate from the Creeks. After leasing out all their land on the reservation, and possibly hoping to continue a tradition of military honor, a handful of Catawba families ventured into northwest Florida. After serving as “friendly Indian” scouts against the “hostile” Creeks and Seminoles, these mixed-blood Indian families settled down into quiet lives as farmers, stock keepers, and ferry operators, just as they had previously done in South Carolina.             
 +
  The presence of Catawba Indian families in the Apalachicola River valley can be documented as far back as 1828, when Absalom Scott, Jacob Scott and his wife Polly Harmon, Richard Jeffers, John Jones, and Joseph Scott appear on Jackson County tax records. It does not appear that any Catawba were present prior to that time, as they are not mentioned in the Treaty of Moultrie Creek of 1823. It appears that even service as scouts in the militia would not guarantee complete safety; however, and in 1837 the families of Betsy Ayers and Sally Ayers were mistaken for hostile Indians and held at Dog Island by Lt. Berrian in preparation for removal to Indian Territory. The family members of Betsy and Sally were eventually adopted into citizenship in the Choctaw Nation along with several other Catawba families.
 +
 +
 +
 
 +
1833 Tax Book of Jackson County Florida
 +
those taxed as “free persons of color”
 +
 
 +
Beady…………....taxed $3.00….owned no land
 +
Betsy………….....taxed $3.00….owned no land
 +
Ireland, Samuel….taxed $3.00…..owned no land
 +
Jones, John……….taxed $3.00….owned no land
 +
Scott, Jacob………taxed $3.00………....80 acres
 +
Scott, Absalom……taxed $3.00…………20 acres
 +
Scott, Olive………..taxed $3.00…..owned no land
 +
Scott, Penny…….....taxed $3.00….owned no land
 +
Scott, Luranny……..taxed $3.00….owned no land
 +
Ward, Terressa……..taxed $3.00….owned no land
 +
 +
 
 +
 
 +
1834 Tax Book of Jackson County Florida
 +
those taxed as “free persons of color”
 +
 
 +
Brooks, Martin…………....taxed $.25
 +
Jeffers, Richard………….....taxed $.25
 +
Jones, John…………..…….taxed $.25
 +
Maseleno, Joe…………..…taxed $,25
 +
Scott, Jacob…………..……taxed $.25
 +
Scott, Absalom………….…taxed $.25
 +
Scott, Joseph……………....taxed $.25
 +
 +
     
 +
 
 +
  In the September 1823 treaty of Moultrie Creek, a special provision was added by the Chiefs present which read
 +
 +
“…one mile square, at the Ocheesee Bluffs, embracing Stephen Richards’ fields of said bluff, be conveyed, in simple, to said Stephen Richards.”
 +
 +
Richards, of North Carolina, was homesteading in Calhoun County prior to 1820, and was serving as an interpreter for U.S. Indian Agent Gad Humphreys. Richards continued his work as interpreter in the May 1832 treaty of Payne’s Landing. On October 15, 1837, “Captain” Stephen Richards was empowered by the West Florida Militia to form and outfit a mounted company of Indians for service against hostile Creeks and Seminoles.
 +
Most of the recruits for this Company were Creek Indians from the newly created Apalachicola reservations, yet there are many persons appearing on the Company roll that bore English names and were from such areas as North Carolina and Virginia.
 +
 
 +
Captain Stephen Richards’ Company of Friendly Indians – Mounted Florida Militia
 +
Enlisted 1837 at Walker’s Town, Jackson County, Florida
 +
  Amotto                              Tom Fobby                                Madison                              Sledge
 +
  J.H. Bison                        Fo-load-ree                                Moses Manning                Sumpkai
 +
  Black Billy                        Friday                                        John Mealey                      Tailor
 +
  Black John                        Anthony Garshaw                      John Newcommer              Te-pikie
 +
  Bob                                    William Gay                              Nit-ti-e                              Tomma
 +
  Samuel Bray                      J.D. Gill                                      No-co-ceola                      Old Tommy
 +
  William Brown                  William Goodrum                      Oak-kos-kee                      To-  or Captain Billy
 +
  Martin Caseboury              Hawkins                                    George Perryman                Colonel Toney
 +
  Gilbert Chermichael          Heischa                                      Thomas Perryman              To-tour  or Capt. Billy
 +
  Davy Chopka                      Jake                                            Ponna                                Towny
 +
  Johny Chopka                    Jimmy                                        James Richards Sr.            Charles Walker
 +
  Cosi-es-a-hola                    Spanish John                            James Richards Jr.              Jim Walker
 +
  Davy                                  Josee                                          John Richards                    John Walker
 +
  Big Davy                            Peter Leonard                            John G. Richards                Wilsie
 +
  U-lousa or Davy                  Lewy (killed 16 Apr. 1838)      Stephen Richards                Jackson Wood
 +
  Eat-cot-to                            Loceo-tie                                    W. Riley                            Silas Wood
 +
  R.B. Evans                          Chebon Louc                              Samsey                              Isaac Yellowhair
 +
  James E. Fairley                  Samse Succo                              James Sessions
 +
  Mr. Fobby                          Chebon Lusta                            William Simmon(s)
 +
                                                                                                                                           
 +
The names of William Brown, R.B. Evans, James E. Farley, and John Newcommer are particularly interesting. Later censuses would later identify these individuals as being born in either South Carolina or Virginia, and James Farley was identified as “Indian” after he later moved to Georgia. A “Captain Newcomer” signed a 1753 letter along with the famous Catawba King Hagler, and Indian Trader John Evans was mentioned as having a
 +
“half-breed son among the Catawba Nation” in 1733. 
 +
When the Creek Indians agreed to emigrate in 1838 and 1839, Captain Stephen Richards lost the majority of his Indian recruits; however, it is apparent that there were Indians still residing in the area that Richards could rely on for support. A military report from 1844 (5 years after the last band of Creeks had immigrated to Indian Territory) reveals that, not only were roving groups of hostile Creeks still a real threat, but that there still remained in the area a group of Indians from whom Richards could recruit:
 +
 
 +
              “Captain Stephen Richards and a company of friendly Indians dispatched to search for renegade Indians that attacked passengers of Henry A. Nunes’ barge at Phillips’ Inlet.”
 +
 
 +
  Even though the Catawba were willing to shed the blood of their own race to protect their white benefactors, this proved to not guarantee their own personal protection, even from the very people they had tried to protect. Joseph Scott had been living in the area of Calhoun County since at least 1834, when he first appears on tax books as a ‘free male of color’. The household of Joe Scott was the only home headed by a free person of color documented on the 1840 census of Calhoun County where he was listed as between 51 and 60 years of age. It appears that Joe was a respected and well-known leader of his people then, but still even that position and title was not enough to save his life. In 1846, “Old Chief Joe, a well-known Indian Chief..” was stabbed in the head by a white man in an altercation over a roll of calico cloth. Chief Joe’s son (probably the younger Joe Scott who appears on the 1850 census) was present and witnessed his father fall. According to the 1846 newspaper account, Old Chief Joe called out to his son “Thwatka” which is most certainly a variant or mispronunciation of the Siouan phrase Thwalka, which translates to “he has killed me.” The area that Old Chief Joe was killed appears on an 1842 map of north-west Florida as “Dead Lakes”, the name of this area of lakes and swamps is undoubtedly a reference to the numerous dead cypress trees that naturally fill the lakes and streams of this area. Cheraw families continued to live in this area. 
 +
  The violent death of the beloved Chief Joe obviously sent ripples of fear through the local Catawba families and they seem to have temporarily abandoned their habits of wandering the area hunting and fishing. On the 1850 Federal census the Catawba are recorded as living in a tightly grouped settlement on the Ocheesee district (north-west area of Calhoun County) property of their white benefactor, Captain Richards. This fear was not long standing, however, and the Catawba gradually returned to their custom of having hunting and fishing camps. The families of Thomas Ayers, Susan Smith, James Martin and Malachi Scott are recorded as doing just that on the 1880 census of southern Calhoun County. As stated earlier, the 1850 Federal census shows the Ayers, Brown, Scott, Quinn, Stephens, and Hill Catawba families settled on the Richards’ property at the Ocheesee Bluffs near the Apalachicola River. This was also near the Gregory House and Hotel, a popular stopping point at Ocheesee Landing for river traffic. In 1848 (nine years after the Creeks had emigrated) a Frenchman visiting the Gregory House sketched and painted a group of Indians and Native structures he titled “Indian Village on the Apalachicola.”
 +
 
 +
 
 +
1850 Federal Census of Calhoun County  - 5th Division
 +
household              name:                            age    sex      race                    occupation:                        born in:
 +
 
 +
    56                    Ayers,Ishmael                  46      m                                                                            SC
 +
                                “  “  ,Abigail                  50      f                                                                              SC
 +
                                “  “ ,James                      22      m                                                                            GA
 +
                                “  “ ,Thomas                  14      m                                                                            SC
 +
                                “  “ ,John                        13    m                                                                            GA
 +
                                “  “ ,Solomon                  11    m                                                                            GA
 +
                                “  “ ,Ishmael                    8      m                                                                            GA
 +
 
 +
    57                      Hall, David S.                  23      m                                                                            ALA
 +
                                “  , Rebeck                    22      f                                                                              GA
 +
                                “  , Susan                        7        f                                                                            ALA
 +
                                “  , Amlin                      6        m                                                                            ALA
 +
                                “  , Thomas                    1      m                                                                            FL
 +
 
 +
    58                        Scott, Joseph                  38      m      M                                                                GA
 +
                                “    “, Mary                      35      f        M                                                                GA
 +
                                Gray, Michal                  34      m                                                                          Ireland
 +
 
 +
    59                        Quinn, Joseph                30      m      M                                                                SC
 +
                                Jones, Eliza                    28      f        M                                                                GA
 +
                                “      “, Susan                    5      f        M                                                                FL
 +
                                “      “, Delila                    1      f        M                                                                FL
 +
 
 +
    60                        Stafford, Joseph              33      m                                                                          VA
 +
                                “          “, Mary                22      f                                                                            ALA
 +
 
 +
    61                      Stafford, William            53      m                                                                          GA
 +
 
 +
    62                      Scott, Mary                      30      f        M                                                                GA
 +
                              “    “, John                      20      m      M                                                                FL
 +
 
 +
    63                      Scott, Jacob                      53      m                                      Smith                          SC
 +
                              “      “, Appa                    45      f                                                                          SC
 +
                              “      “, James                    16      m                                                                        GA
 +
                              “      “, Nancy                    14      f                                                                          GA
 +
                              “      “, Luzinia                  12      f                                                                          GA
 +
                              “      “, Lewis W.              10      m                                                                        GA
 +
                              “      “, Jacob                      9      m                                                                          ALA
 +
                              “      “, Henrietta                8        f                                                                          ALA
 +
                              “      “, Susanna                  7        f                                                                          ALA
 +
                              “      “, Lewisain                6        f                                                                          ALA
 +
                              “      “, Malvin                  1        m                                                                          FL
 +
 
 +
    64                      Scott, Isham                      69      m        M                                                              NC
 +
                              “    “, Millia                    46        f        M                                                              SC
 +
 +
   
 +
1850 Federal Census of Calhoun County (cont)
 +
 
 +
      65                      Loftis, Paskel                          45        m                                                                Tenn
 +
                                Jones, Olive                            46        f            M                                                  GA
 +
                                Jones, Lark                              24        m          M                                                  FL
 +
                                Jones, Elizar Ann                    5          f            M                                                  FL
 +
                                Jones, Thomas                        2          m          M                                                  FL
 +
 
 +
      66                      Scott, Abslom                          60        m          M                                                  NC
 +
                                “    “, Gillatia                          38        f                                                                    NC
 +
                                “    “, Jacob                            17        m          M                                                    FL
 +
                                “    “, Amanda                        14        f            M                                                    FL
 +
                                “    “, Mary Ann                      11        f            M                                                  GA
 +
                                “    “, John T.                          9          m          M                                                  GA
 +
                                “    “, Samuel                          5          m          M                                                    FL
 +
                                “    “, Henry                            2          m          M                                                    FL
 +
                                Stevens, Alexander                  20        m          M                                                    FL
 +
 
 +
      67                      Butts, James                            26        m                                                                ALA
 +
                                Jones, Mary Ann                      20        f            M                                                  GA
 +
 
 +
      68                      Hill, Francis A.                        38          m                                                                ALA
 +
                                “  “, Dicy                                28          f                                                                  SC
 +
                                “  “, Marthey                            6          f                                                                GA
 +
                                “  “, Ann                                  2          f                                                                FL
 +
 
 +
      69                      Scott, Jacob                              38          m          M                                                GA
 +
                                “    “, Lewrania                        76          f            M                                                  NC
 +
                                “    “, John M.                          16          m          M                                                  FL
 +
 
 +
      70                      Castleberry, Sarah Ann            23          f                                                                GA
 +
                                Brown, Emaline                        7            f                                                                FL
 +
                                Castleberry, Lewranny            11/12      f                                                                FL
 +
 +
 
 +
  Just across the Apalachicola River, in then far southern Gadsden County, another portion of the Catawba had settled temporarily on the Forbes Purchase lands. Documented on this census was a repeat of William Stafford’s household, Henry Mainer, Tom Scott who had married Sarah Larkins, Frances Larkins, and William “Billie” Scott:
 +
 
 +
1850 Federal Census of Gadsden County – Southern District
 +
 
 +
    618                    Stafford, William                    58      m                                    Farmer                        SC
 +
                                “          “, Mary                        52      f                                                                          SC
 +
                                “          “, Frances                    26      f                                                                          SC
 +
                                “          “, William                  20      m                                  overseer                      FL
 +
                                “          “, John                        14      m                                                                        FL
 +
                                “          “, Ann                          10      f                                                                        FL
 +
 
 +
    619                    Maner, Henry                          28      m                                  Farmer                        SC
 +
                                “      “, Sarah                          27      f                                                                        SC
 +
                                “      “, Martin                          3      m                                                                    TEXAS
 +
 
 +
    620                    Scott, Thomas                          22      m                                  Farmer                        SC
 +
                                “      “, Sarah                            17      f                                                                        FL
 +
 
 +
    621                    Larkins, Frances                      38      f                                                                      NC
 +
                                “        “, William                    19      m                                Farmer                        NC
 +
 
 +
    622                      Scott, William                        24      m                                Farmer                        SC
 +
                                “    “, Martha                          17      f                                                                      SC
 +
                                “    “, John                              15      m                                                                    SC
 +
                                “    “, Henry                          9/12    m                                                                    FL
 +
 +
 
 +
An interesting event occurred just seven years after the recording of this census. In 1857 James Butts (head of household number 67) was called before the Jackson County Court to answer to charges of “Adultery & fornication with a free mulatto”. Butts challenged the charge based on the fact that the female he had been co-habitating with did not fit the legal definition of a ‘mulatto’. Several white witnesses were called including Captain Stephen Richards and John Chason, and the Judge dismissed the charge.  The awarding of military service land grants in the mid-1850’s resulted in a split of the original Ocheesee Bluffs Catawba settlement. Jacob Scott chose 160 acres at the site where old Joe Scott had lived in southern Calhoun County on the Chipola River. Here Jacob constructed a ferry service and mill. This settlement became known as “Scott’s Ferry”, as it is still known today.
 +
Absalom Scott lived briefly at Scott’s Ferry until a close friend, John Chason, acting as Absalom’s land agent, was able to secure him an 80 acre tract in south-western Jackson County at the headwaters of the Chipola. The Ayers family would chose land in mid-western Calhoun County near the banks of the Chipola at a site near present-day Clarksville. Having less Indian blood than the other immigrant Catawba families, The Ayers’ did not maintain an identifiable separate community and continued to out-marry with local white families. Although they did not continue to be identified as part of the Cheraw-Catawba community, the more socially adept members of the Ayers family did speak out for them on several occasions, and many of the Ayers descendants still speak with pride about their Indian ancestors.
 +
Chapter 4 “all of whom claim to be Catawbas”
 +
The Florida Catawba
 +
 
 +
General Jacob Scott became ‘Chief’ of the Catawba in South Carolina after the death of General New River in 1801. General Jacob Scott died in 1821 and General Jacob Ayers succeeded him until his own death on 14 July 1837. Ian Watson in his compilation entitled “Catawba Indian Genealogy” described the death of General Ayers in 1837 as “the end of a conservative era of Catawba tribal government.”, and indeed, 3 years later the Catawba relinquished their lands in South Carolina and scattered.
 +
The reality of this shift to a more progressive thinking leadership and the eventual self-termination of their reservation status and migration to North Carolina in 1840 may have an ethnic root instead of being the result of acculturation.
 +
 
 +
Watson, Brown & McDowell clearly identify three of the Catawba surnames as being of Cheraw origin (George, Robbins, Harris)(1) and these families seemed to begin a push to dominate the Catawba leadership after the death of General Scott in 1821. The exodus of so many Catawba in the 1820’s could possibly represent a reaction to the overtaking of the political structure by the mixed-blood Christianized Cheraw. The fact that a large number of Catawba left the reservation in the time-span 1790 to 1830 cannot be doubted. Revolutionary enlistments and petitions of Catawba showed the surnames Williams, Connar (or Conyer), Thompson, Simmons, Jones, Taylor, Cross, Cook, Bullen (or Bowlin), Kennedy, Kelley, Young & Dickson (2); surnames which do not appear after the 1820’s.
 +
 
 +
The Scott family, described by Brown as “a large and prominent family” among the Catawba, supplied three men to the Revolutionary effort, Capt. Jacob Scott, Capt. John Scott, and Billey Scott. If these 3 males were the only Catawba males bearing the ‘Scott’ surname, then by population estimates the Scott family Catawba must have represented at least 3 households and 15 to 20 individuals, yet by 1849 only two Scott individuals remained connected to the Catawba (John Scott born 1826, and Sam Scott born 1799). (3) By 1853, John Scott was the only individual with that surname associated with the tribe, and the 1943 Catawba Tribal roll does not bear any Catawba with the Scott surname. (4)
 +
 
 +
So, here’s the “million dollar” question, where did these Catawba go? In 1828 a group of mixed-blood Indians arrived in the area west of the Apalachicola River in northwest Florida. Of the 9 surnames present in that original migration (Ayers, Brown, Bunch, Harmon, Jeffries, Jones, Scott, Stephens, Williams) (5), a whopping 7 surnames have been identified as Catawba. (6) The ages of the eldest males in the Florida migration (Jacob Scott born 1797, Isham Scott born 1791, Absalom Scott born 1790) (7) matches the age group of the last remaining Scott elder attached to the Catawba in 1849 (Sam Scott born 1799). Given that the names Sam, George, Tom, John, and Jacob, which appeared with uncommon frequency among the Catawba, also appear with the same frequency among the Florida mixed-bloods; we must accept as fact that the Sam Scott at Catawba and Jacob, Isham and Absalom in Florida were related, most likely brothers and sons of the older Jacob Scott.
 +
  The fact that Catawba migrated as far as Florida is without question. In Sept. 1853, a band of eighteen Indians, all of whom claimed to be Catawba, was reported wandering near Stockton, Alabama. Their leader was named Taylor, and the band represented two families: Taylor and Houser. There were four men in the group; the rest were women and children. They said they came from West Florida and were enroute to Arkansas, but were stranded for lack of money. (8) The Taylor family eventually settled among the mixed-blood Creeks living on land near Stockton, but the Houser family disappeared from official view.
 +
It is amazing that the family of Richard Taylor appears in the mid-1800’s, all claiming to be Catawba Indians, as there had been no records of the Catawba Taylor family since the 1740’s when “War Captain Tom Taylor” was among them. (9) Documents such as this of the Taylor family and also the Jeffries/Jeffreys and Guy families are indicative that Catawba descended families migrated to many areas of the southeast with very little documentation, but have been discounted by academics because they did not bear such well-known Catawba surnames as Harris, Brown, Cantey, etc.
 +
  Surname recognition alone is not the only evidence that the Apalachicola mixed-bloods carried a Catawba identity. Their own words support this fact. On July 10th, 1861, Francis Hill, a “white unmarried male,” was charged by the Calhoun County Court with “Fornication with one Eliza Scott a Mulatto woman.” This charge was not long-standing, however, as Francis petitioned and provided witnesses who were prepared to testify that,
 +
 
 +
        “Eliza Scott is not a Mulatto as named in the indictment but is an Indian of the
 +
        Catawba tribe, her grandfather Jacob Scott being a headman of that tribe.”(11)
 +
 
 +
The testimony seemed sufficient to clear away the cloud of suspicion of negro ancestry, as seems apparent when Francis Hill, Isham Scott, and John ‘Capt. Jack’ Ayers were all allowed to enlist for Confederate service with McCallister’s Calhoun Rangers later in December. As almost an afterthought, the Fall Court filed away the fornication charge with a ‘not guilty’ finding.
 +
The Ayers Family
 +
During the French and Indian War, the Catawba Indians in South Carolina began adopting the English Military titles of “General, Colonel, Captain” etc to describe their tribal leaders and social ranks within the tribe. Many Catawba were already adopting English alongside their Catawba names. Some of these military titles became proper names eventually, for some individuals.
 +
In records of the French and Indian War was the name of “Colonel Ayers”, he is recorded as the leader of a group of 27 Catawba warriors on an expedition against Fort Duquesne. Ayers became Chief of the Catawba after the death of King Hagler in 1763. In 1764 Chief “General Ayers” secured a treaty for the Catawba people that allotted them reservation lands totaling 144,000 acres in present day counties of Lancaster, York, and Chester, South Carolina.
 +
In the 1750’s there were recorded a total of 6 Catawba towns, including Newtown, Peedee, Carrow (or Saraw) Sugar Town, Nuestee, and Nawsaw. Catawba Indian agent Hutchison wrote in 1782:
 +
 +
“…A number of Indians had it in view to go and live among the Cherokee, who had offered them land, and proposed to aid them in building houses, but the aged among them were averse to removal… At the time I am speaking of these men (General Scott, General Ayers, and General Harris) were old, and would not consent to remove.”
 +
The enlistment records of Captain Thomas Drennan’s Unit of Catawba Indians in the Revolutionary War, 1783 shows:
 +
-William “Billy” Williams                -Jacob Scott  -Billy Scott                     
 +
                          -John Eayrs (Ayers)
 +
-James Eayrs (Ayers)      -Jacob Eayrs (Ayers)-Little Stephens                 
 +
The Revolutionary War Catawba Indian service list (no officer voucher) in 1784 shows:
 +
          -Jacob Scott                                  -Jacob Eayers 
 +
-John Scott            -Little Stephens                  -William “Billy” Williams
 +
            -Billy Scott                                    -Mosy Ayres 
 +
-Colonel John Eayres                                        -William Billy Eayres
 +
In 1826, the Catawba Nation occupied only two villages, Newtown on the York County side of the Catawba River, and Turkey Head on the Lancaster side. On June 16, 1826 General Jacob Ayres, Chief of the Catawba’s (he succeeded General Jacob Scott as such) signed a lease for 208 acres of the Catawba Reservation lands lying north of the Old Trading Road. Those who signed the writ, in addition to the General, were Colonel Lewis Canty, Captain John Ayres, Major Thomas Brown, and Lieutenant Jessie Ayres.
 +
In 1837, Catawba Chief General William Harris signed a lease for some of the last remaining Catawba Reservation lands over to a white settler. The headmen who co-signed for this lease were Major Sam Scott, Captain Edward Ayers, and lieutenant Lewis Stevens. (Captain John Ayers had already moved to north Florida at this time, there being little room left on the Catawba reservation. He served under Stephens Richards as a “friendly Indian” from 1837 to 1845, scouting against hostile Creek and Seminole Indians resisting the federal government’s efforts to resettle them west of the Mississippi River in the Indian Territory.)
 +
On March 13 1840 at Nations Ford on the Catawba River, the Leaders of the Catawba signed a treaty that ceded their South Carolina reservation lands that remained in exchange for money to buy lands in Haywood County, North Carolina, among the Cherokee. This treaty was signed by James Kegg, John Joe, Philip Kegg, Allen Harris, David Harris, William George, and Samuel Scott. Captain John Ayers was not a party to this treaty as he was serving with Stephen Richards in Florida against the Seminoles.
 +
Soon after the treaty was signed, the Catawba began moving to the lands they were trying to purchase in North Carolina, but on arriving they found that North Carolina refused their purchase of land. Finding themselves in a difficult situation, they began to contemplate removing to the Indian Territory west of the Mississippi. Throughout the many years since contact with the colonists, and then the Americans, individuals Catawba and small groups had been leaving the reservation for the west, and south, seeking opportunity in other areas.
 +
In February of1847, after receiving news that the Chickasaw Nation would accept them, thirty Catawba sent a petition to the Commissioner on Indian Affairs entitled “A Petition of Catawba Indians of North Carolina Desiring Assistance to Remove to the West”.  Signatories to this petition were:
 +
-John Scott                -Rosa Ayres        -Lewis Stevens          -Samuel Scott
 +
        -Thomas Stevens            -Mary Ayres
 +
-Margaret Ayres          -Sally Ayres            -Julia Ann Ayres
 +
On October 4, 1848 the landless North Carolina Catawba’s wrote a letter this time to President James Polk, requesting formal assistance in removing to Indian Territory with the Chickasaw. Signing this letter to the president were:
 +
-Lewis Stevens,                -John Scott              -Thomas Stevens
 +
              -Jimmy Ayres                        -Mary Ayres
 +
-Margaret Ayres            -Betsy Ayres                    -Esther Scott
 +
                  -Rosa Ayres                    - Harriet Stevens
 +
Receiving no financial assistance from this endeavor, they returned to South Carolina and purchased 800 acres in their original county, Some of those who had left did not return to South Carolina though. In 1872, a congressman from Georgia petitioned the Indian Office for assistance in removing 84 Catawba residing in Granvilee County, Georgia. In 1853 a band of 18 Catawba were reported wandering near Stockton Alabama having traveled there from north Florida. Some Catawba actually made it to Indian Territory, because in 1853 13 Catawba were adopted into citizenship by the Choctaw National Council. The Catawba adopted were:
 +
            -Betsy Ayers              -Julian Ayers                    - Mary Ayers
 +
                        -Saphronia Ayers                    -Sally Ayers
 +
 +
 +
When the Civil War erupted many Catawba fought for the confederacy. Enlisting in the 17th South Carolina Infantry Regiment were the following Catawba men:
 +
-Jefferson F Ayers                    -John Scott
 +
                        - William Canty                      -Alexander Timms
 +
The name of John Ayrs appears on the 1830 census of Greenville District, South Carolina. In 1849 the Catawba Roll lists the following Catawba residing in Greenville district:
 +
Males:
 +
-Franklin Canty age 23-John Scott age 23-John Brown age 12
 +
-David Harris age 40-Billy Brown age 20
 +
2 male children under age 10
 +
Females:
 +
-Polly Ayers age 35              -Betsy Mush age 18            -Elizabeth Canty age 23
 +
              -Patsy George age 30            -Jane Ayers age 18
 +
-Esther Brown age 28              -Jinny Joe age 43
 +
          -Polly Redhead age 40                      -Mary George age 18
 +
-Betsy Hart age 26              -Peggy Canty age 20
 +
6 female children under age 10
 +
In 1854 the Catawba Roll shows:
 +
-Jefferson Ayers age 14        -John Scott age 28            -Polly Ayers age 40
 +
Some Records we have relating to Catawba families who migrated to Florida and became part of the Cheraw Indians of North Florida Tribe are a grave marker at Whitfield Cemetery that reads;
 +
Captain John Ayers…born 1791… Seminole Wars
 +
No members of the Ayers family appear on Jackson County tax records prior to 1838, as they were still in the Catawba Nation. In 1840 on page 190 of the Jackson County census the name of William Aires appears.
 +
 +
The name of John Ayrs (age 59…Blacksmith…born 1791 in South Carolina) along with his wife “Arilla” (age 34…born 1816 in Georgia) appear on the 1850 census of Ocheesee District in Calhoun County Florida alongside of William “billy” Williams, Ishmael Ayres, Joseph Scott, Mary Scott, Jacob Scott, Absolom Scott, Alexander Stephens( married to Mary Ann Scott), Franise “Frank” Hill (Married to Elizabeth Scott). These two being the same couple who would be prosecuted in 1862 in Calhoun County court, Frank Hill would be charged with “Fornication with a Mulatto”, the case being dismissed once it was found that Elizabeth Scott was not a “Mulatto” under the meaning of Mulatto in the law of the time (being one quarter or more Negro).
 +
The name Aurelia (Arilla) Ayers (age 44…born 1816 in Georgia) appears on page 111 of the Ocheesee district, Calhoun County Florida census alongside James Stephens, Alitha (Ayers) Cutts, and William Ayers (born 1819 in South Carolina). Arilla Ayers oldest child, John Ayers Jr. is listed as born in Florida in 1838. Members of the Scott and Hill families, as well as Ishmael Ayers, appear in Calhoun County at Scotts Ferry, (a bit further down the Apalachicola River valley on a small feeder waterway called the Chipola River near the junction of the two waterways), by 1860.
 +
Florida Civil War Confederate Service Records of the Ayers family:
 +
Ayers, John-born 1839 Florida; married Seania Burnam on 9-11-1862;died 12-16-1862 in Liberty County; enlisted in the 4th Infantry on 5-10-1861 in Jackson County; absent on furlough since 2-27-1862
 +
Ayers, Asa-born 1-9-1846 in Calhoun County; married Sarah Francis Richards on 8-19-1886; died 2-6-1906. Claimed to have served in the 10th Infantry Company F, but not found on rolls of unit (so far)
 +
Ayers, David S.- born 1840 Florida; served in Calhoun Rangers prior to enlisting in the 5th Florida Infantry  Company H in 1862 at Rico’s Bluff. Mortally wounded 7-2-1863 at Gettysburg.
 +
Ayers, John W. Jr.- born 1837 in Florida; served in Calhoun Rangers prior enlisting in the 5th Florida Infantry Company H in 1862 at Rico’s Bluff. Wounded in the foot  in June 1864, deserted to the Union forces inNovember 1864. His father was John Ayers Sr. a descendent stated that John Ayers Sr. died at Rock Bluff, Florida in Liberty County, Florida. He was known as “Captain John” and served in the Seminole War as a scout.
 +
Ayers, Solomon- born in Florida in 1840;served in the Calhoun Rangers prior to enlisting in the 5th Florida Infantry Company H in 1862 at Rico’s Bluff. Died of typhoid 2-9-1863 at Florida Hospital.
 +
Ayers, Thomas- born 1840 in Blountstown in Calhoun County; married Emily Marshall on 3-31-1889; served in Calhoun Rangers prior to enlisting in the 5th Florida Infantry  Company H in 1862 at Rico’s Bluff. He was captured 4-6-1865 at Farmville Virginia and released on Oath of Loyalty 6-24-1865 at Newport News, Virginia. Described as 5’10” with grey eyes, fair skin, and light hair.
 +
________________________________________
 +
(1);; Watson, 83; Brown 1966, 218, 249; McDowell 1955, 145)
 +
(2);; Thomas Drennan’s company of Catawba Indians paylist of 1780; Petition of “the Chief and head men of Cataba Nation…” 24 Nov 1792, South Carolina Petitions, 1792, #26, South Carolina Department of Archives and History.
 +
(3);; Massey, B.S. account of Catawba Indians 1849
 +
(4);; Massey, B.S. Report to the Governor of South Carolina on the Catawba Indians, 1854; “Catawba Tribal Roll, 1 July 1943,” #11273-1959-077, part 1, Central Classified Files, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
 +
(5);; Tax records of Jackson & Calhoun Counties, 1828, 1830, 1831, 1832, 1834, 1835, those individuals identified as “free persons of color” and “other free persons”.
 +
(6);; Surnames Ayers, Brown, Scott, Stephens, and Williams identified on Rev. War. paylists and reservation land leases. Surname Bunch identified from reservation land leases. Surname Jeffries identified prior to 1900 as Catawba descendants from records of Jenffries/Jeffreys family members residing in Ohio.
 +
(7);; 1850 census of Calhoun County, Ocheesee District, plantation of Capt. Stephen Richards.
 +
(8);; Hall, General G.B. to Capt. I.C. Casey about certain Indians in his County, 12 Nov 1853, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, National Archives, Letters Received, Miscellaneous, 1853, A-172.
 +
(9);; Brown, Douglas S., “The Catawba Indians”, The University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, 1966, page 220, 225-27.
 +
(10)  10 July 1861, State of Florida V. Francis Hill, 1860-65 Calhoun Judicial Cases, Calhoun County Courthouse Archives Room 3rd Floor, Blountstown, Florida.
 +
 
 +
Chapter 5“A Motley Crew of Half-Breed Indians”
 +
  The Civil War
 +
 
 +
The beginning of the Civil War marked a turbulent time for the Cheraw-Catawba Indians in the Apalachicola River Valley. Obviously influenced by their ancestral warrior culture, they were little concerned with the political or racial aspects of the conflict. Though no immediate negative effects were apparent as the war raged, the after-effects would prove to be near disastrous. Some Catawba enlisting with the Confederate military did not return in as good shape as when they had left, and some did not return at all. The most devastating effect of the war was the legal and social problems the Catawba would face after they had abandoned the doomed Confederate cause.
 +
 
 +
Under the charismatic influence of John “Captain Jack” Ayers and Indian countryman John Chason, in December of 1861 Isham Scott and Francis “Frank” Hill enlisted with Captain McCallister’s Calhoun Rangers. This home guard company served no longer than three months, however many of the soldiers re-enlisted in other Confederate units.
 +
In September of 1862, Ruben G. Blanchard (who had married Jane Scott Stone, the granddaughter of Olive Jones) enlisted with the Confederate Army in Company E, 10th Florida Infantry. Blanchard was soon reassigned to the Confederate Navy in 1864 and served on the ironclad gunboat “Palmetto State.” Ruben served on the gunboat until Charleston was evacuated, then was re-assigned to the Army. After being captured on April 6, 1865 during General Lee’s retreat from Richmond, Blanchard was held in prison at Point Lookout prison in Maryland for two months and released. Despite his unquestionable loyal service to the Confederacy, Ruben was initially denied a Florida Confederate Pension in 1908. This was due, in no small part, to the Chairman of the Calhoun County Commission, George L. Hansford. Hansford refused to approve the pension application of Blanchard, and took the further step to write personal letters to the pension board to accuse Blanchard of being “mixed blooded” and of having joined the Union Blockade Fleet.
 +
Hansford’s brother, John D. Hansford, had earlier married Ruben Blanchard’s daughter, Mary Jane, and this obviously insulted the racial purity ideals held by George. Though it was clearly documented that Blanchard had served in the Confederate military, the pension board declined to approve Blanchard’s pension stating,
 +
“Negroes were not enlisted and are not entitled to pensions.”
 +
It was only after Blanchard attained the services of Jackson County law firm Calhoun & Campbell, that he was approved for the meager pension. A support letter written by W.M. Ayers stated that Ayers had known Blanchard for over 45 years, and that they had served together during the late War. Blanchard’s attorneys chalked the whole affair between Hansford and Blanchard up to
 +
“some would be officer of Calhoun County who got a little mad with him about his politics.”
 +
On September 27th, 1864 the Union Cavalry clashed with the Confederate Army at Marianna, Florida. This battle would produce two significant events, involving the Apalachicola Catawba. In the heat of battle, John Chason, benefactor of the Catawba and land agent for Absolom Scott, was seriously wounded and captured by Union soldiers. Chason was sent to Ship Island prison where he died of dysentery on December 19th, 1864. The support of the Florida Catawba towards the Confederate cause was destined to die with Chason. Another interesting occurring during this battle was a report of Union soldiers capturing a confederate soldier on horseback, which they first assumed was a “colored man”. The soldiers solved this mystery after the capture when they determined that Henry Stevens, the ‘colored man’ in question, was of Indian blood.
 +
 
 +
Confederate enlistment records of Catawba in Florida are a wealth of personal information on the origins and physical descriptions of these early community members:
 +
 
 +
 Private James G. Stephens enlisted in the 2nd Florida Battalion Company E where he is described as born 1840, living in Marianna, captured in 1864 near Petersburg and released from Elmira Prison in 1865. He was 5 foot 4 inches, hazel eyes, dark skin, dark hair.
 +
 
 +
 Private Isham Scott enlisted in the Calhoun Home guards where he is described as 5 foot 5 inches, brown eyes, dark hair and dark skin.
 +
 
 +
 Private John Levy Emanuel enlisted in the 6th Florida Infantry Company D where he is described as born 1843, captured near Nashville in 1864 and sent to Camp Douglas Prison. Mustered into the 5th U.S. Volunteer Infantry in 1865.
 +
 
 +
 Private Asa Emanuel enlisted in the 6th Florida Infantry Company D where he is described as born 1815 in Georgia, attempted to enlist in 1862 at Apalachicola but was rejected by the inspecting officer. He was a member of Watson’s Company of Florida Militia and was captured 1864 in Volusia County. He was 5 foot 8 inches, grey hair, grey eyes, dark skin and last appears on a roll at Hilton Head Prison in 1865.
 +
 
 +
 Private Daniel Bunch enlisted in the 6th Florida Infantry Company D where he is described as born 1833, absent on every roll after April 1862 and AWOL since 1863.
 +
 
 +
 Private William Perkins enlisted in the 6th Florida Infantry Company D where he is described as born 1845 in Bibb County, Georgia, discharged 1863 in Mossy Creek Tennessee. He was 5 foot 4 inches, dark skin, dark hair, black eyes.
 +
 
 +
 Private John W. Hill enlisted in the 8th Florida Infantry Company E where he is described as born 1834 in Robeson County, North Carolina. He died of pneumonia in 1862 at Camp Winder Hospital, Richmond, Virginia.
 +
 
 +
After 1864 it appears that the Catawba abandoned the Confederate cause. Many Catawba who had been serving the Confederacy switched sides and enlisted with the Union. As with the CSA enlistments, the Union service records also contain worthy information about these warriors:
 +
 
 +
 Private John T. Scott enlisted with the 2nd Florida Cavalry Company A where he is described as born 1843 in Early County, Georgia. He was 5 foot 11 inches, black eyes, black hair, dark skin. He did not return from the War.
 +
 
 +
 Private Alexander H. Stephens enlisted with the 2nd Florida Cavalry Company A where he is described as born 1829 in Jackson County. He was 5 foot 10 inches, dark brown eyes, dark hair, dark skin. He died of disease during the War and did not return.
 +
 
 +
 Private William Bunch enlisted in the 2nd Florida Cavalry Company A where he is described as born 1845 in Henry County, Alabama. He was 5 foot 6 inches, hazel eyes, dark brown hair, dark skin.
 +
 
 +
 Private Francis M. Williams enlisted in the 2nd Florida Cavalry Company A where he is described as born 1842 in Calhoun County. He was 5 foot 9 inches, hazel eyes, dark brown hair, dark skin.
 +
 
 +
 Private John Williams enlisted in the 2nd Florida Cavalry Company A where he is described as born 1845 in Calhoun County. He was 5 foot 8 inches, black eyes, black hair, dark skin.
 +
 
 +
 Private John M. Scott enlisted in the Florida Ranger Regiment Company A where he is described as “born in Jackson County in the State of Florida, aged 21 years and by occupation a farmer. This soldier has black eyes, black hair, dark complexion, he is 5 feet 7 ½ inches tall.”
 +
 
 +
 Private Samuel Scott enlisted in the Florida Ranger Regiment Company A where he is described as “born in Calhoun County in the State of Florida, aged 19 years and by occupation a farmer. This soldier has black eyes, dark hair, dark complexion, he is 5 feet 8 ½ inches tall.”
 +
 
 +
  During the final days of the War, Private Wade Richardson wrote of the Union’s Florida Cavalry soldiers:
 +
 
 +
“As to the rank and file they were as motley crew of as dare-devil fellows as can be collected at any seaport town, I guess. Among them were Spaniards, French Creoles, half-breed Indians, Germans, a few Poles, and a host of crackers and Gophers – the western Floridians were derisively called gophers.”
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
Chapter 6 “A Settlement or Town of their Own”
 +
Scott’s Ferry
 +
 
 +
    After 1850 at least six of the original fifteen Catawba households had resettled at the newly acquired land of Jacob Scott. Jacob owned and operated a ferry service and mill (just as the Catawba had done on the Catawba River), and became quite prosperous, even in comparison to his white neighbors.  The movement of the Catawba into southern Calhoun can be tracked by the written history of the local Stone family. In the book “History of Jackson County” it is recounted that:
 +
 
 +
“Lackland M. Stone, whose father was Colonel Henry D. Stone, one of  Jackson County’s first settlers, was also an Indian trader. His family  settled on the upper Chipola, near the future town of Webbville. When the Indians were moved to Ocheesee, he followed them, as he did later to Iola.”
 +
 
 +
The Stone family had apparently continued to carry a family legacy of Indian trading, because as early as 1691 the Council of Colonial Virginia had recorded:
 +
 
 +
  “Thomas Blunt is appointed interpreter to the Indians on the south side of the  James River, David Whitley to the Indians at the head of Rapp’a River, and William Stone to the Indians on the head of Yorke River.”
 +
 
 +
And also in 1778, The North Carolina General Assembly enacted that,
 +
   
 +
    “Be it enacted, that Willaim Williams, Thomas Pugh, Willie Jones, Simon Turner, and Zedekiah Stone, be, and they are hereby appointed  commissioners for said Indians..”
 +
 
 +
  The reference to the Indians being moved to Ocheesee, does not describe any documented Creek band, as they had never maintained a village on the Chipola, did not have a village at Ocheesee, and had emigrated to Texas or Indian Territory before the Stone family moved to southern Calhoun at Iola. Bird Attaway (first husband of Elizabeth Perkins) and Horace Ely were contracted by the Jackson County Commission to build the first bridge across the Chipola at a location described as “Near Webbville.” Combine all of the above with the fact that the 1840 census of Calhoun County records Joe Scott as a family of 17 free colored persons living next to John Chason and Henry D. Stone at Iola, and there can be no doubt as to this identification of the Cheraw-Catawba identity of the settlement.
 +
   
