Holdout, Doubtful and Reject of the Dawes Rolls

By Josiah Hair on March 2, 2012
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Holdout, Doubtful and Reject of the Dawes Rolls

Cherokee Nation Citizenship 

By: Josiah Hair

Prelude

Previous articles gave overviews and some tips on navigating through the Dawes Rolls. This article follows up on some information on those common arguments on who is and who is not Cherokee because of three classifications: Holdout, Doubtful and Reject.

Holdout

Holdouts were a group of Cherokees that belonged to several societies in the Cherokee Nation mostly made of Full-Bloods. The Nighthawks was one such society that was very vocal in the refusal to enroll and accept the Allotment from the Dawes Commission. The leader was a Cherokee named Redbird Smith who throughout his life worked to return to a more traditional society.  He was a National Councilman and very vocal in his outspoken views regarding Allotment. But the Dawes Commission was relentless and he was arrested in 1902 and forced to enroll. His followers, some 5000 or so, continued for another year or so to reject enrollment, but they were enrolled without consent and finally allotted land and money.

Recount of Author on a Holdout Example

While I was researching my own ancestry I came upon the application of my Great Grandfather dated April 23, 1902.   The testimony is given by Sarah Swimmer his Mother-in-Law. She gave testimony for her daughter Evabelle Hawkins who was “sick and feeble” and could not come in to apply.  Swimmer testified that Evabelle was married to Josiah Hawkins and they had two children at the time. The commission then asked if Josiah would come in and it was mentioned that he refused to come in and testify. The Commission asked about any possible relation to the Nighthawks Society and Swimmer testified “yes.”  They continued the interview and then enrolled Evabelle, Josiah and the children with no need for any of them to appear in person.

Doubtful

Doubtful was a category the Commission used to define an applicant that they found doubtful at the time of enrollment and later they would do a deeper investigation to either approve or reject the application. The category Doubtful would have a roll number but it would start with the letter “D” found in the index.  There were some 3700 or so of these marked as Doubtful.  Overtime the Dawes Commission would weed through the applications and would enroll them and issue a Straight Roll number or they would reject them altogether.

Another type of “doubtful” was the same “red flag” that comes up today: the claiming of multiple Tribes.  The Cherokee Nation and The Commission had issues with applications in which one claimed many Tribes.  A review of census cards showed some applicants were marked “Doubtful” because they claimed they were several tribes and lived with these other Tribes as such.  Census records from The Cherokee Nation and other investigations helped The Commission to make a status judgment on these applications.


Indian Census Collection

Reject

Rejects were the last category and in most cases it was applications that the Cherokee Nation advised against enrolling for various reasons.

Some rejection cases were regarding intermarried whites with a Cherokee by blood.  At that time a Cherokee could marry a Non-Cherokee and they could live within the Cherokee Nation as a citizen. The children of this type of marriage would be enrolled as Cherokee by blood.   That seems simple enough but it was found that many cases involved “bigamy” in which the Cherokee Man had stopped living with his first wife and had taken a second wife without divorcing the first.  Bigamy was a “red flag” for both the Cherokee Nation and The Dawes Commission.

Marriage and Divorce was very simple among the Cherokee but could cause some issues for enrollment.  Cherokee Law 1885 Section 96 Page 230 reads: “No particular form of marriage shall be required in the solemnization of marriages, except that the parties shall solemnly declare in the presence of a Judge, a Clerk or Minister officiating or the attending witness that they take each other as Husband and wife.”

Divorce was just as simple as one just had to register the fact of divorce with their courthouse.  The children would always have rights to citizenship as Cherokees by Blood but there may be questions on citizenship for the divorcee.

Still other cases for rejection involved inconsistency with when one moved to Indian Territory but failed to request admittance by The Cherokee Nation Council or cases were applicants declared living within the boundaries but were rejected fairly quickly due to the fact that they were not enrolled by the Cherokee Nation in 1880 or 1896.

For the most part, rejection cases involved just plain fraud from people that had no connection of any kind whatsoever to the Cherokee or any Native American Tribe.  This was very common as money and land allotments cause people to lie about anything including heritage.

Conclusion

The Dawes Commission for the most part used the official Documents that had been done and approved by the Cherokee Nation Council including the 1880 Census and the 1896 Census.  So when the Dawes Commission set up in Indian Territory they already knew who was considered Cherokee by The Cherokee Nation itself.  This is perhaps the most misunderstood part to the Dawes Rolls and why many argue what the Dawes Commission was doing.  In reality, The Dawes Commission was merely double checking the following information from The Cherokee Nation: 1) who made applications and 2) who was still living at the time of the Commission.

Finally and most important was the fact that one need not be present for enrollment as The Dawes Commission already had the name from The Cherokee Nation and they were just checking to see if one was still breathing.  Anyone that had a hard time “proving” Cherokee Citizenship were usually found to have no connection with the Cherokee Nation in the past and they also hah no relations that were connected to the Cherokee Nation in the past.

References:

Garrick Bailey and Roberta Glenn Bailey, “Redbird Smith,” in Encyclopedia of North American Indians, ed. Frederick E. Hoxie (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996).

Personal research of the Author on his own Genealogy.