 +
 +
 +
The Scott’s Ferry settlement was located at Range 9 west, 2 south, section 21, adjoining the Chipola River. This was the route used to travel from any spot in eastern Jackson or Calhoun Counties along the Apalachicola over land to Port Saint Joe. The Scott’s Ferry settlement appears on the 1860 census as a clearly defined separate community, and the families living there were recorded on a special census page, though the racial identification of them was confused and clearly tainted by racial prejudice. The 1860 federal census was performed during the height of the racial tensions between the pro-slavery South and the abolitionist North. On this census families which had been previously identified as “free persons of color – non Negro” or “Mulatto” are suddenly reclassified as “free Negro” (though they were still ‘white’ or ‘free persons of color’ on local tax records).
 +
  In 1848, legislation was passed in Florida which required free Negroes to have white guardian appointed by the local Courts (no Catawba was assigned a guardian), free Negroes and mulattoes could not legally own land (Jacob Scott and Absalom Scott held clear title to their land), and in 1861, legislation passed which required free blacks to register with a probate judge or be classified as a slave and claimed by a white person. It is clear that none of these laws were ever applied to the Apalachicola Catawba. An 1840 perspective jury list included Robert and Joseph Blanchard (originally of Gates County, North Carolina), Joseph Montford, Jonathan Jones, and Robert Scott. John Chason and Jaspers Scott were called as witnesses in the Jackson County Court case, State V. James Butts in 1857 (Butts had been living with Mary Ann Jones since at least 1850), and Martha Hill Minton was reimbursed for traveling 24 miles in 1863 in order to testify for Sherrod Scott. Samuel Scott was even an eligible voter in Jackson County in 1869.
 +
  In 1860 the census reflects the Scott’s Ferry settlement as consisting of six households. Living there at that time was Jacob Scott and his nephew Joe living in one household along with Joe’s wife Sarah Brown Castelberry, and Sarah’s daughter Emiline Brown. Francis “Frank” Hill and his wife Elizabeth Perkins Attaway held one home, and William Stafford and his wife Polly Harmon Scott (former wife of Jacob Scott) held another. Jack Howard inhabited a household along with Lofty Bunch as his wife, along with his two sister-in-laws Betty Bunch and Molly Thompson (who later married Shurard Scott). Paschal Loftis and Olive Jones shared a home along with her granddaughter, Jane Scott. The last remaining household was that of Isham Scott and his wife Jane Manuel who shared their home with her father, Edmund Manuel (originally of Sampson County, North Carolina and a veteran of the Sampson County Regiment 4th Company in 1812).
 +
 
 +
   
 +
 +
 +
 
 +
 
 +
1860 CENSUS OF CALHOUN COUNTY….SCOTT’S FERRY…SPECIAL CENSUS PAGE
 +
HOUSE # NAME: AGE: RACE: BORN IN:
 +
 
 +
165
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
166
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
167
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
168
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
169
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
170  
 +
SCOTT, Joe
 +
“  “ , Sarah
 +
“  “ , William
 +
“  “ , Polly
 +
“  “ , Ellen
 +
“  “ , Jack
 +
“  “ , Jacob
 +
BROWN, Emiline
 +
 
 +
HILL, Frank
 +
“    “ , Eliza
 +
“    “ , Delila
 +
“    “ , Ann
 +
“    “ , Joe
 +
“    “ , Quinn
 +
“    “ , Bob
 +
“    “ , Blunt
 +
“    “ , Green
 +
 
 +
STAFFORD, William
 +
“    “ , Polly
 +
“    “ , Jim
 +
 
 +
HOWARD, Jack
 +
“  “ , Lofty
 +
BUNCH, Betty
 +
THOMPSON, Molly
 +
 
 +
LOFTIS, Paschal
 +
“  “ , Olive
 +
SCOTT, Jane
 +
 
 +
SCOTT, Isham
 +
“  “ , Jane
 +
MANUEL, Edmund
 +
 
 +
43
 +
36
 +
8
 +
6
 +
4
 +
8/12
 +
60
 +
16
 +
 
 +
43
 +
35
 +
16
 +
10
 +
8
 +
7
 +
6
 +
4
 +
1
 +
 
 +
65
 +
55
 +
16
 +
 
 +
26
 +
20
 +
23
 +
22
 +
 
 +
60
 +
50
 +
20
 +
 
 +
65
 +
45
 +
67  
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
W
 +
 
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
 
 +
W
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
 
 +
MU
 +
W
 +
W
 +
W
 +
 
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
 
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
 
 +
ALA
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
ALA
 +
FL
 +
 
 +
ALA
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
 
 +
NC
 +
ALA
 +
FL
 +
 
 +
FL
 +
ALA
 +
ALA
 +
GA
 +
 
 +
NC
 +
ALA
 +
FL
 +
 
 +
ALA
 +
ALA
 +
ALA
 +
 
 +
 
 +
  At the bottom of this special census page, John G. Smith, the census taker, added his own personal opinion of the racial make-up of this settlement. Either Smith had never personally traveled to the settlement and gathered his information from other citizens (as was sometimes the case when census takers were trying to list far out settlements), or Smith was given misleading information by the settlement citizens themselves, because almost all of the information other than the actual names of the community members was wrong.
 +
The age and birthplace of almost every community member does not compare to that listed for the 1850 or 1870 census. The only justice performed by Smith with this document is held in the second sentence of his commentary where he bears witness that these Indians lived in a settlement separate from white or black persons:
 +
 
 +
   
 +
“The Free Negroes in this county are mixed blooded almost white and have
 +
intermarried with a low class of whites – Have no trade, occupation or
 +
profession they live in a settlement or Town of their own  their personal
 +
property consists of Cattle & Hogs, They make no produce except corn &
 +
peas & very little of that, They are a lazy Indolant & worthless race.”
 +
 +
    Back on the Catawba reservation, the annual report of Catawba Agent J.R. Patton to the South Carolina Senate uses, strangely almost exactly, the same wording to describe the Indians still residing there:
 +
 
 +
    “…they are a somewhat indolent & careless people living in small Log Houses
 +
    or cabins covered with boards & are not settled together in a Town or village
 +
    but scattered over a considerable portion of the land they occupy they own but
 +
    little furniture of any value a portion of them work small farms or patches of
 +
    corn but as a general thing do not make anything like a support they own some
 +
    Horses a few Cattle & some Hogs. This seems to sum up the amount of what
 +
    They possess.”
 +
 
 +
Oral history of the Apalachicola Cheraw-Catawba reflects that Eliza Scott Hill had been educated as a child in South Carolina, taught basic education to all the children of the Scott’s ferry community, and also traveled briefly back to “the reservation” to teach school but was not well received, and soon returned to Florida. The 1861 Annual Report of Catawba Agent J.R. Patton seems to verify this oral history as it reflects that “Eliza Scott (Indian)” was paid 20 for “Teaching” during that year.     
 +
 
 +
  Elsewhere in the southeast, Indian communities were being described in almost exactly the same words. In 1840, thirty-six white residence of Robeson County, North Carolina appealed to the Legislative Assembly to regulate the sale of ‘spirits’ to the Lumbee Indians (who are also of Cheraw ancestry):
 +
 
 +
“The County of Robeson is cursed with a free-coloured population that
 +
  migrated originally from the districts round the Roanoke and Neuse Rivers.
 +
      They are generally indolent, roguish, improvident, and dissipated. Having
 +
      no regard for character, they are under no restraint but what the law imposes.”
 +
 
 +
 
 +
  The fact that Smith classified the Catawba in Florida as “free Negroes” with no trade or occupation, and in general being lazy and worthless, betrays his racist views. He could not have been completely blind to the fact that these people operated a mill and ferry, because even Smith took note that the colony’s total worth was over $4,000 (which in 1860 made it one of the wealthiest small towns in Calhoun County).
 +
    Scott’s Ferry’s founder, Jacob Scott, passed away by 1862 and Joseph Scott held the property title. Penny Scott was taxed for 200 acres she supposedly owned across the river in what would become Liberty County. In 1858, Joseph Scott was assessed for taxes at $100 for real estate, $525 for cattle, and $30 for household furnishings. When the War closed in 1865, the Indians paid dearly for their change of sides. The local whites apparently decided that the County Court would be the vehicle they would use to facilitate their harassment. In the fall term of 1862, Francis Hill was brought up on charges of “Fornication with a Mulatto”, but was found not guilty. In 1866 a series of charges were pressed against the Catawba, beginning with Gilberry Scott being charged with “Open State of Fornication” and Sabra J. Register with “Attempting to Marry a Mulatto.” John M. Scott, a Union veteran, was also charged with “Open State of Fornication” in the fall term. All of these charges were discharged with ‘not guilty’ verdicts at the close of the fall term in 1866.
 +
 
 +
    Either due to the crisis level post-War economy, or legal harassment, it is clear that the Scott’s Ferry Town had begun a downward spiral. By 1870 the total households had increased to nine, but the total worth of the settlement had decreased to $1,440.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
1870 CENSUS OF CALHOUN COUNTY – PAGE # 20
 +
HOUSE # NAME: AGE: RACE: OCCUPATION: BORN IN:
 +
 
 +
256
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
257
 +
 
 +
258
 +
 
 +
 
 +
259
 +
 
 +
260
 +
 
 +
 
 +
261
 +
 
 +
 
 +
262
 +
 
 +
 
 +
263
 +
 
 +
264
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
265
 +
 
 +
BLANCHARD, Ruben
 +
“    “ , Eliza
 +
“    “ , John
 +
 
 +
empty
 +
 
 +
JONES, Olive
 +
“  “ , Martha
 +
 
 +
EMANUEL, Edmond
 +
 
 +
WILLIAMS, Thomas W.
 +
STEVENS, Susan
 +
 
 +
SCOTT, Isham
 +
“  “ , Jane
 +
 
 +
SCOTT, Polly
 +
MUMFORD, Nancy
 +
 
 +
Empty
 +
 
 +
JONES, John
 +
“  “ , Beady
 +
“  “ , William
 +
“  “ , Jack
 +
“  “ , Emily
 +
“  “ , Martha
 +
 
 +
WILLIAMS, Jane
 +
“ “ , Delia
 +
“ “ , William
 +
 
 +
28
 +
23
 +
2
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
65
 +
?
 +
 
 +
70
 +
 
 +
45
 +
24
 +
 
 +
77
 +
34
 +
 
 +
36
 +
14
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
62
 +
26
 +
7
 +
6
 +
3
 +
1
 +
 
 +
48
 +
22
 +
20  
 +
M
 +
M
 +
M
 +
 +
 +
 +
M
 +
M
 +
 +
M
 +
 +
M
 +
M
 +
 +
M
 +
M
 +
 +
M
 +
M
 +
 +
 +
 +
M
 +
M
 +
M
 +
M
 +
M
 +
M
 +
 +
M
 +
M
 +
M  
 +
Farmer
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Keeping house
 +
 
 +
 
 +
At home
 +
 
 +
Farmer
 +
Keeping house
 +
 
 +
Farmer
 +
Keeping house
 +
 
 +
Home keeper
 +
At home
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Farmer
 +
Keeping house
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Keeping house
 +
At home
 +
At home  
 +
ALA
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
GA
 +
GA
 +
 
 +
NC
 +
 
 +
FL
 +
ALA
 +
 
 +
NC
 +
GA
 +
 
 +
GA
 +
ALA
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
GA
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
 
 +
GA
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
 
 +
      By the time of the 1880 census, Scott’s Ferry appeared to be making a comeback. The settlement now contained eleven households and the compact town seemed to suffer some drift, as a few families were listed as living a few miles up the Chipola River in the Abe’s Springs area. This small splinter settlement contained five households beginning with the home of Henry Johnson who had W.D. Williams living there as a boarder. Penny Scott maintained a household as well as William Scott. Nancy Montford was keeping her own house now, and the final home was Enoch Wells. A significant clue as to the temporary split off of these families could be the fact that those at Abe’s Springs listed their occupation as “Logging.”
 +
  Back at the original settlement, we find eleven homes starting with Benjamin Beauchamp and his wife Ellen Scott who had his stepdaughter, Sallie Washington living as his servant, and Richard Nixon as an orphan. George Green had settled here with his wife Dora Butts. Elizabeth Scott Hill shared a home with her stepdaughter, Nancy Quinn, her son Joseph Quinn, and her son Frank Hill. William Quinn and his wife, Rena were living here, as well as Henry Johnson (this is a repeat of the Henry Johnson household from Abe’s Springs). John “Jack” Jones and his wife Beady Mainer were still here in 1880 living next to Mary Scott, who was sharing a home with her daughter-in-law, Julian Scott and her grandson, William Scott. New resident Sam Washington held a home next to Olive Scott Jones who shared her home with her daughter, Martha Jones, a servant named Mary Linton, a boarder named T.C. Shelby, and another servant named Hester Brouchard. Ruben Blanchard and his wife Jane Stone were still living at Scott’s Ferry at this time, and the final home was held by David Martin (originally from Person County, North Carolina) along with his wife Amanda Scott. Living with David Martin was a servant, Polly Gibson, and David’s daughter Mary (who would later marry Barney Locklear).
 +
 
 +
 
 +
  Nearly 40 years later the name of T.C.Shelby would be brought up again in reference to Scott’s Ferry, but this time in his home state of Kentucky. An excerpt of the 1918 Kentucky case of McGoodwin v. Shelby, ruled over by Judge Sampson of the Marion Circuit Court, stated that,
 +
 
 +
  “In May, 1915, Miss Florrie Hood, a most eccentric and peculiar woman,
 +
    died intestate, childless,and unmarried, at her home in Lebanon, Kentucky,
 +
  she being about seventy years of age, and the owner by inheritance of several
 +
  houses and lots and some acreage property in the city of Lebanon, and quite
 +
  an amount of personal property…There were no close relatives living so far
 +
  as known, however, that one Thomas C. Shelby, a nephew of Miss Hood, had
 +
  many years before left Marion County on account of trouble and had gone
 +
  to Florida..”
 +
 
 +
 
 +
  After dispatching investigators throughout Florida and mailing 1,500 postcards to different post offices in search of Thomas Shelby or his descendants, the estate administrators located Shelby’s widow and two minor children—sole heirs to the Hood fortune. The problem was that Shelby’s widow
 +
 +
“was the daughter of William Scott, and William Scott was the son of Joe Scott, and Joe Scott was supposed to be a mulatto, so that the mother of the children of Thomas C. Shelby was not a pure-blooded white woman.”
 +
 +
This would make the parents’ marriage illegal and render the children bastards incapable of inheriting. Instead of trying to prove that the family of Shelby’s widow did, or did not, have negro blood, the parties reached an out-of-court settlement to distribute the property among themselves. The case then wound its way through the Kentucky court system for the next 3 years. First, the original probate court disallowed the agreement as
 +
 +
“being unconscionable since the children could not be considered anything but White, their forefathers having not associated with negroes, but with Whites.”
 +
 +
In the end, the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled that regardless of the ancestry of the children, all witnesses agreed they could not possibly bear enough negro blood to be considered mulatto as described by Kentucky law.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 +
 +
By 1885 the timber industry had taken root along the Apalachicola and Chipola Rivers, and had assisted the Scott’s Ferry settlement to swell to seventeen households. Eight persons listed their occupation as “logman”, seven as “farmer”, and three as “laborer.” The drift present in 1880 is not noticed in 1885, and most of the families had returned to the original settlement site. The town still consisted of Scott, Quinn, Williams, Hill, Green, Johnson, and Martin households, but also now held the homes of Edmon Davis, Henry Mainer, and William Perkins (son of Elizabeth Perkins and half-brother of Mary Attaway Scott) who had been living in Jackson County. Some surviving court records from this time period provide an excellent example of the depth of interrelation and cooperation that existed in the settlement at this time. When Louvinia Martin Brown (wife of Tom) was charged in 1904 with “Assault With Intent to Murder” and “Carrying Winchester Rifle Without Permit,” her defense witnesses included Thomas Ash, Dave Martin and Linnie Davis. Henry Atkins was charged with “Murder” in 1907 and Wesley Williams, M. Mainer, Tom Scott and Jeff Scott were called as witnesses to the event. Reuben Blanchard, Bill Jones, Mary Blanchard, and Rosa Quinn were brought to court to answer charges of “Larceny of a Bateau”
 +
After the death of Martha Jones, Thomas Butts was appointed administrator of her estate and most of her property was distributed between John Howard, Rueben G. Blanchard, and George Green. When John Howard was appointed guardian of Margaret Bunch in 1890, John Williams was appointed as surety. Thomas M. Scott was left parentless in 1893, George Green was appointed guardian of the 15 year-old boy, and Francis M. Williams and Joseph Quinn were sureties. In 1894 Beady Mainer Jones approached the Court to administer the estate of her deceased husband, Jack Jones. William Quinn was listed as her surety while J.W. Blanchard was appointed by the Court to appraise Jack Jones’ personal property. When David Martin was appointed legal guardian of his half-brother’s’s and sisters (after the death of his mother, Annie Scott Hunter), Sandy Davis was listed as surety. After 1910, some Indians began to make claims for pensions based on their Confederate service. Letters from other settlement members supported almost all of the Cheraw-Catawba in Calhoun County who filed their claims. Rueben G. Blanchard enlisted the support of W.M. Ayers, Elizabeth McDaniel Jones had help from Lawrence and Sarah Williams, and Charles E. Scott received support from Nathaniel Scott, J.M. Atkins, and Cornelius Stephens.  The 1917 Civilian Draft Registrations provide as much, if not more, valuable information as the earlier Civil War records. At least nine individuals within Calhoun County were listed as “White-Indian Citizen.” These included members of the Whitfield family (descendants of George Whitfield who married a Scott woman), Herbert Boone (son of Henry Boone and Anna Scott), Lemuel Moses, and John Moses (relatives of Elizabeth Moses Conyers). Another individual, Willie Porter (son of Mathias Porter of Scott Town) was recorded as being “Indian Creole” and described as having blue eyes and light colored hair. General Quinn of Scott’s Ferry was listed as self-employed in farming, having a dependent mother, and also described as having blue eyes and light colored hair. No race was listed for Quinn, however his death certificate issued in Bay County stated that the mortician considered him to be “White.”
 +
 
 +
    The year 1917 also marked a series of yearly floods on the Chipola and Apalachicola Rivers, which caused the abandonment of the original settlement site. Later census records show that community members had established home sites due northwest of the Scott’s Ferry site, at an area now known as Marysville. Land titles to the original settlement were maintained, however, as was the old cemetery. In October of 1920, Samuel F. Scott and Elizabeth Scott were both recorded as “C.I.” in the race category on the Shiloh District voter’s registry book for Calhoun County. This is the same Samuel and Elizabeth Scott who appear on the 1920 census of Shiloh Precinct, Marysville to Scott’s Ferry Road.
 +
Samuel Frank Scott was the son of Samuel Scott and Jane Ayers of Scott Town settlement in Jackson County. Samuel Scott senior was the son of Absolom Scott and Gilly Stephens, the founders of Scott Town. In 1929, Samuel F. Scott was appointed as executor of the estate of his cousin, John Williams, in Calhoun County. Many groups of Creek Indian descendants from Georgia and the Florida panhandle tried to use these records in their petitions for acknowledgement by the federal government to show continuation of a “Creek” presence in the area, but as we have shown these persons were clearly of Carolina Cheraw origins, not Creek.
 +
    Education for their children would also force the Catawba out of their self-imposed isolation, and provide for the only documents pertaining to them during this time period. In 1938 David Martin, trustee for the Marysville school, had a letter written to Calhoun County Clerk of Court J.A. Peacock which stated:
 +
 
 +
  “There are men who would knife us out of having our own school, saying that we are negroe. You know our character that we are of white and Indian blood…”
 +
 
 +
In reference to a 1944 investigation by the Jackson County School Board, the Board members made inquiry regarding “Sweetie Blanchard from Scott’s Ferry”, whose sons were the students whose ancestry had been called into question. The Board members solved the dispute by suggesting that the two Johnson boys should attend school in Calhoun County. 
 +
Some more recent documents continue to identify a community of persons living within Calhoun County who had a strong Indian identity.
 +
In the 1948 annual report of the Smithsonian Institution, William Harlen Gilbert Jr. published a compilation entitled “Surviving Indian Groups of the Eastern United States.” Though Gilbert never visited north Florida himself, he did visit the so-called “Creeks” at Atmore, Alabama (whose Hathcock, Gibson, Allen, and Taylor ancestors were Cheraw). It is apparent that during one of these trips to Alabama Gilbert gathered second hand information regarding a group of mixed-blooded Indian persons in Calhoun (Daisy Porter Nichols was living in Flomaton near the Creek reservation at that time, and may have been the source of this information). In the last paragraph of the Florida section of Gilbert’s report he states:
 +
 +
  “Aside from the Seminoles there are other small mixed groups of possible Indian descent in Florida. Around Pensacola are to be found the Creole mixed people of Escambia County and in the same area are certain groups of Creeks from across the border in Alabama. Some 100 miles to the east  near Blountstown in Calhoun County there is said to be a colony of Melungeons from Tennessee.”
 +
 
 +
    The “Melungeons from Tennessee” of whom Gilbert speaks are an ethnic group of mixed-blood persons in the area of eastern Tennessee whose main family surnames were Gibson, Collins, Goins, and Bunch. These persons also descended from Siouan Indian ancestors who had spread westward from the Virginia/North Carolina border. Since none of the Apalachicola River area Cheraw-Catawba reported Tennessee as their birthplace, and they were not locally known as ‘melungeon’, Gilbert either relied on a second hand opinion, or maybe even made his own personal judgment based on the Bunch and Goins ancestors of some of the Florida Catawba. Gilbert did do justice, however, by identifying the fact that the Apalachicola River Cheraw-Catawba lived in a colony, separate from their white and black neighbors, well into the mid-twentieth Century.  The identification of a separate Indian community in the area of Calhoun and Jackson County of northwest Florida was repeated by Brewton Berry in his book “Almost White” published in 1963.
 +
 
 +
Poarch Creek Families 0f Cheraw Ancestry
 +
During the resurgence of the Creek identity in the southeast that intensified with the Creek Indian Land Claims cases in the 1950’s and peaked in the 1980’s, there were many thousands of people doing genealogical work on hundreds of ancestral family lines, many in hopes of finding a Creek ancestors and being part of the settlement. For others it was due to actual interest in their own Indian heritage. As a part of the process leading to the federal acknowledgement of the Poarch Band of Creeks, there was a substantial amount research conducted by various academics as well as countless lay researchers. The Bureau of Acknowledgement and Research within the B.I.A. also delved into the area. In the course of this researching into the roots of the Poarch Creek community, many ancestors of Poarch Creek Indians were found to have Carolina Cheraw Indian origins. As Poarch Creek Indian researchers, Lou Vickery and Steve Travis state in their book released in 2009 entitled;  Rise of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians ,
 +
“It is noteworthy that the Sizemores, Gibsons, Hollingers, Durant, and Marlows, were all mixed-blood lines that came to southwest Alabama from South Carolina. Most were mixed-bloods from the Catawba or Lumbee tribes.”-pg.144
 +
“The McGhee and Rolin families, along with the Moniacs, Gibsons, and Ehlerts, were the genetic founders of the contemporary Poarch Band of Creek Indians.”-pg.147
 +
“Along with the Dees family, the Hathcocks migrated from South Carolina to the Poarch area where they intermarried with the Poarch Creeks.”-pg.154
 +
“ the Hathcocks were originally not Creek Indians. Like the Dees and Gibson familes, the Hathcocks came from the south Carolina area, they were a mixture of Portuguese and Native American, who intermarried with Lumbee Indians”-pg.161
 +
“William David Bart Gibson was born about 1823 in South Carolina, arriving in Alabama in the early 1840’s.”-pg.154
 +
“Listed as a half Creek Indian, (Arthur) Sizemore probably had some Catawba/Lumbee bloodlines”-pg. 155
 +
 +
Cheraw Indians of North Florida on the 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870 Census from the Scott Town and Scott’s Ferry Community Census Records
 +
 +
Below are some references to various census documents that record shifts in the populations of the 2 core communities at Scott Town and Scotts Ferry over the decades since their arrival in Florida.
 +
Arrived in late 1828...Joe Scott appears on 1840 census of Calhoun County as free colored persons (5 males 12 females) in "Iola" (present day Scott's Ferry area) living next to John Chason and Indian trader Henry D. Stone....a few households over were Jackson J. Wood and Moses Manning (who appeared on Richards' Co. of Friendly Indians--most likely had Cheraw wives)
 +
1850 Census of Calhoun County... the name John Williams (this should be household #52) (note: John Williams was born 1790 in Mecklenburg NC where he appears in 1820 and 1830 then moved to Robeson Co. where he appears in 1840, then on to Florida by 1850) it begins a three page section which was the core of the Cheraw Indian community living on the plantation of Capt. Stephen Richards (these include Ishmael Ayers, Jacob Scott (his wife Appa "Polly" Harmon), Isham Scott, Olive Jones, Absalom Scott, Alexander Stephens, Elizabeth Perkins Hill, and Sarah Brown Castleberry...(also James Butts who was brought up to court in Jackson County for "Adultery & fornication with free Mulattoe" in 1857 but case was dropped by the state after hearing testimony from John Chason)....in this county also see household #50 John Williamsthe last household of interest is #88 headed by Abigail Brickhouse..her daughter Elizabeth Brickhouse married Ellis F. Davis (of Scott Church)..also in this household is Sarah "Sabrey" J. Register who married John M. Scott...just across the river in Liberty County observe household #618 William Stafford, #619 Henry Maner (sic Mainer ..note that his son was born 1847 in Texas) #620 Thomas Scott (and wife Sarah Larkins) #621 Frances Larkins and #622 William Scott.
 +
(note: the names of Jacob Scott, Joseph Scott, and William Scott all appear on 1825 petition of Catawba Indians regarding leases of Catawba Resrevation land in my possession)
 +
1850 Census of Jackson County...observe household #522 Samuel H. Ireland (married Elizabeth Perkins -i believe first cousin of Betty Perkins - in Gates Co. NC) next is #523 Betsy Hills (this is a repeat of Calhoun household #68) and #524 Polly Bedie
 +
In 1860 Calhoun County...please observe special census page beginning with household #165 Joe Scott (his wife Sarah Beasley-a descendant of the Chowan Beasley family from Gates County NC) this was the begining of the Scott's Ferry settlement including Jacob Scott, Frank Hill (his wife Elizabeth Perkins), William Stafford, Jack Howard (his wife Lofty Bunch), Pachal Loftis (his wife Olive Jones - living with them was Olive's grandaughter, Jane Scott, who married Rueben Blanchard) Isham Scott (his wife Jane Emanuel) and Edmund Manuel (note: Edmund Emanuel was from Sampson Co. NC and had enlisted there in wAR OF1812)
 +
In 1860 Jackson County....please observe two pages begining with household #106 Ellis Davis (his wife Elizabeth Brickhouse) #107 Absalom Scott #108 John Williams #109 Daniel Bunch #139 Emiline Davis #140 Joseph Davis (his wife Susan Emanuel) #141 Joseph D. Smith #142 Samuel Ireland (his wife Elila Perkins) #143 Alexander Stephens (his wife Mary Matilda Scott...Alexander died of disease during the Civil War and Mary Matilda remarried to James William Perkins the son of Elizabeth Perkins Attaway) ...this was the beginning of the Scott CHurch settlement.
 +
(note: in 1851 there was a large migration of the Red Bones out of the Rapides Parish area of LA following the "Raw Hyde and Bloody Fight" that took place at Walnut Hill, LA...many went to east Texas, but I believe the Larimore and Davis families came down into Florida at that time)
 +
In 1870 Calhoun County...please observe a closely grouped settlement beginning with household #256 Ruben Blanchard (his wife Jane Scott Stone the granddaughter of Olive Jones) and ending 8 households later with #265 Jane Williams....this was the core of the Scott's Ferry settlement.
 +
In 1870 Franklin County...please observe household #21 John Bunch (John Bunch was taxed as a "free person of color" in Calhoun Co. in 1852) and #22 John Scott (this is John M. Scott who married Sabra J. Register...they continued to live in Frankiln County after she was charged with "Attempting to Marry a Mulattoe" in Calhoun Co...most likely due to John's service for the Union in the War...investigation was held and charges dropped, but they did not live in Calhoun after that)
 +
In 1870 Jackson County...please observe a closely grouped settlement beginning with household #37 William Perkins (James William Perkins...living with Mary Matilda Scott widow of Alexander Stephens...William was charged with "Lewd & Lascivious Cohabitation" in Jackson Court in 1872 and thereafter moved down to Scott's Ferry) #40 Samuel Scott ( Samuel was charged with "Adultery" in Jackson Co. Court in 1868 and his 1st wife, Susan Ireland, filed for divorce that same year...he remarried to Jane Ayers) #Louis Scott (Lewis Scott and wife Isabella Davis) #42 Henry Scott (his wife Sarah Ayers) #43 Absalom Scott (his second wife Julia A. Bell) #45 Mary L. Chason (daughter of John Chason who had been killed in the War) #46 Abraham Colwell (taxed as a "free person of color" in Jackson Co. in 1845, 1846, and again as a "free person of color" in Calhoun Co. in 1852.) #47 Wright Colwell (son of Abraham...Wright's wife Margaret Miller) #48 Pollie Whitehead #49 Laboring Goodson (his wife Nancy Calwell, daughter of Abraham) Rebecca Duffin (this is Rebecca Goins, she had two daughters by a white man named 'Duffin') #51 Nancy A. Maddox
 +
 +
#52 Mary Scott (this is Mary Attaway..she had married John T. Scott, son of Absalom, but he had died in the War...she had two daughters by him, William Anne & Bell, then she had an illegitimate son, Mathias, by Jacob Porter...also living with her here is her mother Elizabeth "Betsy" Perkins) this was the core of the Scott Church settlement.
 +
The Cheraw IndianResearch Project was forwarded a very useful document...it is a report by Melinda Maynor on a community of Lumbees who settled in southeast Georgia (Bulloch County) to work in the timber industry (Maynor, Melinda M. “People and Place: Croatan Indians in Jim Crow Georgia 1890-1920” Thesis, UofF @ Chapel Hill, 2002 43 pgs.)..she details the types of work, the economic impact, etc. she also mentions the time period that the industry moved from Georgia to Florida...the most exciting detail is when she notes the Lumbees living here she mentions Beasley Bullard, a Lumbee born in Robeson who subsequently lived at Scott Church in 1920 (where he is censused as "Mulatto")..he married Loula Scott then moved back to Robeson by 1930 (where he is censused as "Indian") apparently Bealsey was living in the Lumbee community in Bulloch Co. Ga. in 1910, but had followed the timber industry down to Scott Church and Scott's Ferry by 1920
 +
Chapter 7“..a Large Percentage of Indian Blood”
 +
Scott Town
 +
 
 +
    Just after 1860, Absalom Scott, veteran of the Seminole conflicts, acquired the help of John Chason and secured a military service land grant of 80 acres in southwestern Jackson County. Two of Absalom’s sons, Lewis and Samuel, would later be granted title to this land which would become known as “Scott Town.” Though this settlement started as quite diverse (including the Davis, Williams, Bunch, Jones, Scott & Stephens families), it would eventually narrow to represent only the Scott and Perkins lines.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
1860 CENSUS OF JACKSON COUNTY….SCOTT TOWN
 +
HOUSE # NAME: AGE: RACE: BORN IN:
 +
 
 +
106
 +
 
 +
 
 +
107
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
108
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
109
 +
 
 +
 
 +
------------  
 +
DAVIS, Ellis F.
 +
“  “ , Elizabeth (Brickhouse)
 +
 
 +
SCOTT, Abb
 +
“  “ , Gilly (Stephens)
 +
“  “ , John
 +
“  “ , Samuel
 +
“  “ , Henry
 +
 
 +
WILLIAMS, John
 +
“    “ , Vina
 +
“    “ , Simmons
 +
“    “ , Daniel
 +
“    “ , John
 +
“    “ , Benjamin
 +
“    “ , Henry
 +
 
 +
BUNCH, Daniel
 +
“    “ , Elizabeth
 +
“    “ , Mary S.
 +
-----------------------------------------------------------
 +
 
 +
 
 +
46
 +
32
 +
 
 +
70
 +
43
 +
17
 +
14
 +
12
 +
 
 +
78
 +
37
 +
18
 +
16
 +
14
 +
11
 +
?
 +
 
 +
24
 +
21
 +
3/12
 +
--------
 +
 
 +
W
 +
W
 +
 
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
 
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
 
 +
W
 +
W
 +
W
 +
-------
 +
 
 +
Mississippi
 +
S. Carolina
 +
 
 +
S. Carolina
 +
S. Carolina
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
 
 +
N. Carolina
 +
Georgia
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
 
 +
Alabama
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
---------------------
 +
 +
 
 +
1860 CENSUS OF JACKSON COUNTY….SCOTT TOWN (cont)
 +
HOUSE # NAME: AGE: RACE: BORN IN:
 +
 
 +
139
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
140
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
141
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
142
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
143
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
------------
 +
 
 +
155
 +
 
 +
 
 +
DAVIS, Emiline
 +
STONE, Henry S.
 +
“  “ , Mary
 +
“  “ , Emily
 +
“  “ , Georgia
 +
DAVIS, Ann E.
 +
Unnamed infant
 +
 
 +
DAVIS, Joseph
 +
“  “ , Susan (Emanuel)
 +
“  “ , Frances
 +
“  “ , John
 +
DeVAUGHN, Robert
 +
ALLISON, William
 +
 
 +
SMITH, Joseph W.
 +
“  “ , Elmyra J. (Padgett)
 +
PEACOCK, Green
 +
 
 +
IRELAND, Samuel
 +
“  “ , Eliza
 +
“  “ , Harriett
 +
“  “ , Susan
 +
“  “ , Catherine
 +
 
 +
STEPHENS, Alexander
 +
“    “ , Matilda (Scott)
 +
“    “ , Edward
 +
ATKINSON, William J.
 +
-----------------------------------------------------------
 +
 
 +
MAYO, John P.
 +
“  “ , Nancy
 +
“  “ , James B.
 +
“  “ , John H.
 +
“  “ , Martha A.
 +
“  “ , Nancy F.
 +
“  “ , Elijah P.
 +
“  “ , Ann M.F.
 +
MAINER, Milly A.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
43
 +
23
 +
15
 +
7
 +
21
 +
31
 +
 
 +
28
 +
26
 +
17
 +
 
 +
70
 +
62
 +
19
 +
14
 +
11
 +
 
 +
32
 +
19
 +
14
 +
22
 +
---------
 +
 
 +
42
 +
34
 +
15
 +
13
 +
10
 +
8
 +
6
 +
1
 +
34  
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
W
 +
W
 +
W
 +
W
 +
W
 +
W
 +
 +
W
 +
W
 +
W
 +
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
--------
 +
 
 +
W
 +
W
 +
W
 +
W
 +
W
 +
W
 +
W
 +
W
 +
MU  
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Mississippi
 +
Georgia
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
 
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
Georgia
 +
 
 +
Maryland
 +
N. Carolina
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
---------------------
 +
 
 +
Georgia
 +
N. Carolina
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
Georgia
 +
 
 +
  In 1860 the Scott Town community consisted of at least 10 households. The main occupation of these families was farming, and that trend has continued to the present day. The first household listed is that of Ellis Davis and his wife Elizabeth Brickhouse. Next door is Absalom Scott and his wife Gilly Stephens. John Williams kept a home with his wife Vina, and so did David Bunch and his wife Elizabeth. (note: John Williams was living in Mecklenburgh, NC in 1820 & 1830, living in Robeson NC in 1840) Living alone was James Butts Sr., and next door was John Jones Jr. who was to marry Beady Mainer in one year. Joseph Davis and his wife Susan Emanuel shared their home with Robert DeVaughn and William Allison. Joseph Smith was maintaining a homestead with his wife Elmyra Padgett, and next door was Samuel Ireland and his wife Eliza. Alexander H. Stephens and his wife Mary Matilda Scott had the last household which they shared with William J. Adkinson.
 +
    By the time of the 1870 census some fairly significant events had taken place at Scott Town. After going A.W.O.L. from Confederate service, Daniel Bunch did not return to Jackson County. Alexander H. Stephens was kept from ever returning by a fatal disease, and in a strange twist of fate, John T. Scott was killed by Confederate fire during his service in the U.S. Cavalry. John would leave behind an Indian bride, Mary Attaway (daughter of Betsy Perkins), who would become a long-lived family leader at Scott Town.
 +
After returning from the War, John Williams and John ‘Jack’ Jones had moved down to Scott’s Ferry along with their wives and children. Mary Attaway was the daughter of Betsy Perkins, an Indian born between 1822 and 1825 in North Carolina, and Bird B. Attaway, a white riverboat captain working on the Chipola River. Betsy is listed on the 1838 local census of Jackson County as being the head of a household of 4 ‘free persons of color’.
 +
    Scott Town, as it appears on the 1870 census, is composed of 7 households all employed in farming. The first appearing is the home of James William Perkins and his wife Mary Matilda Scott (the widow of Alexander H. Stephens). Living in the Perkins home was Mary’s four children by Alexander and her two sons by William. Next was the home of Confederate and Union veteran Samuel Scott along with his wife Jane Ayers. Living next door was Lewis Scott and his wife Elizabeth Isabella Davis, as well as Henry Scott and his wife Sarah Ayers. Still maintaining a household was Absalom Scott along with his new wife Julie A. Bell. The next home was that of Mary L. Chason, orphaned daughter of John Chason. The final household was that of Mary Attaway Scott, the widow of John T. Scott, who shared her home with her mother Betsy Perkins.
 +
 
 +
1870 CENSUS OF JACKSON COUNTY….SCOTT TOWN
 +
HOUSE # NAME: AGE: RACE: BORN IN:
 +
 
 +
37
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
40
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
41
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
42
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
43
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
45
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
------------
 +
 
 +
52  
 +
PERKINS, William
 +
“  “ , Matlida (Scott)
 +
STEPHENS, Edwin
 +
“    “ , Gideon E.
 +
“    “ , George W.
 +
“    “ , Susan M.
 +
PERKINS, James
 +
“  “ , John W.
 +
 
 +
SCOTT, Samuel
 +
“  “ , Jane (Ayers)
 +
BASSETT, John
 +
 
 +
SCOTT, Louis
 +
“  “ , Isabella (Davis)
 +
“  “ , Vina
 +
“  “ , Louis
 +
 
 +
SCOTT, Henry
 +
“  “ , Sarah (Ayers)
 +
“  “ , Henry A.
 +
 
 +
SCOTT, Absalom
 +
“    “ , Julie A. (Bell)
 +
“    “ , William S.
 +
“    “ , James W.
 +
 
 +
CHASON, Mary L.
 +
“  “ , Sarah A.
 +
“  “ , Elizabeth
 +
“  “ , Matilda
 +
-----------------------------------------------------------
 +
 
 +
SCOTT, Mary (Attaway)
 +
“  “ , Willie Ann
 +
“  “ , Bell
 +
PERKINS, Betsy
 +
 
 +
 
 +
30
 +
29
 +
11
 +
9
 +
7
 +
5
 +
4
 +
1
 +
 
 +
24
 +
24
 +
19
 +
 
 +
27
 +
30
 +
5
 +
4
 +
 
 +
22
 +
19
 +
4
 +
 
 +
78
 +
44
 +
4
 +
7
 +
 
 +
34
 +
29
 +
25
 +
22
 +
--------
 +
 
 +
25
 +
9
 +
6
 +
40  
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
 
 +
MU
 +
W
 +
MU
 +
 
 +
B
 +
B
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
 
 +
MU
 +
W
 +
MU
 +
 
 +
MU
 +
W
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
 
 +
W
 +
W
 +
W
 +
W
 +
-------
 +
 
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU
 +
MU  
 +
FL
 +
Georgia
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
 
 +
FL
 +
Georgia
 +
FL
 +
 
 +
Alabama
 +
Mississippi
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
 
 +
FL
 +
Georgia
 +
FL
 +
 
 +
Georgia
 +
Alabama
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
 
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
----------------------
 +
 
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
FL
 +
N. Carolina
 +
 
 +
  In 1880 the settlement had continued to decrease, now containing only six homes. Appearing on the census was the household of Lewis Scott and his wife Isabella Davis, while next door was the home of Matilda Davis (sister of Isabella) which she shared with her niece and nephew, Viney Robinson and Washington Boggs. Living alone was John Miller who reported that his father was born in Sweden. Ezekiel Goodson maintained a home which he shared with his Indian wife Rebecca Goins. Living next door was James William Perkins and his wife Matilda Scott Stephens. Henry A. Scott, the son of Henry Scott and Sarah Ayers, had been living with them in 1870, but was now living in the household of his uncle, James Perkins. Still unmarried, Mary Attaway Scott was still keeping her own household along with her daughters William Ann and Rosabella, except that now she also had a son, Mathias, whom had been fathered by a local white man of the Porter family.
 +
    Very little information is available for the 20 year time period between 1880 and 1900. The 1885 regular census completely omitted Scott Town, and these individuals were probably recorded on a separate Indian schedule which has been lost or misplaced. The settlement continued its steady decline and the 1900 census reflects only four homes present. Mary Attaway Scott, now the eldest of the community and a strong family leader, shared her house with eldest daughter William Ann (who never married but had a house full of children). Next door was Mary’s younger daughter, Bell Scott, who also never married but shared her home with a boarder, Ed Stephens, the son of Alexander H. Stephens and Matilda Scott. Maude E. Perkins was also maintaining a household as well as Mathias Scott Porter and his wife Louella Goodson (daughter of Rebecca Goins).
 +
  In October 1903 concerned white Jackson County citizens began a petition which would affect both the Scott Town and Scott’s Ferry inhabitants. To quote the book “History of Jackson County” by J. Randall Stanley;
 +
 
 +
 +
 +
  “There were the children of families whose Caucasian purety was questionable.  Motives behind petitions to bar children of these families from white schools had to be scrutinized carefully, as it was a problem which might lead to considerable embarrassment, if not actual trouble. In October, 1903, a petition was presented to the Board to bar the children of two families from white schools.  The Board entered an order prohibiting them from attending white schools until further notice. The Board stated it was inclined to believe they are entitled to the benefits of the school, they having heretofore attended without complaint and the complaint is not general.”
 +
 
 +
    Though the School Board eventually voted to allow the Scott and Perkins children to attend white schools it was of little importance to them as they had already taken steps to solve the problem. Mary Scott pooled the settlement’s resources and had a building constructed for use as a schoolhouse. This one room building eventually was used as both a school and a church. The “Scott Church” building still stands today, though it is in great disrepair. The involvement of America in World War One caused a new viewpoint to be presented on the racial makeup of the Scott Town people. All of the male children of William Ann and Bell Scott are represented within the civil enlistment records on 1917, and all are recorded as “Caucasian-Indian.” The five men listed as being of Caucasian and Indian race were Samuel ‘Sandy’ Scott, Thomas F. Scott, Jesse Scott, Jimmie Scott, and George Scott. George was actually inducted into service as a private in the Army and in the race section the inductor crossed through the ‘White’ and ‘Colored’ and wrote in the word ‘Indian.’ Also inducted into the Army was Sanders S. Scott (sic Samuel) who was listed as “white.”
 +
  The 1920 census showed nine homes at Scott Town, and all apparently on land owned by Mary Attaway Scott. The first of these homes was that of widower Mathias Scott Porter. Living next door was Mathias’ son Willie Porter (who had been listed as “Indian Creole” on WWI civil enlistment for Scott’s Ferry). The next household was that of Cromes Rainey, a Negro employee of Mary Scott. William Ann Scott was now head of her own household which she shared with her children, three grandchildren (Jonas Thomas, Paul Porter & Loula Bell Porter – Paul and Loula attended school at Scott’s Ferry) and a lodger, Ed Quinn, formerly of Scott’s Ferry. Samuel ‘Sandy’ Scott had the next house, and next door was Kate Scott.
 +
William ‘Bill’ Scott (son of Joe Scott of Scott’s Ferry), who had been working at Scott’s Ferry since at least 1885, was now back living at Scott Town and sharing a home with the elderly Mary Attaway Scott. The next home was kept by Beasley Bullard, a Lumbee Indian from Robeson County, North Carolina, who along with his wife Loula Scott, shared their home with Earl Batson, a hired hand (Earl Batson would later marry Mary Dasher of Woods). The last household is that of Thomas F. Scott and his wife Daisy Porter. The inhabitants of Scott Town seemed content to live out their quiet faming lives, and under the direction of community leaders such as Mary Scott, William Ann Scott and Tom Scott, they were able to go on farming, turpentining, hunting and fishing with little interference or contact with the outside world.
 +
It was only in 1939, due to the ambition of a bright young girl, that new information surfaces.  Mary Francis Porter was born the daughter of Bessie Porter Copeland in the Scott Town settlement. Bessie was the daughter of Mathias Porter and Louella Goodson (the daughter of Ezekiel Goodson and Rebecca Goins). According to her mother, Mary Francis was the illegitimate child of Whit Wells, a white man. Mary Francis was apparently not satisfied with ending her education at the last grade offered at the little one room Scott School, and she left Florida to receive higher training at the Cherokee Indian Normal School at Pembroke, North Carolina. This school was founded in 1887 as the Croatan Normal School, and in the nineteen teens was changed to the Cherokee Indian Normal School.
 +
It was funded by the state of North Carolina for the education of Indian students of the area. Perhaps inspired by Beasley Bullard and his wife Loula Scott moving to Robeson in the late 1920’s, several other Porter family members were also living in Robeson in 1930 (Dock Porter and his wife Pearly Blanchard; and Coy Porter and his wife Daisy Blanchard, all recorded as “Indian” on the Robeson County census). Apparently not having any knowledge of Indians from Northwest Florida, the school officials requested additional information from the Jackson County School Superintendent, and thus began a series of letters which gives a wealth of information as to the genealogy of the Scott Town mixed-bloods, their racial self-identification, and also the attitude of local whites towards them. 
 +
On October 13, 1938, J.R. Lowry, a Lumbee Indian and Dean of the Cherokee Indian Normal School, inquired of the Jackson County post master,
 +
 
 +
    “Is there a school in your town or county by the name of ‘Scott’s School’? If you do, please send me the name of the principal or head of the School. For what race is it maintained? (White or Colored).”
 +
 
 +
The postmaster forwarded the request to C.P. Finlayson, Superintendent of Public Instruction for Jackson County. Finlayson responded to Lowry,
 +
 
 +
    “In the community of the school there are several families of Scotts who from appearance can very easily be considered as belonging to the white race. However, it is generally believed in this county that they have some negro blood in them and for that reason they attend a negro school. It is of course possible that they might have a large percentage of Indian blood but I have no information or knowledge as to their ancestry.”
 +
 
 +
 
 +
The information regarding negro ancestry inspired Mary’s teacher, Mrs. G. Revels, to write a personal letter to Finlayson where she states,
 +
 
 +
    “..to write back immediately and answer the questions which I have asked you. It’s a shame for Mary to have to miss school when I am certain that she has not a bit of colored blood. She is one of the best students in her class…Please let me hear from you at once regarding this matter.”
 +
 
 +
Indeed, even Mary Francis herself felt it was necessary to write Finlayson to receive fair treatment,
 +
 
 +
  “If you will go out among my people you will find that none of them has had ambition to get out to school for an education and for that simple cause I would like to bring a light to them in that instance…I cannot help the situation among my people and yet I know that a drop of negro blood is not within me.”
 +
 
 +
  Finlayson, obviously moved by Mary’s letter, started an investigation into the issue. On February 28, 1939, he returned a letter to Mrs. Revels,
 +
 
 +
“In an effort to learn the true facts I made three visits to the community in which the Scott school is located and in spite of this effort I am still unable to give you any official statement as to her ancestors.”
 +
   
 +
Finlayson goes on to state that white citizens of the county believed them to have negro blood, but very little. Finlayson himself was unable to substantiate that claim, and further states,
 +
 
 +
    “The mother and grandfather with whom I talked claim there was no negro blood  in their veins but there was Indian blood. This I was of course unable to substantiate by any official records since there seem to be no records.”
 +
 
 +
In this letter Finlayson included two hand drawn family trees outlining the ancestry of Mary Francis Porter that were provided to him by Bessie Copeland and Mathias Porter. According to these notes Mary Francis was the great-granddaughter of Rebecca Goins Goodson who was ½ Indian and ½ white, and the great-granddaughter of Mary Attaway Scott who was also ½ Indian and ½ white.
 +
  Mary Francis’ half-brother, Armond Copeland, also kindled a series of letters when he was employed at the U.S. Naval Ordinance Plant in Macon, Georgia. In March and April of 1945, inquiries were made as to Copeland’s ancestry and the Jackson County School Superintendent at the time, J.D. Milton, obviously referred directly to the Mary Francis letters as he replied,
 +
 
 +
“Some of the forefathers claim there was no negro blood, but there was Indian blood. This, we are unable to substantiate by any official records.”
 +
 
 +
  In 1944 another case came before the Jackson County School Board much like the one that had surfaced in 1903. In this case the School Board would come to a conclusion which had much less backbone. Two Johnson children had been barred from the Grand Ridge School because of questions as to their ancestry. Notes from the Board’s investigation reveal that the boys were children of Sweetie Blanchard of Scott’s Ferry. The Board interviewed Woodie Staley, a black man living at Scott Town, and several white citizens. The Board was trying to determine the eligibility of the boys to attend Grand Ridge School based on whether their relatives attended white or colored schools in other areas. The Board was at a total loss when it discovered that relatives of the Johnson boys attended school at Marysville/Scott’s Ferry, a separate school, and at Woods, also a separate school. Unable to come to any conclusion, Board member Bishop “advised them to quit Grand Ridge School due to ‘crowded conditions’ and attend in Calhoun County.”
 +
 
 +
Chapter 8 “Like Other Good Indians”
 +
The Woods Community
 +
 
 +
At the beginning of 1900, Lumber companies in Georgia, faced with a dwindling supply of hardwoods, turned their attention to northwest Florida. Huge supplies of timber were available and easily accessible for harvesting on both banks of the Apalachicola River. By 1910 such companies as Graves Brothers, Cypress Lumber, Chipola Turpentine, Neal Timber, and Southern Hardwoods were busy installing large timber mills in both Liberty and Calhoun Counties. Many Lumbee Indians of Robeson County, North Carolina, who had left their homeland in the late 1800’s for timber employment in Georgia, followed the industry down to Florida. The largest number of Lumbee families, including the Oxendines, Revels’, and Jacobs’, settled into Liberty County on the eastern side of the Apalachicola, and it is here that they came into close continuous contact with the long-established Florida Cheraw-Catawba families. The combined effort of these two Indian groups to maintain gainful employment in timber resulted in the formation of an Indian settlement in Liberty County known as Woods.
 +
This settlement had several “Hill” families of Creek descent (see appendix), who had intermarried with the Cheraw. Also living in the community as well were several White families who had lived in the area for generations. Today many descendants of the original Woods settlement still live there as well as in the nearby communities of Bristol and Hosford.
 +
Some descendants of the Woods area Oxendine family today live in Jackson County in the Marianna and Cottondale areas, as well as many descendants of Noah Hill, who was identified as “Citizen-Indian” on his 1918 military enlistment. In order to understand the way the residents of Woods lived their daily lives, it is necessary to understand the Jim Crow attitudes of Georgia and Florida at that time.
 +
Malinda Maynor, in her excellent work entitled “People and Place: Croatan Indians in Jim Crow Georgia, 1890-1920” published in the American Indian Culture and Research Journal, gives a detailed study of a settlement of Lumbee Indians who migrated to Bulloch County, Georgia to work the timber in 1890. These Lumbee remained there until about 1920 when the industry moved south to Florida. On July 27, 1899 the Bulloch herald reported on the interest of their timber companies in the possibility of making good money in northwest Florida;
 +
 
 +
    “manufacturers were elated by what they saw in the way of turpentine and timber prospects in Florida and reported that they may invest some money down that way.”
 +
 
 +
Many Lumbee from Bulloch followed the timber down to Liberty in the late 1800’s and the early part of the 1900’s. Undoubtedly the same racial attitudes that these mixed-blood Indians faced in Georgia would also follow them down to Florida. One example of the conditions faced by the inhabitants of Woods is demonstrated by a 1901 article which appeared in the May 24, 1901 Statesboro News. This article made mention of a young boy who had been murdered at a timber camp;
 +
 
 +
    “The boy was about sixteen years old, and it is said was a part Indian.  And like other good Indians, he is now dead.”
 +
 
 +
  Even at its height, Woods was not quite large enough to be called a town. At its prime it consisted of about 14 homes, a one-room school, and a small merchandise store, which was operated by the Hill family. According to the residency claims of individual birth and marriage records, the community became physically known as “Woods” sometime around 1915. By the beginning of World War Two, the physical landmark buildings had fallen out of use, and today have mostly fallen away and are surrounded by dense growth. The Liberty County Courthouse was the victim of repeated fires both before and after 1940, and the County was unable to maintain any historic records prior to the Second World War, which makes it hard to find documentary evidence of the daily relations of the Woods community with their surrounding white and black neighbors.
 +
Mary Brown Kever, the wife of Frank Kever originally from France, was a woman of Catawba descent, who lived in the Woods settlement. Concerning Mary Brown and her origins, my grandfather Ray Kever, her grandson, was a man who was very full-blood Indian in his physical appearance. Several times through the years he would say to me, “My grandmother Mary Brown was an Indian from South Carolina and moved here with her French-speaking husband, a Whiteman. She was buried outside the White part of the Bristol Cemetery ( in Liberty County, Florida) because they wouldn’t let her be buried in the White part of the cemetery.”
 +
The following is an excerpt concerning the migration of his family from South Carolina to Florida sent to us by Professor Bloom, and is excerpted from the “Family Sketches” section of the book “Catawba Indian Genealogy” by Ian Watson, printed in 1995 as a part of the Papers in Anthropology, from the State University of New York. (ISBN 0-9617915-3-5)
 +
“Jamey Brown was living as early as 30 Nov. 1810 when he signed a petition (g1810), and was listed in the Plat Book under dates from 11 May 1813 to July 1819 (PB, 115). He was dead by September 1820 when his widow sally took his rents (PB, 111). Sally, sometimes called Sarah, was living as late as 1824 (PB 107). She was assigned rents with Billie Ayers once (PB 106), which suggests she may be the same person as Suzy Ayres who I list above among early, unconnected Browns. Jamey himself took rents for Prissy Bullen in 1816 (PB 175) Sally received rents for Jamey Browns children in Dec 1822 (PB 111,114), but their names are not known. Several lucky chances allow us to learn the identity of Sally Brown. A strange note in the plat Book (p.114) reads: “Quincy West Florida Apalachicola District Jamey Brown Catawba Indian intermarried with a Pamunkey Pocahontas.” We can interpret “Pocahontas” as a derogatory term for a Pamunkey woman, and not indicative of her actual name. So, checking the Murshes- The Pamunkey family who joined the Catawbas in the early 1800’s- We find that Sarah Mursh, the daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Mursh, was born 29 March 1790, was 28 and called sally in 1820, and, as sarah Brown, testified to her mother’s claim for a pension on 16 January 184{last number unreadable} (M01)”
 +
Another resident in Woods settlement with strong ties to both Scott Town and Scotts Ferry families was Mary Samantha Blanchard Dasher (the daughter of John Blanchard and Ellen Scott of Scott’s Ferry), the wife of Emmitt Dasher. The Hill family also had many students enrolled at the Marysville School at Scott’s Ferry. Oral history from Sallie Kever, who was very active as an Indian leader in Liberty County in the latter half of her life and was the daughter of Nellie Hill Whittaker, said that there were several ties between these same to communities that were generally unknown due to illegitimacy issues.
 +
    With the exhaustion of the hardwoods along the Apalachicola in the  1940’s, the majority of the Woods Communities inhabitants spread out to individual homesteads in western Liberty and other surrounding Counties, which was also occurring to a similar degree in the larger related settlements of Scott Town and Scott’s Ferry. This dispersion of population from the clustered settlements would only accelerate in the decades to come with desegregation.  In the documentary record, several Cheraw men, including Noah Hill from the Woods Community, are recorded on their WW I Civil Enlistment cards under the race block as” Caucasian” and “Indian”, with the checkmark being in the “citizen” rather than the “non-citizen” box under the Indian racial category.
 +
 +
 +
 +
In his recent book “Those Who Remain; A Photographers Memoir of South Carolina Indians”, Gene J. Crediford stated:
 +
 +
“On June 2, 1924, Congress passed the Citizenship Act of 1924, which states that “all non-citizen Indians born within the territorial limits of the United States be, and they are hereby, declared to be citizens of the United States: provided that the granting of such citizenship shall not in any manner impair or otherwise affect the right of any Indian to tribal or other property” (U.S. Code, Title 8, sec. 1401 [a][2]). In this context a non-citizen Indian means, as I understand it, a person who is a member of a federally recognized tribe; in other words “citizen Indians” were at the mercy of state laws in that era.”
 +
 +
As we have seen from the many court cases and social incidents regarding the school and military enlistment situations in the first half of the twentieth century we have reviewed earlier, north Florida’s Cheraw people were definitely at the “mercy of state laws” of the time.
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
                                                                                                                                65
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
Chapter 9 “…A Nation of Our Own”
 +
Today’s Challenges
 +
As we have seen, in the following few decades after desegregation, the Cheraw people faced the challenge of finding a new way to define “community”, without the pressure of racist laws and social policies that previously had unwillingly on their part, defined their lives. This is a challenge that continues to this day.  In the past 100 years, individuals were part of the “Indian community” as much by the laws and attitudes of the outside society forcing you there, “keeping you in your place”, as by their own choice to remain close to home, according to elders stories.
 +
The End of Segregation
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Through the century that racial segregation was the law of the land, those who could “pass” as white often did, leaving the area, some never to be heard from again. With the advent of the civil rights era and end of the old southern social order, community members had a real choice about whether they wanted to be a part of their parents and grandparents community or not. As a result, almost immediately after desegregation there was a major drop in the rate of intermarriage among community members, and a pronounced increase in marriages to whites. At the same time, a pronounced increase in community out-migration by individuals and some families in search of greener pastures had occurred, and the population dwindled. Within a decade a majority of the population of the original historic settlements had left. With these changes, community leaders sought new strategies for survival, a few joining in the renaissance of the Indian culture, and the emergence of the pan-Indian politics that occurred in the 1960’s and 70’s.
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With the close of the policy of racial segregation found in southern states and the imposed social isolation that was responsible for the precarious “in-between” social status unique to some Indian settlements in north Florida as well as other Indian communities in the southern states, new challenges of identity and community survival arose that were unknown to previous generations. Desegregation and the striking down of notorious “Jim Crow” and miscegenation (race-mixing) laws, caused community dynamics within the Indian settlements that had had been functional since the Civil War began to quickly change. Segregation was a powerful force that had compelled unity and cohesion in order to survive for over a century. As a result of the end of the established social order, many individuals and families tried to escape their past by moving away from the settlements to areas where no one knew their families’ origins. Some moved away to Lakeland, Atlanta, Pensacola, and even as far away as California. Families moved to other areas, both near and far, hoping for a better future and to put the pain of their ancestors racial identity struggles behind them, and many never looked back.
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Others, especially in the Marianna/Blountstown area turned to the newly emerging ‘Creek Indian’ political identity and social movement emerging in the panhandle of Florida, southeastern Alabama, and South Georgia. In the Florida panhandle some began to organize behind an enthusiastic young Indian leader, recently graduated from University, a feat never accomplished by until that time by any Indian. This young man was Dr. Andrew Ramsey. He would become a key figure in the emergence of the Creek Indian identity, and the co-opting of the historic Cheraw settlements into this movement, which we will discuss in-depth later.
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With the new realities of the social scene, the younger generation of Indians in the 1960’s and 70’s found opportunity to advance within reach, and many, often times veterans, began to act. As an isolated group that didn’t fit neatly into southern societies White/Black classification system, many natives were often open to legal harassment, undue punishment by authorities, and social hostility in schools, hospitals, and other public areas, under the old order. As Indian people, they were without the population size, density, or power structures that were present in the black communities at the time. Many Cheraw Indian men served in the military and upon coming home were looking for a better life than the narrow restrictions imposed on their communities’ identity in past generations, because of perceptions by outsiders of them as a group of people of racially mixed and uncertain origins. As the documentation we have collected shows, dozens of the Scott Town, Scotts Ferry, and Woods settlement men had fought the military’s racial classification system when trying to enlist.
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On two separate occasions during the Second World War the military sent investigators to inquire into this strange circumstance regarding the community’s racial identity, which we are fortunate enough to have transcripts from some of these inquiries, regarding Armond Copeland’s experiences, for one. Many of the men who enlisted were initially pushed to be in the Negro ranks due to having attended a “negro school”, as Scotts School and Scotts Ferry’s school at Marysville were listed as by the county. This was their situation despite their continual assertions that they were Indians.
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All were eventually allowed to be in white units, many fighting valiantly in European and Pacific theatres. Similar situations occurred and were documented by the men enlisting to fight in World War I and in the Civil War as well, as with many of the Oxendine, Copeland, and Scott men and Rubin Blanchard as well. Before the end of the old social order, The Indian settlements suffered the worst of the many evils of segregation. While they were being subjected to stifling social restrictions and often times were legally persecuted, they would withdraw into themselves, families taking care of each other to survive. Though they were often erroneously labeled as mulattos and even Negro’s by the local authorities, they consistently insisted on the native identity as is shown by the documentation from the times. Indians did not have the numbers and the social power due to that which the Black communities did.  (The civil rights movement was a culmination of this power base exercising its collective might).
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The presence of these social factors and solid institutional structures let leaders in the black community of the times actually have some power in negotiating White-Negro community relations. This was a luxury that the small Indian settlements didn’t have due to their small and isolated populations, whether in north Florida, Southern Alabama or anywhere in the Jim Crow south.
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In the “boom years” after World War II, many family headmen were visiting places where there was greater economic opportunities, and often took their families with them. In light of the economic benefits of moving as well as less stigma of being from the “Mulatto settlements”, as the Indian hamlets were often legally viewed as, many families broke ties with relatives and never returned. The families who remained in the panhandle settlements began to reorient themselves to new social realities, some towards a white identity, others closer to their Indian roots. One result of the end of forced segregation was an immediate drop in the amount of marriages within the tribal community as eligible marriage partners left for greener pastures. For many who did, an emerging trend would become dominant for a generation, often eclipsing the actual roots of the families in the community, the Eastern Creek movement and the accompanying struggle for participation in the Indian Claims Commission awards to Creek Indians and for state and federal acknowledgement of the remnant Creek communities.
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Chapter 10 “Where Were They Then?”
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Creeks and Cheraws
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The Emerging Creek Identity and Indian Power Struggles of the 1970’s
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Spurred by the Indian Claims Commissions findings in favor of the descendants of the Creek people who were stripped of their lands unjustly in the first half of the nineteenth century being compensated, a new movement was born in South Georgia and Alabama and in northern Florida. During the century after removal, thousands of descendants of Creeks who did not go west melted into the general population of the southern states and beyond, but in a few corners of the Creek Nations old homeland, some did not. One of these places was in the area surrounding Atmore, Alabama. In Escambia, Monroe, Baldwin, and other counties, sizable populations of Creek people, modern families whose ancestors were party to the Treaty of Fort Jackson. This little known treaty,  which allowed friendly Creek Warriors who had fought with the United States against the hostile Red Stick Creeks, to remain in the east after receiving small allotments of land. Many of them would eventually leave for the Indian Territory (or Texas in the case of Nimrod Doyle), but many remained and eventually settled in their own small, isolated rural communities.
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Some such as the descendants of the Creek Chief McIntosh (of Treaty of Indian Springs infamy) eventually settled near Cairo, Georgia adapted well to intermarriage with local whites and were soon indistinguishable physically or culturally from them. Other similar communities existed in various locations throughout the formerly Creek lands, but none with the large population or cohesiveness as the Poarch Creeks, as the communities around Atmore came to be eventually known as. The intermarriage rate among community members, which is considered key by Bureau of Indian Affairs to its opinion on whether a community is Indian or not, was high and many phenotypically “full-blood” people remained, as documented extensively by Dr. Anthony Parades during the Poarch Band during their march to federal acknowledgement. Due to several social and legal situations that the Poarch Creeks were confronted with, a steady rise in community consciousness and political activism arose through the second half of the twentieth century among the Creeks there, to eventually result in federal acknowledgement by the B.I.A.  recognizing them as an Indian Tribe in the mid-1980’s, and the establishment of the Poarch Creek Reservation.
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The political beginnings of the movement towards southeastern Creek identity revitalization was called the Creek Nation East of the Mississippi, This pan-southeastern Creek umbrella organization formed in the late 1950’s from a movement led by some Creek Indians from the Atmore, Alabama area, principally Calvin McGhee. They were very active in traveling to various areas to speak to others about the Creel Land claims settlement and to enroll people in the emerging tribal structure. It was a council with leaders of families of Creek descent (and Cheraw as well, which we will discuss later in the text) from the three states. It grew over the next two decades, and eventually breaks apart by the late 1970’s into locally “state-specific” tribes, most of which petitioned the B.I.A. for recognition of their groups.
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All besides the Poarch Band were unsuccessful in their bids for acknowledgement. Some of the outcomes of the Creek Identity Revitalization in the south was the eventual federal acknowledgement in the mid 1980’s of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PCI) in lower Alabama, State recognition of the (Tama) Lower Muscogee Tribe of Georgia as a “tribe of people” during Carter’s term as Governor, and the still ongoing petition for federal acknowledgement by the Muscogee Nation of Florida, headquartered in the central Florida panhandle town of Bruce. Several other self-identified “Creek” groups in the Florida panhandle were rejected for federal acknowledgement, as well as several groups claiming Cherokee ancestry. In Alabama and Georgia, Indian groups who did not make the bar for federal status could and did  push for state recognition, which many did receive in the 1990’s and later. Over a half dozen groups self-identifying as Creek, Cherokee, and Shawnee have been recognized in Alabama alone to date. The MOWA Choctaw, of McIntosh Alabama, a group with multiple tribal origins and a social history of segregation similar to that of Cheraw groups in the Carolinas and north Florida were rejected for federal acknowledgement but are one of several state recognized in Alabama.
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The state of Florida forbids state recognition of any tribal groups who do not already have federal acknowledgement. This is most likely due to the presence of a powerful Seminole and Miccosukee lobby in the state and federal halls of power, according to panhandle Creek leaders. To return our narrative to the generation who led the way in bringing many southeastern Indian communities out of the isolation endured under the Jim Crow era social situation, the experiences that many of them had in the war led to deep changes in their expectations of life. Setting the stage for momentous social changes to come, many men from Indian hamlets throughout the south returned from World War II wanting to make changes for their families, and to have a better life than that of the older generations.
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This generation made many great leaps in the subsequent decades, as can see by the reorganization and acknowledgement of eastern Indian tribes from the Florida Seminole and Miccosukee to the Tunica-Biloxi of Louisiana. A dozen tribes across the southeast who had previously slumbered in rural isolation emerged into the realm of modern American politics.  With the determination that is characteristic of the “greatest generation”, the returning veterans throughout these Indian communities led them into a new era of expanded civil rights and opportunity. This all occurring within Indian communities even as the legal, political, and social face of the entire southern society changed. The social dialogue within what remained of the swiftly eroding population base of the Florida Cheraw community grew and leaders became cognizant of the need to refocus community self-awareness, activity, and identity on the common past versus an uncertain future. Using the experiences of past generation’s gains, key elders publicly-expressed identity, and a growing awareness of the outside worlds potential, they encouraged pride in being Indian as a legitimate feeling and expression of love of self and community. For some of the older generation who had experienced the racism of the old social order, they had a difficult time embracing the new “popularity” of being Indian, many of whom still do. This was understandable after having been attacked on all sides for a good part of their lives, simply for not “looking white” enough to their fellow Floridians.
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The newly emerging Indian identities that developed were hard to understand for some elders, especially the reclusive Scott Town families, many of which were moving to Lakeland, Escambia County, and other parts of the panhandle in attempts to better themselves. The suddenness and ease with which some of the “Creek Indians” appeared was viewed by some Calhoun and Jackson county Indians with suspicion. Especially when some of the newly declared “Creek Indians”, who were popping up all over the tri-state area and wanting their “Indian Money”, were some of the grandchildren of the same authorities who had persecuted the Scott Town and Scotts Ferry Indians  as “Mulattos and Negro’s” in decades and centuries past. But, difficult as the years after the civil rights era were, they were better than they had been in along long time. At long last, the power to define their community was now in their own hands, but as before, they would face opposition from others when they would assert their Indian identity.
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Dr. Andrew Ramsey of Blountstown
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Beginning in the late nineteen sixties and early seventies, there was a concerted push by certain families and individual leaders within the large group of families of Indian descent in the Blountstown and surrounding communities to minimize the “Carolina Indian” origins of many of the Marianna/Blountstown area Indian families in preference to what can only be called a few isolated lines of descent of Muscogee Creek blood within the larger “Carolina Indian” community. This approach to defining the post segregation Indian identity as Creek has been especially forwarded by the well-known Blountstown Indian leader, Dr. Andrew Ramsey. He is a descendent of the Boggs family who lived near Scott Town, on Boggs Pond. (Washington Boggs was an influential man in the 19th century Scott Town settlement and his house which stands near Scott’s Church, is one of the few turn of the century houses still standing. He was enumerated on several censuses as a resident of Scott Town and as non-white). In the late nineteenth century the Boggs family moved from the Boggs Pond/Scott Town area south to Blountstown, and established a business there. Over several decades in leadership, through Dr. Ramsey’s recollections of family lore, a narrative developed based on the oral history that came to be accepted by most people, Indian and non-Indian alike, as the story of the Indians in Calhoun and Jackson counties.
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This oft-cited narrative which is enshrined in a large metal historic marker in front of the old Calhoun County Courthouse and in several large teletype books at the local library and the Florida State Archives, unfortunately lacks documentary evidence and is mainly based on oral history and contemporary affidavit, with almost no actual historical documentary evidence found in the books despite their bulk and obvious great effort and expense to make. They should be viewed as what they are put forward as, the “oral history” of the Boggs family, and not the story told by federal, state, and county records relating to persons identified as Indian in any of these sources. Close examination of what little documents there in Dr. Ramsey’s narratives show a gross misinterpretation of their meaning in the social context of the times, such as the 1920’s voter record which shows Joe Scott and his spouse listed as “C.I.” under the race heading. This was construed as representing ‘Creek Indian” by some, but is most likely representative of “Caucasian-Indian” as many Calhoun and Jackson county men put as their race on their 1918 military enlistments, or even “citizen Indian” as Noah Hill of the Woods settlement listed himself as. The genealogy books produced by Dr. Ramsey during the 1960’s and 70’s attempts to establish the Boggs family as direct descendants of Apalachicola Creek Chief Tuski Harjo, of the pre-removal Creek reservation era, through a daughter named Polly Parrot. Much of the narratives stories lack documentary evidence of any kind, but this hasn’t prevented them from becoming “gospel” regarding the Indian history of the area to many citizens of Blountstown whatever their race. The story of ‘Polly Parrot and her Apalachicola Creeks’ is still recited by many Calhoun County Indian people as fact even when confronted with the historical documentation of the larger story of the actual experiences of the Native community, and was a part of the reason for the need for compilation of this book.
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There are MANY people in the Calhoun/Jackson county area, Native and non-Native alike, who would prefer that the actual documented  story of most of the Indians (of Blountstown and Marianna area) origins in the Carolinas and their  experiences and treatment as colored under segregation would just go away, and never be known. The mythology of Indian people’s history from the central panhandle that has been touted for the last half century in unsupported by the historical evidence, evidence I have personally witnessed being suppressed by tribal and community leaders during the last 20 years. Individuals from several Calhoun County families including Ayers, Scott, Laramore, Jacobs, Hill, Whitfield and others have contacted me over the last several years to dispute that members of these families ever attended “Negro schools” or were anything but “good ole white southerners’. This is unfortunate since the documents we have painstakingly researched for twenty years from the era clearly document the several communities’ history. Often times Indians we talk with who have these same surnames and are related to the naysayers don’t have a problem understand the double standard that Indians were held to back then, because many still live with it today. To deny the existence of Indians there who still do struggle to uphold their heritage honestly as Carolina Indian people would be as wrong as those who insist that there is an unbroken and intact Creek community from removal till today in the central panhandle despite there being little to no documentary evidence of such. This is the assertion of several creek leaders and organizations currently.
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While several families including Chief Ramsey’s were drawn into the fray over Creek Indian ancestry and politics from the 1960’s to the present, a steady growing chorus from certain elders in Cheraw and Lumbee families begged to differ with the Creek identity that had come to characterize all Indians in the panhandle, though many have only recently realized the need to organize and act in their own (and in their courageous ancestors) best interest. Chief Ramsey should not be held to be harshly judged for the lack of accurate research opportunities situation of his times and the difficulty of securing documentation in the decades past. He has worked tirelessly for all Indian people in Florida for many decades and is one of the most highly regarded persons in the eyes of many, especially the Indian families of Blountstown whom he has defended and advocated for countless times. He has been a diligent and unflinching Chief of the Blountstown Indian community despite several family tragedies, failing health, and difficult political and spiritual decisions on behalf of the Apalachicola River area Indian people, of both Creek and Cheraw descent.
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Of deep concern to the current leaders of the Apalachicola River Indian Community Conference and the Florida Cheraw tribal government today is that several items from the documentary Cheraw history of the Calhoun and Jackson County areas have appeared in the supporting documentation for acknowledgement by B.I.A. of several of the “Creek” groups petitioning for acknowledgment as tribes, in the 1980’s, in an attempt to document their contention that  “un-removed Creeks’ had remained “hidden in the panhandle”.
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We are often told how these invisible creek communities were not “allowed” to say they were Indian or to be Indian, yet Tom Scott, David Martin, and other leaders from the documented Cheraw settlements at Scott Town and Scotts Ferry had no such hesitation when interviewed by outside agents of the military, educational institutions, and courts. These leaders had no hesitation in insisting on their Indian identity as can be seen in the following quotes from the historic record:
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• “There are men who would knife us out of having our own school saying that we are negroe. You know our character that we are of white and Indian blood…”
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-Scotts Ferry School Trustee Dave Martin to Calhoun County Clerk of Court-1938
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• “The mother and grandfather with whom I talked claim there was no negro blood  in their veins but there was Indian blood. This I was of course unable to substantiate by any official records since there seem to be no records.”
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• “Some of the forefathers claim there was no negro blood, but there was Indian blood. This, we are unable to substantiate by any official records.”
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• “In the community of the school there are several families of Scotts who from appearance can very easily be considered as belonging to the white race. However, it is generally believed in this county that they have some negro blood in them and for that reason they attend a negro school. It is of course possible that they might have a large percentage of Indian blood but I have no information or knowledge as to their ancestry.”
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-JD Milton, Superintendent of Jackson County Schools in a series of correspondence upon interviewing Tom Scott of Scott Town as to the community’s origins-1942
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• “Eliza Scott is not a Mulatto as named in the indictment but is an Indian of the
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        Catawba tribe, her grandfather Jacob Scott being a headman of that tribe.”(11)
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-testimony during trail of Elizabeth Scott and Frank Hill, “Fornication with a Mulatto” charge, Calhoun County, 1860
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These quotes show that at least some Indians remained in the Florida panhandle and were visible, throughout the 1800 and 1900’s. the claims by many of the ‘pop-up’ Indian groups that they had to hide their identity as Indians rings hollow in light of what is found above. Most of the suddenly appearing petitioning tribes are now politically defunct or nearly so. All the petitioning groups except for the Muscogee Nation of Florida were rejected summarily by the Bureau of Indian Affairs for federal acknowledgement.
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The Muscogee Nation of Florida, to date, is still in the process of petitioning. Dr. Ramsey actively participated in the Creek community leadership, and is most likely of some Creek/Miccosukee ancestry. He has been trying for decades to organize and represent those emerging publicly as Indian as “Creek”, some of whom were of questionable ancestry and/or community ties from the start. Part of the problem was that many of the actual Indian families, who had themselves or whose parents had attended the segregated schools were still “hiding out or lying low” as one Cheraw elder put it. They were most comfortable in their own small social circles and had little interest in organizations larger than the local community level for the most part. Many were trying to avoid the racism still very present in most panhandle counties, against those who look phenotypically Indian.
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Interviews in 2004 with Blountstown community elder Elaine Hill Fowler told of generations of  her family member’s attempts to maintain dignity as Indian people under the constant barrage of assimilation efforts by missionaries, teachers, and the ever present law enforcement officials. Many elders today tell in interviews of feeling fortunate to be left alone and passed off as white, for the most part, by today’s generation, unlike the social struggles of their youth. But they also tell of wanting their grandchildren and great grandchildren to have pride in being Indian and to be successful in “the Whiteman’s world”. “They shouldn’t forget where we come from” one said at the 1999 Apalachicola River Indian Community Conference.
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In returning to the developments since the 1960’s in the panhandle Indian community, part of the reason for Dr. Ramsey and other leader’s enthusiasm for Creek ancestral ties, real or imagined, was the “colored” status of many Cheraw in the previous generations and the desire by some of their descendants in the last 40 years to distance themselves from it. Especially when those leaders owned prosperous businesses and had social connections to the White power structure, it behooved them to minimize perceptions of local Indians as “less than Whites” despite that being the daily reality only a generation or two earlier for most Cheraw. Dr. Ramsey has been considered an influential community chief for many decades, and sat on the Florida Governors Council of Indian Affairs with the representatives of the Seminole and Miccosukee Tribes of Florida for over a decade in the 1980’s. He worked diligently for many years of ceaseless labor on behalf of all Indian people in the Florida panhandle.
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A Complex Social History is Not Easily Simplified
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During the last forty years since the arising of Creek Indian activism within the historically documented Indian descended population in northern Florida and lower Alabama, there has been an effort to simplify histories and social realities that are often very complex. I say historically documented Indian population because during the last few decades there has been a great expansion of awareness and interest in ancestry among the tens of thousands of Creek Indian descendants’.
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This renaissance has been accompanied by an explosion of the amount of persons identifying themselves as “Native American” on the recent few decades federal census. This group of “Indian descendants’” has expanded each year and are very active, attending powwows, having festivals, and engaging in other such pan-Indian activities. The people who were part of this phenomenon were described as “Thindians” (thin Indian bloodlines) by Joe Quetone of the Governors Council of Indian Affairs once. The ensuing raucous social and political struggle for Creek Indian identity during the last four decades all but eclipsed the quiet goings on in the historic Cheraw Indian settlements and the new satellite communities they were forming in Blountstown, Marianna, Pensacola, and Lakeland. These communities that were composed of persons whose parents, grandparents, and communities were identified as Indian pre-1950 were few and far between, not over a half dozen, in all of north Florida, including a couple in Holmes and Walton counties. These communities were often labeled as “Melungean, Redbone, Mulatto, Creole, Dominickers”, and other pejoratives. This was the case with the Cheraw Indians of north Florida as well, especially so in the largest communities like Scotts Ferry and Scott Town, though community leaders such as Mathias Porter and Tom Scott, and other courageous individuals consistently identified themselves as “Indian” whenever outside investigators inquired, and did what they could to avoid trouble with the White power structure.
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These communities were isolated and self-reliant, tribal members taking care of each other and often times the less fortunate of any race who wound up among them. The schools in the Indian communities during the segregation era were often classified and funded by the county as “Negro” or “Colored”, despite the people attending them looking decidedly “not negro”, and identifying themselves as Indian in the board of education correspondence records. The years from the end of the Civil War to the civil rights era were difficult times, and the community members were socially persecuted and subjected to undue harassment often. In my studies and travels I have observed that the social existence and uniqueness of these communities is unappreciated and mostly unknown by the contemporary academic authorities on Florida’s Indians.
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The Indians struggles for self-determination can be seen in the many legal records that we have collected reflecting the last one hundred and eighty years of interaction with outside authorities by tribal members, documentation that record frequent prosecution for violations of race mixing laws and customs of the local white authorities and the race-obsessed southern society in general. There has been considerable interaction, cooperation, and at times feuding with the self-identifying “exclusively Creek” neighbors and relatives of the members of the Cheraw Indians of north Florida Communities over the last 30 years. The conditions that have led to the dominance of the “Creek identity” I discussed earlier are ongoing and deeply rooted in the post segregation social and economic circumstances in the historical old settlements and rural Jackson, Calhoun, and Liberty County settings. These areas that were formerly the base of Cheraw Indian people’s population are now generally devoid of any substantial Indian residents.
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The return to the oral history roots, as Indians from the Carolinas, in self-identification and in efforts towards research and community action is slowly strengthening each year, especially in the most populated modern population centers for Cheraw Indians in north Florida, namely the towns of Marianna and Blountstown in the central panhandle, and among the Scott and related families in Escambia County and in Lakeland in the east.
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In the past, most families who were identifiable Indians (physically appearing to look “Indian”) coincided with general expectations of “what Indians are supposed to look like”, and were less likely to identify as “Creek” and more likely to identify with Carolina Indian origins. These persons and families were often the poorest of the poor, even among Indians. They would probably be older in age and from rural home place sites and steadily declining population hamlets, such as modern Scotts Ferry, Scott Town and Woods. This was especially true of families such as those of Hugh Oxendine, Robert Jacobs, Tom Scott, Cleve Conyers, and Noah Hill’s descendants’ and countless others. Many of these families valued kinship and the rural ways of their ancestor’s more than modern conveniences. The push to identify as Creek could be because the “recruiting efforts” by Creek activists in the preceding decades in the more populated areas like Panama City, Blountstown and Marianna caused individuals participating in Indian community activities to not want to say or do things that would go against established Indian organizational leadership expectations. The multi-state, large scale aspect of the Creek Identity phenomena over the past several decades, especially the seventies and eighties, may well be the leading cause for the minimization of the Carolina Cheraw roots of many of the Jackson, Calhoun, and Liberty county families up until the present.
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.  As stated earlier there has been a steady erosion of the social forces that led to persons of Cheraw AND Creek bloodlines to identify exclusively as Creek. Particularly the ongoing research shows the historical roots of the majority of the families of the Indians of north Florida settlements are Cheraw (Lumbee, Catawba, Nansemond, and others) in origins. This coincides with the oral history of the oldest living generation, whom state often parents, grandparents and depending on age or generation sometimes the grandparent’s or great grandparent’s as being from South Carolina, and less often as North Carolina. The Scott, Porter, Copeland, Jacobs and Oxendine families, especially, have not interacted with the larger MNOF and other Creek organizations. From extensive interviews with elders of the communities we learn that in the past, particularly before the advent of the “Creek resurgence” in the late 60’s and 70’s, the commonly held tribal identity was spoken of as “Carolina Indian”, and on rarer occasions as “Cherokee Indian”. This was observed first hand among the Bass, Hill, Kever, Jacobs, Boggs, Scott, and other family elder interviews. The Hill family has had a leading role in the more conservative, less educated portion of the Cheraw Indian people, especially for the last 30 years among the Blountstown Indian crowd, though under the leadership of Dr. Ramsay. I wanted to include copies of some of the original documents collected during decades of research into the Hill families’ origins over the last few decades, as a family of Creek origins who were intermarried with Cheraw people.
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I have observed the distribution of the historical documentation of Indian bloodlines among the various descendent branches of the Hill and related families affect the self-image and organizational structure of this group of interrelated families and people, with those who had crossed into a more assimilated status previously becoming more active. In the mid and late 1990’s, a pro-Muscogee Nation of Florida faction, allied with Chief Andrew Ramsey wrestled with an anti-MNOF faction that emerged and led the disenrollment of the majority of members of the Hill and related families from the MNOF, led by Pony Hill. This was subsequent to a 1994 break with the Apalachicola Ceremonial Grounds, now called White Earth (an institution whose membership is predominately Ward family members, the largest family group within the MNOF). A new ceremonial ground emerged, Kunfuskee Ceremonial Grounds, was started by members of the Hill family who had broken with the White Earth leadership in charge at the time.
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A couple of years later, the Ward faction led by Ann Tucker and her many Ward and related family cousins consolidated their takeover of the MNOF, headquartered in Bruce and White Earth Ceremonial Grounds in Blountstown. In an attempt to maintain peace, Chief Andrew Ramsey, who was a Ward on one side of his family, and a Boggs, (a Scott Town descendent family) on the other, was placed in the White Earth Grounds Chief seat. Very few people of Cheraw descent besides Dr. Andrew Ramsay attend this ceremonial grounds and it has been repeatedly vandalized by local Cheraw AIM members in an attempt to push it out. All most all of the leaders and members of the grounds are Creek descendants or are of no documentable Indian ancestry, though there was one family of Carolina Waccamaw attending who had moved from the Buckhead Cheraw community to Florida.
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The Blountstown Indian Community Conference
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The Blountstown Indian Community Conference, began in 1996, is a yearly tribal gathering of the Creek, Lumbee, and Cheraw Indians (regardless of enrollment group or status) of the Apalachicola River area, and was initiated as an attempt to reject the “Creek Only” identity put forward under the leadership of Dr. Ramsey..
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Creeks and Cheraws
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As has been stated throughout this narrative, a spirit of resistance and communal survival has sustained the families of the Cheraw diaspora on their journeys. Adaption has constantly taken place over the last several centuries as they have made their way in an oft hostile social environment and became “strangers in their own land”. Part of the point we hope to make in this book is that when the documentary evidence is examined that it will be apparent that, in north Florida, the historic settlements of Cheraw people such as those at Scott Town, Scotts Ferry, Mount Zion, and others, were consistently treated as distinct communities by the white power structure, a very different experience that the many “Creek descendants” in the area.
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Over the last few decades since desegregation, the Creeks in the states of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida have pretty well sorted out among themselves, the states and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the status of various groups. Some of these groups such as the Poarch Band of Creek Indians have easily documented their past as a distinct community through the years since removal, though it is one that shares much unacknowledged Cheraw ancestry. Many other groups who petitioned the B.I.A. for federal acknowledgement as Indian Tribes were quickly rejected due to a lack of documentable evidence that they met the requirements of acknowledgement. One, the Muscogee Nation of Florida, continues its acknowledgement petitioning process through the B.I.A. that it started in 1977, as well as has a congressional bill before the Congress asking for recognition, interestingly at the same time as the Lumbee Tribe of Cheraw Indians attempts to get a bill through. To date both tribes have been unsuccessful.
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Despite the “Creek Indian renaissance” and public interest in possible Indian ancestry that’s occurred over the last 30 years, most of the descendants of the panhandle Cheraw families continue to live quiet productive lives centered on family and community. This is the heart of their tribal identity today. Much like the Lumbee and other Cheraw tribes in the Carolina homelands, their identity is not in powwows, feathers, and other modern trappings of contemporary “Native America”, but in the deeply held beliefs and life-ways focused on kinship ties and the land.
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Most respect and cherish their Carolina Indian heritage, and are very defensive of it and their privacy. Some still carry a burden of shame related to the perceptions of Indians by outsiders. They often wrestle with the meaning of being Indian in modern society, and where heritage fits into the work week and paying ever present bills. The second and third generations since desegregation and the treatment of many Cheraw people as colored by southern societal institutions are now becoming middle-aged and sharing more of the painful experiences that Indians faced then with family members and researchers. In a dozen interviews we conducted during the winter of 2009/2010 with Poarch Creek reservation elders, some of which had Cheraw ancestry (Hosford, Dees, Gibson, Taylor, etc…), we heard a recurrent theme. One of exasperation at today’s easily acquired Indian identity.
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“Where were all these people these days saying they are Indians when I and my parents couldn’t go into town? When we were being called Negro? I never heard of them!”
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-Poarch Creek elder of Creek/Cheraw descent in a 2010 interview
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The above quote is something we were tearfully told by one family’s matriarch. I have heard similar feelings from countless Florida Cheraw elders over the last twenty years of research. The difference for Indians in the Florida panhandle is that of state and federal acknowledgement of the “existence” of their heritage or tribe.
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For many of them and their families, without the designation as “federal” Indians, like that enjoyed by their neighbors the Poarch Creeks, those who appear phenotypically Indian find that they still live in a racial no-man’s land. In the courts, schools, and other social institutions a daily battle as old as the south continues as Cheraw people try to maintain their dignity and identity as Native people in the face of southern racist stereotypes and attitudes. Living among the Creek descendants in many communities today, Cheraw people find themselves in difficulty to explain clearly to other Indians their origins and identity. Florida Cheraw Indians have lived with this quandary for generations, as the correspondences between the Jackson County School officials, the Cherokee Indian Normal School Dean, and Scott Town leaders highlighted earlier in the narrative exemplify. Situations like this are countless over the last two centuries since Cheraw first came to Florida.
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This is especially true for the Escambia County, Florida area families, many the descendants of Jim Scotts family, some of whom live in the same communities as Poarch Creeks in and around Atmore, Flomaton, Pensacola, Century, and nearby communities. If Lumbee Cheraws in their tens of thousands in North Carolina and throughout the country have a tough time up holding their tribal identities in the eyes of other Indians, how much more so for a few hundred in north Florida among the tens of thousands of Creek descendants. Possibly the MOWA Choctaw would be the only other community to know the experience, and they at least are state recognized. The State of Florida has no such process for recognizing the non-federal Indian communities and wont as long as the Seminole and Miccosukee lobbyists in the state capital are concerned, as one Cheraw leader said. Dozens of supposed Creek tribes have come and gone during the second half of the twentieth century, and those who have survived have reorganized greatly again and again. Outside of the core communities of the Poarch Creeks in Escambia County, Alabama, few if any of the self-identifying Creek groups of the panhandle of Florida can document a history as separate communities, or even as Indians, in the eyes of many academics and federal tribal leaders.
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A century of hard work on the social, political, and economic fronts has begun to see fruition for the Indians who remained in the Cheraw homeland. There has been a steadily rising presence on the state and federal political scene by the Cheraw peoples in the Carolinas  especially groups like the Lumbee Tribe of Cheraw Indians, Haliwa-Saponi, Waccamaw, Tuscarora, and dozens of others in North Carolina, and the Wassamasaw, Edisto, Santee, Beaver Creek, Sumter Cheraw, Pee Dee, Waccamaw, and Catawba tribes in South Carolina. Interconnections among the groups in the Carolinas and Florida have led to rising organizational movement among the Cheraw people in the panhandle of Florida as a group, rather than the co-option into the Creek politics that has characterized the last four decades. One thing that the Cheraw groups in the Carolina don’t face that the Florida group does is the overwhelming presence of Creek Indians and the thousands of descendants of creek Indians.
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For many Florida Cheraw families whose parents or grandparents and other family members who attended one of the several schools maintained for them, the stigma of these being called “Colored Schools”, and the unjust treatment of community members by non-Indian neighbors and authorities is still a fresh wound. Previous to desegregation there seems to have been a minimal amount of intermarriage between people of Creek descent, and members of the various Cheraw Communities. In the half century since, there has been many such unions, especially among the Scott Town Cheraw families who moved to northern Escambia County Florida, those in the Blountstown/Panama City area, and among the Lakeland settlement.
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Many of the families contacted for this research were very reluctant to discuss anything to do with the past, many wanting to move on, but not all shared this feeling. Some community members expressed pride in the Indian identity and in the courage of their ancestors to persevere. Many courageous elders, like Mary Scott, Elaine Hill Fowler, and Ozella Strutko shared family stories and photos, taking valuable time and resources of their own to help in this research effort. In some instances this was even done in the face of opposition from family members. The entirety of the research is far from done, and is in fact just beginning in many ways. It’s time for the story of the Cheraw people’s journey to come out of the shadows. The time for shame is passed.
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Afterword
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The Future…A Phoenix Rising?
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As the generation of Florida Cheraw who themselves or whose parents attended the Jim Crow era “Indian Schools” at Scott Town and Scott’s Ferry pass on, the need for these Cheraw individuals, families, and community organizations to step forward in a greater capacity to secure a place at the table of Florida and Southeastern Indian affairs grows. Unlike the trend of the last few decades where being Indian is popular and tens of thousands of descendants of individual Creek Indians in the 1830’s have emerged to populate the powwows and roadside Indian exhibits in north Florida, the Cheraw people of the Scott Town and Scott’s Ferry families have remained in the social shadows. Though individuals from several families have become deeply involved in Creek politics over the last several decades, the larger community of Cheraw families has languished in a voluntary cultural and social amnesia. These elders are, in some cases, unwilling to speak of their struggles and suffering, even to close family members. The poverty, disenfranchisement, and blatant racism experienced by the elder generation during the past have led to a very present psychological barrier to anything to do with the past. We have found in the 15 years of doing interviews and meetings with Cheraw tribal elders that at least half have significantly been affected by their childhood experiences in very negative ways that continue to affect them and their descendants. Many still feel great shame and can verbalize their feelings only with great effort, if at all. 
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Deep and sometimes unexpected emotional responses have been very common as we have opened doors in their memories and hearts that they have kept shut for many decades. As tragically, we have found in these interviews with several generations within a family group that many of the younger generation are sometimes unaware of many of the traumatic experiences had by their elders. As a student of psychology as well as sociology, I have personally witnessed the presence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among some elders and families, and the generational spreading of dysfunctional culture ensuing from it affects non-federally recognized Indian people just as it does the populations of Indian reservations with high rates of alcoholism, domestic abuse and the entire range found in many Indian reservation communities.
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For many outsiders, academics and lay people alike, the very existence of the several still socially-active Cheraw Indian families is unknown. Not all faded into the fabric of the post segregation rural white population, some did hold on to their Native identity. In conversations with a few members of the local Jackson County area descendants of the Scott Town settlement, they stated that they are happy to be considered “white’ by their neighbors and “the guv’ment” and have no expressed interest in their families’ American Indian roots or in the social experiences of their parents and grandparents. “Why do ya’ll care about that ole stuff?” said one resident of Scott Town Road, who appeared to be phenotypically full blood Indian. The general body language when these statements were said indicated uncertainty of neighbors’ opinions if certain subjects such as race were discussed. This is a common courtesy in southern culture today, to avoid the topic of race with those one isn’t certain of socially.
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It seemed in the process of dozens of interviews with individuals and families that the closer we were to the physical location of the old Scott Town settlement, with its weed-strewn cemetery and the rotting and derelict carcass of the Indian school house, the more our  interviewees were uncomfortable and reticent to discuss the past. For the dozen or so families who still live in the vicinity of the now nearly-empty Scott Town settlement located down an at times dusty Scott’s Church Road, the past is very present, and so is the fear, pain, and uncertainty connected to it. For other families, especially those who have intermarried since the end of Jim Crow with other Indian, Hispanic, and Creole families in the panhandle, and have established family based settlements in other places, the need for a sense of community and honoring of the struggles of the elders is a compulsion that has increased with each generation. In years past, under the leadership of S. Pony Hill and his Cheraw tribal organization called A.R.C.I.T.O., several professors from the academy have taken some interest in the Cheraw community and have participated in efforts to document the historical experience of Cheraw Indian people in north Florida, most especially Professor Moore
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Despite the difficulties in holding onto an obscure tribal identity in a sea of “Creek” political, cultural, and social affairs, the Florida Cheraw continue to persevere. One of the biggest stumbling blocks to Cheraw people in Florida has been the lack of a commonly held name for the tribal ancestry, even among the closely intermarried and related families. As with other issues, a similar challenge is found among Indians in the Carolinas. Especially for the Lumbee Tribe of Cheraw Indians in North Carolina, who are genealogically Florida Cheraw kinsman, this question has loomed large, and has only become “somewhat” settled in the last generation or two, though there are still many groups who are outside the Lumbee Tribe political orbit but who descend from the same early families. Much like the Lumbee, who were originally labeled as “Croatans”, later as “Cherokee Indians of Robeson County”, and eventually came to be called Lumbee, the Florida Cheraw have struggled with each other and with other Florida and Alabama Indian people over their actual tribal origins and name. I have personally heard many Creek leaders over the last 20 years refer to families of Cheraw people as “those Lumbees in (such and such county) are really just mulattos”, and other similar statements. In the last two decades several attempts at Cheraw tribal organizations have come and gone.
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Attempts to establish a unified identity and tribal government for the several groups born from the historic settlements at Scott Town and Scotts Ferry (post-Jim Crow) diaspora have to date have been unsuccessful. Whether among Blountstown Indian Community people, Scott Town descendant families living in Escambia County, or the Holmes County area Cheraw people who descend from the Mount Zion Community called by some “Dominickers” (see appendix), all have been unable to permanently establish a viable framework for directed political action. For some the alternative has been political or social alliances with the Creek power structures whether at Poarch or Bruce, for others retreat into the traditional culture of the Stomp Dance traditions, and for a few the alternative of genealogical connections and enrollment with Carolina based groups seems best. Some members of the Jacobs family from Woods are enrolled with the Lumbee Tribe in North Carolina, while other families from the same settlement participate with the Sumter Band of Cheraws in South Carolina, while a third family are members of a Creek Nation (Oklahoma) tribal town.
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As stated at the outset of this book, the identity of the Florida community can be problematic, and without simple explanation. The history as well as contemporary identity of Florida Cheraw people is complex. Part of the reason for the distribution of this publication is to help these groups and the individuals that compose them to look long and hard at themselves, their families, and their ideas of community. There is a greater need than ever for the Cheraw people in the panhandle of Florida (not mention the several families and hundreds of individuals living on or near the Poarch Creek Indian reservation in Atmore Alabama) to exert great effort in accepting the social realities they and their families live in daily. For many the old social isolation of past generations has been replaced by another type of social isolation, a self-induced Amnesia relating to their own history.
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On the one hand, so many speak of their pride in Indian blood yet are bested by the shame of the treatment of and identification as colored of family members. A reckoning on the community level must occur that will not let the generational cycle of poverty, substance abuse, and dysfunction that is present in the lives of many of the Cheraw families continue. The surge of political activity in recent years by the many Cheraw communities throughout the Carolinas has led to interest, talk, and hope around the kitchen tables, church pews, and stomp dance fires of the Florida people. The Catawba Nation’s success of securing restoration of their federal recognition in the 1990’s and the renewal of their institutions and tribal cultural heritage has not gone unnoticed by Florida Cheraw leaders. Efforts by the Branham family and others at the Rock Hill Catawba reservation to restore the Green Corn Dance and traditional culture to the Catawba people are applauded by Florida Cheraw, most of which have blood ties in South Carolina.
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Efforts in this movement have been difficult and are ongoing, despite continual upheaval politically due to the Catawba tribal reorganization. Recent activities by some South Carolina Cheraw people to go to the Creek Nation in Oklahoma and learn the ways of the old southeastern culture have led to the return after many generations of absence of the Stomp dance, Green Corn ceremonials and many cultural practices that are aspects of tradition that make southeastern Indian people unique among American Indians. Well documented by academic circles was the Poarch Creek efforts to restore this ceremonialism to their tribe during the 1990’s and its eventual success with the re- establishment of a sacred fire at the Hassossa Tallahassee Ceremonial Grounds in 2001 by Dave Lewis, one of the principal medicine persons in Creek Nation in Oklahoma. Less well attended by interested academicians have been the stomp dances and stickball games held in Blountstown among Cheraw Indian families since the late 1960’s. The many trips to the west taken by several ceremonial leaders in the process of restoring a knowledgeable group of practitioners of Southeastern ceremonial traditions during the last 30 years have borne fruit for this small group of traditionalist.
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Most of all, in conversations with several “Old Heads” as the elderly family leaders who are ultimately the final authorities in the Indian community in Florida and Alabama are called, is a watchfulness of the political fortunes of Carolina Cheraws like the Lumbee, and more recently, the state-recognized South Carolina tribes of Cheraw origins. For all Indian communities in the south who originate in that long ago social milieu that was the Carolina frontier of the 1700’s, the common assault on their identities as Indians has been unrelenting. Where many Florida Cheraw grandparents living now once faced accusations of “really being mulatto”, and having to attend schools designated as “colored”, their own grandchildren are now accused of “really being white”. All this despite each generation’s common insistence to any who took the time to listen to their quiet but firm statement “We are Indian”.
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The paranoia of the “wannabe” accusation from the Florida Governors Council of Indian Affairs , federally recognized Indians such as the Seminole and Miccosukee, and the general Academic community, have led some of the Cheraw we have interviewed for this book to state their discomfort with ANY public presence as an “organized” Indian group. It seems that among some of those now coming into their own as leaders of Cheraw families, they don’t question their community-based tribal identity or its meaning to them, but do question what it appears to them many “outsiders” consider being Indian.
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The Roots of the Hill Family in the Old Creek Nation
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Though most of the families of what would become the Cheraw Indians of north Florida were rooted in the eastern Siouan populations of the Carolinas, a few had other tribal roots as well, such as the Hill family. In March of 1829, three Creek Indian girls, all citizens of the Creek Nation, married three brothers from the Hill family of Union County South Carolina. Nancy, Sarah, and Amanda Doyle, all described as “Belles of the Creek Nation” by the South Carolina Marriage Index listings, married George, Alexander, and James Hill, three brothers stationed at Fort Mitchell, in the Creek Nation. The three young soldiers, George Robert Wesley, James Jr., and Alexander, joined the American Army in 1828. Nearby the Hill boys’ duty station of Fort Mitchell, Creek Nation was a school for Indian Girls called the Asbury Missionary Institute, which the Hill family was already involved with. The “Reverend Mister Hill”, a relative of the boys, performed hundreds of marriages on this frontier during his time there. Eventually, George and Alexander left the area. They first moved first to Decatur County, Georgia and then on to Jackson County Florida, along with their Indian wives, Nancy and Sarah Doyle. Upon researching the oral histories passed through the various Hill family branches in Florida, as well as those in the Creek Nation in Oklahoma, we found indicators of where to search for the records. Amanda was the daughter of Nimrod Doyle, and Nancy and Sarah most likely his nieces, daughters of Edmond Doyle a Creek Nation trader with the Leslie, Panton, and Forbes Trading company.
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During our research, we found a South Carolina Marriage Index Book at the Florida State Archives in the Capital Building Complex in Tallahassee Florida (the R. A. Gray Building) which listed an indexed reference to the marriages of these three couples. It seems from the documentary evidence that the Cherokee Phoenix, the national newspaper of the Cherokee Nation, as well as four other local Milledgeville, Georgia area newspapers, covered the weddings. It was said to be very extravagant for the times, according the article. Fort Mitchell was located on the frontier near where Creek Nation, Cherokee Nation, Georgia, and South Carolina met. Using the Index reference as a guide, we began to inquire about the possibility of one of the original newspapers which carried the article possibly being still in existence. We were eventually able to secure a copy of it with the (much appreciated) assistance of the research staff at the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma’s Tribal Headquarters in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Included in this chapter is the letter sent with document.
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We also were able to gather several documents that were compiled by the Decatur County Georgia Historical Society, documents that listed all the descendants’ of the George Hill- Nancy Doyle and Alexander Hill-Sarah Doyle marriages, which were many.
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As recorded in “Millidgeville, Georgia Newspaper Clippings (Southern Recorder), Volume II 1828-1832” by Tad Evans, found in the stacks of the Florida state Archives, (as well 5 other periodic sources from the times, including an April 29 1829 edition (Volume 2 number 7) of the Cherokee Phoenix,) on March 3 1829 the brothers Alexander, George, and James Hill, all brothers from Darlington District in South Carolina and stationed at Fort Mitchell, Creek Nation were married by the Reverend Mr. Hill, to Sarah, Nancy, and Amanda Doyle, Creek Indian girls attending the Asbury Missionary Institute. The details of this marriage were captured in the Cherokee Phoenix article from 1829:
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“Married on the 3rd of March, at the Asbury Missionary Institute, near Fort Mitchell Creek Nation, by the reverend Mr. Hill, the Mr. James Hill of the US Army, to Miss Amanda Doyle, a Creek Pupil of the Institution. This establishment is under the charge of Mr. and Mrs. Hill, who were desirous of showing the natives how this ceremony is performed in a refined state of society, and the highest encomiums are due them for their entire success. Great exertion and ingenuity were necessary to accomplish it. The company consisted of about twenty white persons and one hundred and fifty natives.
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The bride and her two maids were dressed with great taste and propriety, according to the fashion of the age. The groom and his two associated were in full military costume; and those persons present accustomed to wedding scenes, pronounced this bridal party one of the handsomest they had ever witnessed. After the marriage ceremony, the happy pair were congratulated with all good wishes; cake and wine were passed around, and in due time a bountiful supper was partaken of by the whole company , and the evening passed on in the most agreeable manner possible. All parties seemed delighted with the occasion. A number of strangers present will never forget the kind and hospitable reception given them by Mr. and Mrs. Hill.-Georgia Courier”-transcribed from the Cherokee Phoenix 1929
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The indexed reference in the Millidgeville, Georgia Newspaper Clippings (Southern Recorder), Volume II 1828-1832” states:
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“HILL, Mr. James of the US Army m. DOYLE, Miss Amanda, a Creek pupil of the Asbury Missionary Institution near Fort Mitchell Creek Nation, m. there 3-3-1829 by Rev. Mr. Hill. AC 3-18-1829; CP 4-29-1829; A th 4-7-1929; SP 3-21-1829; SR 4-21-1829. DG 4-19-1829 gives wedding date as 4-3-1829”
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“HILL, Alexander of the US Army m. DOYLE, Miss Sarah, a belle of the Creek Nation, m. there 3-3-1829 State of Georgia CP 4-29-1829”
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“HILL, George W. of the US Army m. DOYLE, Miss Nancy, a belle of the Creek Nation, m. there 3-3-1829 State of Georgia CP 4-29-1829”
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This is a transcription of the “Alexander Hill” narrative, by Robert Earl Woodham, from the “Decatur County, Ga. Past and Present 1823-1991” a genealogy index compiled by the Decatur County Historical Society.
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The Hill Family has been in Seminole County since the 1830’s. Several related Hill families moved to Spring Creek and nearby areas across the river in Jackson County (Florida). They came here from Darlington District, South Carolina.
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The first to settle here was Alexander hill Sr., who was born in 1812 and died in 1880. His wife’s name is Unknown. She was the sister of the wife of his brother, George W Hill. Alexander had 7 children, all born at Spring Creek.
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Alex’s son Ferdinand Hill was born in 1839 and died 6 May 1864 as a confederate soldier at the Battle of the Wilderness near Richmond VA.
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Alex’s daughters Lovie and Mahalia Caroline never married. Nothing is known of sons William and Richmond.
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Alex’s son Harmon Hill (1849) married Julia R. Minton 15 February 1877. Their children include Ella, Noah Lonzo, Emma, Luther D, Zenie, Jewel, and Meck (married to Cleveland Conyers)
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Alexander Hill Jr. was born 1852 and died 1923. He and his wife Mary Ann (1852-1921) are both buried at  Spring Creek. They had at least nine children: Marcus M. (1875-1904) married Mary Hall; Sophia Ann (1881), married Tully Murkison; Mathew D.; Rufus A. who married first Rhoda M.J. Thursby, and later to Annie Wilson; Mary; Preston Ulysses (1889-1964) who married first Corene Holt, then later Kate Shores; Alto E, who married James K Braswell; Alma S. (1893-1952) married to Joe Barber; and John C.
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Alexander’s brother, George Wesley Hill Sr. was born in 1804 in Darlington District South Carolina. His wife Nancy was the sister of Alexander’s wife, making the two couples (descendents) double first cousins.
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George moved from South Carolina to Spring Creek (Georgia) about 1856. He lived for several years at the intersection of Desser Road and Spring Creek Road. Nancy (born 1815) died about 1856 and is buried in a family plot at the intersection. They had at least 13 children.
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George’s son John A Hill was born in 1835; He married Mary Ann Dowell on 22 June 1852. He was a confederate soldier.
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George’s son Rueben Ezekiel Hill was born in 1836, he married Martha Frances Minton on 7 September 1865, and they had one daughter Rebecca.
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George’s son Thomas was born in 1838 and died on 12 November 1864 as a confederate soldier in a Yankee POW camp.
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George’s daughter Emma Elizabeth (1840) married Daniel Minton.
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George’s son Allen Hill (1842) married Amelia Conyers on 27 February 1868. They had one son, Asberry.
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George’s daughter Julia Hill (1844) married Waydon Hewitt.
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A son, Dempsey Hill (1845) married Catherine McMillan on 18 August 1870. He lived in Jackson County (Florida)
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A son, Johnathan H. Hill was born 2 February 1848 and died 18 October 1918. He married Nancy Melvina Summers; they had at least 14 children and lived at Grand Ridge (Jackson County, Florida)
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William Cato (“Cate”) Hill (1853) married Caroline Bennett in 1872. Cate and Carrie had seven children and lived at Grand Ridge.
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Susan Catherine Hill was born 24 December 1853 and died 29 August 1931. She was married to Moses F.J. Conyers.
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George W Hill (1856) married first Caroline Conyers 2 February 1872. They had 2 children, James Wesley and Martha.
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The generation’s long saga of the intermarriages among the above mentioned families, and the other Indian families of the area of the Apalachicola River that would be the nucleus of the Cheraw Indians of North Florida Tribal Community of today is a complex one. I am including copies of the documents we gathered about the Hill family as an example of the multiple tribal origins of some of the Cheraw Indians of North Florida families, though again, the majority of families are of predominantly Catawba and Lumbee (Cheraw-Siouan) stock, with some, like the Hills from Creek ancestry.
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This small take on the Hill family is by no means nearly comprehensive or inclusive of the entirety of this branch of the Hill family, and their experience since leaving Creek Nation. As well there is a copy of the roll of Thlekatchka (Broken Arrow) Tribal Town of the Creek Nation that lists Nimrod, Jackson, and Muscogee “Doyell” as dwelling therein. These are the only persons on the 1832 Abbot-Parsons Roll (Creek Nation Removal Roll) with the surname “Doyell” and are the relatives of these three girls, Nancy, Sarah, and Amanda Doyle (Nimrods daughter), who were attending the missionary school at Fort Mitchell.
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A well-known historical figure in the decades after the war of 1812 who was heavily involved in the Creek and Seminole Nation intrigues of the times was Edmund Doyle, who is most likely the father of the “Creek Nation Belles” Nancy and Sarah. He established a trading outpost on the Apalachicola River and was part of the Leslie, Panton, & Forbes Company West Florida economic endeavors. He was licensed to trade with the Creek and Apalachicola Indians living in the area at the time.
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I have found numerous history book narratives about his involvement in the important events in “West Florida” and the control of the area struggles between the English, Spanish, and Americans as well as the Indian tribe’s part in these dramatic events. He is listed in historical references as having an Indian wife and children and is probably the relative of the Doyell family at Thlekatchka (Broken Arrow). He is known as well for having a price on his head by the Miccosukee chiefs, causing him and his family to have to retreat to a Lower Creek town for safety at one point, according to Seminole oral history.
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The trading post he founded became the famous “Negro Fort”, known to history as stronghold retreat by hostile Blacks and Seminoles and destroyed along with three hundred partisans and their families who were inside. This massacre happened amazingly from the first shot from Andrew Jackson’s naval cannonade into the fort as his forces invaded Spanish Florida and took on the poorly armed hostile ‘Red Sticks’ (the anti-American faction of the Creek Nation, versus the ‘pro-American’ White Sticks).
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During the Civil War it was reconstituted as a confederate garrison and named Fort Gadsden, and fell soon thereafter to union forces. It has had many incarnations throughout the long history of Florida. It was bloodied ground on many occasions in the tumultuous journey of Florida to becoming American. Fort Gadsden is a state park today, and is near Apalachicola, Florida, a community located on the coast a few miles downriver from Blountstown.
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Research continues on the interconnections between the Doyle family and the hill family. Nimrod Doyle, who would eventually be a Texas Ranger, along with his daughters Amanda and Muscogee moved to Texas after receiving land under the Treaty of Fort Jackson in Alabama. Amanda later wound up living in Eufaula India n territory after years in Texas, where her family helped found the town of Sulphur Springs. Her nephew George Hill, son of Nancy Doyle Hill would move to creek Nation as a young man taking an allotment. He would be appointed Chief in the 1920’s, and have a large family.
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Citage:
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-“Names in South Carolina” edited by Claude Henry Neuffer.Pg.XII:41
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-“South Carolina Land Grants” (1784-1830) 160, vol. 32.R A Gray Library Private Collection, Florida State Archives, Tall. Fl
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-“Early South Carolina Marriages” Vol.2 (1735-1885) implied in SC Law Reports, Union County
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-“North and South Carolina Marriages 1800-1885” R A Gray Library Private Collection, Florida State Archives, Tall. Fl
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-Records of US Army enlistees (South Carolina) 1795-1850
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-Federal Census of Georgia:
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1860 Decatur County1870 Decatur County
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-Federal Census of Florida:
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1860 Jackson County1870 Jackson County1885 Jackson County1870 Holmes County
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1885 Holmes County
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-“Decatur County Past and Present” 1823-1991, compiled by the
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Decatur County Historical Society
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-Ellen Payne Odom Genealogical Library
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Thank you for taking such a huge step and creating this resource.  Genealogy and Wikipedia are two loves of mine, as well as [[http://www.werelate.com We Relate]].  I'm looking forward to seeing how this site develops! --[[User:BradPatrick|Brad Patrick]] 02:20, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for taking such a huge step and creating this resource.  Genealogy and Wikipedia are two loves of mine, as well as [[http://www.werelate.com We Relate]].  I'm looking forward to seeing how this site develops! --[[User:BradPatrick|Brad Patrick]] 02:20, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Revision as of 17:36, 27 November 2010

Indians, migrations from Carolinas to Florda

Written by Chris sewell and S Pony Hill From the Scott Tiwn Indian Research Society

The Story of the Indian People of Scott Town And Scotts Ferry Settlements in Florida

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> During the early 1800’s, many Indian families from the Carolinas moved to the Florida panhandle. They established two main communities, one at Scotts Ferry on the Chipola River (Scotts Ferry), and another on Scotts Church Road in Jackson County (Scott Town), with smaller settlements in Calhoun, Liberty, and Holmes counties as well. These 2 core communities were the only documentable Indian COMMUNITIES in the panhandle, as established by hundreds of records from the federal and state census, military records from all the wars, local tax, court, and voter records, and special Indian School records from the Cherokee Indian Normal School in Robeson County, North Carolina, where many of the families came from. Under “Jim Crow” segregation these communities were treated as “colored” and waged a constant battle against being pushed socially into the Black community. In the second half of the twentieth century, after the end of segregation, the core communities went into decline and the population predominately shifted to other areas including Lakeland in the east, Blountstown and Marianna, in the central panhandle area, and Escambia counties Florida and Alabama in the west. This is a small part of their story.

Note to the Reader concerning the term “Cheraw”: In this text the term “Cheraw” is used to describe the remnants of large eastern Siouan tribes who did and still do live in the Carolinas and Virginia. The terms “Cheraw Indians of north Florida, Florida Catawba, Florida Cheraw, Cheraw-Catawba” etc… are used to describe the families of these Indians who had moved to the Florida Panhandle from the Carolinas and settled there in the early 1800’s. It should be noted that in the same time period as such families as Scott, Oxendine, Jacobs, Hill, Conyers, Copeland, Bullard, Bass, Johnson, Blanchard, Brown, Moses, Long, Hicks, Barnwell, Stephens, Chavis, Bunch and many other Indian families from the Carolinas were settling the areas that would become Scott Town, Scotts Ferry, and Blountstown, the historic “Apalachicola Creek Indians” were being removed to Texas and Indian Territory by the federal government as part of the larger forced removal of the Five Civilized Tribes that occurred during the 1830’s. Various bands of Muskogee-speaking Indians under Chiefs John Blount, Ecconchatamicco, Neamathla, and Yellow Hair were removed or harassed into other areas during this period. As for the Indians living in Blountstown on the reservation, (Tvlwv Rakko) Apalachicola was their tribal town name, and they were one of many within the larger Creek Nation’s confederacy of tribal towns, (half of which spoke tribal languages other than Muskogee). The Apalachicola Creek Indian Reservation at Blountstown, headed by Chief John Blount, an Alabamu Indian, as well as 4 other Muskogee-speaking reservations in the panhandle was abolished in the 1830’s and the people told to prepare for immediate removal to the west. The Apalachicola Indians from the John Blount Reservation on the Apalachicola River (today’s Blountstown) were removed to the Alabamu Tribal Reservation in eastern Texas, where John Blount’s uncle, Red Shoes was Head Chief. According to all available documentary evidence the social relationship between the in-migrating “Carolina Cheraw” Indians and the departing Apalachicola Creeks is unknown. Oral histories with particular Blountstown Indian families speak of intermarriage with individual Apalachicola Creeks who did not go on the removal, but no documentary evidence has yet come to light to substantiate the large amounts of oral histories within particular families claiming these events. The degree of social interaction during the late 1830’s and 40’s between departing Apalachicola Creeks and recently arriving Cheraw-Lumbee, Catawba and other Carolina Siouan stock Indians is as yet unknown, but to date there is no documentary archival evidence of a remnant Apalachicola Creek Indian population remaining in the Jackson, Calhoun, or Liberty Counties area, though there are many descendants of other Creek tribes in the area. Some Creek families, like the Hill, Holly, and other families, did migrate to Florida from areas of the southeast that had formerly been in or near the Old Creek Nation, mostly South Carolina from the documentary records indications. Some of these families were of mixed Creek and Cheraw origins before coming to Florida. But upon coming to Florida, and some of these incoming Creeks did marry into the Cheraw’s settlements already established there. These families and there settlements were the roots of the established “Indian” settlements like Scott Town and others. This is different from the tens, if not hundreds of thousands of descendants of removal era Creek Indians who remained and whose descendants are everywhere in the south Introduction Over the past twenty years, my cousin, Steven Pony Hill and I have compiled records, interviewed elders, and spent hundreds if not thousands of hours in the Florida State Archives and in a dozen or so courthouse records rooms across the panhandle. This has been a search to find out the documentary history of our people. This search was encouraged and supported by our elders and community members, elders who told us the rich oral history of our people. It’s a story that we found to be very different when viewed from the outside, viewed from the perspective of non-Indians who wrote about us, knew our ancestors, and who controlled the institutions of the society that surrounded us. We found it a dark time, when we stayed as insulated within our own community as possible. Ancestors who we knew to be Indians from our grandparent’s stories and personal recollections, to our surprise the historic records called other names like Mulatto, Negros, Dominickers, and White. What continues to emerge as the endless work of documenting our history through the records of the dominant mainstream society is a steady confrontation with challenges to our survival as a group of people, a community, legally, socially, and spiritually. This is a struggle that from the very beginnings of our identity as a unique people on the American scene many centuries ago to our contemporary fight for a place in the America of the twenty first century, we have won, if only by our continued survival. The story of the Cheraw Indians of north Florida, a tribal people who have lived in the Apalachicola and Chipola River valleys of Florida for nearly two hundred years, is a long and circuitous one. Though far from having the large populations of the past two centuries, today there are still many individuals and families living in several historic rural hamlets. Since the 1950’s, the heart of this tribal community is Blountstown, in Calhoun County, the center of Indian political life for the past 60 years. The 3 historic settlements addressed in this narrative were once population strongholds during the segregation era (1860-1960). The settlements of ‘Scott Town’, in Jackson County, ‘Woods” in Liberty County, and ‘Scott’s Ferry’, in Calhoun County, despite being located in separate counties, all are fairly near to each other geographically, with Scott Ferry and Woods separated by the Apalachicola River. As with all communities, times changed and by the end of the 1950’s, many families were already relocating to Blountstown, Marianna, and other areas, near and far. The history of The Cheraw Indians of North Florida can be divided into three distinct time periods;

1800-1860, the time of migration to Florida by Cheraw and Creek families through to the Civil War
1860-1960, the Civil War to the end of segregation (the Civil Rights era)
1960-present, the post-segregation era and struggles for tribal government, infrastructure, and State and Federal acknowledgement.

Each time period in the story of The Cheraw Indians of North Florida has its own unique challenges and adaptations by the people to the pressures of the day. In the beginning the colonial frontier was a wild and rough place, and the situations in the Carolinas of the times led the first few families to migrate to Spanish Florida. Many were successful and the establishment of Indian hamlets at Scotts Town and Scotts Ferry led to a thriving and unique way of life for the people. This can be clearly seen in the census and tax records of the times that show that the pre-conflict Scotts Ferry was one of the most thriving communities in the county. The documentary evidence for Scott Town shows a similar situation there, with the people of the Indian settlements listed as ”Free Persons of Color” (as distinct from Free Negro) on the census and doing well. With the coming of the conflict between the north and south the situation would change, and a new social reality would unfold. In the years before the Civil war, ones status as a slave or descendent of a slave, or as a free person would be the main mechanism defining social status.

In the dark days after the War Between the States, skin color came to be a determining factor of one’s social standing, and a new era of unrestricted racism began. In this text I hope to shine a small amount of light on what has been the journey of a unique people so far, and a story of survival. There is still much research to be done. It is hopeful that the younger generations of The Cheraw Indians of North Florida will support the ongoing struggle to strengthen the community by participating in the life of the tribal community.

CHAPTER 1 “A Very Large Nation” –The Colonial Period Little is known about the Catawba Tribe prior to their first encounters with Europeans. They were known to the Cherokee as "Ani-Suwa'li", or "the Suwali people." The Catawba Tribe was actually a loose confederation of tribes who all spoke a version of the Siouan language. Known by such general names as the Cheroenhaka, Esaw, Isaw, Sara, and Saraw, this confederacy of eastern Siouan peoples included the Kadapau, Sugaree, Coree, Coharie, Manahoac, Hassinunga, Shakori, Eno, Occaneechi, Saponi, and Tutelo. Encountering them in 1701, explorer John Lawson described them as "the Esaw Indians, a very large Nation, containing many thousands of people."

In the early 1600's many important historic incidents occurred which would affect the Catawba descendents for generations. Already suffering from constant raids from the Iroquois and Tuscarora on their northern border, and the Cherokee to the west, the Catawba now faced a new threat, European colonists pushing inland from the east. Catawba Indians being taken captive by raiding parties of Iroquois and Cherokee were being sold as slaves to the colonists and this did nothing to better the situation. From 1616 to 1630, Opechancanough, successor of Powhatan, and chief over all the Algonquin speaking tidewater tribes, expressed his displeasure with the encroaching white men by waging a bloody war. Indian captives were taken in increasing numbers from the tidewater tribes during this time and forced into slavery. Those Indians not taken as slaves were forced to wander the Maryland, Virginia, and Carolina area. In 1657 the English forced most of the Powhatan remnants onto reservations in Virginia and the Siouan tribes were gathered in four main concentrations:

"The Monacan, along the James; the Saponi along the Rivana and James Rivers and Otter Creek; the Tutelo in the Roanoke Valley; and the Occaneechi on islands at the confluence of the Roanoke and Dan Rivers."



Arguably the most influential event to occur in the 1600's happened in 1660 when Virginia determined that "…an Indian sold by another Indian or an Indian who speaks English and who desires baptism will now receive his or her freedom." This allowed many Algonquin and Siouan war captives held in slavery in the colonies to regain their freedom, but it also provided incentive for their masters to downplay the Indian ancestry of those in servitude in order to retain them. These former slaves quickly rejoined their tribesmen bringing with them their acquired skills as carpenters, wheelwrights, and ferry operators. Most importantly, these newly freed Indians brought with them their new English names and Christian religion. Unfortunately they also retained the stigma of being former slaves, a condition which would cause their white neighbors to eye them with suspicion for generations. In 1713, the confederated eastern Siouan Nations signed a Treaty of Peace with the Virginia Colonial government at Williamsburg. Among the different Nations represented were the Occaneechi, the Stuckanok, the Tottero, and the Saponi. At the invitation of Governor Spottswood of Virginia, these Indians settled a four-square-mile reservation encompassing the north and south side of the Meherrin River. On the north banks were the Nansemond and related Algonquin-speaking bands, on the south were the Siouan-speaking Tutelo, Saponi, Cheroenhaka, Eno, a small band of Catawba, and also an Iroquoian-speaking band of Tuscarora who had avoided the war with the Carolina settlers just 2 years earlier. Spottswood endorsed the construction of Fort Christanna where the Indian children had mandatory training in academics and Christianity. After the closing of the Fort Christanna School a few of the students followed headmaster Charles Griffin and enrolled at the Brafferton Indian School at William and Mary. Because of the continued hostilities between these Nations and the Iroquois to the north, the governors of New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia held a conference at Albany in September of 1722 to hammer out a peaceable agreement between the Tribes on their borders. Governor Spottswood undertook negotiations for the "Christanna Indians" whom were composed of "the Saponies, Ochineeches, Stenkenoaks, Meipontskys, and Toteroes." In addition to their traditional native enemies, it is obvious that the remnant tribes considered the encroaching white settlements as an almost equal threat. It also appears that, on the subject of trespassing whites, even the Algonquin and Siouan peoples could agree and cooperate. On October 24, 1723 the Virginia Government spoke out on behalf of the Meherrin and Nansemond Nations and warned the North Carolinians: "Whereas, the Maherin and Nansemond Indians have this day complained that notwithstanding the repeated orders of this government for security to them the possession of their lands, whereon they have many years past been seated, between the Nottoway and Maherine Rivers, divers persons under pretense of grants from the Government of North Carolina surveyed the lands of the said Indians and begun to make settlements within their cleared grounds."

This report is especially interesting as it implies that portions of the Nansemond had obviously moved west of their ancestral homes around Norfolk, Virginia, and were living with the Meherrin between the Nottoway and Meherrin Rivers. Peace with the tribes to the north allowed the remnant Eastern Sioux to live in peace and relative obscurity for several years. All was not completely serene, however, as a letter to the governor from one R. Everand, a settler living near the Meherrin Indians, refers to disturbances involving the Meherrins and Nottoways in 1727. Everand says that the Meherrins denied any attacks on the Nottoways, stating

"..they lay the whole blame upon the old Occaneechy King and the Saponi Indians." 

It is evident that Virginia continued to trade with these Nations and found the trade relations lucrative enough to employ an interpreter to "the Saponi and Occaneechi Indians" as late as 1730. After 1730, a group of Saponi undertook one of many trips south to take up residence among the Catawba. Conditions must not have been to their liking, as they soon returned to the Virginia-North Carolina border accompanied by "some Cheraws." Upon arriving at their old lands between the Roanoke and Meherrin, they petitioned Lt. Governor Gooch for permission to resettle in Virginia, which was granted in 1733. Possibly because of the inability to posses communal lands, or most likely because of acculturation, it is apparent that the eastern Siouan remnants began to live as individual landowners during the 1730 to 1740 period. It is also during this period that land deeds begin appearing under the names of such "Other Free Persons" surnames as Scott, Chavis, Goings, Bunch, Collins, and Gibson. With each new land patents by a concentration of these families, a report of eastern Siouan people would be generated. For example, after William Chavis, Thomas Parker, Gideon Gibson, and Henry Bunch recorded their land grants on the Eno River in Orange County, North Carolina adjoining the lands of William Eaton, a report from the Colonial Records of NC identifies a group of 30 to 40 Saponi had settled on the lands of William Eaton. The Siouan identity of these persons is further bolstered by reports such as one originating in Orange County in 1742 regarding some Saponi Indians accused of hog stealing: "Alexander Macharton, John Bowling, Manicassa, Captain Tom, Isaac, Harry, Blind Tom, Foolish Jack, Charles Griffin, John Collins, Little Jack, Indians, giving security for good behaviour." Governor Clarence Gooch of Virginia reported to the Colonial Office for the years 1743 to 1747 that the "Saponies and other petty nations associated with them…are retired out of Virginia to the Cattawbas."

This time period corresponds to the appearance of such English surnames as Harris, Stephens, Scott, Brown, and Canty among the Catawba. A 1761 report counted 20 Saponi warriors in the area of Granville County, NC and this corresponds to the "Mulatto, Mustee or Indian" taxation in Granville of such families as Anderson, Jeffries, Davis, Chavis, Going, Bass, Harris, Brewer, Bunch, Griffin, Pettiford, Evans, and others in the 1760's. 

In 1757, the Virginia governor at Williamsburg received a delegation of Indians including "King Blunt and the thirty-three Tuscaroras, seven Meherrins, two Saponies and thirteen Nottoways." This date corresponds to military and land records of "free persons of color" such as William Allen, Adam Ivey, James Evans, Benjamin Chavis, Allen Sweat, James Jones and Isham Scott who were residing in the ancestral Siouan areas of Halifax County, NC along the banks of the Roanoke River. John R. Swanton also reports that the Meherrin Indians

"..were living on Roanoke River in 1781 with the southern bands of Tuscarora and Saponi, and the Machapunga." 

In addition to the Siouan people, there were also remnants of Algonquin tribes residing in the North Carolina-Virginia border country. Near Norfolk, in the Dismal Swamp area, resided a remnant of the Nansemond Nation. On July 15, 1833 the Quality Superior Court of Norfolk County entered the following minutes: "The Court doth certify upon satisfactory evidence of white persons Produced before it, that Asa Price, Wright Perkins, Nathan Perkins, Pricilla Perkins, Nelson Bass, Willis Bass, Andrew Bass, William Bass son of William Bass, Joseph Newton, and Henry Newton, & Allen Newton, Polly Newton, Sally Newton, & Hestor Newton are not free-Negroes or Mulattoes, but are of Indian descent and that each of them have a certificate separately thereof …" Again on July 20, 1833, the same Court again addressed the issue of certain persons' race: "The Court doth certify upon satisfactory evidence of white persons Produced before it that Andrew Bass and Lavina his wife, Elizabeth Bass wife of William Bass son of William Bass, Jemima Bass Sr., Peggy Bass, Jemima Bass Jr., Elizabeth Lidwin, Mary Anderson, Priscilla Flury, Jerusha Bass the wife of William the son of Willis, Frances the wife of James Newton, Lucy Trummel wife of William Trummel, Andrew Bass Jr., Patsy Bass, William Bass, William Newton, Betsy Weaver, Nancy Weaver, and Sally Weaver, that they are not Free Negroes or Mulattoes, but are of Indian descent and that each of them have a certificate separately thereof…" These two reports are quite significant in the documentation of the eastern Siouan people, as the Bass, Anderson, Perkins, and Weaver surnames appear frequently among the mixed-blood communities spread from Virginia to Florida. Just south of the Nansemond of Norfolk, across the border in Chowan County, what remained of the Chowan Nation were still very much present. In 1724, a total of 11,360 acres was set aside for the Chowan Indians near Bennett's Creek. Over the years the large Chowan reservation was chipped away as the Indians sold small tracts to satisfy debts and otherwise provide for the tribal needs. In 1734 James Bennett, Thomas Hoyter, Charles Beasley, Jeremiah Purkins (probably 'Perkins'), John Robbins, John Reading (probably 'Reed'), & Nuce Will, "Chief men of the Chowan Indians", sold land on Bennett's Creek in the part of Chowan County which later became Gates County.


In 1758, "James Bennett, John Robbins, Chief men of the Chowan Indians" sold 300 acres of Indian land by deed proved in Gates County, and again in 1763 there appears a record of "James Bennett, James Bennett jr., Amos Bennett, being Bennett's Creek Indians" sold land acknowledged in Chowan County Court. Though a clear record existed to support the Chowans' continued claim to their land, this did not stop several local white land speculators from attempting to uproot them. In 1790 a petition was submitted form Gates County to the North Carolina Legislature, which read: "The petitioners request the legislature to pass a law validating acquisition by a group of descendants of Indians and blacks. In 1724 the Chowan Indians received 11,360 acres of land in Chowan County, later Gates County. The Indians sold most of the land. The Indian men all died, and the women mixed with Negroes. The free blacks and their mixed-blood children served as soldiers for the colonials in the Revolution. Supported by William Lewis, Samuel Harrell, and other white men, they seek title to small remnants of the aforesaid tract of land."

Disguised as an attempt by charitable citizens to assist a poor, desolate people, was a dark conspiracy to liquidate any future land claim by these descendants of the Chowan Nation. Asserting that the Indian men had died and the women had "mixed with Negroes" served two purposes; first claiming that all the Indian men had died would effectively negate the land title, and second, claiming Negro ancestry for the group would deny them further legal recourse. Records clearly prove a direct male descendant line from the James Bennett, John Robbins, Jeremiah Perkins, and John Reed of 1734 to many of the families mentioned in 1790, yet this glaring fact was ignored. Censused as part of this community of Chowan Indian descendants in 1790 were the Reed, Robbins, Blanchard, Bennett, Cuff, Weaver, Mitchell, and Hunter families, surnames which had already begun appearing in other mixed-blood communities before 1790. Military, land, and tax records reveal that the eastern Siouan remnant families continued to concentrate their settlements in their ancestral lands around the Eno, Tar, Roanoke, Meherrin, and Nottaway Rivers at the border of North Carolina and Virginia. In addition to these settlements and the well-known one on the Catawba reservation, other smaller bands had also spread further into Virginia, south to the Drowning Creek area of mid-southern NC, and along the Wateree and Pee Dee Rivers of South Carolina. Referring to Indians in Virginia in 1763, Lt. Governor Francis Fauquier wrote to the Lords Commissioners of Trade and Plantation Affairs that: "There are some of the Nottoways, Meherrins, Tuscaroras, and Saponys, who tho' they live in peace in the midst of us, lead in great measure the lives of wild Indians." The North and South Carolina border became a favored haunt of the Eastern Sioux as early as the 1730's. In addition to the previously mentioned Saponi "retired out of Virginia to the Cattawbas" a band of Cheraw brokered a deal with Welsh Baptist settlers from Delaware for land in present-day Marlboro County. A large group of Nottoway, numbering about 300, was reported on "the northern frontiers of South Carolina between 1748 and 1754." Beginning in the 1790's many of these families from the Roanoke area began to assert their Indian ancestry in courts across South Carolina. In 1794, the South Carolina Legislature received a petition from Isaac Linagear, Isaac Mitchell, Jonathan Price, Spencer Bolton, William N. Sweat, and 29 other "free persons of color" seeking to repeal the "Act for imposing a poll tax on all free Negroes, mustees, and mulatoes." On April 6, 1832 a certificate was issued to South Carolina resident Sarah G. Jacobs, which cancelled her requirement to submit to the free Negro tax, included the fact that

"she appears to be of Indian descent." 

A petition to the Legislature in 1859 inquiring if "persons of Indian descent are considered to be free persons of color and liable for the poll tax." caused a determination that Frederick Chavis, Lewis Chavis, Durany Chavis, James Jones, Mary Jones, and Jonathan Williams "do not qualify under the term 'free person of color' as they are of Indian ancestry." When the Gibson family arrived in South Carolina from the Halifax area, their presence caused much of a stir. Gideon Gibson came to the attention of the South Carolina Common's House of Assembly in 1731 when a member announced in Chamber that several "free colored men with their white wives had emigrated from Virginia with the intention of settling on the Santee River." Governor Robert Johnson summoned Gideon and his family to explain their presence there and, after meeting them, reported:

"I have had them before me in Council and upon examination find that they are not Negroes nor slaves but Free People, that the father of them here is named Gideon Gibson and his father was also free, I have been informed by a person who has lived in Virginia that this Gibson has lived there several years in good repute and by his papers that he produced before me that his transactions there have been very regular, That he has for several years paid taxes for two tracts of land and had seven Negroes of his own, That he is a carpenter by Trade and is come hither for the support of his family…I have in consideration of his wife's being a white woman and several white women capable of working and being Serviceable in the county permitted him to settle in this Country."

30 years later, incidents would occur which would, no doubt, cause the Governor to regret his decision. Gideon's son, Gideon Gibson jr., was living on the south side of the Pee Dee River at a place called Duck Pond. On July 25, 1767, as a leader of the Regulators, Gideon was involved in a skirmish with a constable's party near Marrs Bluff on the Pee Dee. The South Carolina Gazette reported on August 15th that Gibson's band of Regulators was a: "…gang of banditi, a numerous collection of outcast mulattos, mustees, free Negroes, etc. all horse thieves from the borders of Virginia and northern colonies…headed by one Gideon Gibson.."

Henry Laurens, a prominent Charleston merchant, described Gideon Gibson in this way:


"Reasoning from the colour carries no conviction…Gideon Gibson escaped the penalties of the Negro law by producing upon comparison more red and white in his face than can be discovered in the faces of half the descendants of the French refugees in our House of Assembly."

A comparison of the "Other free persons" head of households who appear in the early 1800's at the NC/VA (Halifax area) border and the NC/SC (Dillon and Sumter area) border reveal an obvious parallel of eastern Siouan families. Surnames shared between these two groups include Scott, Richardson, Chavis, Clark, Going, Jones, Hathcock, Locklear, Mitchell, Sweat and Williams. There can be no denying that the South Carolina settlements are a branch of the older, ancestral settlements of the Roanoke River area. Further evidence reveals that bloodlines also spread north to previously established reservation areas in Virginia and Maryland. Northampton County, on the eastern shore of Virginia, is home to the Gingaskin Indian reservation, a parcel of over 600 acres set aside for this band of Indians. 1733 brought an in-migration of Catawba and Siouan families to the Gingaskin reservation was reported by Lt. Governor Gooch, and these families had such surnames as Fisherman, Guy, Jeffries, Collins, Scott, Daniel, Stevens & Cross. These families joined (and intermarried with) a pre-established community of mixed white/Portuguese/Gingaskin Indian peoples who bore such surnames as Harmon, Webb, Bingham, Weeks, George, Driggers, Landrum, Jacobs, Carter, Pool, Lang, Francis & Moses. With the influx of Catawba, individuals on the reservation began adopting military titles such as 'Captain' and 'Major', a phenomenon which occurred at the same time among the reservated Catawba and the Pamunkey on their King William County reservation. Some of these newly united families were not long to stay, however, and Gov. Gooch again reported in 1743 that some of them had left to rejoin the Catawba on their reservation. In 1792, the Virginia General Assembly ordered that the Gingaskin Indian Town land be divided up. The 690-acre tract was split into 27 lots that were allocated to the surviving tribal members, among whom appeared the surname Driggers and Francis (both surnames which occurred with frequency among the 'other free persons' of Halifax, NC in 1790). Twenty-one years earlier South Carolina Regulators reported that they had tracked a convicted felon named Winslow Driggers (who had earlier escaped from a jail in Savannah, Georgia) and captured him

"near Drowning Creek, in the Charraw settlement." 

By the 1850's the Driggers surname was also common among another remnant Indian group, the Nanticoke of Maryland. Interestingly enough, the Nanticoke also shared the surnames of Harmon and Clark in common with the eastern Siouan of Halifax, NC. In 1855, Levi Sockum sold powder and shot to his son-in-law Isaac Harmon. Sockum was charged with violating a law that forbade supplying firearms to Negroes and mulattoes. Harmon and Sockum both denied any Negro ancestry.

A relative of the two men, Lydia Clark, claimed to be the last full-blood Nanticoke. She testified that Harmon's ancestor was an enslaved African who had married his mistress. The half-breed offspring of this union, Lydia Clark testified, had intermarried with some of the remaining Nanticoke. Judge George Fisher, who had prosecuted Harmon and Sockum, later wrote an article for a newspaper in 1895. Fisher reminisced that Harmon was "a young man, of perfectly Caucasian features, dark chestnut brown hair, rosy cheeks and hazel eyes; and by odds the handsomest man in the courtroom, and yet he was alleged to be a mulatto."   
 

After peace was made between the Virginia tribes and their ancient enemy, the Iroquois in 1722, a band of Siouans traveled north and settled on the Susquehanna at Shamokin, Pensylvania, under Iroquois protection. Their chiefs were allowed to sit in the great council of the Six Nations, and the political status of the tribe was described as "that of a 'prop', or 'support', between the logs in the wall of the Long House." In 1771 these eastern Sioux, now lumped together under the name of "Tutelo", were settled on the east side of Cayuga inlet, about 3 miles from the south end of the lake. In the 1880's, Horatio Hale interviewed Nikonha whom he described as the last full-blood Tutelo living among the Iroquois. Nikonha informed Hale that his Tutelo name was "Washinga" and gave Hale lengthy description of the Tutelo dialect, which upon later examination, proved to be clearly Siouan and closely related to the Catawba language. Nikonha died in 1871.

Chapter 2 “Forced, in a measure”- The Mulatto Label

  For the last 200 years numerous Indian descendants have been fighting a legal, and often racially charged, battle due to historical and modern-day race classification. The dreaded historical beast of southeastern Indian communities that continues to rear its ugly head is the fact that from the mid 1700’s to after 1900 most Indian groups or individuals east of the Mississippi were racially classified as “Mulatto.” The reasons and justifications for this are rooted deeply in the history of southern slavery, land ownership, and political power. Prior to 1850 the federal census and most county tax books only distinguished 4 types of persons; free white males, free white females, free persons of color, and slaves. By the record keeping of the time Indians not taxed were not supposed to be recorded at all. These non-taxed Indians assumedly lived on reservations and therefore were not required to be subject to federal census or county tax recordings. However, the inhabitants of many state reservations and some federal Indian land grants were recorded on these documents.  In 1705 the Virginia Legislature passed into law that
“the offspring of an Indian and a White is a Mulatto.”
This law went on to state that if the half-Indian ‘mulatto’ was to marry a white person then that ‘mulatto’ and his or her offspring were to be legally regarded as ‘white’ (this is undoubtedly where the notion arose that a person should be of at least ¼ blood to be considered an Indian).
The Virginians were using the word ‘mulatto’ in its historical usage, from the root word ‘mule’, meaning any crossbreed. With the independent formation of the lower southern states, each state adopted racial classifications roughly equivalent to that of Virginia. 

Florida’s official race laws stipulated that any mixed-blood person, whether of white/Negro, white/Indian, Indian/Negro, white/Hispanic, or whatever, were to be legally and socially classified as ‘mulatto’.

 Prior to 1850 federal censuses were performed primarily for tax and land ownership recording purposes, and most Indians were either not recorded, or included in the ‘other free persons’ or ‘free persons of color’ categories. Beginning in 1850, persons contracted to perform the federal census were encouraged to inquire as to person’s self-identification due to the fear of 

“Light skinned Negroes trying to pass themselves off as whites or Indians.” Given that there were only three available categories, white, black, or mulatto; that persons who appeared to be obviously mixed-blooded of any kind were to be listed as ‘mulatto’; and that persons taxed could not be listed as ‘Indian’ (who were inherently non-taxed); it is not surprising that there were few persons recorded as ‘Indian’ east of the Mississippi from 1850 to 1900.

   For a perfect example of the confusion suffered by lawmakers attempting to place these mixed-bloods into some neat category, read this excerpt from the 1871 North Carolina Joint Senate and House Committee as they interviewed Robeson County Judge Giles Leitch about the ‘free persons of color’ living within his county: 
 
     Senate: Half of the colored population? 
     Leitch: Yes Sir; half of the colored population of Robeson County were never slaves at all… 
     Senate: What are they; are they Negroes? 
     Leitch: Well sir, I desire to tell you the truth as near as I can; but I really do not know what they are; I think they are a mixture of Spanish, Portuguese and Indian… 
     Senate: You think they are mixed Negroes and Indians? 
     Leitch: I do not think that in that class of population there is much Negro blood at all; of that half of the colored population that I have attempted to describe all have always been free…They are called ‘mulattoes’ that is the name they are known by, as contradistinguished from  Negroes…I think they are of Indian origin. 
     Senate: I understand you to say that these seven or eight hundred persons that you designate as  mulattoes are not Negroes but are a mixture of Portuguese and Spanish, white blood and Indian blood, you think they are not generally Negroes? 
     Leitch: I do not think the Negro blood predominates. 
     Senate: the word ‘mulatto’ means a cross between the white and the Negro? 
     Leitch: Yes sir. 
     Senate: You do not mean the word to be understood in that sense when applied to these people? 
     Leitch: I really do not know how to describe those people. 
   

Regardless of the tax or land reasoning behind the ‘mulatto’ classification, a close examination of other factors can give a clearer picture of a group’s social and legal standing. Although members of the Apalachicola River settlements of Cheraw Indians were marked as mulatto on federal censuses, they were not held to the same legal or social restrictions as free persons of Negro blood. For example, Florida Legislation of 1848 required free Negroes and mulattoes to have a white guardian appointed by the local magistrate and was restricted from owning property. No person in Florida of Catawba origin was ever assigned a white guardian, and Jacob and Absalom Scott were both early Florida landowners. Jacob Scott’s 160 acres, mill and ferry were valued at $2,000 in 1860, actually making him one of Calhoun County’s more prosperous citizens.

 	  As the country hung on the edge of Civil War, the southern white power structure was making huge efforts to dis-empower and regulate any non-white non-slave persons in their midst. White slave owners feared that “free Negroes, Mulattoes and Indians” held natural anti-slavery sentiment and would support the North should war break out. To encourage free mixed-bloods to move beyond the boundaries of their states, many southern Legislatures approved tax regulations which imposed double taxes on “free persons of color”, required them to pay tax on their wives (a financial burden not imposed on white households) and restricted them from carrying firearms. Every state, which passed these restrictions, was the subject of petitions by Indian individuals and families who felt that they should not be the subjects of such ‘free person of color’ laws. In 1857, William Chavis was arrested and charged as “a free person of color” with carrying a shotgun, a violation of North Carolina state law. He was convicted, but promptly appealed, claiming that the law only restricted free Negroes, not persons of color. The appeals Court reversed the lower Court, finding that: 
 
                             “Free persons of color may be, then, for all we can see, persons colored by Indian blood, or persons descended from Negro ancestors beyond the fourth degree.” 
 
  	   Prior to 1850, the Catawba who had settled on the Apalachicola were recorded as ‘other free persons’ or ‘free persons of color’ on Jackson and Calhoun County tax rolls. In 1856 Florida tax books changed their format from a ‘free persons of color’ bracket to a ‘free Negroes & Mulattos’ bracket. At that point, the Catawba were taxed as ‘white’. After the conclusion of the Civil War the tax books changed again, this time with the race of an entire page of taxed persons being listed at the top of the page. On these new books, some of the Catawba head of households are taxed as ‘white’, some are taxed as ‘colored’, and the several inter-related Scott families were listed on a separate page with no racial header. 
 
 Often the tax records of Jackson and Calhoun disagree with the racial classification of Cheraw- Catawba recorded on the federal census. Taxed as ‘free persons of color’ Jacob Scott and his wife Polly Harmon are recorded as ‘white’ on the 1850 census, and then later as ‘mulatto’ on the 1860. Francis E. Hill and his wife Elizabeth Scott are first censused as ‘white’ in 1850, then as ‘mulatto’ in 1860, while Francis Hill was consistently taxed as ‘white’. 
 	  As has been discussed by many scholars, the ‘Indian’ stereotype was already prevalent among eastern whites as early as the 1850’s. The typical understanding among southern whites was that all Indians had long hair, did not speak English, and, most importantly, all lived out west. Eastern Indian descendants were known to have varying hair colors and textures, varying eye colors, and a wide range of skin complexions, even as early as the 1700’s, most probably due to intermarriage with early Spanish, French, and English traders. Most officials were at a loss when trying to categorize these people into a social structure that allowed for only two races, black and white.  An excerpt from the 1910 petition of the ‘Croatan’ Indians of Sampson County, North Carolina, shows the prevalent attitude of southern whites towards mixed-blood Indians: 
 
                 “Since 1868, the white people in Sampson County, as a rule, have classed these Indians with the Negroes and refused to accept them except as Negroes. They have consequently been forced, in a measure, with the Negro race, but they steadfastly refused to be classed with        Negroes. They have refused to attend the churches and the schools of the Negroes or to co-mingle with them on terms of social equality. It is marvelous that they have been able to maintain their racial status so well under the adverse social and political status which has been forced upon them by the white people.” 
 
  	Physically described over the years as “dark skin-dark hair-dark eyes”, “mixed-blooded almost white”, “at the least mixed-blooded”, “Caucasian-Indian” and to quote the Jackson County School Superintendent “…from their appearance can very easily be considered as belonging to the white race…of course possible that they might have a large percentage of Indian blood.”; we must take all of the evidence as a whole, boil it down, and come to a conclusion. The Apalachicola River Cheraw were considered to be persons of Indian ancestry, and were not legally or socially held to the restrictions of bearing Negro blood. 
 





Chapter 3 “A Company of Friendly Indians” The Florida Frontier

 The previous two chapters discussed the overall state of the remnant eastern-Siouan/Cheraw people in the late 1700’s to early 1800’s, and the racial climate they had to endure daily. In turning our attention to the history of the immigrant Cheraw-Catawba Indian community of northwest Florida, we must address their ancestral families, and their tribal origins. The majority of the family groups who migrated into Florida in the 1820’s, had previously maintained residence on the dwindling Catawba reservation lands in northwestern South Carolina. By the time of the Florida migration, the majority of the reservation lands had been leased to white farmers, and the Catawba were surviving economically by the collection of lease payments and pottery sales. The lack of land to live on, and the inability of the government of South Carolina to collect the white settlers’ lease payments, caused many Catawba families to migrate outside the Carolinas, many going south, others to the west.  The core of the Catawba families who settled into Florida bore the surnames of the major early Catawba families, Ayers, Brown, Scott & Stephens. Jacob Scott, Joseph Scott, & Absalom Scott were direct familial connections to the Catawba reservation, and Isham Scott (possibly a cousin to the former three) had connections to the Catawba-Siouan Indians on the Gingaskin land in Northampton, Virginia. Richard Jeffries, also a core member of the Florida Catawba, was the son of Silvia Scott and Andrew ‘Drury’ Jeffries (grandfather of Parker Jeffries mentioned later) who also had ties to the Catawba in Northampton. Jeffreys/Jeffries descendants have been identified as descendant of the Catawba tribe in many different places, and in different eras. By 1842 several members of the Jeffries family had migrated to Greene County, Ohio, where Parker Jeffries filed a Supreme Court case after he was denied the right to vote. The jury found
“that the plaintiff is of the Indian race, the illegitimate son of a white man and a woman of the Indian race, and that he has not more than one fourth of the Indian race in his veins.” 
R.F. Dill, a Greene County, Ohio historian, published in 1881 a compilation of short biographies of leading Greene County residents. Here he mentioned
“James Jeffreys…son of Silas and Susan Jeffreys…Silas was a descendant of the Catawba Tribe of Indians.” And also mentioned “Mason Jeffreys…son of Uriah and Caroline Jeffreys…Uriah was a descendant of the Tribe of Catawba Indians.” 

Over ten years later, and hundreds of miles to the south, another document of Jeffreys Catawba descendancy arises. In 1881 Dr Joseph McDowell, of Fairmont, Georgia filed a petition with the U.S. Senate and the Indian Office asking for

“Catawba Indians, and 81 in number” The report stated that “William Guy, of Granville, GA (sic NC), and Simon Jeffries, of Bellville, VA, Catawba Indians, served five years in the Army (Rev War) and were honorably discharged, and these people are their descendants.”

The fact that Catawba families had migrated into northwest Florida is beyond doubt. In September, 1853, a band of 18 Indians, all of whom claimed to be Catawba, was reported by Brigadier General G.B. Hall as wandering near Stockton, Alabama (near present-day Atmore, Alabama). Their leader was named Taylor, and the band represented two families: Taylor and Houser. There were four men in the group; the rest were women and children. They said they came from northwest Florida, and were en route to Arkansas, but were stranded for lack of money and had been begging corn and potatoes in Alabama where residents were anxious to get rid of them. The fate of the Houser family remains unknown, but the Taylor family established a household among the Creeks in Atmore, Alabama.     
 	When the Catawba families arrived, they were not the only Indians in the area; however, plans were already underway to clean the landscape of the Creek and Seminoles residing there. By the end of 1839 the final emigration of the Creek Indians living within the treaty reserves along the Apalachicola was complete, except for several bands of hostiles still hiding in swamps, and several communities of “White Stick” Friendly Creek allowed to stay according to the stipulations of the Treaty of Fort Jackson. However, treaty, tax, and census documents record the presence of another group of Indians living in the area of the Apalachicola River. These ‘other’ Indians were obviously considered different and separate from the Creeks. After leasing out all their land on the reservation, and possibly hoping to continue a tradition of military honor, a handful of Catawba families ventured into northwest Florida. After serving as “friendly Indian” scouts against the “hostile” Creeks and Seminoles, these mixed-blood Indian families settled down into quiet lives as farmers, stock keepers, and ferry operators, just as they had previously done in South Carolina.              
 	The presence of Catawba Indian families in the Apalachicola River valley can be documented as far back as 1828, when Absalom Scott, Jacob Scott and his wife Polly Harmon, Richard Jeffers, John Jones, and Joseph Scott appear on Jackson County tax records. It does not appear that any Catawba were present prior to that time, as they are not mentioned in the Treaty of Moultrie Creek of 1823. It appears that even service as scouts in the militia would not guarantee complete safety; however, and in 1837 the families of Betsy Ayers and Sally Ayers were mistaken for hostile Indians and held at Dog Island by Lt. Berrian in preparation for removal to Indian Territory. The family members of Betsy and Sally were eventually adopted into citizenship in the Choctaw Nation along with several other Catawba families. 


1833 Tax Book of Jackson County Florida those taxed as “free persons of color”

Beady…………....taxed $3.00….owned no land Betsy………….....taxed $3.00….owned no land Ireland, Samuel….taxed $3.00…..owned no land Jones, John……….taxed $3.00….owned no land Scott, Jacob………taxed $3.00………....80 acres Scott, Absalom……taxed $3.00…………20 acres Scott, Olive………..taxed $3.00…..owned no land Scott, Penny…….....taxed $3.00….owned no land Scott, Luranny……..taxed $3.00….owned no land Ward, Terressa……..taxed $3.00….owned no land


1834 Tax Book of Jackson County Florida those taxed as “free persons of color”

Brooks, Martin…………....taxed $.25 Jeffers, Richard………….....taxed $.25 Jones, John…………..…….taxed $.25 Maseleno, Joe…………..…taxed $,25 Scott, Jacob…………..……taxed $.25 Scott, Absalom………….…taxed $.25 Scott, Joseph……………....taxed $.25


 	In the September 1823 treaty of Moultrie Creek, a special provision was added by the Chiefs present which read 

“…one mile square, at the Ocheesee Bluffs, embracing Stephen Richards’ fields of said bluff, be conveyed, in simple, to said Stephen Richards.”

Richards, of North Carolina, was homesteading in Calhoun County prior to 1820, and was serving as an interpreter for U.S. Indian Agent Gad Humphreys. Richards continued his work as interpreter in the May 1832 treaty of Payne’s Landing. On October 15, 1837, “Captain” Stephen Richards was empowered by the West Florida Militia to form and outfit a mounted company of Indians for service against hostile Creeks and Seminoles. 

Most of the recruits for this Company were Creek Indians from the newly created Apalachicola reservations, yet there are many persons appearing on the Company roll that bore English names and were from such areas as North Carolina and Virginia.

Captain Stephen Richards’ Company of Friendly Indians – Mounted Florida Militia Enlisted 1837 at Walker’s Town, Jackson County, Florida

 Amotto                              Tom Fobby                                 Madison                              Sledge 
 J.H. Bison                         Fo-load-ree                                 Moses Manning                 Sumpkai 
 Black Billy                        Friday                                         John Mealey                       Tailor 
 Black John                         Anthony Garshaw                      John Newcommer              Te-pikie 
 Bob                                    William Gay                               Nit-ti-e                               Tomma 
 Samuel Bray                      J.D. Gill                                      No-co-ceola                       Old Tommy 
 William Brown                  William Goodrum                      Oak-kos-kee                       To-  or Captain Billy 
 Martin Caseboury              Hawkins                                     George Perryman                Colonel Toney 
 Gilbert Chermichael           Heischa                                      Thomas Perryman              To-tour  or Capt. Billy 
 Davy Chopka                      Jake                                            Ponna                                 Towny 
 Johny Chopka                     Jimmy                                        James Richards Sr.             Charles Walker 
 Cosi-es-a-hola                     Spanish John                             James Richards Jr.              Jim Walker 
 Davy                                   Josee                                           John Richards                    John Walker 
 Big Davy                             Peter Leonard                            John G. Richards                Wilsie 
 U-lousa or Davy                  Lewy (killed 16 Apr. 1838)      Stephen Richards                Jackson Wood 
 Eat-cot-to                            Loceo-tie                                    W. Riley                             Silas Wood 
 R.B. Evans                          Chebon Louc                              Samsey                              Isaac Yellowhair 
 James E. Fairley                  Samse Succo                              James Sessions 
 Mr. Fobby                           Chebon Lusta                             William Simmon(s)
                                                                                                                                           

The names of William Brown, R.B. Evans, James E. Farley, and John Newcommer are particularly interesting. Later censuses would later identify these individuals as being born in either South Carolina or Virginia, and James Farley was identified as “Indian” after he later moved to Georgia. A “Captain Newcomer” signed a 1753 letter along with the famous Catawba King Hagler, and Indian Trader John Evans was mentioned as having a

“half-breed son among the Catawba Nation” in 1733.   
	When the Creek Indians agreed to emigrate in 1838 and 1839, Captain Stephen Richards lost the majority of his Indian recruits; however, it is apparent that there were Indians still residing in the area that Richards could rely on for support. A military report from 1844 (5 years after the last band of Creeks had immigrated to Indian Territory) reveals that, not only were roving groups of hostile Creeks still a real threat, but that there still remained in the area a group of Indians from whom Richards could recruit: 
 
             “Captain Stephen Richards and a company of friendly Indians dispatched to search for renegade Indians that attacked passengers of Henry A. Nunes’ barge at Phillips’ Inlet.” 
 
  	 Even though the Catawba were willing to shed the blood of their own race to protect their white benefactors, this proved to not guarantee their own personal protection, even from the very people they had tried to protect. Joseph Scott had been living in the area of Calhoun County since at least 1834, when he first appears on tax books as a ‘free male of color’. The household of Joe Scott was the only home headed by a free person of color documented on the 1840 census of Calhoun County where he was listed as between 51 and 60 years of age. It appears that Joe was a respected and well-known leader of his people then, but still even that position and title was not enough to save his life. In 1846, “Old Chief Joe, a well-known Indian Chief..” was stabbed in the head by a white man in an altercation over a roll of calico cloth. Chief Joe’s son (probably the younger Joe Scott who appears on the 1850 census) was present and witnessed his father fall. According to the 1846 newspaper account, Old Chief Joe called out to his son “Thwatka” which is most certainly a variant or mispronunciation of the Siouan phrase Thwalka, which translates to “he has killed me.” The area that Old Chief Joe was killed appears on an 1842 map of north-west Florida as “Dead Lakes”, the name of this area of lakes and swamps is undoubtedly a reference to the numerous dead cypress trees that naturally fill the lakes and streams of this area. Cheraw families continued to live in this area.  
 The violent death of the beloved Chief Joe obviously sent ripples of fear through the local Catawba families and they seem to have temporarily abandoned their habits of wandering the area hunting and fishing. On the 1850 Federal census the Catawba are recorded as living in a tightly grouped settlement on the Ocheesee district (north-west area of Calhoun County) property of their white benefactor, Captain Richards. This fear was not long standing, however, and the Catawba gradually returned to their custom of having hunting and fishing camps. The families of Thomas Ayers, Susan Smith, James Martin and Malachi Scott are recorded as doing just that on the 1880 census of southern Calhoun County. As stated earlier, the 1850 Federal census shows the Ayers, Brown, Scott, Quinn, Stephens, and Hill Catawba families settled on the Richards’ property at the Ocheesee Bluffs near the Apalachicola River. This was also near the Gregory House and Hotel, a popular stopping point at Ocheesee Landing for river traffic. In 1848 (nine years after the Creeks had emigrated) a Frenchman visiting the Gregory House sketched and painted a group of Indians and Native structures he titled “Indian Village on the Apalachicola.” 
  
 

1850 Federal Census of Calhoun County - 5th Division household name: age sex race occupation: born in:

   56                     Ayers,Ishmael                   46      m                                                                             SC 
                               “  “  ,Abigail                  50       f                                                                              SC 
                               “  “ ,James                      22      m                                                                            GA 
                               “  “ ,Thomas                   14      m                                                                             SC 
                               “  “ ,John                         13     m                                                                             GA 
                               “  “ ,Solomon                  11     m                                                                             GA 
                               “  “ ,Ishmael                     8      m                                                                             GA 
 
   57                      Hall, David S.                   23      m                                                                            ALA 
                               “   , Rebeck                     22      f                                                                              GA 
                               “   , Susan                        7        f                                                                             ALA 
                               “   , Amlin                       6        m                                                                            ALA 
                               “   , Thomas                     1       m                                                                             FL 
 
   58                        Scott, Joseph                   38      m       M                                                                 GA 
                               “    “, Mary                      35      f         M                                                                GA 
                               Gray, Michal                   34      m                                                                           Ireland 
 
   59                        Quinn, Joseph                 30      m       M                                                                 SC 
                               Jones, Eliza                     28      f         M                                                                GA 
                               “      “, Susan                    5       f         M                                                                 FL 
                               “      “, Delila                    1       f         M                                                                 FL 
 
   60                        Stafford, Joseph              33      m                                                                           VA 
                               “          “, Mary                22      f                                                                             ALA 
 
   61                       Stafford, William             53      m                                                                           GA 
 
   62                       Scott, Mary                      30      f        M                                                                 GA 
                              “     “, John                       20      m      M                                                                 FL 
 
   63                       Scott, Jacob                      53      m                                      Smith                           SC 
                              “      “, Appa                     45       f                                                                           SC 
                              “      “, James                    16       m                                                                         GA 
                              “      “, Nancy                    14       f                                                                          GA 
                              “      “, Luzinia                  12       f                                                                          GA 
                              “      “, Lewis W.               10      m                                                                         GA 
                              “      “, Jacob                      9       m                                                                          ALA 
                              “      “, Henrietta                8        f                                                                           ALA 
                              “      “, Susanna                  7        f                                                                           ALA 
                              “      “, Lewisain                6         f                                                                           ALA 
                              “      “, Malvin                   1         m                                                                          FL 
 
    64                      Scott, Isham                      69       m        M                                                              NC 
                              “     “, Millia                     46        f         M                                                               SC 

   

1850 Federal Census of Calhoun County (cont)

     65                       Loftis, Paskel                           45        m                                                                 Tenn 
                                Jones, Olive                             46         f             M                                                  GA 
                                Jones, Lark                              24         m           M                                                   FL 
                                Jones, Elizar Ann                     5          f             M                                                   FL 
                                Jones, Thomas                         2           m           M                                                   FL 
 
     66                       Scott, Abslom                          60         m           M                                                   NC 
                                “     “, Gillatia                          38         f                                                                    NC 
                                “     “, Jacob                             17         m           M                                                    FL 
                                “     “, Amanda                         14         f            M                                                    FL 
                                “     “, Mary Ann                      11         f            M                                                   GA 
                                “     “, John T.                           9          m           M                                                   GA 
                                “     “, Samuel                           5          m           M                                                    FL 
                                “     “, Henry                             2          m           M                                                    FL 
                                Stevens, Alexander                  20        m           M                                                     FL 
 
     67                       Butts, James                             26         m                                                                 ALA 
                                Jones, Mary Ann                      20         f            M                                                   GA 
 
     68                       Hill, Francis A.                        38          m                                                                ALA 
                                “   “, Dicy                                 28          f                                                                  SC 
                                “   “, Marthey                            6           f                                                                 GA 
                                “   “, Ann                                   2           f                                                                 FL 
 
     69                       Scott, Jacob                              38          m           M                                                 GA 
                                “     “, Lewrania                        76          f            M                                                  NC 
                                “     “, John M.                          16          m           M                                                  FL 
 
     70                       Castleberry, Sarah Ann            23           f                                                                GA 
                                Brown, Emaline                        7            f                                                                FL 
                                Castleberry, Lewranny            11/12       f                                                                FL 

 
 Just across the Apalachicola River, in then far southern Gadsden County, another portion of the Catawba had settled temporarily on the Forbes Purchase lands. Documented on this census was a repeat of William Stafford’s household, Henry Mainer, Tom Scott who had married Sarah Larkins, Frances Larkins, and William “Billie” Scott: 
 

1850 Federal Census of Gadsden County – Southern District

    618                     Stafford, William                    58      m                                    Farmer                         SC 
                               “          “, Mary                        52      f                                                                          SC 
                               “          “, Frances                    26      f                                                                          SC 
                               “          “, William                   20       m                                   overseer                       FL 
                               “          “, John                         14      m                                                                        FL 
                               “          “, Ann                          10      f                                                                         FL 
 
    619                     Maner, Henry                          28      m                                   Farmer                         SC 
                               “       “, Sarah                           27      f                                                                         SC 
                               “       “, Martin                          3       m                                                                     TEXAS 
 
    620                     Scott, Thomas                          22      m                                  Farmer                         SC 
                               “      “, Sarah                            17       f                                                                        FL 
 
    621                     Larkins, Frances                      38       f                                                                       NC 
                                “        “, William                     19       m                                 Farmer                         NC 
 
    622                      Scott, William                         24       m                                 Farmer                        SC 
                                “     “, Martha                          17       f                                                                      SC 
                                “     “, John                              15       m                                                                    SC 
                                “     “, Henry                           9/12    m                                                                     FL 

 

An interesting event occurred just seven years after the recording of this census. In 1857 James Butts (head of household number 67) was called before the Jackson County Court to answer to charges of “Adultery & fornication with a free mulatto”. Butts challenged the charge based on the fact that the female he had been co-habitating with did not fit the legal definition of a ‘mulatto’. Several white witnesses were called including Captain Stephen Richards and John Chason, and the Judge dismissed the charge. The awarding of military service land grants in the mid-1850’s resulted in a split of the original Ocheesee Bluffs Catawba settlement. Jacob Scott chose 160 acres at the site where old Joe Scott had lived in southern Calhoun County on the Chipola River. Here Jacob constructed a ferry service and mill. This settlement became known as “Scott’s Ferry”, as it is still known today. Absalom Scott lived briefly at Scott’s Ferry until a close friend, John Chason, acting as Absalom’s land agent, was able to secure him an 80 acre tract in south-western Jackson County at the headwaters of the Chipola. The Ayers family would chose land in mid-western Calhoun County near the banks of the Chipola at a site near present-day Clarksville. Having less Indian blood than the other immigrant Catawba families, The Ayers’ did not maintain an identifiable separate community and continued to out-marry with local white families. Although they did not continue to be identified as part of the Cheraw-Catawba community, the more socially adept members of the Ayers family did speak out for them on several occasions, and many of the Ayers descendants still speak with pride about their Indian ancestors. Chapter 4 “all of whom claim to be Catawbas”

The Florida Catawba 
 

General Jacob Scott became ‘Chief’ of the Catawba in South Carolina after the death of General New River in 1801. General Jacob Scott died in 1821 and General Jacob Ayers succeeded him until his own death on 14 July 1837. Ian Watson in his compilation entitled “Catawba Indian Genealogy” described the death of General Ayers in 1837 as “the end of a conservative era of Catawba tribal government.”, and indeed, 3 years later the Catawba relinquished their lands in South Carolina and scattered.

The reality of this shift to a more progressive thinking leadership and the eventual self-termination of their reservation status and migration to North Carolina in 1840 may have an ethnic root instead of being the result of acculturation. 
 

Watson, Brown & McDowell clearly identify three of the Catawba surnames as being of Cheraw origin (George, Robbins, Harris)(1) and these families seemed to begin a push to dominate the Catawba leadership after the death of General Scott in 1821. The exodus of so many Catawba in the 1820’s could possibly represent a reaction to the overtaking of the political structure by the mixed-blood Christianized Cheraw. The fact that a large number of Catawba left the reservation in the time-span 1790 to 1830 cannot be doubted. Revolutionary enlistments and petitions of Catawba showed the surnames Williams, Connar (or Conyer), Thompson, Simmons, Jones, Taylor, Cross, Cook, Bullen (or Bowlin), Kennedy, Kelley, Young & Dickson (2); surnames which do not appear after the 1820’s.

The Scott family, described by Brown as “a large and prominent family” among the Catawba, supplied three men to the Revolutionary effort, Capt. Jacob Scott, Capt. John Scott, and Billey Scott. If these 3 males were the only Catawba males bearing the ‘Scott’ surname, then by population estimates the Scott family Catawba must have represented at least 3 households and 15 to 20 individuals, yet by 1849 only two Scott individuals remained connected to the Catawba (John Scott born 1826, and Sam Scott born 1799). (3) By 1853, John Scott was the only individual with that surname associated with the tribe, and the 1943 Catawba Tribal roll does not bear any Catawba with the Scott surname. (4)

So, here’s the “million dollar” question, where did these Catawba go? In 1828 a group of mixed-blood Indians arrived in the area west of the Apalachicola River in northwest Florida. Of the 9 surnames present in that original migration (Ayers, Brown, Bunch, Harmon, Jeffries, Jones, Scott, Stephens, Williams) (5), a whopping 7 surnames have been identified as Catawba. (6) The ages of the eldest males in the Florida migration (Jacob Scott born 1797, Isham Scott born 1791, Absalom Scott born 1790) (7) matches the age group of the last remaining Scott elder attached to the Catawba in 1849 (Sam Scott born 1799). Given that the names Sam, George, Tom, John, and Jacob, which appeared with uncommon frequency among the Catawba, also appear with the same frequency among the Florida mixed-bloods; we must accept as fact that the Sam Scott at Catawba and Jacob, Isham and Absalom in Florida were related, most likely brothers and sons of the older Jacob Scott. 
 	 The fact that Catawba migrated as far as Florida is without question. In Sept. 1853, a band of eighteen Indians, all of whom claimed to be Catawba, was reported wandering near Stockton, Alabama. Their leader was named Taylor, and the band represented two families: Taylor and Houser. There were four men in the group; the rest were women and children. They said they came from West Florida and were enroute to Arkansas, but were stranded for lack of money. (8) The Taylor family eventually settled among the mixed-blood Creeks living on land near Stockton, but the Houser family disappeared from official view.
It is amazing that the family of Richard Taylor appears in the mid-1800’s, all claiming to be Catawba Indians, as there had been no records of the Catawba Taylor family since the 1740’s when “War Captain Tom Taylor” was among them. (9) Documents such as this of the Taylor family and also the Jeffries/Jeffreys and Guy families are indicative that Catawba descended families migrated to many areas of the southeast with very little documentation, but have been discounted by academics because they did not bear such well-known Catawba surnames as Harris, Brown, Cantey, etc. 
 	 Surname recognition alone is not the only evidence that the Apalachicola mixed-bloods carried a Catawba identity. Their own words support this fact. On July 10th, 1861, Francis Hill, a “white unmarried male,” was charged by the Calhoun County Court with “Fornication with one Eliza Scott a Mulatto woman.” This charge was not long-standing, however, as Francis petitioned and provided witnesses who were prepared to testify that, 
 
       “Eliza Scott is not a Mulatto as named in the indictment but is an Indian of the 
       Catawba tribe, her grandfather Jacob Scott being a headman of that tribe.”(11) 
 

The testimony seemed sufficient to clear away the cloud of suspicion of negro ancestry, as seems apparent when Francis Hill, Isham Scott, and John ‘Capt. Jack’ Ayers were all allowed to enlist for Confederate service with McCallister’s Calhoun Rangers later in December. As almost an afterthought, the Fall Court filed away the fornication charge with a ‘not guilty’ finding.

The Ayers Family

During the French and Indian War, the Catawba Indians in South Carolina began adopting the English Military titles of “General, Colonel, Captain” etc to describe their tribal leaders and social ranks within the tribe. Many Catawba were already adopting English alongside their Catawba names. Some of these military titles became proper names eventually, for some individuals.

In records of the French and Indian War was the name of “Colonel Ayers”, he is recorded as the leader of a group of 27 Catawba warriors on an expedition against Fort Duquesne. Ayers became Chief of the Catawba after the death of King Hagler in 1763. In 1764 Chief “General Ayers” secured a treaty for the Catawba people that allotted them reservation lands totaling 144,000 acres in present day counties of Lancaster, York, and Chester, South Carolina. 

In the 1750’s there were recorded a total of 6 Catawba towns, including Newtown, Peedee, Carrow (or Saraw) Sugar Town, Nuestee, and Nawsaw. Catawba Indian agent Hutchison wrote in 1782:

“…A number of Indians had it in view to go and live among the Cherokee, who had offered them land, and proposed to aid them in building houses, but the aged among them were averse to removal… At the time I am speaking of these men (General Scott, General Ayers, and General Harris) were old, and would not consent to remove.” The enlistment records of Captain Thomas Drennan’s Unit of Catawba Indians in the Revolutionary War, 1783 shows: -William “Billy” Williams -Jacob Scott -Billy Scott

                         -John Eayrs (Ayers)

-James Eayrs (Ayers) -Jacob Eayrs (Ayers)-Little Stephens The Revolutionary War Catawba Indian service list (no officer voucher) in 1784 shows:

         -Jacob Scott                                  -Jacob Eayers  

-John Scott -Little Stephens -William “Billy” Williams

            -Billy Scott                                     -Mosy Ayres   

-Colonel John Eayres -William Billy Eayres In 1826, the Catawba Nation occupied only two villages, Newtown on the York County side of the Catawba River, and Turkey Head on the Lancaster side. On June 16, 1826 General Jacob Ayres, Chief of the Catawba’s (he succeeded General Jacob Scott as such) signed a lease for 208 acres of the Catawba Reservation lands lying north of the Old Trading Road. Those who signed the writ, in addition to the General, were Colonel Lewis Canty, Captain John Ayres, Major Thomas Brown, and Lieutenant Jessie Ayres. In 1837, Catawba Chief General William Harris signed a lease for some of the last remaining Catawba Reservation lands over to a white settler. The headmen who co-signed for this lease were Major Sam Scott, Captain Edward Ayers, and lieutenant Lewis Stevens. (Captain John Ayers had already moved to north Florida at this time, there being little room left on the Catawba reservation. He served under Stephens Richards as a “friendly Indian” from 1837 to 1845, scouting against hostile Creek and Seminole Indians resisting the federal government’s efforts to resettle them west of the Mississippi River in the Indian Territory.)

	On March 13 1840 at Nations Ford on the Catawba River, the Leaders of the Catawba signed a treaty that ceded their South Carolina reservation lands that remained in exchange for money to buy lands in Haywood County, North Carolina, among the Cherokee. This treaty was signed by James Kegg, John Joe, Philip Kegg, Allen Harris, David Harris, William George, and Samuel Scott. Captain John Ayers was not a party to this treaty as he was serving with Stephen Richards in Florida against the Seminoles. 

Soon after the treaty was signed, the Catawba began moving to the lands they were trying to purchase in North Carolina, but on arriving they found that North Carolina refused their purchase of land. Finding themselves in a difficult situation, they began to contemplate removing to the Indian Territory west of the Mississippi. Throughout the many years since contact with the colonists, and then the Americans, individuals Catawba and small groups had been leaving the reservation for the west, and south, seeking opportunity in other areas. In February of1847, after receiving news that the Chickasaw Nation would accept them, thirty Catawba sent a petition to the Commissioner on Indian Affairs entitled “A Petition of Catawba Indians of North Carolina Desiring Assistance to Remove to the West”. Signatories to this petition were: -John Scott -Rosa Ayres -Lewis Stevens -Samuel Scott

       -Thomas Stevens             -Mary Ayres

-Margaret Ayres -Sally Ayres -Julia Ann Ayres On October 4, 1848 the landless North Carolina Catawba’s wrote a letter this time to President James Polk, requesting formal assistance in removing to Indian Territory with the Chickasaw. Signing this letter to the president were: -Lewis Stevens, -John Scott -Thomas Stevens

              -Jimmy Ayres                        -Mary Ayres

-Margaret Ayres -Betsy Ayres -Esther Scott

                  -Rosa Ayres                     - Harriet Stevens

Receiving no financial assistance from this endeavor, they returned to South Carolina and purchased 800 acres in their original county, Some of those who had left did not return to South Carolina though. In 1872, a congressman from Georgia petitioned the Indian Office for assistance in removing 84 Catawba residing in Granvilee County, Georgia. In 1853 a band of 18 Catawba were reported wandering near Stockton Alabama having traveled there from north Florida. Some Catawba actually made it to Indian Territory, because in 1853 13 Catawba were adopted into citizenship by the Choctaw National Council. The Catawba adopted were:

           -Betsy Ayers               -Julian Ayers                    - Mary Ayers
                       -Saphronia Ayers                     -Sally Ayers


When the Civil War erupted many Catawba fought for the confederacy. Enlisting in the 17th South Carolina Infantry Regiment were the following Catawba men: -Jefferson F Ayers -John Scott

                       - William Canty                       -Alexander Timms

The name of John Ayrs appears on the 1830 census of Greenville District, South Carolina. In 1849 the Catawba Roll lists the following Catawba residing in Greenville district: Males: -Franklin Canty age 23-John Scott age 23-John Brown age 12 -David Harris age 40-Billy Brown age 20 2 male children under age 10 Females: -Polly Ayers age 35 -Betsy Mush age 18 -Elizabeth Canty age 23

              -Patsy George age 30             -Jane Ayers age 18

-Esther Brown age 28 -Jinny Joe age 43

          -Polly Redhead age 40                      -Mary George age 18

-Betsy Hart age 26 -Peggy Canty age 20 6 female children under age 10 In 1854 the Catawba Roll shows: -Jefferson Ayers age 14 -John Scott age 28 -Polly Ayers age 40 Some Records we have relating to Catawba families who migrated to Florida and became part of the Cheraw Indians of North Florida Tribe are a grave marker at Whitfield Cemetery that reads; Captain John Ayers…born 1791… Seminole Wars No members of the Ayers family appear on Jackson County tax records prior to 1838, as they were still in the Catawba Nation. In 1840 on page 190 of the Jackson County census the name of William Aires appears.

The name of John Ayrs (age 59…Blacksmith…born 1791 in South Carolina) along with his wife “Arilla” (age 34…born 1816 in Georgia) appear on the 1850 census of Ocheesee District in Calhoun County Florida alongside of William “billy” Williams, Ishmael Ayres, Joseph Scott, Mary Scott, Jacob Scott, Absolom Scott, Alexander Stephens( married to Mary Ann Scott), Franise “Frank” Hill (Married to Elizabeth Scott). These two being the same couple who would be prosecuted in 1862 in Calhoun County court, Frank Hill would be charged with “Fornication with a Mulatto”, the case being dismissed once it was found that Elizabeth Scott was not a “Mulatto” under the meaning of Mulatto in the law of the time (being one quarter or more Negro). The name Aurelia (Arilla) Ayers (age 44…born 1816 in Georgia) appears on page 111 of the Ocheesee district, Calhoun County Florida census alongside James Stephens, Alitha (Ayers) Cutts, and William Ayers (born 1819 in South Carolina). Arilla Ayers oldest child, John Ayers Jr. is listed as born in Florida in 1838. Members of the Scott and Hill families, as well as Ishmael Ayers, appear in Calhoun County at Scotts Ferry, (a bit further down the Apalachicola River valley on a small feeder waterway called the Chipola River near the junction of the two waterways), by 1860. Florida Civil War Confederate Service Records of the Ayers family: Ayers, John-born 1839 Florida; married Seania Burnam on 9-11-1862;died 12-16-1862 in Liberty County; enlisted in the 4th Infantry on 5-10-1861 in Jackson County; absent on furlough since 2-27-1862 Ayers, Asa-born 1-9-1846 in Calhoun County; married Sarah Francis Richards on 8-19-1886; died 2-6-1906. Claimed to have served in the 10th Infantry Company F, but not found on rolls of unit (so far) Ayers, David S.- born 1840 Florida; served in Calhoun Rangers prior to enlisting in the 5th Florida Infantry Company H in 1862 at Rico’s Bluff. Mortally wounded 7-2-1863 at Gettysburg. Ayers, John W. Jr.- born 1837 in Florida; served in Calhoun Rangers prior enlisting in the 5th Florida Infantry Company H in 1862 at Rico’s Bluff. Wounded in the foot in June 1864, deserted to the Union forces inNovember 1864. His father was John Ayers Sr. a descendent stated that John Ayers Sr. died at Rock Bluff, Florida in Liberty County, Florida. He was known as “Captain John” and served in the Seminole War as a scout. Ayers, Solomon- born in Florida in 1840;served in the Calhoun Rangers prior to enlisting in the 5th Florida Infantry Company H in 1862 at Rico’s Bluff. Died of typhoid 2-9-1863 at Florida Hospital. Ayers, Thomas- born 1840 in Blountstown in Calhoun County; married Emily Marshall on 3-31-1889; served in Calhoun Rangers prior to enlisting in the 5th Florida Infantry Company H in 1862 at Rico’s Bluff. He was captured 4-6-1865 at Farmville Virginia and released on Oath of Loyalty 6-24-1865 at Newport News, Virginia. Described as 5’10” with grey eyes, fair skin, and light hair. ________________________________________ (1);; Watson, 83; Brown 1966, 218, 249; McDowell 1955, 145) (2);; Thomas Drennan’s company of Catawba Indians paylist of 1780; Petition of “the Chief and head men of Cataba Nation…” 24 Nov 1792, South Carolina Petitions, 1792, #26, South Carolina Department of Archives and History. (3);; Massey, B.S. account of Catawba Indians 1849 (4);; Massey, B.S. Report to the Governor of South Carolina on the Catawba Indians, 1854; “Catawba Tribal Roll, 1 July 1943,” #11273-1959-077, part 1, Central Classified Files, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, National Archives, Washington, D.C. (5);; Tax records of Jackson & Calhoun Counties, 1828, 1830, 1831, 1832, 1834, 1835, those individuals identified as “free persons of color” and “other free persons”. (6);; Surnames Ayers, Brown, Scott, Stephens, and Williams identified on Rev. War. paylists and reservation land leases. Surname Bunch identified from reservation land leases. Surname Jeffries identified prior to 1900 as Catawba descendants from records of Jenffries/Jeffreys family members residing in Ohio. (7);; 1850 census of Calhoun County, Ocheesee District, plantation of Capt. Stephen Richards. (8);; Hall, General G.B. to Capt. I.C. Casey about certain Indians in his County, 12 Nov 1853, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, National Archives, Letters Received, Miscellaneous, 1853, A-172. (9);; Brown, Douglas S., “The Catawba Indians”, The University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, 1966, page 220, 225-27. (10) 10 July 1861, State of Florida V. Francis Hill, 1860-65 Calhoun Judicial Cases, Calhoun County Courthouse Archives Room 3rd Floor, Blountstown, Florida.

Chapter 5“A Motley Crew of Half-Breed Indians”

 The Civil War 
 

The beginning of the Civil War marked a turbulent time for the Cheraw-Catawba Indians in the Apalachicola River Valley. Obviously influenced by their ancestral warrior culture, they were little concerned with the political or racial aspects of the conflict. Though no immediate negative effects were apparent as the war raged, the after-effects would prove to be near disastrous. Some Catawba enlisting with the Confederate military did not return in as good shape as when they had left, and some did not return at all. The most devastating effect of the war was the legal and social problems the Catawba would face after they had abandoned the doomed Confederate cause.

Under the charismatic influence of John “Captain Jack” Ayers and Indian countryman John Chason, in December of 1861 Isham Scott and Francis “Frank” Hill enlisted with Captain McCallister’s Calhoun Rangers. This home guard company served no longer than three months, however many of the soldiers re-enlisted in other Confederate units. In September of 1862, Ruben G. Blanchard (who had married Jane Scott Stone, the granddaughter of Olive Jones) enlisted with the Confederate Army in Company E, 10th Florida Infantry. Blanchard was soon reassigned to the Confederate Navy in 1864 and served on the ironclad gunboat “Palmetto State.” Ruben served on the gunboat until Charleston was evacuated, then was re-assigned to the Army. After being captured on April 6, 1865 during General Lee’s retreat from Richmond, Blanchard was held in prison at Point Lookout prison in Maryland for two months and released. Despite his unquestionable loyal service to the Confederacy, Ruben was initially denied a Florida Confederate Pension in 1908. This was due, in no small part, to the Chairman of the Calhoun County Commission, George L. Hansford. Hansford refused to approve the pension application of Blanchard, and took the further step to write personal letters to the pension board to accuse Blanchard of being “mixed blooded” and of having joined the Union Blockade Fleet. Hansford’s brother, John D. Hansford, had earlier married Ruben Blanchard’s daughter, Mary Jane, and this obviously insulted the racial purity ideals held by George. Though it was clearly documented that Blanchard had served in the Confederate military, the pension board declined to approve Blanchard’s pension stating,

“Negroes were not enlisted and are not entitled to pensions.” 

It was only after Blanchard attained the services of Jackson County law firm Calhoun & Campbell, that he was approved for the meager pension. A support letter written by W.M. Ayers stated that Ayers had known Blanchard for over 45 years, and that they had served together during the late War. Blanchard’s attorneys chalked the whole affair between Hansford and Blanchard up to

“some would be officer of Calhoun County who got a little mad with him about his politics.” 

On September 27th, 1864 the Union Cavalry clashed with the Confederate Army at Marianna, Florida. This battle would produce two significant events, involving the Apalachicola Catawba. In the heat of battle, John Chason, benefactor of the Catawba and land agent for Absolom Scott, was seriously wounded and captured by Union soldiers. Chason was sent to Ship Island prison where he died of dysentery on December 19th, 1864. The support of the Florida Catawba towards the Confederate cause was destined to die with Chason. Another interesting occurring during this battle was a report of Union soldiers capturing a confederate soldier on horseback, which they first assumed was a “colored man”. The soldiers solved this mystery after the capture when they determined that Henry Stevens, the ‘colored man’ in question, was of Indian blood.

Confederate enlistment records of Catawba in Florida are a wealth of personal information on the origins and physical descriptions of these early community members:

 Private James G. Stephens enlisted in the 2nd Florida Battalion Company E where he is described as born 1840, living in Marianna, captured in 1864 near Petersburg and released from Elmira Prison in 1865. He was 5 foot 4 inches, hazel eyes, dark skin, dark hair.

 Private Isham Scott enlisted in the Calhoun Home guards where he is described as 5 foot 5 inches, brown eyes, dark hair and dark skin.

 Private John Levy Emanuel enlisted in the 6th Florida Infantry Company D where he is described as born 1843, captured near Nashville in 1864 and sent to Camp Douglas Prison. Mustered into the 5th U.S. Volunteer Infantry in 1865.

 Private Asa Emanuel enlisted in the 6th Florida Infantry Company D where he is described as born 1815 in Georgia, attempted to enlist in 1862 at Apalachicola but was rejected by the inspecting officer. He was a member of Watson’s Company of Florida Militia and was captured 1864 in Volusia County. He was 5 foot 8 inches, grey hair, grey eyes, dark skin and last appears on a roll at Hilton Head Prison in 1865.

 Private Daniel Bunch enlisted in the 6th Florida Infantry Company D where he is described as born 1833, absent on every roll after April 1862 and AWOL since 1863.

 Private William Perkins enlisted in the 6th Florida Infantry Company D where he is described as born 1845 in Bibb County, Georgia, discharged 1863 in Mossy Creek Tennessee. He was 5 foot 4 inches, dark skin, dark hair, black eyes.

 Private John W. Hill enlisted in the 8th Florida Infantry Company E where he is described as born 1834 in Robeson County, North Carolina. He died of pneumonia in 1862 at Camp Winder Hospital, Richmond, Virginia.

After 1864 it appears that the Catawba abandoned the Confederate cause. Many Catawba who had been serving the Confederacy switched sides and enlisted with the Union. As with the CSA enlistments, the Union service records also contain worthy information about these warriors:

 Private John T. Scott enlisted with the 2nd Florida Cavalry Company A where he is described as born 1843 in Early County, Georgia. He was 5 foot 11 inches, black eyes, black hair, dark skin. He did not return from the War.

 Private Alexander H. Stephens enlisted with the 2nd Florida Cavalry Company A where he is described as born 1829 in Jackson County. He was 5 foot 10 inches, dark brown eyes, dark hair, dark skin. He died of disease during the War and did not return.

 Private William Bunch enlisted in the 2nd Florida Cavalry Company A where he is described as born 1845 in Henry County, Alabama. He was 5 foot 6 inches, hazel eyes, dark brown hair, dark skin.

 Private Francis M. Williams enlisted in the 2nd Florida Cavalry Company A where he is described as born 1842 in Calhoun County. He was 5 foot 9 inches, hazel eyes, dark brown hair, dark skin.

 Private John Williams enlisted in the 2nd Florida Cavalry Company A where he is described as born 1845 in Calhoun County. He was 5 foot 8 inches, black eyes, black hair, dark skin.

 Private John M. Scott enlisted in the Florida Ranger Regiment Company A where he is described as “born in Jackson County in the State of Florida, aged 21 years and by occupation a farmer. This soldier has black eyes, black hair, dark complexion, he is 5 feet 7 ½ inches tall.”

 Private Samuel Scott enlisted in the Florida Ranger Regiment Company A where he is described as “born in Calhoun County in the State of Florida, aged 19 years and by occupation a farmer. This soldier has black eyes, dark hair, dark complexion, he is 5 feet 8 ½ inches tall.”

  During the final days of the War, Private Wade Richardson wrote of the Union’s Florida Cavalry soldiers: 
 
“As to the rank and file they were as motley crew of as dare-devil fellows as can be collected at any seaport town, I guess. Among them were Spaniards, French Creoles, half-breed Indians, Germans, a few Poles, and a host of crackers and Gophers – the western Floridians were derisively called gophers.” 





Chapter 6 “A Settlement or Town of their Own” Scott’s Ferry

  	   After 1850 at least six of the original fifteen Catawba households had resettled at the newly acquired land of Jacob Scott. Jacob owned and operated a ferry service and mill (just as the Catawba had done on the Catawba River), and became quite prosperous, even in comparison to his white neighbors.  The movement of the Catawba into southern Calhoun can be tracked by the written history of the local Stone family. In the book “History of Jackson County” it is recounted that: 
 

“Lackland M. Stone, whose father was Colonel Henry D. Stone, one of Jackson County’s first settlers, was also an Indian trader. His family settled on the upper Chipola, near the future town of Webbville. When the Indians were moved to Ocheesee, he followed them, as he did later to Iola.”

The Stone family had apparently continued to carry a family legacy of Indian trading, because as early as 1691 the Council of Colonial Virginia had recorded:

  “Thomas Blunt is appointed interpreter to the Indians on the south side of the  James River, David Whitley to the Indians at the head of Rapp’a River, and William Stone to the Indians on the head of Yorke River.” 
 

And also in 1778, The North Carolina General Assembly enacted that,

   “Be it enacted, that Willaim Williams, Thomas Pugh, Willie Jones, Simon Turner, and Zedekiah Stone, be, and they are hereby appointed  commissioners for said Indians..” 
 
	   The reference to the Indians being moved to Ocheesee, does not describe any documented Creek band, as they had never maintained a village on the Chipola, did not have a village at Ocheesee, and had emigrated to Texas or Indian Territory before the Stone family moved to southern Calhoun at Iola. Bird Attaway (first husband of Elizabeth Perkins) and Horace Ely were contracted by the Jackson County Commission to build the first bridge across the Chipola at a location described as “Near Webbville.” Combine all of the above with the fact that the 1840 census of Calhoun County records Joe Scott as a family of 17 free colored persons living next to John Chason and Henry D. Stone at Iola, and there can be no doubt as to this identification of the Cheraw-Catawba identity of the settlement. 
   

The Scott’s Ferry settlement was located at Range 9 west, 2 south, section 21, adjoining the Chipola River. This was the route used to travel from any spot in eastern Jackson or Calhoun Counties along the Apalachicola over land to Port Saint Joe. The Scott’s Ferry settlement appears on the 1860 census as a clearly defined separate community, and the families living there were recorded on a special census page, though the racial identification of them was confused and clearly tainted by racial prejudice. The 1860 federal census was performed during the height of the racial tensions between the pro-slavery South and the abolitionist North. On this census families which had been previously identified as “free persons of color – non Negro” or “Mulatto” are suddenly reclassified as “free Negro” (though they were still ‘white’ or ‘free persons of color’ on local tax records). 
 	 In 1848, legislation was passed in Florida which required free Negroes to have white guardian appointed by the local Courts (no Catawba was assigned a guardian), free Negroes and mulattoes could not legally own land (Jacob Scott and Absalom Scott held clear title to their land), and in 1861, legislation passed which required free blacks to register with a probate judge or be classified as a slave and claimed by a white person. It is clear that none of these laws were ever applied to the Apalachicola Catawba. An 1840 perspective jury list included Robert and Joseph Blanchard (originally of Gates County, North Carolina), Joseph Montford, Jonathan Jones, and Robert Scott. John Chason and Jaspers Scott were called as witnesses in the Jackson County Court case, State V. James Butts in 1857 (Butts had been living with Mary Ann Jones since at least 1850), and Martha Hill Minton was reimbursed for traveling 24 miles in 1863 in order to testify for Sherrod Scott. Samuel Scott was even an eligible voter in Jackson County in 1869. 
	   In 1860 the census reflects the Scott’s Ferry settlement as consisting of six households. Living there at that time was Jacob Scott and his nephew Joe living in one household along with Joe’s wife Sarah Brown Castelberry, and Sarah’s daughter Emiline Brown. Francis “Frank” Hill and his wife Elizabeth Perkins Attaway held one home, and William Stafford and his wife Polly Harmon Scott (former wife of Jacob Scott) held another. Jack Howard inhabited a household along with Lofty Bunch as his wife, along with his two sister-in-laws Betty Bunch and Molly Thompson (who later married Shurard Scott). Paschal Loftis and Olive Jones shared a home along with her granddaughter, Jane Scott. The last remaining household was that of Isham Scott and his wife Jane Manuel who shared their home with her father, Edmund Manuel (originally of Sampson County, North Carolina and a veteran of the Sampson County Regiment 4th Company in 1812). 
 
   



1860 CENSUS OF CALHOUN COUNTY….SCOTT’S FERRY…SPECIAL CENSUS PAGE HOUSE # NAME: AGE: RACE: BORN IN:

165





166





167


168



169


170 SCOTT, Joe

“  “ , Sarah 
“  “ , William 
“  “ , Polly 
“  “ , Ellen 
“  “ , Jack 
“  “ , Jacob 

BROWN, Emiline

HILL, Frank

“    “ , Eliza 
“    “ , Delila 
“    “ , Ann 
“    “ , Joe 
“    “ , Quinn 
“    “ , Bob 
“    “ , Blunt 
“    “ , Green 
 

STAFFORD, William

“     “ , Polly 
“     “ , Jim 
 

HOWARD, Jack

“  “ , Lofty 

BUNCH, Betty THOMPSON, Molly

LOFTIS, Paschal

“   “ , Olive 

SCOTT, Jane

SCOTT, Isham

“  “ , Jane 

MANUEL, Edmund

43 36 8 6 4 8/12 60 16

43 35 16 10 8 7 6 4 1

65 55 16

26 20 23 22

60 50 20

65 45 67 MU MU MU MU MU MU MU W

MU MU MU MU MU MU MU MU MU

W MU MU

MU W W W

MU MU MU

MU MU MU

ALA FL FL FL FL FL ALA FL

ALA FL FL FL FL FL FL FL FL

NC ALA FL

FL ALA ALA GA

NC ALA FL

ALA ALA ALA


 	At the bottom of this special census page, John G. Smith, the census taker, added his own personal opinion of the racial make-up of this settlement. Either Smith had never personally traveled to the settlement and gathered his information from other citizens (as was sometimes the case when census takers were trying to list far out settlements), or Smith was given misleading information by the settlement citizens themselves, because almost all of the information other than the actual names of the community members was wrong.
The age and birthplace of almost every community member does not compare to that listed for the 1850 or 1870 census. The only justice performed by Smith with this document is held in the second sentence of his commentary where he bears witness that these Indians lived in a settlement separate from white or black persons: 
 
   

“The Free Negroes in this county are mixed blooded almost white and have intermarried with a low class of whites – Have no trade, occupation or profession they live in a settlement or Town of their own their personal property consists of Cattle & Hogs, They make no produce except corn & peas & very little of that, They are a lazy Indolant & worthless race.”

   	Back on the Catawba reservation, the annual report of Catawba Agent J.R. Patton to the South Carolina Senate uses, strangely almost exactly, the same wording to describe the Indians still residing there: 
 
   “…they are a somewhat indolent & careless people living in small Log Houses 
    or cabins covered with boards & are not settled together in a Town or village 
    but scattered over a considerable portion of the land they occupy they own but 
    little furniture of any value a portion of them work small farms or patches of 
    corn but as a general thing do not make anything like a support they own some 
    Horses a few Cattle & some Hogs. This seems to sum up the amount of what 
   They possess.” 
 

Oral history of the Apalachicola Cheraw-Catawba reflects that Eliza Scott Hill had been educated as a child in South Carolina, taught basic education to all the children of the Scott’s ferry community, and also traveled briefly back to “the reservation” to teach school but was not well received, and soon returned to Florida. The 1861 Annual Report of Catawba Agent J.R. Patton seems to verify this oral history as it reflects that “Eliza Scott (Indian)” was paid 20 for “Teaching” during that year.

  Elsewhere in the southeast, Indian communities were being described in almost exactly the same words. In 1840, thirty-six white residence of Robeson County, North Carolina appealed to the Legislative Assembly to regulate the sale of ‘spirits’ to the Lumbee Indians (who are also of Cheraw ancestry): 
 

“The County of Robeson is cursed with a free-coloured population that

 migrated originally from the districts round the Roanoke and Neuse Rivers. 
     They are generally indolent, roguish, improvident, and dissipated. Having 
     no regard for character, they are under no restraint but what the law imposes.” 
 
 
 The fact that Smith classified the Catawba in Florida as “free Negroes” with no trade or occupation, and in general being lazy and worthless, betrays his racist views. He could not have been completely blind to the fact that these people operated a mill and ferry, because even Smith took note that the colony’s total worth was over $4,000 (which in 1860 made it one of the wealthiest small towns in Calhoun County). 
 	  Scott’s Ferry’s founder, Jacob Scott, passed away by 1862 and Joseph Scott held the property title. Penny Scott was taxed for 200 acres she supposedly owned across the river in what would become Liberty County. In 1858, Joseph Scott was assessed for taxes at $100 for real estate, $525 for cattle, and $30 for household furnishings. When the War closed in 1865, the Indians paid dearly for their change of sides. The local whites apparently decided that the County Court would be the vehicle they would use to facilitate their harassment. In the fall term of 1862, Francis Hill was brought up on charges of “Fornication with a Mulatto”, but was found not guilty. In 1866 a series of charges were pressed against the Catawba, beginning with Gilberry Scott being charged with “Open State of Fornication” and Sabra J. Register with “Attempting to Marry a Mulatto.” John M. Scott, a Union veteran, was also charged with “Open State of Fornication” in the fall term. All of these charges were discharged with ‘not guilty’ verdicts at the close of the fall term in 1866. 
 
   Either due to the crisis level post-War economy, or legal harassment, it is clear that the Scott’s Ferry Town had begun a downward spiral. By 1870 the total households had increased to nine, but the total worth of the settlement had decreased to $1,440. 
 
 

1870 CENSUS OF CALHOUN COUNTY – PAGE # 20 HOUSE # NAME: AGE: RACE: OCCUPATION: BORN IN:

256


257

258


259

260


261


262


263

264




265

BLANCHARD, Ruben

“    “ , Eliza 
“    “ , John 
 

empty

JONES, Olive

“  “ , Martha 
 

EMANUEL, Edmond

WILLIAMS, Thomas W.

STEVENS, Susan 
 

SCOTT, Isham

“  “ , Jane 
 

SCOTT, Polly MUMFORD, Nancy

Empty

JONES, John “ “ , Beady “ “ , William “ “ , Jack “ “ , Emily “ “ , Martha

WILLIAMS, Jane “ “ , Delia “ “ , William

28 23 2


65 ?

70

45 24

77 34

36 14


62 26 7 6 3 1

48 22 20 M M M


M M

M

M M

M M

M M


M M M M M M

M M M Farmer



Keeping house


At home

Farmer Keeping house

Farmer Keeping house

Home keeper At home


Farmer Keeping house



Keeping house At home At home ALA FL FL


GA GA

NC

FL ALA

NC GA

GA ALA


GA FL FL FL FL FL

GA FL FL

     By the time of the 1880 census, Scott’s Ferry appeared to be making a comeback. The settlement now contained eleven households and the compact town seemed to suffer some drift, as a few families were listed as living a few miles up the Chipola River in the Abe’s Springs area. This small splinter settlement contained five households beginning with the home of Henry Johnson who had W.D. Williams living there as a boarder. Penny Scott maintained a household as well as William Scott. Nancy Montford was keeping her own house now, and the final home was Enoch Wells. A significant clue as to the temporary split off of these families could be the fact that those at Abe’s Springs listed their occupation as “Logging.” 
 	Back at the original settlement, we find eleven homes starting with Benjamin Beauchamp and his wife Ellen Scott who had his stepdaughter, Sallie Washington living as his servant, and Richard Nixon as an orphan. George Green had settled here with his wife Dora Butts. Elizabeth Scott Hill shared a home with her stepdaughter, Nancy Quinn, her son Joseph Quinn, and her son Frank Hill. William Quinn and his wife, Rena were living here, as well as Henry Johnson (this is a repeat of the Henry Johnson household from Abe’s Springs). John “Jack” Jones and his wife Beady Mainer were still here in 1880 living next to Mary Scott, who was sharing a home with her daughter-in-law, Julian Scott and her grandson, William Scott. New resident Sam Washington held a home next to Olive Scott Jones who shared her home with her daughter, Martha Jones, a servant named Mary Linton, a boarder named T.C. Shelby, and another servant named Hester Brouchard. Ruben Blanchard and his wife Jane Stone were still living at Scott’s Ferry at this time, and the final home was held by David Martin (originally from Person County, North Carolina) along with his wife Amanda Scott. Living with David Martin was a servant, Polly Gibson, and David’s daughter Mary (who would later marry Barney Locklear). 
 
 
 Nearly 40 years later the name of T.C.Shelby would be brought up again in reference to Scott’s Ferry, but this time in his home state of Kentucky. An excerpt of the 1918 Kentucky case of McGoodwin v. Shelby, ruled over by Judge Sampson of the Marion Circuit Court, stated that, 
 
  “In May, 1915, Miss Florrie Hood, a most eccentric and peculiar woman, 
   died intestate, childless,and unmarried, at her home in Lebanon, Kentucky, 
  she being about seventy years of age, and the owner by inheritance of several 
  houses and lots and some acreage property in the city of Lebanon, and quite 
  an amount of personal property…There were no close relatives living so far 
  as known, however, that one Thomas C. Shelby, a nephew of Miss Hood, had 
  many years before left Marion County on account of trouble and had gone 
  to Florida..” 
 
 
  	 After dispatching investigators throughout Florida and mailing 1,500 postcards to different post offices in search of Thomas Shelby or his descendants, the estate administrators located Shelby’s widow and two minor children—sole heirs to the Hood fortune. The problem was that Shelby’s widow
“was the daughter of William Scott, and William Scott was the son of Joe Scott, and Joe Scott was supposed to be a mulatto, so that the mother of the children of Thomas C. Shelby was not a pure-blooded white woman.”
	This would make the parents’ marriage illegal and render the children bastards incapable of inheriting. Instead of trying to prove that the family of Shelby’s widow did, or did not, have negro blood, the parties reached an out-of-court settlement to distribute the property among themselves. The case then wound its way through the Kentucky court system for the next 3 years. First, the original probate court disallowed the agreement as 

“being unconscionable since the children could not be considered anything but White, their forefathers having not associated with negroes, but with Whites.”

In the end, the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled that regardless of the ancestry of the children, all witnesses agreed they could not possibly bear enough negro blood to be considered mulatto as described by Kentucky law.



By 1885 the timber industry had taken root along the Apalachicola and Chipola Rivers, and had assisted the Scott’s Ferry settlement to swell to seventeen households. Eight persons listed their occupation as “logman”, seven as “farmer”, and three as “laborer.” The drift present in 1880 is not noticed in 1885, and most of the families had returned to the original settlement site. The town still consisted of Scott, Quinn, Williams, Hill, Green, Johnson, and Martin households, but also now held the homes of Edmon Davis, Henry Mainer, and William Perkins (son of Elizabeth Perkins and half-brother of Mary Attaway Scott) who had been living in Jackson County. Some surviving court records from this time period provide an excellent example of the depth of interrelation and cooperation that existed in the settlement at this time. When Louvinia Martin Brown (wife of Tom) was charged in 1904 with “Assault With Intent to Murder” and “Carrying Winchester Rifle Without Permit,” her defense witnesses included Thomas Ash, Dave Martin and Linnie Davis. Henry Atkins was charged with “Murder” in 1907 and Wesley Williams, M. Mainer, Tom Scott and Jeff Scott were called as witnesses to the event. Reuben Blanchard, Bill Jones, Mary Blanchard, and Rosa Quinn were brought to court to answer charges of “Larceny of a Bateau” 

After the death of Martha Jones, Thomas Butts was appointed administrator of her estate and most of her property was distributed between John Howard, Rueben G. Blanchard, and George Green. When John Howard was appointed guardian of Margaret Bunch in 1890, John Williams was appointed as surety. Thomas M. Scott was left parentless in 1893, George Green was appointed guardian of the 15 year-old boy, and Francis M. Williams and Joseph Quinn were sureties. In 1894 Beady Mainer Jones approached the Court to administer the estate of her deceased husband, Jack Jones. William Quinn was listed as her surety while J.W. Blanchard was appointed by the Court to appraise Jack Jones’ personal property. When David Martin was appointed legal guardian of his half-brother’s’s and sisters (after the death of his mother, Annie Scott Hunter), Sandy Davis was listed as surety. After 1910, some Indians began to make claims for pensions based on their Confederate service. Letters from other settlement members supported almost all of the Cheraw-Catawba in Calhoun County who filed their claims. Rueben G. Blanchard enlisted the support of W.M. Ayers, Elizabeth McDaniel Jones had help from Lawrence and Sarah Williams, and Charles E. Scott received support from Nathaniel Scott, J.M. Atkins, and Cornelius Stephens. The 1917 Civilian Draft Registrations provide as much, if not more, valuable information as the earlier Civil War records. At least nine individuals within Calhoun County were listed as “White-Indian Citizen.” These included members of the Whitfield family (descendants of George Whitfield who married a Scott woman), Herbert Boone (son of Henry Boone and Anna Scott), Lemuel Moses, and John Moses (relatives of Elizabeth Moses Conyers). Another individual, Willie Porter (son of Mathias Porter of Scott Town) was recorded as being “Indian Creole” and described as having blue eyes and light colored hair. General Quinn of Scott’s Ferry was listed as self-employed in farming, having a dependent mother, and also described as having blue eyes and light colored hair. No race was listed for Quinn, however his death certificate issued in Bay County stated that the mortician considered him to be “White.”

   	The year 1917 also marked a series of yearly floods on the Chipola and Apalachicola Rivers, which caused the abandonment of the original settlement site. Later census records show that community members had established home sites due northwest of the Scott’s Ferry site, at an area now known as Marysville. Land titles to the original settlement were maintained, however, as was the old cemetery. In October of 1920, Samuel F. Scott and Elizabeth Scott were both recorded as “C.I.” in the race category on the Shiloh District voter’s registry book for Calhoun County. This is the same Samuel and Elizabeth Scott who appear on the 1920 census of Shiloh Precinct, Marysville to Scott’s Ferry Road.
Samuel Frank Scott was the son of Samuel Scott and Jane Ayers of Scott Town settlement in Jackson County. Samuel Scott senior was the son of Absolom Scott and Gilly Stephens, the founders of Scott Town. In 1929, Samuel F. Scott was appointed as executor of the estate of his cousin, John Williams, in Calhoun County. Many groups of Creek Indian descendants from Georgia and the Florida panhandle tried to use these records in their petitions for acknowledgement by the federal government to show continuation of a “Creek” presence in the area, but as we have shown these persons were clearly of Carolina Cheraw origins, not Creek.
    Education for their children would also force the Catawba out of their self-imposed isolation, and provide for the only documents pertaining to them during this time period. In 1938 David Martin, trustee for the Marysville school, had a letter written to Calhoun County Clerk of Court J.A. Peacock which stated: 
 
  “There are men who would knife us out of having our own school, saying that we are negroe. You know our character that we are of white and Indian blood…” 
 

In reference to a 1944 investigation by the Jackson County School Board, the Board members made inquiry regarding “Sweetie Blanchard from Scott’s Ferry”, whose sons were the students whose ancestry had been called into question. The Board members solved the dispute by suggesting that the two Johnson boys should attend school in Calhoun County.

Some more recent documents continue to identify a community of persons living within Calhoun County who had a strong Indian identity. 

In the 1948 annual report of the Smithsonian Institution, William Harlen Gilbert Jr. published a compilation entitled “Surviving Indian Groups of the Eastern United States.” Though Gilbert never visited north Florida himself, he did visit the so-called “Creeks” at Atmore, Alabama (whose Hathcock, Gibson, Allen, and Taylor ancestors were Cheraw). It is apparent that during one of these trips to Alabama Gilbert gathered second hand information regarding a group of mixed-blooded Indian persons in Calhoun (Daisy Porter Nichols was living in Flomaton near the Creek reservation at that time, and may have been the source of this information). In the last paragraph of the Florida section of Gilbert’s report he states:

 “Aside from the Seminoles there are other small mixed groups of possible Indian descent in Florida. Around Pensacola are to be found the Creole mixed people of Escambia County and in the same area are certain groups of Creeks from across the border in Alabama. Some 100 miles to the east  near Blountstown in Calhoun County there is said to be a colony of Melungeons from Tennessee.” 
 
 	  The “Melungeons from Tennessee” of whom Gilbert speaks are an ethnic group of mixed-blood persons in the area of eastern Tennessee whose main family surnames were Gibson, Collins, Goins, and Bunch. These persons also descended from Siouan Indian ancestors who had spread westward from the Virginia/North Carolina border. Since none of the Apalachicola River area Cheraw-Catawba reported Tennessee as their birthplace, and they were not locally known as ‘melungeon’, Gilbert either relied on a second hand opinion, or maybe even made his own personal judgment based on the Bunch and Goins ancestors of some of the Florida Catawba. Gilbert did do justice, however, by identifying the fact that the Apalachicola River Cheraw-Catawba lived in a colony, separate from their white and black neighbors, well into the mid-twentieth Century.  The identification of a separate Indian community in the area of Calhoun and Jackson County of northwest Florida was repeated by Brewton Berry in his book “Almost White” published in 1963. 
 

Poarch Creek Families 0f Cheraw Ancestry During the resurgence of the Creek identity in the southeast that intensified with the Creek Indian Land Claims cases in the 1950’s and peaked in the 1980’s, there were many thousands of people doing genealogical work on hundreds of ancestral family lines, many in hopes of finding a Creek ancestors and being part of the settlement. For others it was due to actual interest in their own Indian heritage. As a part of the process leading to the federal acknowledgement of the Poarch Band of Creeks, there was a substantial amount research conducted by various academics as well as countless lay researchers. The Bureau of Acknowledgement and Research within the B.I.A. also delved into the area. In the course of this researching into the roots of the Poarch Creek community, many ancestors of Poarch Creek Indians were found to have Carolina Cheraw Indian origins. As Poarch Creek Indian researchers, Lou Vickery and Steve Travis state in their book released in 2009 entitled; Rise of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians , “It is noteworthy that the Sizemores, Gibsons, Hollingers, Durant, and Marlows, were all mixed-blood lines that came to southwest Alabama from South Carolina. Most were mixed-bloods from the Catawba or Lumbee tribes.”-pg.144 “The McGhee and Rolin families, along with the Moniacs, Gibsons, and Ehlerts, were the genetic founders of the contemporary Poarch Band of Creek Indians.”-pg.147 “Along with the Dees family, the Hathcocks migrated from South Carolina to the Poarch area where they intermarried with the Poarch Creeks.”-pg.154 “ the Hathcocks were originally not Creek Indians. Like the Dees and Gibson familes, the Hathcocks came from the south Carolina area, they were a mixture of Portuguese and Native American, who intermarried with Lumbee Indians”-pg.161 “William David Bart Gibson was born about 1823 in South Carolina, arriving in Alabama in the early 1840’s.”-pg.154 “Listed as a half Creek Indian, (Arthur) Sizemore probably had some Catawba/Lumbee bloodlines”-pg. 155

Cheraw Indians of North Florida on the 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870 Census from the Scott Town and Scott’s Ferry Community Census Records

Below are some references to various census documents that record shifts in the populations of the 2 core communities at Scott Town and Scotts Ferry over the decades since their arrival in Florida. Arrived in late 1828...Joe Scott appears on 1840 census of Calhoun County as free colored persons (5 males 12 females) in "Iola" (present day Scott's Ferry area) living next to John Chason and Indian trader Henry D. Stone....a few households over were Jackson J. Wood and Moses Manning (who appeared on Richards' Co. of Friendly Indians--most likely had Cheraw wives) 1850 Census of Calhoun County... the name John Williams (this should be household #52) (note: John Williams was born 1790 in Mecklenburg NC where he appears in 1820 and 1830 then moved to Robeson Co. where he appears in 1840, then on to Florida by 1850) it begins a three page section which was the core of the Cheraw Indian community living on the plantation of Capt. Stephen Richards (these include Ishmael Ayers, Jacob Scott (his wife Appa "Polly" Harmon), Isham Scott, Olive Jones, Absalom Scott, Alexander Stephens, Elizabeth Perkins Hill, and Sarah Brown Castleberry...(also James Butts who was brought up to court in Jackson County for "Adultery & fornication with free Mulattoe" in 1857 but case was dropped by the state after hearing testimony from John Chason)....in this county also see household #50 John Williamsthe last household of interest is #88 headed by Abigail Brickhouse..her daughter Elizabeth Brickhouse married Ellis F. Davis (of Scott Church)..also in this household is Sarah "Sabrey" J. Register who married John M. Scott...just across the river in Liberty County observe household #618 William Stafford, #619 Henry Maner (sic Mainer ..note that his son was born 1847 in Texas) #620 Thomas Scott (and wife Sarah Larkins) #621 Frances Larkins and #622 William Scott. (note: the names of Jacob Scott, Joseph Scott, and William Scott all appear on 1825 petition of Catawba Indians regarding leases of Catawba Resrevation land in my possession) 1850 Census of Jackson County...observe household #522 Samuel H. Ireland (married Elizabeth Perkins -i believe first cousin of Betty Perkins - in Gates Co. NC) next is #523 Betsy Hills (this is a repeat of Calhoun household #68) and #524 Polly Bedie In 1860 Calhoun County...please observe special census page beginning with household #165 Joe Scott (his wife Sarah Beasley-a descendant of the Chowan Beasley family from Gates County NC) this was the begining of the Scott's Ferry settlement including Jacob Scott, Frank Hill (his wife Elizabeth Perkins), William Stafford, Jack Howard (his wife Lofty Bunch), Pachal Loftis (his wife Olive Jones - living with them was Olive's grandaughter, Jane Scott, who married Rueben Blanchard) Isham Scott (his wife Jane Emanuel) and Edmund Manuel (note: Edmund Emanuel was from Sampson Co. NC and had enlisted there in wAR OF1812) In 1860 Jackson County....please observe two pages begining with household #106 Ellis Davis (his wife Elizabeth Brickhouse) #107 Absalom Scott #108 John Williams #109 Daniel Bunch #139 Emiline Davis #140 Joseph Davis (his wife Susan Emanuel) #141 Joseph D. Smith #142 Samuel Ireland (his wife Elila Perkins) #143 Alexander Stephens (his wife Mary Matilda Scott...Alexander died of disease during the Civil War and Mary Matilda remarried to James William Perkins the son of Elizabeth Perkins Attaway) ...this was the beginning of the Scott CHurch settlement. (note: in 1851 there was a large migration of the Red Bones out of the Rapides Parish area of LA following the "Raw Hyde and Bloody Fight" that took place at Walnut Hill, LA...many went to east Texas, but I believe the Larimore and Davis families came down into Florida at that time) In 1870 Calhoun County...please observe a closely grouped settlement beginning with household #256 Ruben Blanchard (his wife Jane Scott Stone the granddaughter of Olive Jones) and ending 8 households later with #265 Jane Williams....this was the core of the Scott's Ferry settlement. In 1870 Franklin County...please observe household #21 John Bunch (John Bunch was taxed as a "free person of color" in Calhoun Co. in 1852) and #22 John Scott (this is John M. Scott who married Sabra J. Register...they continued to live in Frankiln County after she was charged with "Attempting to Marry a Mulattoe" in Calhoun Co...most likely due to John's service for the Union in the War...investigation was held and charges dropped, but they did not live in Calhoun after that) In 1870 Jackson County...please observe a closely grouped settlement beginning with household #37 William Perkins (James William Perkins...living with Mary Matilda Scott widow of Alexander Stephens...William was charged with "Lewd & Lascivious Cohabitation" in Jackson Court in 1872 and thereafter moved down to Scott's Ferry) #40 Samuel Scott ( Samuel was charged with "Adultery" in Jackson Co. Court in 1868 and his 1st wife, Susan Ireland, filed for divorce that same year...he remarried to Jane Ayers) #Louis Scott (Lewis Scott and wife Isabella Davis) #42 Henry Scott (his wife Sarah Ayers) #43 Absalom Scott (his second wife Julia A. Bell) #45 Mary L. Chason (daughter of John Chason who had been killed in the War) #46 Abraham Colwell (taxed as a "free person of color" in Jackson Co. in 1845, 1846, and again as a "free person of color" in Calhoun Co. in 1852.) #47 Wright Colwell (son of Abraham...Wright's wife Margaret Miller) #48 Pollie Whitehead #49 Laboring Goodson (his wife Nancy Calwell, daughter of Abraham) Rebecca Duffin (this is Rebecca Goins, she had two daughters by a white man named 'Duffin') #51 Nancy A. Maddox

#52 Mary Scott (this is Mary Attaway..she had married John T. Scott, son of Absalom, but he had died in the War...she had two daughters by him, William Anne & Bell, then she had an illegitimate son, Mathias, by Jacob Porter...also living with her here is her mother Elizabeth "Betsy" Perkins) this was the core of the Scott Church settlement.

The Cheraw IndianResearch Project was forwarded a very useful document...it is a report by Melinda Maynor on a community of Lumbees who settled in southeast Georgia (Bulloch County) to work in the timber industry (Maynor, Melinda M. “People and Place: Croatan Indians in Jim Crow Georgia 1890-1920” Thesis, UofF @ Chapel Hill, 2002 43 pgs.)..she details the types of work, the economic impact, etc. she also mentions the time period that the industry moved from Georgia to Florida...the most exciting detail is when she notes the Lumbees living here she mentions Beasley Bullard, a Lumbee born in Robeson who subsequently lived at Scott Church in 1920 (where he is censused as "Mulatto")..he married Loula Scott then moved back to Robeson by 1930 (where he is censused as "Indian") apparently Bealsey was living in the Lumbee community in Bulloch Co. Ga. in 1910, but had followed the timber industry down to Scott Church and Scott's Ferry by 1920 Chapter 7“..a Large Percentage of Indian Blood” Scott Town

   Just after 1860, Absalom Scott, veteran of the Seminole conflicts, acquired the help of John Chason and secured a military service land grant of 80 acres in southwestern Jackson County. Two of Absalom’s sons, Lewis and Samuel, would later be granted title to this land which would become known as “Scott Town.” Though this settlement started as quite diverse (including the Davis, Williams, Bunch, Jones, Scott & Stephens families), it would eventually narrow to represent only the Scott and Perkins lines. 
 
 

1860 CENSUS OF JACKSON COUNTY….SCOTT TOWN HOUSE # NAME: AGE: RACE: BORN IN:

106


107



108




109



DAVIS, Ellis F. “ “ , Elizabeth (Brickhouse)

SCOTT, Abb “ “ , Gilly (Stephens) “ “ , John “ “ , Samuel “ “ , Henry

WILLIAMS, John “ “ , Vina “ “ , Simmons “ “ , Daniel “ “ , John “ “ , Benjamin “ “ , Henry

BUNCH, Daniel “ “ , Elizabeth “ “ , Mary S.



46 32

70 43 17 14 12

78 37 18 16 14 11 ?

24 21 3/12


W W

MU MU MU MU MU

MU MU MU MU MU MU MU

W W W


Mississippi S. Carolina

S. Carolina S. Carolina FL FL FL

N. Carolina Georgia FL FL FL FL FL

Alabama FL FL



1860 CENSUS OF JACKSON COUNTY….SCOTT TOWN (cont) HOUSE # NAME: AGE: RACE: BORN IN:

139




140




141


142



143



155


DAVIS, Emiline STONE, Henry S. “ “ , Mary “ “ , Emily “ “ , Georgia DAVIS, Ann E. Unnamed infant

DAVIS, Joseph “ “ , Susan (Emanuel) “ “ , Frances “ “ , John DeVAUGHN, Robert ALLISON, William

SMITH, Joseph W. “ “ , Elmyra J. (Padgett) PEACOCK, Green

IRELAND, Samuel “ “ , Eliza “ “ , Harriett “ “ , Susan “ “ , Catherine

STEPHENS, Alexander “ “ , Matilda (Scott) “ “ , Edward ATKINSON, William J.


MAYO, John P. “ “ , Nancy “ “ , James B. “ “ , John H. “ “ , Martha A. “ “ , Nancy F. “ “ , Elijah P. “ “ , Ann M.F. MAINER, Milly A.





43 23 15 7 21 31

28 26 17

70 62 19 14 11

32 19 14 22


42 34 15 13 10 8 6 1 34





W W W W W W

W W W

MU MU MU MU MU

MU MU MU MU


W W W W W W W W MU





Mississippi Georgia FL FL FL FL

FL FL Georgia

Maryland N. Carolina FL FL FL

FL FL FL FL


Georgia N. Carolina FL FL FL FL FL FL Georgia

  	 In 1860 the Scott Town community consisted of at least 10 households. The main occupation of these families was farming, and that trend has continued to the present day. The first household listed is that of Ellis Davis and his wife Elizabeth Brickhouse. Next door is Absalom Scott and his wife Gilly Stephens. John Williams kept a home with his wife Vina, and so did David Bunch and his wife Elizabeth. (note: John Williams was living in Mecklenburgh, NC in 1820 & 1830, living in Robeson NC in 1840) Living alone was James Butts Sr., and next door was John Jones Jr. who was to marry Beady Mainer in one year. Joseph Davis and his wife Susan Emanuel shared their home with Robert DeVaughn and William Allison. Joseph Smith was maintaining a homestead with his wife Elmyra Padgett, and next door was Samuel Ireland and his wife Eliza. Alexander H. Stephens and his wife Mary Matilda Scott had the last household which they shared with William J. Adkinson. 
   	By the time of the 1870 census some fairly significant events had taken place at Scott Town. After going A.W.O.L. from Confederate service, Daniel Bunch did not return to Jackson County. Alexander H. Stephens was kept from ever returning by a fatal disease, and in a strange twist of fate, John T. Scott was killed by Confederate fire during his service in the U.S. Cavalry. John would leave behind an Indian bride, Mary Attaway (daughter of Betsy Perkins), who would become a long-lived family leader at Scott Town.
After returning from the War, John Williams and John ‘Jack’ Jones had moved down to Scott’s Ferry along with their wives and children. Mary Attaway was the daughter of Betsy Perkins, an Indian born between 1822 and 1825 in North Carolina, and Bird B. Attaway, a white riverboat captain working on the Chipola River. Betsy is listed on the 1838 local census of Jackson County as being the head of a household of 4 ‘free persons of color’. 
 	  Scott Town, as it appears on the 1870 census, is composed of 7 households all employed in farming. The first appearing is the home of James William Perkins and his wife Mary Matilda Scott (the widow of Alexander H. Stephens). Living in the Perkins home was Mary’s four children by Alexander and her two sons by William. Next was the home of Confederate and Union veteran Samuel Scott along with his wife Jane Ayers. Living next door was Lewis Scott and his wife Elizabeth Isabella Davis, as well as Henry Scott and his wife Sarah Ayers. Still maintaining a household was Absalom Scott along with his new wife Julie A. Bell. The next home was that of Mary L. Chason, orphaned daughter of John Chason. The final household was that of Mary Attaway Scott, the widow of John T. Scott, who shared her home with her mother Betsy Perkins. 
 

1870 CENSUS OF JACKSON COUNTY….SCOTT TOWN HOUSE # NAME: AGE: RACE: BORN IN:

37





40


41



42


43



45



52 PERKINS, William “ “ , Matlida (Scott) STEPHENS, Edwin “ “ , Gideon E. “ “ , George W. “ “ , Susan M. PERKINS, James “ “ , John W.

SCOTT, Samuel “ “ , Jane (Ayers) BASSETT, John

SCOTT, Louis “ “ , Isabella (Davis) “ “ , Vina “ “ , Louis

SCOTT, Henry “ “ , Sarah (Ayers) “ “ , Henry A.

SCOTT, Absalom “ “ , Julie A. (Bell) “ “ , William S. “ “ , James W.

CHASON, Mary L. “ “ , Sarah A. “ “ , Elizabeth “ “ , Matilda


SCOTT, Mary (Attaway) “ “ , Willie Ann “ “ , Bell PERKINS, Betsy


30 29 11 9 7 5 4 1

24 24 19

27 30 5 4

22 19 4

78 44 4 7

34 29 25 22


25 9 6 40 MU MU MU MU MU MU MU MU

MU W MU

B B MU MU

MU W MU

MU W MU MU

W W W W


MU MU MU MU FL Georgia FL FL FL FL FL FL

FL Georgia FL

Alabama Mississippi FL FL

FL Georgia FL

Georgia Alabama FL FL

FL FL FL FL


FL FL FL N. Carolina

  	 In 1880 the settlement had continued to decrease, now containing only six homes. Appearing on the census was the household of Lewis Scott and his wife Isabella Davis, while next door was the home of Matilda Davis (sister of Isabella) which she shared with her niece and nephew, Viney Robinson and Washington Boggs. Living alone was John Miller who reported that his father was born in Sweden. Ezekiel Goodson maintained a home which he shared with his Indian wife Rebecca Goins. Living next door was James William Perkins and his wife Matilda Scott Stephens. Henry A. Scott, the son of Henry Scott and Sarah Ayers, had been living with them in 1870, but was now living in the household of his uncle, James Perkins. Still unmarried, Mary Attaway Scott was still keeping her own household along with her daughters William Ann and Rosabella, except that now she also had a son, Mathias, whom had been fathered by a local white man of the Porter family. 
 	  Very little information is available for the 20 year time period between 1880 and 1900. The 1885 regular census completely omitted Scott Town, and these individuals were probably recorded on a separate Indian schedule which has been lost or misplaced. The settlement continued its steady decline and the 1900 census reflects only four homes present. Mary Attaway Scott, now the eldest of the community and a strong family leader, shared her house with eldest daughter William Ann (who never married but had a house full of children). Next door was Mary’s younger daughter, Bell Scott, who also never married but shared her home with a boarder, Ed Stephens, the son of Alexander H. Stephens and Matilda Scott. Maude E. Perkins was also maintaining a household as well as Mathias Scott Porter and his wife Louella Goodson (daughter of Rebecca Goins). 
  	 In October 1903 concerned white Jackson County citizens began a petition which would affect both the Scott Town and Scott’s Ferry inhabitants. To quote the book “History of Jackson County” by J. Randall Stanley; 
 


  “There were the children of families whose Caucasian purety was questionable.  Motives behind petitions to bar children of these families from white schools had to be scrutinized carefully, as it was a problem which might lead to considerable embarrassment, if not actual trouble. In October, 1903, a petition was presented to the Board to bar the children of two families from white schools.  The Board entered an order prohibiting them from attending white schools until further notice. The Board stated it was inclined to believe they are entitled to the benefits of the school, they having heretofore attended without complaint and the complaint is not general.” 
 
 	  Though the School Board eventually voted to allow the Scott and Perkins children to attend white schools it was of little importance to them as they had already taken steps to solve the problem. Mary Scott pooled the settlement’s resources and had a building constructed for use as a schoolhouse. This one room building eventually was used as both a school and a church. The “Scott Church” building still stands today, though it is in great disrepair. The involvement of America in World War One caused a new viewpoint to be presented on the racial makeup of the Scott Town people. All of the male children of William Ann and Bell Scott are represented within the civil enlistment records on 1917, and all are recorded as “Caucasian-Indian.” The five men listed as being of Caucasian and Indian race were Samuel ‘Sandy’ Scott, Thomas F. Scott, Jesse Scott, Jimmie Scott, and George Scott. George was actually inducted into service as a private in the Army and in the race section the inductor crossed through the ‘White’ and ‘Colored’ and wrote in the word ‘Indian.’ Also inducted into the Army was Sanders S. Scott (sic Samuel) who was listed as “white.” 
	   The 1920 census showed nine homes at Scott Town, and all apparently on land owned by Mary Attaway Scott. The first of these homes was that of widower Mathias Scott Porter. Living next door was Mathias’ son Willie Porter (who had been listed as “Indian Creole” on WWI civil enlistment for Scott’s Ferry). The next household was that of Cromes Rainey, a Negro employee of Mary Scott. William Ann Scott was now head of her own household which she shared with her children, three grandchildren (Jonas Thomas, Paul Porter & Loula Bell Porter – Paul and Loula attended school at Scott’s Ferry) and a lodger, Ed Quinn, formerly of Scott’s Ferry. Samuel ‘Sandy’ Scott had the next house, and next door was Kate Scott. 

William ‘Bill’ Scott (son of Joe Scott of Scott’s Ferry), who had been working at Scott’s Ferry since at least 1885, was now back living at Scott Town and sharing a home with the elderly Mary Attaway Scott. The next home was kept by Beasley Bullard, a Lumbee Indian from Robeson County, North Carolina, who along with his wife Loula Scott, shared their home with Earl Batson, a hired hand (Earl Batson would later marry Mary Dasher of Woods). The last household is that of Thomas F. Scott and his wife Daisy Porter. The inhabitants of Scott Town seemed content to live out their quiet faming lives, and under the direction of community leaders such as Mary Scott, William Ann Scott and Tom Scott, they were able to go on farming, turpentining, hunting and fishing with little interference or contact with the outside world. It was only in 1939, due to the ambition of a bright young girl, that new information surfaces. Mary Francis Porter was born the daughter of Bessie Porter Copeland in the Scott Town settlement. Bessie was the daughter of Mathias Porter and Louella Goodson (the daughter of Ezekiel Goodson and Rebecca Goins). According to her mother, Mary Francis was the illegitimate child of Whit Wells, a white man. Mary Francis was apparently not satisfied with ending her education at the last grade offered at the little one room Scott School, and she left Florida to receive higher training at the Cherokee Indian Normal School at Pembroke, North Carolina. This school was founded in 1887 as the Croatan Normal School, and in the nineteen teens was changed to the Cherokee Indian Normal School.

It was funded by the state of North Carolina for the education of Indian students of the area. Perhaps inspired by Beasley Bullard and his wife Loula Scott moving to Robeson in the late 1920’s, several other Porter family members were also living in Robeson in 1930 (Dock Porter and his wife Pearly Blanchard; and Coy Porter and his wife Daisy Blanchard, all recorded as “Indian” on the Robeson County census). Apparently not having any knowledge of Indians from Northwest Florida, the school officials requested additional information from the Jackson County School Superintendent, and thus began a series of letters which gives a wealth of information as to the genealogy of the Scott Town mixed-bloods, their racial self-identification, and also the attitude of local whites towards them.   

On October 13, 1938, J.R. Lowry, a Lumbee Indian and Dean of the Cherokee Indian Normal School, inquired of the Jackson County post master,

    “Is there a school in your town or county by the name of ‘Scott’s School’? If you do, please send me the name of the principal or head of the School. For what race is it maintained? (White or Colored).” 
 

The postmaster forwarded the request to C.P. Finlayson, Superintendent of Public Instruction for Jackson County. Finlayson responded to Lowry,

   “In the community of the school there are several families of Scotts who from appearance can very easily be considered as belonging to the white race. However, it is generally believed in this county that they have some negro blood in them and for that reason they attend a negro school. It is of course possible that they might have a large percentage of Indian blood but I have no information or knowledge as to their ancestry.” 
 
 

The information regarding negro ancestry inspired Mary’s teacher, Mrs. G. Revels, to write a personal letter to Finlayson where she states,

   “..to write back immediately and answer the questions which I have asked you. It’s a shame for Mary to have to miss school when I am certain that she has not a bit of colored blood. She is one of the best students in her class…Please let me hear from you at once regarding this matter.” 
 

Indeed, even Mary Francis herself felt it was necessary to write Finlayson to receive fair treatment,

  “If you will go out among my people you will find that none of them has had ambition to get out to school for an education and for that simple cause I would like to bring a light to them in that instance…I cannot help the situation among my people and yet I know that a drop of negro blood is not within me.” 
 
	   Finlayson, obviously moved by Mary’s letter, started an investigation into the issue. On February 28, 1939, he returned a letter to Mrs. Revels, 
 

“In an effort to learn the true facts I made three visits to the community in which the Scott school is located and in spite of this effort I am still unable to give you any official statement as to her ancestors.”

Finlayson goes on to state that white citizens of the county believed them to have negro blood, but very little. Finlayson himself was unable to substantiate that claim, and further states,

   “The mother and grandfather with whom I talked claim there was no negro blood  in their veins but there was Indian blood. This I was of course unable to substantiate by any official records since there seem to be no records.” 
 

In this letter Finlayson included two hand drawn family trees outlining the ancestry of Mary Francis Porter that were provided to him by Bessie Copeland and Mathias Porter. According to these notes Mary Francis was the great-granddaughter of Rebecca Goins Goodson who was ½ Indian and ½ white, and the great-granddaughter of Mary Attaway Scott who was also ½ Indian and ½ white.

  	 Mary Francis’ half-brother, Armond Copeland, also kindled a series of letters when he was employed at the U.S. Naval Ordinance Plant in Macon, Georgia. In March and April of 1945, inquiries were made as to Copeland’s ancestry and the Jackson County School Superintendent at the time, J.D. Milton, obviously referred directly to the Mary Francis letters as he replied, 
 

“Some of the forefathers claim there was no negro blood, but there was Indian blood. This, we are unable to substantiate by any official records.”

  	 In 1944 another case came before the Jackson County School Board much like the one that had surfaced in 1903. In this case the School Board would come to a conclusion which had much less backbone. Two Johnson children had been barred from the Grand Ridge School because of questions as to their ancestry. Notes from the Board’s investigation reveal that the boys were children of Sweetie Blanchard of Scott’s Ferry. The Board interviewed Woodie Staley, a black man living at Scott Town, and several white citizens. The Board was trying to determine the eligibility of the boys to attend Grand Ridge School based on whether their relatives attended white or colored schools in other areas. The Board was at a total loss when it discovered that relatives of the Johnson boys attended school at Marysville/Scott’s Ferry, a separate school, and at Woods, also a separate school. Unable to come to any conclusion, Board member Bishop “advised them to quit Grand Ridge School due to ‘crowded conditions’ and attend in Calhoun County.” 
 

Chapter 8 “Like Other Good Indians” The Woods Community

At the beginning of 1900, Lumber companies in Georgia, faced with a dwindling supply of hardwoods, turned their attention to northwest Florida. Huge supplies of timber were available and easily accessible for harvesting on both banks of the Apalachicola River. By 1910 such companies as Graves Brothers, Cypress Lumber, Chipola Turpentine, Neal Timber, and Southern Hardwoods were busy installing large timber mills in both Liberty and Calhoun Counties. Many Lumbee Indians of Robeson County, North Carolina, who had left their homeland in the late 1800’s for timber employment in Georgia, followed the industry down to Florida. The largest number of Lumbee families, including the Oxendines, Revels’, and Jacobs’, settled into Liberty County on the eastern side of the Apalachicola, and it is here that they came into close continuous contact with the long-established Florida Cheraw-Catawba families. The combined effort of these two Indian groups to maintain gainful employment in timber resulted in the formation of an Indian settlement in Liberty County known as Woods. 

This settlement had several “Hill” families of Creek descent (see appendix), who had intermarried with the Cheraw. Also living in the community as well were several White families who had lived in the area for generations. Today many descendants of the original Woods settlement still live there as well as in the nearby communities of Bristol and Hosford.

Some descendants of the Woods area Oxendine family today live in Jackson County in the Marianna and Cottondale areas, as well as many descendants of Noah Hill, who was identified as “Citizen-Indian” on his 1918 military enlistment. In order to understand the way the residents of Woods lived their daily lives, it is necessary to understand the Jim Crow attitudes of Georgia and Florida at that time.
Malinda Maynor, in her excellent work entitled “People and Place: Croatan Indians in Jim Crow Georgia, 1890-1920” published in the American Indian Culture and Research Journal, gives a detailed study of a settlement of Lumbee Indians who migrated to Bulloch County, Georgia to work the timber in 1890. These Lumbee remained there until about 1920 when the industry moved south to Florida. On July 27, 1899 the Bulloch herald reported on the interest of their timber companies in the possibility of making good money in northwest Florida; 
 
    “manufacturers were elated by what they saw in the way of turpentine and timber prospects in Florida and reported that they may invest some money down that way.” 
 

Many Lumbee from Bulloch followed the timber down to Liberty in the late 1800’s and the early part of the 1900’s. Undoubtedly the same racial attitudes that these mixed-blood Indians faced in Georgia would also follow them down to Florida. One example of the conditions faced by the inhabitants of Woods is demonstrated by a 1901 article which appeared in the May 24, 1901 Statesboro News. This article made mention of a young boy who had been murdered at a timber camp;

   “The boy was about sixteen years old, and it is said was a part Indian.  And like other good Indians, he is now dead.” 
 
	  Even at its height, Woods was not quite large enough to be called a town. At its prime it consisted of about 14 homes, a one-room school, and a small merchandise store, which was operated by the Hill family. According to the residency claims of individual birth and marriage records, the community became physically known as “Woods” sometime around 1915. By the beginning of World War Two, the physical landmark buildings had fallen out of use, and today have mostly fallen away and are surrounded by dense growth. The Liberty County Courthouse was the victim of repeated fires both before and after 1940, and the County was unable to maintain any historic records prior to the Second World War, which makes it hard to find documentary evidence of the daily relations of the Woods community with their surrounding white and black neighbors. 

Mary Brown Kever, the wife of Frank Kever originally from France, was a woman of Catawba descent, who lived in the Woods settlement. Concerning Mary Brown and her origins, my grandfather Ray Kever, her grandson, was a man who was very full-blood Indian in his physical appearance. Several times through the years he would say to me, “My grandmother Mary Brown was an Indian from South Carolina and moved here with her French-speaking husband, a Whiteman. She was buried outside the White part of the Bristol Cemetery ( in Liberty County, Florida) because they wouldn’t let her be buried in the White part of the cemetery.”

The following is an excerpt concerning the migration of his family from South Carolina to Florida sent to us by Professor Bloom, and is excerpted from the “Family Sketches” section of the book “Catawba Indian Genealogy” by Ian Watson, printed in 1995 as a part of the Papers in Anthropology, from the State University of New York. (ISBN 0-9617915-3-5)

“Jamey Brown was living as early as 30 Nov. 1810 when he signed a petition (g1810), and was listed in the Plat Book under dates from 11 May 1813 to July 1819 (PB, 115). He was dead by September 1820 when his widow sally took his rents (PB, 111). Sally, sometimes called Sarah, was living as late as 1824 (PB 107). She was assigned rents with Billie Ayers once (PB 106), which suggests she may be the same person as Suzy Ayres who I list above among early, unconnected Browns. Jamey himself took rents for Prissy Bullen in 1816 (PB 175) Sally received rents for Jamey Browns children in Dec 1822 (PB 111,114), but their names are not known. Several lucky chances allow us to learn the identity of Sally Brown. A strange note in the plat Book (p.114) reads: “Quincy West Florida Apalachicola District Jamey Brown Catawba Indian intermarried with a Pamunkey Pocahontas.” We can interpret “Pocahontas” as a derogatory term for a Pamunkey woman, and not indicative of her actual name. So, checking the Murshes- The Pamunkey family who joined the Catawbas in the early 1800’s- We find that Sarah Mursh, the daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Mursh, was born 29 March 1790, was 28 and called sally in 1820, and, as sarah Brown, testified to her mother’s claim for a pension on 16 January 184{last number unreadable} (M01)” Another resident in Woods settlement with strong ties to both Scott Town and Scotts Ferry families was Mary Samantha Blanchard Dasher (the daughter of John Blanchard and Ellen Scott of Scott’s Ferry), the wife of Emmitt Dasher. The Hill family also had many students enrolled at the Marysville School at Scott’s Ferry. Oral history from Sallie Kever, who was very active as an Indian leader in Liberty County in the latter half of her life and was the daughter of Nellie Hill Whittaker, said that there were several ties between these same to communities that were generally unknown due to illegitimacy issues.

   With the exhaustion of the hardwoods along the Apalachicola in the  1940’s, the majority of the Woods Communities inhabitants spread out to individual homesteads in western Liberty and other surrounding Counties, which was also occurring to a similar degree in the larger related settlements of Scott Town and Scott’s Ferry. This dispersion of population from the clustered settlements would only accelerate in the decades to come with desegregation.  In the documentary record, several Cheraw men, including Noah Hill from the Woods Community, are recorded on their WW I Civil Enlistment cards under the race block as” Caucasian” and “Indian”, with the checkmark being in the “citizen” rather than the “non-citizen” box under the Indian racial category. 


In his recent book “Those Who Remain; A Photographers Memoir of South Carolina Indians”, Gene J. Crediford stated:

“On June 2, 1924, Congress passed the Citizenship Act of 1924, which states that “all non-citizen Indians born within the territorial limits of the United States be, and they are hereby, declared to be citizens of the United States: provided that the granting of such citizenship shall not in any manner impair or otherwise affect the right of any Indian to tribal or other property” (U.S. Code, Title 8, sec. 1401 [a][2]). In this context a non-citizen Indian means, as I understand it, a person who is a member of a federally recognized tribe; in other words “citizen Indians” were at the mercy of state laws in that era.”

As we have seen from the many court cases and social incidents regarding the school and military enlistment situations in the first half of the twentieth century we have reviewed earlier, north Florida’s Cheraw people were definitely at the “mercy of state laws” of the time.







                                                                                                                               65 
 
 

 
 




Chapter 9 “…A Nation of Our Own” Today’s Challenges As we have seen, in the following few decades after desegregation, the Cheraw people faced the challenge of finding a new way to define “community”, without the pressure of racist laws and social policies that previously had unwillingly on their part, defined their lives. This is a challenge that continues to this day. In the past 100 years, individuals were part of the “Indian community” as much by the laws and attitudes of the outside society forcing you there, “keeping you in your place”, as by their own choice to remain close to home, according to elders stories. The End of Segregation Through the century that racial segregation was the law of the land, those who could “pass” as white often did, leaving the area, some never to be heard from again. With the advent of the civil rights era and end of the old southern social order, community members had a real choice about whether they wanted to be a part of their parents and grandparents community or not. As a result, almost immediately after desegregation there was a major drop in the rate of intermarriage among community members, and a pronounced increase in marriages to whites. At the same time, a pronounced increase in community out-migration by individuals and some families in search of greener pastures had occurred, and the population dwindled. Within a decade a majority of the population of the original historic settlements had left. With these changes, community leaders sought new strategies for survival, a few joining in the renaissance of the Indian culture, and the emergence of the pan-Indian politics that occurred in the 1960’s and 70’s. With the close of the policy of racial segregation found in southern states and the imposed social isolation that was responsible for the precarious “in-between” social status unique to some Indian settlements in north Florida as well as other Indian communities in the southern states, new challenges of identity and community survival arose that were unknown to previous generations. Desegregation and the striking down of notorious “Jim Crow” and miscegenation (race-mixing) laws, caused community dynamics within the Indian settlements that had had been functional since the Civil War began to quickly change. Segregation was a powerful force that had compelled unity and cohesion in order to survive for over a century. As a result of the end of the established social order, many individuals and families tried to escape their past by moving away from the settlements to areas where no one knew their families’ origins. Some moved away to Lakeland, Atlanta, Pensacola, and even as far away as California. Families moved to other areas, both near and far, hoping for a better future and to put the pain of their ancestors racial identity struggles behind them, and many never looked back. Others, especially in the Marianna/Blountstown area turned to the newly emerging ‘Creek Indian’ political identity and social movement emerging in the panhandle of Florida, southeastern Alabama, and South Georgia. In the Florida panhandle some began to organize behind an enthusiastic young Indian leader, recently graduated from University, a feat never accomplished by until that time by any Indian. This young man was Dr. Andrew Ramsey. He would become a key figure in the emergence of the Creek Indian identity, and the co-opting of the historic Cheraw settlements into this movement, which we will discuss in-depth later. With the new realities of the social scene, the younger generation of Indians in the 1960’s and 70’s found opportunity to advance within reach, and many, often times veterans, began to act. As an isolated group that didn’t fit neatly into southern societies White/Black classification system, many natives were often open to legal harassment, undue punishment by authorities, and social hostility in schools, hospitals, and other public areas, under the old order. As Indian people, they were without the population size, density, or power structures that were present in the black communities at the time. Many Cheraw Indian men served in the military and upon coming home were looking for a better life than the narrow restrictions imposed on their communities’ identity in past generations, because of perceptions by outsiders of them as a group of people of racially mixed and uncertain origins. As the documentation we have collected shows, dozens of the Scott Town, Scotts Ferry, and Woods settlement men had fought the military’s racial classification system when trying to enlist. On two separate occasions during the Second World War the military sent investigators to inquire into this strange circumstance regarding the community’s racial identity, which we are fortunate enough to have transcripts from some of these inquiries, regarding Armond Copeland’s experiences, for one. Many of the men who enlisted were initially pushed to be in the Negro ranks due to having attended a “negro school”, as Scotts School and Scotts Ferry’s school at Marysville were listed as by the county. This was their situation despite their continual assertions that they were Indians. All were eventually allowed to be in white units, many fighting valiantly in European and Pacific theatres. Similar situations occurred and were documented by the men enlisting to fight in World War I and in the Civil War as well, as with many of the Oxendine, Copeland, and Scott men and Rubin Blanchard as well. Before the end of the old social order, The Indian settlements suffered the worst of the many evils of segregation. While they were being subjected to stifling social restrictions and often times were legally persecuted, they would withdraw into themselves, families taking care of each other to survive. Though they were often erroneously labeled as mulattos and even Negro’s by the local authorities, they consistently insisted on the native identity as is shown by the documentation from the times. Indians did not have the numbers and the social power due to that which the Black communities did. (The civil rights movement was a culmination of this power base exercising its collective might). The presence of these social factors and solid institutional structures let leaders in the black community of the times actually have some power in negotiating White-Negro community relations. This was a luxury that the small Indian settlements didn’t have due to their small and isolated populations, whether in north Florida, Southern Alabama or anywhere in the Jim Crow south. In the “boom years” after World War II, many family headmen were visiting places where there was greater economic opportunities, and often took their families with them. In light of the economic benefits of moving as well as less stigma of being from the “Mulatto settlements”, as the Indian hamlets were often legally viewed as, many families broke ties with relatives and never returned. The families who remained in the panhandle settlements began to reorient themselves to new social realities, some towards a white identity, others closer to their Indian roots. One result of the end of forced segregation was an immediate drop in the amount of marriages within the tribal community as eligible marriage partners left for greener pastures. For many who did, an emerging trend would become dominant for a generation, often eclipsing the actual roots of the families in the community, the Eastern Creek movement and the accompanying struggle for participation in the Indian Claims Commission awards to Creek Indians and for state and federal acknowledgement of the remnant Creek communities. Chapter 10 “Where Were They Then?” Creeks and Cheraws

The Emerging Creek Identity and Indian Power Struggles of the 1970’s
Spurred by the Indian Claims Commissions findings in favor of the descendants of the Creek people who were stripped of their lands unjustly in the first half of the nineteenth century being compensated, a new movement was born in South Georgia and Alabama and in northern Florida. During the century after removal, thousands of descendants of Creeks who did not go west melted into the general population of the southern states and beyond, but in a few corners of the Creek Nations old homeland, some did not. One of these places was in the area surrounding Atmore, Alabama. In Escambia, Monroe, Baldwin, and other counties, sizable populations of Creek people, modern families whose ancestors were party to the Treaty of Fort Jackson. This little known treaty,  which allowed friendly Creek Warriors who had fought with the United States against the hostile Red Stick Creeks, to remain in the east after receiving small allotments of land. Many of them would eventually leave for the Indian Territory (or Texas in the case of Nimrod Doyle), but many remained and eventually settled in their own small, isolated rural communities. 

Some such as the descendants of the Creek Chief McIntosh (of Treaty of Indian Springs infamy) eventually settled near Cairo, Georgia adapted well to intermarriage with local whites and were soon indistinguishable physically or culturally from them. Other similar communities existed in various locations throughout the formerly Creek lands, but none with the large population or cohesiveness as the Poarch Creeks, as the communities around Atmore came to be eventually known as. The intermarriage rate among community members, which is considered key by Bureau of Indian Affairs to its opinion on whether a community is Indian or not, was high and many phenotypically “full-blood” people remained, as documented extensively by Dr. Anthony Parades during the Poarch Band during their march to federal acknowledgement. Due to several social and legal situations that the Poarch Creeks were confronted with, a steady rise in community consciousness and political activism arose through the second half of the twentieth century among the Creeks there, to eventually result in federal acknowledgement by the B.I.A. recognizing them as an Indian Tribe in the mid-1980’s, and the establishment of the Poarch Creek Reservation.

The political beginnings of the movement towards southeastern Creek identity revitalization was called the Creek Nation East of the Mississippi, This pan-southeastern Creek umbrella organization formed in the late 1950’s from a movement led by some Creek Indians from the Atmore, Alabama area, principally Calvin McGhee. They were very active in traveling to various areas to speak to others about the Creel Land claims settlement and to enroll people in the emerging tribal structure. It was a council with leaders of families of Creek descent (and Cheraw as well, which we will discuss later in the text) from the three states. It grew over the next two decades, and eventually breaks apart by the late 1970’s into locally “state-specific” tribes, most of which petitioned the B.I.A. for recognition of their groups. 

All besides the Poarch Band were unsuccessful in their bids for acknowledgement. Some of the outcomes of the Creek Identity Revitalization in the south was the eventual federal acknowledgement in the mid 1980’s of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PCI) in lower Alabama, State recognition of the (Tama) Lower Muscogee Tribe of Georgia as a “tribe of people” during Carter’s term as Governor, and the still ongoing petition for federal acknowledgement by the Muscogee Nation of Florida, headquartered in the central Florida panhandle town of Bruce. Several other self-identified “Creek” groups in the Florida panhandle were rejected for federal acknowledgement, as well as several groups claiming Cherokee ancestry. In Alabama and Georgia, Indian groups who did not make the bar for federal status could and did push for state recognition, which many did receive in the 1990’s and later. Over a half dozen groups self-identifying as Creek, Cherokee, and Shawnee have been recognized in Alabama alone to date. The MOWA Choctaw, of McIntosh Alabama, a group with multiple tribal origins and a social history of segregation similar to that of Cheraw groups in the Carolinas and north Florida were rejected for federal acknowledgement but are one of several state recognized in Alabama.

The state of Florida forbids state recognition of any tribal groups who do not already have federal acknowledgement. This is most likely due to the presence of a powerful Seminole and Miccosukee lobby in the state and federal halls of power, according to panhandle Creek leaders. To return our narrative to the generation who led the way in bringing many southeastern Indian communities out of the isolation endured under the Jim Crow era social situation, the experiences that many of them had in the war led to deep changes in their expectations of life. Setting the stage for momentous social changes to come, many men from Indian hamlets throughout the south returned from World War II wanting to make changes for their families, and to have a better life than that of the older generations. 

This generation made many great leaps in the subsequent decades, as can see by the reorganization and acknowledgement of eastern Indian tribes from the Florida Seminole and Miccosukee to the Tunica-Biloxi of Louisiana. A dozen tribes across the southeast who had previously slumbered in rural isolation emerged into the realm of modern American politics. With the determination that is characteristic of the “greatest generation”, the returning veterans throughout these Indian communities led them into a new era of expanded civil rights and opportunity. This all occurring within Indian communities even as the legal, political, and social face of the entire southern society changed. The social dialogue within what remained of the swiftly eroding population base of the Florida Cheraw community grew and leaders became cognizant of the need to refocus community self-awareness, activity, and identity on the common past versus an uncertain future. Using the experiences of past generation’s gains, key elders publicly-expressed identity, and a growing awareness of the outside worlds potential, they encouraged pride in being Indian as a legitimate feeling and expression of love of self and community. For some of the older generation who had experienced the racism of the old social order, they had a difficult time embracing the new “popularity” of being Indian, many of whom still do. This was understandable after having been attacked on all sides for a good part of their lives, simply for not “looking white” enough to their fellow Floridians. The newly emerging Indian identities that developed were hard to understand for some elders, especially the reclusive Scott Town families, many of which were moving to Lakeland, Escambia County, and other parts of the panhandle in attempts to better themselves. The suddenness and ease with which some of the “Creek Indians” appeared was viewed by some Calhoun and Jackson county Indians with suspicion. Especially when some of the newly declared “Creek Indians”, who were popping up all over the tri-state area and wanting their “Indian Money”, were some of the grandchildren of the same authorities who had persecuted the Scott Town and Scotts Ferry Indians as “Mulattos and Negro’s” in decades and centuries past. But, difficult as the years after the civil rights era were, they were better than they had been in along long time. At long last, the power to define their community was now in their own hands, but as before, they would face opposition from others when they would assert their Indian identity. Dr. Andrew Ramsey of Blountstown Beginning in the late nineteen sixties and early seventies, there was a concerted push by certain families and individual leaders within the large group of families of Indian descent in the Blountstown and surrounding communities to minimize the “Carolina Indian” origins of many of the Marianna/Blountstown area Indian families in preference to what can only be called a few isolated lines of descent of Muscogee Creek blood within the larger “Carolina Indian” community. This approach to defining the post segregation Indian identity as Creek has been especially forwarded by the well-known Blountstown Indian leader, Dr. Andrew Ramsey. He is a descendent of the Boggs family who lived near Scott Town, on Boggs Pond. (Washington Boggs was an influential man in the 19th century Scott Town settlement and his house which stands near Scott’s Church, is one of the few turn of the century houses still standing. He was enumerated on several censuses as a resident of Scott Town and as non-white). In the late nineteenth century the Boggs family moved from the Boggs Pond/Scott Town area south to Blountstown, and established a business there. Over several decades in leadership, through Dr. Ramsey’s recollections of family lore, a narrative developed based on the oral history that came to be accepted by most people, Indian and non-Indian alike, as the story of the Indians in Calhoun and Jackson counties.

This oft-cited narrative which is enshrined in a large metal historic marker in front of the old Calhoun County Courthouse and in several large teletype books at the local library and the Florida State Archives, unfortunately lacks documentary evidence and is mainly based on oral history and contemporary affidavit, with almost no actual historical documentary evidence found in the books despite their bulk and obvious great effort and expense to make. They should be viewed as what they are put forward as, the “oral history” of the Boggs family, and not the story told by federal, state, and county records relating to persons identified as Indian in any of these sources. Close examination of what little documents there in Dr. Ramsey’s narratives show a gross misinterpretation of their meaning in the social context of the times, such as the 1920’s voter record which shows Joe Scott and his spouse listed as “C.I.” under the race heading. This was construed as representing ‘Creek Indian” by some, but is most likely representative of “Caucasian-Indian” as many Calhoun and Jackson county men put as their race on their 1918 military enlistments, or even “citizen Indian” as Noah Hill of the Woods settlement listed himself as. The genealogy books produced by Dr. Ramsey during the 1960’s and 70’s attempts to establish the Boggs family as direct descendants of Apalachicola Creek Chief Tuski Harjo, of the pre-removal Creek reservation era, through a daughter named Polly Parrot. Much of the narratives stories lack documentary evidence of any kind, but this hasn’t prevented them from becoming “gospel” regarding the Indian history of the area to many citizens of Blountstown whatever their race. The story of ‘Polly Parrot and her Apalachicola Creeks’ is still recited by many Calhoun County Indian people as fact even when confronted with the historical documentation of the larger story of the actual experiences of the Native community, and was a part of the reason for the need for compilation of this book. 

There are MANY people in the Calhoun/Jackson county area, Native and non-Native alike, who would prefer that the actual documented story of most of the Indians (of Blountstown and Marianna area) origins in the Carolinas and their experiences and treatment as colored under segregation would just go away, and never be known. The mythology of Indian people’s history from the central panhandle that has been touted for the last half century in unsupported by the historical evidence, evidence I have personally witnessed being suppressed by tribal and community leaders during the last 20 years. Individuals from several Calhoun County families including Ayers, Scott, Laramore, Jacobs, Hill, Whitfield and others have contacted me over the last several years to dispute that members of these families ever attended “Negro schools” or were anything but “good ole white southerners’. This is unfortunate since the documents we have painstakingly researched for twenty years from the era clearly document the several communities’ history. Often times Indians we talk with who have these same surnames and are related to the naysayers don’t have a problem understand the double standard that Indians were held to back then, because many still live with it today. To deny the existence of Indians there who still do struggle to uphold their heritage honestly as Carolina Indian people would be as wrong as those who insist that there is an unbroken and intact Creek community from removal till today in the central panhandle despite there being little to no documentary evidence of such. This is the assertion of several creek leaders and organizations currently. While several families including Chief Ramsey’s were drawn into the fray over Creek Indian ancestry and politics from the 1960’s to the present, a steady growing chorus from certain elders in Cheraw and Lumbee families begged to differ with the Creek identity that had come to characterize all Indians in the panhandle, though many have only recently realized the need to organize and act in their own (and in their courageous ancestors) best interest. Chief Ramsey should not be held to be harshly judged for the lack of accurate research opportunities situation of his times and the difficulty of securing documentation in the decades past. He has worked tirelessly for all Indian people in Florida for many decades and is one of the most highly regarded persons in the eyes of many, especially the Indian families of Blountstown whom he has defended and advocated for countless times. He has been a diligent and unflinching Chief of the Blountstown Indian community despite several family tragedies, failing health, and difficult political and spiritual decisions on behalf of the Apalachicola River area Indian people, of both Creek and Cheraw descent. Of deep concern to the current leaders of the Apalachicola River Indian Community Conference and the Florida Cheraw tribal government today is that several items from the documentary Cheraw history of the Calhoun and Jackson County areas have appeared in the supporting documentation for acknowledgement by B.I.A. of several of the “Creek” groups petitioning for acknowledgment as tribes, in the 1980’s, in an attempt to document their contention that “un-removed Creeks’ had remained “hidden in the panhandle”. We are often told how these invisible creek communities were not “allowed” to say they were Indian or to be Indian, yet Tom Scott, David Martin, and other leaders from the documented Cheraw settlements at Scott Town and Scotts Ferry had no such hesitation when interviewed by outside agents of the military, educational institutions, and courts. These leaders had no hesitation in insisting on their Indian identity as can be seen in the following quotes from the historic record: • “There are men who would knife us out of having our own school saying that we are negroe. You know our character that we are of white and Indian blood…” -Scotts Ferry School Trustee Dave Martin to Calhoun County Clerk of Court-1938

• “The mother and grandfather with whom I talked claim there was no negro blood in their veins but there was Indian blood. This I was of course unable to substantiate by any official records since there seem to be no records.”

• “Some of the forefathers claim there was no negro blood, but there was Indian blood. This, we are unable to substantiate by any official records.” • “In the community of the school there are several families of Scotts who from appearance can very easily be considered as belonging to the white race. However, it is generally believed in this county that they have some negro blood in them and for that reason they attend a negro school. It is of course possible that they might have a large percentage of Indian blood but I have no information or knowledge as to their ancestry.”

-JD Milton, Superintendent of Jackson County Schools in a series of correspondence upon interviewing Tom Scott of Scott Town as to the community’s origins-1942 • “Eliza Scott is not a Mulatto as named in the indictment but is an Indian of the

       Catawba tribe, her grandfather Jacob Scott being a headman of that tribe.”(11) 
 

-testimony during trail of Elizabeth Scott and Frank Hill, “Fornication with a Mulatto” charge, Calhoun County, 1860 These quotes show that at least some Indians remained in the Florida panhandle and were visible, throughout the 1800 and 1900’s. the claims by many of the ‘pop-up’ Indian groups that they had to hide their identity as Indians rings hollow in light of what is found above. Most of the suddenly appearing petitioning tribes are now politically defunct or nearly so. All the petitioning groups except for the Muscogee Nation of Florida were rejected summarily by the Bureau of Indian Affairs for federal acknowledgement. The Muscogee Nation of Florida, to date, is still in the process of petitioning. Dr. Ramsey actively participated in the Creek community leadership, and is most likely of some Creek/Miccosukee ancestry. He has been trying for decades to organize and represent those emerging publicly as Indian as “Creek”, some of whom were of questionable ancestry and/or community ties from the start. Part of the problem was that many of the actual Indian families, who had themselves or whose parents had attended the segregated schools were still “hiding out or lying low” as one Cheraw elder put it. They were most comfortable in their own small social circles and had little interest in organizations larger than the local community level for the most part. Many were trying to avoid the racism still very present in most panhandle counties, against those who look phenotypically Indian. Interviews in 2004 with Blountstown community elder Elaine Hill Fowler told of generations of her family member’s attempts to maintain dignity as Indian people under the constant barrage of assimilation efforts by missionaries, teachers, and the ever present law enforcement officials. Many elders today tell in interviews of feeling fortunate to be left alone and passed off as white, for the most part, by today’s generation, unlike the social struggles of their youth. But they also tell of wanting their grandchildren and great grandchildren to have pride in being Indian and to be successful in “the Whiteman’s world”. “They shouldn’t forget where we come from” one said at the 1999 Apalachicola River Indian Community Conference. In returning to the developments since the 1960’s in the panhandle Indian community, part of the reason for Dr. Ramsey and other leader’s enthusiasm for Creek ancestral ties, real or imagined, was the “colored” status of many Cheraw in the previous generations and the desire by some of their descendants in the last 40 years to distance themselves from it. Especially when those leaders owned prosperous businesses and had social connections to the White power structure, it behooved them to minimize perceptions of local Indians as “less than Whites” despite that being the daily reality only a generation or two earlier for most Cheraw. Dr. Ramsey has been considered an influential community chief for many decades, and sat on the Florida Governors Council of Indian Affairs with the representatives of the Seminole and Miccosukee Tribes of Florida for over a decade in the 1980’s. He worked diligently for many years of ceaseless labor on behalf of all Indian people in the Florida panhandle. A Complex Social History is Not Easily Simplified During the last forty years since the arising of Creek Indian activism within the historically documented Indian descended population in northern Florida and lower Alabama, there has been an effort to simplify histories and social realities that are often very complex. I say historically documented Indian population because during the last few decades there has been a great expansion of awareness and interest in ancestry among the tens of thousands of Creek Indian descendants’. This renaissance has been accompanied by an explosion of the amount of persons identifying themselves as “Native American” on the recent few decades federal census. This group of “Indian descendants’” has expanded each year and are very active, attending powwows, having festivals, and engaging in other such pan-Indian activities. The people who were part of this phenomenon were described as “Thindians” (thin Indian bloodlines) by Joe Quetone of the Governors Council of Indian Affairs once. The ensuing raucous social and political struggle for Creek Indian identity during the last four decades all but eclipsed the quiet goings on in the historic Cheraw Indian settlements and the new satellite communities they were forming in Blountstown, Marianna, Pensacola, and Lakeland. These communities that were composed of persons whose parents, grandparents, and communities were identified as Indian pre-1950 were few and far between, not over a half dozen, in all of north Florida, including a couple in Holmes and Walton counties. These communities were often labeled as “Melungean, Redbone, Mulatto, Creole, Dominickers”, and other pejoratives. This was the case with the Cheraw Indians of north Florida as well, especially so in the largest communities like Scotts Ferry and Scott Town, though community leaders such as Mathias Porter and Tom Scott, and other courageous individuals consistently identified themselves as “Indian” whenever outside investigators inquired, and did what they could to avoid trouble with the White power structure. These communities were isolated and self-reliant, tribal members taking care of each other and often times the less fortunate of any race who wound up among them. The schools in the Indian communities during the segregation era were often classified and funded by the county as “Negro” or “Colored”, despite the people attending them looking decidedly “not negro”, and identifying themselves as Indian in the board of education correspondence records. The years from the end of the Civil War to the civil rights era were difficult times, and the community members were socially persecuted and subjected to undue harassment often. In my studies and travels I have observed that the social existence and uniqueness of these communities is unappreciated and mostly unknown by the contemporary academic authorities on Florida’s Indians.

The Indians struggles for self-determination can be seen in the many legal records that we have collected reflecting the last one hundred and eighty years of interaction with outside authorities by tribal members, documentation that record frequent prosecution for violations of race mixing laws and customs of the local white authorities and the race-obsessed southern society in general. There has been considerable interaction, cooperation, and at times feuding with the self-identifying “exclusively Creek” neighbors and relatives of the members of the Cheraw Indians of north Florida Communities over the last 30 years. The conditions that have led to the dominance of the “Creek identity” I discussed earlier are ongoing and deeply rooted in the post segregation social and economic circumstances in the historical old settlements and rural Jackson, Calhoun, and Liberty County settings. These areas that were formerly the base of Cheraw Indian people’s population are now generally devoid of any substantial Indian residents. 

The return to the oral history roots, as Indians from the Carolinas, in self-identification and in efforts towards research and community action is slowly strengthening each year, especially in the most populated modern population centers for Cheraw Indians in north Florida, namely the towns of Marianna and Blountstown in the central panhandle, and among the Scott and related families in Escambia County and in Lakeland in the east. In the past, most families who were identifiable Indians (physically appearing to look “Indian”) coincided with general expectations of “what Indians are supposed to look like”, and were less likely to identify as “Creek” and more likely to identify with Carolina Indian origins. These persons and families were often the poorest of the poor, even among Indians. They would probably be older in age and from rural home place sites and steadily declining population hamlets, such as modern Scotts Ferry, Scott Town and Woods. This was especially true of families such as those of Hugh Oxendine, Robert Jacobs, Tom Scott, Cleve Conyers, and Noah Hill’s descendants’ and countless others. Many of these families valued kinship and the rural ways of their ancestor’s more than modern conveniences. The push to identify as Creek could be because the “recruiting efforts” by Creek activists in the preceding decades in the more populated areas like Panama City, Blountstown and Marianna caused individuals participating in Indian community activities to not want to say or do things that would go against established Indian organizational leadership expectations. The multi-state, large scale aspect of the Creek Identity phenomena over the past several decades, especially the seventies and eighties, may well be the leading cause for the minimization of the Carolina Cheraw roots of many of the Jackson, Calhoun, and Liberty county families up until the present. . As stated earlier there has been a steady erosion of the social forces that led to persons of Cheraw AND Creek bloodlines to identify exclusively as Creek. Particularly the ongoing research shows the historical roots of the majority of the families of the Indians of north Florida settlements are Cheraw (Lumbee, Catawba, Nansemond, and others) in origins. This coincides with the oral history of the oldest living generation, whom state often parents, grandparents and depending on age or generation sometimes the grandparent’s or great grandparent’s as being from South Carolina, and less often as North Carolina. The Scott, Porter, Copeland, Jacobs and Oxendine families, especially, have not interacted with the larger MNOF and other Creek organizations. From extensive interviews with elders of the communities we learn that in the past, particularly before the advent of the “Creek resurgence” in the late 60’s and 70’s, the commonly held tribal identity was spoken of as “Carolina Indian”, and on rarer occasions as “Cherokee Indian”. This was observed first hand among the Bass, Hill, Kever, Jacobs, Boggs, Scott, and other family elder interviews. The Hill family has had a leading role in the more conservative, less educated portion of the Cheraw Indian people, especially for the last 30 years among the Blountstown Indian crowd, though under the leadership of Dr. Ramsay. I wanted to include copies of some of the original documents collected during decades of research into the Hill families’ origins over the last few decades, as a family of Creek origins who were intermarried with Cheraw people.

I have observed the distribution of the historical documentation of Indian bloodlines among the various descendent branches of the Hill and related families affect the self-image and organizational structure of this group of interrelated families and people, with those who had crossed into a more assimilated status previously becoming more active. In the mid and late 1990’s, a pro-Muscogee Nation of Florida faction, allied with Chief Andrew Ramsey wrestled with an anti-MNOF faction that emerged and led the disenrollment of the majority of members of the Hill and related families from the MNOF, led by Pony Hill. This was subsequent to a 1994 break with the Apalachicola Ceremonial Grounds, now called White Earth (an institution whose membership is predominately Ward family members, the largest family group within the MNOF). A new ceremonial ground emerged, Kunfuskee Ceremonial Grounds, was started by members of the Hill family who had broken with the White Earth leadership in charge at the time. 

A couple of years later, the Ward faction led by Ann Tucker and her many Ward and related family cousins consolidated their takeover of the MNOF, headquartered in Bruce and White Earth Ceremonial Grounds in Blountstown. In an attempt to maintain peace, Chief Andrew Ramsey, who was a Ward on one side of his family, and a Boggs, (a Scott Town descendent family) on the other, was placed in the White Earth Grounds Chief seat. Very few people of Cheraw descent besides Dr. Andrew Ramsay attend this ceremonial grounds and it has been repeatedly vandalized by local Cheraw AIM members in an attempt to push it out. All most all of the leaders and members of the grounds are Creek descendants or are of no documentable Indian ancestry, though there was one family of Carolina Waccamaw attending who had moved from the Buckhead Cheraw community to Florida. The Blountstown Indian Community Conference The Blountstown Indian Community Conference, began in 1996, is a yearly tribal gathering of the Creek, Lumbee, and Cheraw Indians (regardless of enrollment group or status) of the Apalachicola River area, and was initiated as an attempt to reject the “Creek Only” identity put forward under the leadership of Dr. Ramsey..

Creeks and Cheraws

As has been stated throughout this narrative, a spirit of resistance and communal survival has sustained the families of the Cheraw diaspora on their journeys. Adaption has constantly taken place over the last several centuries as they have made their way in an oft hostile social environment and became “strangers in their own land”. Part of the point we hope to make in this book is that when the documentary evidence is examined that it will be apparent that, in north Florida, the historic settlements of Cheraw people such as those at Scott Town, Scotts Ferry, Mount Zion, and others, were consistently treated as distinct communities by the white power structure, a very different experience that the many “Creek descendants” in the area. Over the last few decades since desegregation, the Creeks in the states of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida have pretty well sorted out among themselves, the states and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the status of various groups. Some of these groups such as the Poarch Band of Creek Indians have easily documented their past as a distinct community through the years since removal, though it is one that shares much unacknowledged Cheraw ancestry. Many other groups who petitioned the B.I.A. for federal acknowledgement as Indian Tribes were quickly rejected due to a lack of documentable evidence that they met the requirements of acknowledgement. One, the Muscogee Nation of Florida, continues its acknowledgement petitioning process through the B.I.A. that it started in 1977, as well as has a congressional bill before the Congress asking for recognition, interestingly at the same time as the Lumbee Tribe of Cheraw Indians attempts to get a bill through. To date both tribes have been unsuccessful. Despite the “Creek Indian renaissance” and public interest in possible Indian ancestry that’s occurred over the last 30 years, most of the descendants of the panhandle Cheraw families continue to live quiet productive lives centered on family and community. This is the heart of their tribal identity today. Much like the Lumbee and other Cheraw tribes in the Carolina homelands, their identity is not in powwows, feathers, and other modern trappings of contemporary “Native America”, but in the deeply held beliefs and life-ways focused on kinship ties and the land.

Most respect and cherish their Carolina Indian heritage, and are very defensive of it and their privacy. Some still carry a burden of shame related to the perceptions of Indians by outsiders. They often wrestle with the meaning of being Indian in modern society, and where heritage fits into the work week and paying ever present bills. The second and third generations since desegregation and the treatment of many Cheraw people as colored by southern societal institutions are now becoming middle-aged and sharing more of the painful experiences that Indians faced then with family members and researchers. In a dozen interviews we conducted during the winter of 2009/2010 with Poarch Creek reservation elders, some of which had Cheraw ancestry (Hosford, Dees, Gibson, Taylor, etc…), we heard a recurrent theme. One of exasperation at today’s easily acquired Indian identity. 
“Where were all these people these days saying they are Indians when I and my parents couldn’t go into town? When we were being called Negro? I never heard of them!” 

-Poarch Creek elder of Creek/Cheraw descent in a 2010 interview The above quote is something we were tearfully told by one family’s matriarch. I have heard similar feelings from countless Florida Cheraw elders over the last twenty years of research. The difference for Indians in the Florida panhandle is that of state and federal acknowledgement of the “existence” of their heritage or tribe. For many of them and their families, without the designation as “federal” Indians, like that enjoyed by their neighbors the Poarch Creeks, those who appear phenotypically Indian find that they still live in a racial no-man’s land. In the courts, schools, and other social institutions a daily battle as old as the south continues as Cheraw people try to maintain their dignity and identity as Native people in the face of southern racist stereotypes and attitudes. Living among the Creek descendants in many communities today, Cheraw people find themselves in difficulty to explain clearly to other Indians their origins and identity. Florida Cheraw Indians have lived with this quandary for generations, as the correspondences between the Jackson County School officials, the Cherokee Indian Normal School Dean, and Scott Town leaders highlighted earlier in the narrative exemplify. Situations like this are countless over the last two centuries since Cheraw first came to Florida. This is especially true for the Escambia County, Florida area families, many the descendants of Jim Scotts family, some of whom live in the same communities as Poarch Creeks in and around Atmore, Flomaton, Pensacola, Century, and nearby communities. If Lumbee Cheraws in their tens of thousands in North Carolina and throughout the country have a tough time up holding their tribal identities in the eyes of other Indians, how much more so for a few hundred in north Florida among the tens of thousands of Creek descendants. Possibly the MOWA Choctaw would be the only other community to know the experience, and they at least are state recognized. The State of Florida has no such process for recognizing the non-federal Indian communities and wont as long as the Seminole and Miccosukee lobbyists in the state capital are concerned, as one Cheraw leader said. Dozens of supposed Creek tribes have come and gone during the second half of the twentieth century, and those who have survived have reorganized greatly again and again. Outside of the core communities of the Poarch Creeks in Escambia County, Alabama, few if any of the self-identifying Creek groups of the panhandle of Florida can document a history as separate communities, or even as Indians, in the eyes of many academics and federal tribal leaders. A century of hard work on the social, political, and economic fronts has begun to see fruition for the Indians who remained in the Cheraw homeland. There has been a steadily rising presence on the state and federal political scene by the Cheraw peoples in the Carolinas especially groups like the Lumbee Tribe of Cheraw Indians, Haliwa-Saponi, Waccamaw, Tuscarora, and dozens of others in North Carolina, and the Wassamasaw, Edisto, Santee, Beaver Creek, Sumter Cheraw, Pee Dee, Waccamaw, and Catawba tribes in South Carolina. Interconnections among the groups in the Carolinas and Florida have led to rising organizational movement among the Cheraw people in the panhandle of Florida as a group, rather than the co-option into the Creek politics that has characterized the last four decades. One thing that the Cheraw groups in the Carolina don’t face that the Florida group does is the overwhelming presence of Creek Indians and the thousands of descendants of creek Indians. For many Florida Cheraw families whose parents or grandparents and other family members who attended one of the several schools maintained for them, the stigma of these being called “Colored Schools”, and the unjust treatment of community members by non-Indian neighbors and authorities is still a fresh wound. Previous to desegregation there seems to have been a minimal amount of intermarriage between people of Creek descent, and members of the various Cheraw Communities. In the half century since, there has been many such unions, especially among the Scott Town Cheraw families who moved to northern Escambia County Florida, those in the Blountstown/Panama City area, and among the Lakeland settlement.

Many of the families contacted for this research were very reluctant to discuss anything to do with the past, many wanting to move on, but not all shared this feeling. Some community members expressed pride in the Indian identity and in the courage of their ancestors to persevere. Many courageous elders, like Mary Scott, Elaine Hill Fowler, and Ozella Strutko shared family stories and photos, taking valuable time and resources of their own to help in this research effort. In some instances this was even done in the face of opposition from family members. The entirety of the research is far from done, and is in fact just beginning in many ways. It’s time for the story of the Cheraw people’s journey to come out of the shadows. The time for shame is passed. 

Afterword The Future…A Phoenix Rising? As the generation of Florida Cheraw who themselves or whose parents attended the Jim Crow era “Indian Schools” at Scott Town and Scott’s Ferry pass on, the need for these Cheraw individuals, families, and community organizations to step forward in a greater capacity to secure a place at the table of Florida and Southeastern Indian affairs grows. Unlike the trend of the last few decades where being Indian is popular and tens of thousands of descendants of individual Creek Indians in the 1830’s have emerged to populate the powwows and roadside Indian exhibits in north Florida, the Cheraw people of the Scott Town and Scott’s Ferry families have remained in the social shadows. Though individuals from several families have become deeply involved in Creek politics over the last several decades, the larger community of Cheraw families has languished in a voluntary cultural and social amnesia. These elders are, in some cases, unwilling to speak of their struggles and suffering, even to close family members. The poverty, disenfranchisement, and blatant racism experienced by the elder generation during the past have led to a very present psychological barrier to anything to do with the past. We have found in the 15 years of doing interviews and meetings with Cheraw tribal elders that at least half have significantly been affected by their childhood experiences in very negative ways that continue to affect them and their descendants. Many still feel great shame and can verbalize their feelings only with great effort, if at all. Deep and sometimes unexpected emotional responses have been very common as we have opened doors in their memories and hearts that they have kept shut for many decades. As tragically, we have found in these interviews with several generations within a family group that many of the younger generation are sometimes unaware of many of the traumatic experiences had by their elders. As a student of psychology as well as sociology, I have personally witnessed the presence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among some elders and families, and the generational spreading of dysfunctional culture ensuing from it affects non-federally recognized Indian people just as it does the populations of Indian reservations with high rates of alcoholism, domestic abuse and the entire range found in many Indian reservation communities. For many outsiders, academics and lay people alike, the very existence of the several still socially-active Cheraw Indian families is unknown. Not all faded into the fabric of the post segregation rural white population, some did hold on to their Native identity. In conversations with a few members of the local Jackson County area descendants of the Scott Town settlement, they stated that they are happy to be considered “white’ by their neighbors and “the guv’ment” and have no expressed interest in their families’ American Indian roots or in the social experiences of their parents and grandparents. “Why do ya’ll care about that ole stuff?” said one resident of Scott Town Road, who appeared to be phenotypically full blood Indian. The general body language when these statements were said indicated uncertainty of neighbors’ opinions if certain subjects such as race were discussed. This is a common courtesy in southern culture today, to avoid the topic of race with those one isn’t certain of socially. It seemed in the process of dozens of interviews with individuals and families that the closer we were to the physical location of the old Scott Town settlement, with its weed-strewn cemetery and the rotting and derelict carcass of the Indian school house, the more our interviewees were uncomfortable and reticent to discuss the past. For the dozen or so families who still live in the vicinity of the now nearly-empty Scott Town settlement located down an at times dusty Scott’s Church Road, the past is very present, and so is the fear, pain, and uncertainty connected to it. For other families, especially those who have intermarried since the end of Jim Crow with other Indian, Hispanic, and Creole families in the panhandle, and have established family based settlements in other places, the need for a sense of community and honoring of the struggles of the elders is a compulsion that has increased with each generation. In years past, under the leadership of S. Pony Hill and his Cheraw tribal organization called A.R.C.I.T.O., several professors from the academy have taken some interest in the Cheraw community and have participated in efforts to document the historical experience of Cheraw Indian people in north Florida, most especially Professor Moore


Despite the difficulties in holding onto an obscure tribal identity in a sea of “Creek” political, cultural, and social affairs, the Florida Cheraw continue to persevere. One of the biggest stumbling blocks to Cheraw people in Florida has been the lack of a commonly held name for the tribal ancestry, even among the closely intermarried and related families. As with other issues, a similar challenge is found among Indians in the Carolinas. Especially for the Lumbee Tribe of Cheraw Indians in North Carolina, who are genealogically Florida Cheraw kinsman, this question has loomed large, and has only become “somewhat” settled in the last generation or two, though there are still many groups who are outside the Lumbee Tribe political orbit but who descend from the same early families. Much like the Lumbee, who were originally labeled as “Croatans”, later as “Cherokee Indians of Robeson County”, and eventually came to be called Lumbee, the Florida Cheraw have struggled with each other and with other Florida and Alabama Indian people over their actual tribal origins and name. I have personally heard many Creek leaders over the last 20 years refer to families of Cheraw people as “those Lumbees in (such and such county) are really just mulattos”, and other similar statements. In the last two decades several attempts at Cheraw tribal organizations have come and gone. Attempts to establish a unified identity and tribal government for the several groups born from the historic settlements at Scott Town and Scotts Ferry (post-Jim Crow) diaspora have to date have been unsuccessful. Whether among Blountstown Indian Community people, Scott Town descendant families living in Escambia County, or the Holmes County area Cheraw people who descend from the Mount Zion Community called by some “Dominickers” (see appendix), all have been unable to permanently establish a viable framework for directed political action. For some the alternative has been political or social alliances with the Creek power structures whether at Poarch or Bruce, for others retreat into the traditional culture of the Stomp Dance traditions, and for a few the alternative of genealogical connections and enrollment with Carolina based groups seems best. Some members of the Jacobs family from Woods are enrolled with the Lumbee Tribe in North Carolina, while other families from the same settlement participate with the Sumter Band of Cheraws in South Carolina, while a third family are members of a Creek Nation (Oklahoma) tribal town. As stated at the outset of this book, the identity of the Florida community can be problematic, and without simple explanation. The history as well as contemporary identity of Florida Cheraw people is complex. Part of the reason for the distribution of this publication is to help these groups and the individuals that compose them to look long and hard at themselves, their families, and their ideas of community. There is a greater need than ever for the Cheraw people in the panhandle of Florida (not mention the several families and hundreds of individuals living on or near the Poarch Creek Indian reservation in Atmore Alabama) to exert great effort in accepting the social realities they and their families live in daily. For many the old social isolation of past generations has been replaced by another type of social isolation, a self-induced Amnesia relating to their own history. On the one hand, so many speak of their pride in Indian blood yet are bested by the shame of the treatment of and identification as colored of family members. A reckoning on the community level must occur that will not let the generational cycle of poverty, substance abuse, and dysfunction that is present in the lives of many of the Cheraw families continue. The surge of political activity in recent years by the many Cheraw communities throughout the Carolinas has led to interest, talk, and hope around the kitchen tables, church pews, and stomp dance fires of the Florida people. The Catawba Nation’s success of securing restoration of their federal recognition in the 1990’s and the renewal of their institutions and tribal cultural heritage has not gone unnoticed by Florida Cheraw leaders. Efforts by the Branham family and others at the Rock Hill Catawba reservation to restore the Green Corn Dance and traditional culture to the Catawba people are applauded by Florida Cheraw, most of which have blood ties in South Carolina. Efforts in this movement have been difficult and are ongoing, despite continual upheaval politically due to the Catawba tribal reorganization. Recent activities by some South Carolina Cheraw people to go to the Creek Nation in Oklahoma and learn the ways of the old southeastern culture have led to the return after many generations of absence of the Stomp dance, Green Corn ceremonials and many cultural practices that are aspects of tradition that make southeastern Indian people unique among American Indians. Well documented by academic circles was the Poarch Creek efforts to restore this ceremonialism to their tribe during the 1990’s and its eventual success with the re- establishment of a sacred fire at the Hassossa Tallahassee Ceremonial Grounds in 2001 by Dave Lewis, one of the principal medicine persons in Creek Nation in Oklahoma. Less well attended by interested academicians have been the stomp dances and stickball games held in Blountstown among Cheraw Indian families since the late 1960’s. The many trips to the west taken by several ceremonial leaders in the process of restoring a knowledgeable group of practitioners of Southeastern ceremonial traditions during the last 30 years have borne fruit for this small group of traditionalist.

Most of all, in conversations with several “Old Heads” as the elderly family leaders who are ultimately the final authorities in the Indian community in Florida and Alabama are called, is a watchfulness of the political fortunes of Carolina Cheraws like the Lumbee, and more recently, the state-recognized South Carolina tribes of Cheraw origins. For all Indian communities in the south who originate in that long ago social milieu that was the Carolina frontier of the 1700’s, the common assault on their identities as Indians has been unrelenting. Where many Florida Cheraw grandparents living now once faced accusations of “really being mulatto”, and having to attend schools designated as “colored”, their own grandchildren are now accused of “really being white”. All this despite each generation’s common insistence to any who took the time to listen to their quiet but firm statement “We are Indian”. 

The paranoia of the “wannabe” accusation from the Florida Governors Council of Indian Affairs , federally recognized Indians such as the Seminole and Miccosukee, and the general Academic community, have led some of the Cheraw we have interviewed for this book to state their discomfort with ANY public presence as an “organized” Indian group. It seems that among some of those now coming into their own as leaders of Cheraw families, they don’t question their community-based tribal identity or its meaning to them, but do question what it appears to them many “outsiders” consider being Indian. The Roots of the Hill Family in the Old Creek Nation Though most of the families of what would become the Cheraw Indians of north Florida were rooted in the eastern Siouan populations of the Carolinas, a few had other tribal roots as well, such as the Hill family. In March of 1829, three Creek Indian girls, all citizens of the Creek Nation, married three brothers from the Hill family of Union County South Carolina. Nancy, Sarah, and Amanda Doyle, all described as “Belles of the Creek Nation” by the South Carolina Marriage Index listings, married George, Alexander, and James Hill, three brothers stationed at Fort Mitchell, in the Creek Nation. The three young soldiers, George Robert Wesley, James Jr., and Alexander, joined the American Army in 1828. Nearby the Hill boys’ duty station of Fort Mitchell, Creek Nation was a school for Indian Girls called the Asbury Missionary Institute, which the Hill family was already involved with. The “Reverend Mister Hill”, a relative of the boys, performed hundreds of marriages on this frontier during his time there. Eventually, George and Alexander left the area. They first moved first to Decatur County, Georgia and then on to Jackson County Florida, along with their Indian wives, Nancy and Sarah Doyle. Upon researching the oral histories passed through the various Hill family branches in Florida, as well as those in the Creek Nation in Oklahoma, we found indicators of where to search for the records. Amanda was the daughter of Nimrod Doyle, and Nancy and Sarah most likely his nieces, daughters of Edmond Doyle a Creek Nation trader with the Leslie, Panton, and Forbes Trading company.

During our research, we found a South Carolina Marriage Index Book at the Florida State Archives in the Capital Building Complex in Tallahassee Florida (the R. A. Gray Building) which listed an indexed reference to the marriages of these three couples. It seems from the documentary evidence that the Cherokee Phoenix, the national newspaper of the Cherokee Nation, as well as four other local Milledgeville, Georgia area newspapers, covered the weddings. It was said to be very extravagant for the times, according the article. Fort Mitchell was located on the frontier near where Creek Nation, Cherokee Nation, Georgia, and South Carolina met. Using the Index reference as a guide, we began to inquire about the possibility of one of the original newspapers which carried the article possibly being still in existence. We were eventually able to secure a copy of it with the (much appreciated) assistance of the research staff at the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma’s Tribal Headquarters in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Included in this chapter is the letter sent with document.
We also were able to gather several documents that were compiled by the Decatur County Georgia Historical Society, documents that listed all the descendants’ of the George Hill- Nancy Doyle and Alexander Hill-Sarah Doyle marriages, which were many. 

As recorded in “Millidgeville, Georgia Newspaper Clippings (Southern Recorder), Volume II 1828-1832” by Tad Evans, found in the stacks of the Florida state Archives, (as well 5 other periodic sources from the times, including an April 29 1829 edition (Volume 2 number 7) of the Cherokee Phoenix,) on March 3 1829 the brothers Alexander, George, and James Hill, all brothers from Darlington District in South Carolina and stationed at Fort Mitchell, Creek Nation were married by the Reverend Mr. Hill, to Sarah, Nancy, and Amanda Doyle, Creek Indian girls attending the Asbury Missionary Institute. The details of this marriage were captured in the Cherokee Phoenix article from 1829: “Married on the 3rd of March, at the Asbury Missionary Institute, near Fort Mitchell Creek Nation, by the reverend Mr. Hill, the Mr. James Hill of the US Army, to Miss Amanda Doyle, a Creek Pupil of the Institution. This establishment is under the charge of Mr. and Mrs. Hill, who were desirous of showing the natives how this ceremony is performed in a refined state of society, and the highest encomiums are due them for their entire success. Great exertion and ingenuity were necessary to accomplish it. The company consisted of about twenty white persons and one hundred and fifty natives. The bride and her two maids were dressed with great taste and propriety, according to the fashion of the age. The groom and his two associated were in full military costume; and those persons present accustomed to wedding scenes, pronounced this bridal party one of the handsomest they had ever witnessed. After the marriage ceremony, the happy pair were congratulated with all good wishes; cake and wine were passed around, and in due time a bountiful supper was partaken of by the whole company , and the evening passed on in the most agreeable manner possible. All parties seemed delighted with the occasion. A number of strangers present will never forget the kind and hospitable reception given them by Mr. and Mrs. Hill.-Georgia Courier”-transcribed from the Cherokee Phoenix 1929

The indexed reference in the Millidgeville, Georgia Newspaper Clippings (Southern Recorder), Volume II 1828-1832” states: “HILL, Mr. James of the US Army m. DOYLE, Miss Amanda, a Creek pupil of the Asbury Missionary Institution near Fort Mitchell Creek Nation, m. there 3-3-1829 by Rev. Mr. Hill. AC 3-18-1829; CP 4-29-1829; A th 4-7-1929; SP 3-21-1829; SR 4-21-1829. DG 4-19-1829 gives wedding date as 4-3-1829” “HILL, Alexander of the US Army m. DOYLE, Miss Sarah, a belle of the Creek Nation, m. there 3-3-1829 State of Georgia CP 4-29-1829” “HILL, George W. of the US Army m. DOYLE, Miss Nancy, a belle of the Creek Nation, m. there 3-3-1829 State of Georgia CP 4-29-1829” This is a transcription of the “Alexander Hill” narrative, by Robert Earl Woodham, from the “Decatur County, Ga. Past and Present 1823-1991” a genealogy index compiled by the Decatur County Historical Society. The Hill Family has been in Seminole County since the 1830’s. Several related Hill families moved to Spring Creek and nearby areas across the river in Jackson County (Florida). They came here from Darlington District, South Carolina. The first to settle here was Alexander hill Sr., who was born in 1812 and died in 1880. His wife’s name is Unknown. She was the sister of the wife of his brother, George W Hill. Alexander had 7 children, all born at Spring Creek. Alex’s son Ferdinand Hill was born in 1839 and died 6 May 1864 as a confederate soldier at the Battle of the Wilderness near Richmond VA. Alex’s daughters Lovie and Mahalia Caroline never married. Nothing is known of sons William and Richmond. Alex’s son Harmon Hill (1849) married Julia R. Minton 15 February 1877. Their children include Ella, Noah Lonzo, Emma, Luther D, Zenie, Jewel, and Meck (married to Cleveland Conyers) Alexander Hill Jr. was born 1852 and died 1923. He and his wife Mary Ann (1852-1921) are both buried at Spring Creek. They had at least nine children: Marcus M. (1875-1904) married Mary Hall; Sophia Ann (1881), married Tully Murkison; Mathew D.; Rufus A. who married first Rhoda M.J. Thursby, and later to Annie Wilson; Mary; Preston Ulysses (1889-1964) who married first Corene Holt, then later Kate Shores; Alto E, who married James K Braswell; Alma S. (1893-1952) married to Joe Barber; and John C.

Alexander’s brother, George Wesley Hill Sr. was born in 1804 in Darlington District South Carolina. His wife Nancy was the sister of Alexander’s wife, making the two couples (descendents) double first cousins.

George moved from South Carolina to Spring Creek (Georgia) about 1856. He lived for several years at the intersection of Desser Road and Spring Creek Road. Nancy (born 1815) died about 1856 and is buried in a family plot at the intersection. They had at least 13 children. George’s son John A Hill was born in 1835; He married Mary Ann Dowell on 22 June 1852. He was a confederate soldier. George’s son Rueben Ezekiel Hill was born in 1836, he married Martha Frances Minton on 7 September 1865, and they had one daughter Rebecca. George’s son Thomas was born in 1838 and died on 12 November 1864 as a confederate soldier in a Yankee POW camp. George’s daughter Emma Elizabeth (1840) married Daniel Minton. George’s son Allen Hill (1842) married Amelia Conyers on 27 February 1868. They had one son, Asberry. George’s daughter Julia Hill (1844) married Waydon Hewitt. A son, Dempsey Hill (1845) married Catherine McMillan on 18 August 1870. He lived in Jackson County (Florida) A son, Johnathan H. Hill was born 2 February 1848 and died 18 October 1918. He married Nancy Melvina Summers; they had at least 14 children and lived at Grand Ridge (Jackson County, Florida) William Cato (“Cate”) Hill (1853) married Caroline Bennett in 1872. Cate and Carrie had seven children and lived at Grand Ridge. Susan Catherine Hill was born 24 December 1853 and died 29 August 1931. She was married to Moses F.J. Conyers. George W Hill (1856) married first Caroline Conyers 2 February 1872. They had 2 children, James Wesley and Martha. The generation’s long saga of the intermarriages among the above mentioned families, and the other Indian families of the area of the Apalachicola River that would be the nucleus of the Cheraw Indians of North Florida Tribal Community of today is a complex one. I am including copies of the documents we gathered about the Hill family as an example of the multiple tribal origins of some of the Cheraw Indians of North Florida families, though again, the majority of families are of predominantly Catawba and Lumbee (Cheraw-Siouan) stock, with some, like the Hills from Creek ancestry. This small take on the Hill family is by no means nearly comprehensive or inclusive of the entirety of this branch of the Hill family, and their experience since leaving Creek Nation. As well there is a copy of the roll of Thlekatchka (Broken Arrow) Tribal Town of the Creek Nation that lists Nimrod, Jackson, and Muscogee “Doyell” as dwelling therein. These are the only persons on the 1832 Abbot-Parsons Roll (Creek Nation Removal Roll) with the surname “Doyell” and are the relatives of these three girls, Nancy, Sarah, and Amanda Doyle (Nimrods daughter), who were attending the missionary school at Fort Mitchell.

A well-known historical figure in the decades after the war of 1812 who was heavily involved in the Creek and Seminole Nation intrigues of the times was Edmund Doyle, who is most likely the father of the “Creek Nation Belles” Nancy and Sarah. He established a trading outpost on the Apalachicola River and was part of the Leslie, Panton, & Forbes Company West Florida economic endeavors. He was licensed to trade with the Creek and Apalachicola Indians living in the area at the time.
I have found numerous history book narratives about his involvement in the important events in “West Florida” and the control of the area struggles between the English, Spanish, and Americans as well as the Indian tribe’s part in these dramatic events. He is listed in historical references as having an Indian wife and children and is probably the relative of the Doyell family at Thlekatchka (Broken Arrow). He is known as well for having a price on his head by the Miccosukee chiefs, causing him and his family to have to retreat to a Lower Creek town for safety at one point, according to Seminole oral history. 

The trading post he founded became the famous “Negro Fort”, known to history as stronghold retreat by hostile Blacks and Seminoles and destroyed along with three hundred partisans and their families who were inside. This massacre happened amazingly from the first shot from Andrew Jackson’s naval cannonade into the fort as his forces invaded Spanish Florida and took on the poorly armed hostile ‘Red Sticks’ (the anti-American faction of the Creek Nation, versus the ‘pro-American’ White Sticks). During the Civil War it was reconstituted as a confederate garrison and named Fort Gadsden, and fell soon thereafter to union forces. It has had many incarnations throughout the long history of Florida. It was bloodied ground on many occasions in the tumultuous journey of Florida to becoming American. Fort Gadsden is a state park today, and is near Apalachicola, Florida, a community located on the coast a few miles downriver from Blountstown. Research continues on the interconnections between the Doyle family and the hill family. Nimrod Doyle, who would eventually be a Texas Ranger, along with his daughters Amanda and Muscogee moved to Texas after receiving land under the Treaty of Fort Jackson in Alabama. Amanda later wound up living in Eufaula India n territory after years in Texas, where her family helped found the town of Sulphur Springs. Her nephew George Hill, son of Nancy Doyle Hill would move to creek Nation as a young man taking an allotment. He would be appointed Chief in the 1920’s, and have a large family.



Citage: -“Names in South Carolina” edited by Claude Henry Neuffer.Pg.XII:41 -“South Carolina Land Grants” (1784-1830) 160, vol. 32.R A Gray Library Private Collection, Florida State Archives, Tall. Fl -“Early South Carolina Marriages” Vol.2 (1735-1885) implied in SC Law Reports, Union County -“North and South Carolina Marriages 1800-1885” R A Gray Library Private Collection, Florida State Archives, Tall. Fl -Records of US Army enlistees (South Carolina) 1795-1850 -Federal Census of Georgia: 1860 Decatur County1870 Decatur County -Federal Census of Florida: 1860 Jackson County1870 Jackson County1885 Jackson County1870 Holmes County 1885 Holmes County -“Decatur County Past and Present” 1823-1991, compiled by the

Decatur County Historical Society

-Ellen Payne Odom Genealogical Library


Thank you for taking such a huge step and creating this resource. Genealogy and Wikipedia are two loves of mine, as well as [We Relate]. I'm looking forward to seeing how this site develops! --Brad Patrick 02:20, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

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