Comments

TOPICS: Native American Articles, Native American Culture, Native American Genealogy, Native American History, Native American Information

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61 Responses to “Holdout, Doubtful and Reject of the Dawes Rolls”

  1. Mosezickle Pitts II says:

    In the case of Sallie Mayfield, her former owner Sallie Starr Mayfield left the Reservation deliberately to oust her former slaves and with all the evidence to support the claim of Sallie Mayfield and others the claim was denied and ultimately placed on the Doubtful Freedmen Roll then finally on the FR Roll or Freedmen Rejected Rolls. Recent discovery revealed all the facts pertaining to the transcripts in testimonies of these former slaves turned out to be true indeed yet the descendants of these former slaves lost hope of ever gaining their proper status as members of the tribe.

    • Josiah says:

      Are you saying she left before 1866? Which Reservation do you speak of? For Cherokees in Oklahoma were never on a Reservation but by law a Sovereign Area with our own Government and Courts system until the Curtis Act of 1898 which dissolved our Government and Courts. The Slaves of the Cherokees were Freed and granted Citizenship by the Treaty of 1866 which was the big fight was over a few years ago regarding that treaty. As for the Freedmen on the Dawes Rolls they were not counted by the Dawes Commission At that time as Cherokees so they were never granted Land along with the Whites that were Married to Cherokees…

      • Mosezickle Pitts II says:

        Josiah you are 100% correct they did not have reservations in Oklahoma for the Cherokee tribe, my bad. No according to the transcript of the Dawes Commission the slave mistress Sallie Mayfield left the Cherokee Territory and moved to Rusk county Texas before 1867 Her former slaves did return and applied for enrollment according to the Commission and was denied based on the fact that their former slave master did not return to Indian Territory and caused them to be denied. Sallie Mayfield the slave owner died in 1893 however her son Walk Mayfield saw to it his former slaves got all they were entitled too. Thanks for the post.

  2. debra jacobs says:

    Looking up Ridenour in Oklahoma area. Have been told all my life we were Native American. Found a Elmer Ridenour in dawes rolls but cannt find his brother Ira,who is my grandfather. My mother is Treva and said she was born on Monkey Island. Her mother was a Smith from that same area

    • Josiah says:

      I would try looking up on the Guion Miller Roll for siblings of Elmer Ridenour. Chances are if this person was accepted for enrollment on the Dawes Roll they will be on the Miller Roll. The Miller Roll shows Siblings of the person that is applying for the payment along with Aunts Uncles ect ect. The Dawes Roll was only concerned with determining if that applicant was a member of the Cherokee Nation AND they lived within the BOUNDRIES of the Cherokee Nation. The Miller roll had similar requirements but none on location of the applicant. Dawes Roll was granting Land to the Head of Household Miller Roll was a payment Roll to ALL Applicants.

    • starr says:

      Do you have family in the Missouri and Omaha area too? I am a smith from the area you say and they were native

  3. Je says:

    If someone was not of Cherokee descent, could that individual be born & live in Cherokee Nation?

    • Josiah says:

      Short answer: yes…
      Long answer:
      Prior to 1900 the Cherokee Nation was a soveriegn nation with a court system and government. Many non citizens such as Doctors, Lawyers, Blacksmiths ect ect did indeed reside within the boundries of the Cherokee Nation. In some cases they married Cherokees and in others they did not. A common myth was that we resided on a “reservation” such as you would find in the western states that was guarded by soldiers. When in fact it was a sovereign nation that allowed for immigrants (non citizens) such as trades people and professionals to reside and raise families within the our boundaries.

  4. Candice Crowley says:

    Question: will Dawes packet reveal whether Cherokee freedmen July Nivens had any Cherokee blood?

    • Josiah says:

      According to his Dawes Packet he was listed as a freedman and according to his testimony he claimed freedman status

  5. Phyllis Rivers Lopez says:

    I am Looking for my Grandfather I Believe I saw him on the Dawes RoLL In Cherokee NC His Name is GiLdy Rivers

    • Josiah Hair says:

      Eastern Cherokee were not subject to the Dawes Commission.
      I have only found 1 Gildy Rivers (b 1890), he was listed on the 1930 Census in South Carolina he was Head of house with Wife Julia and 5 children listed
      I looked up Gildy Rivers on the Guion Miller Roll of 1907 and did not find him perhaps some additional information may shed some light on this.

  6. Phyllis Rivers Lopez says:

    ThankyoU

  7. Lynn says:

    I am doing a research on my husbands family. His parents state that they have Cherokee and Choctaw ancestory. I am having a difficult time finding direct linkage. I am finding the sir names in the family tree but not first names in any of the rolls. I have pictures of family members and there is no denying the heritage. Please if possible give me some direction to look for this verification.

    • Josiah Hair says:

      Good Day,
      This is perhaps one of the most common question and problem that people encounter as they are starting native research; That is to look up by surname on any Dawes index. Several reason why this is so difficult to do but mainly it has to do with the concept of a Family Name or Surname. This is a European Concept and was not a practice that most native peoples adopted until the latter part of the 1800’s. I say most, in cases of an White man marrying an Native woman she would generally use his surname. But in the Case of Full bloods marrying other Full bloods say in the 1880’s it was possible that the Children of such a union would have variations of the Father’s name in English or Native tongue or there Mother’s Brothers name or some combination there of as a surname. I have found in my own past, variations of my last name (Hair, Little Hair, Pickup Little Hair) all the way to the original name (Big Mush) which was the Name of my Great Great Great Great Grandpa.
      To begin with, doing this kind of research you must have a solid starting point and that is with what you know: Husband’s Name, Grandparents names, birth and Death Dates if any, Great Parents names, birth and death dates ect. Where they were born and lived and buried is important also when doing research with the Dawes Rolls. Very important due to the Nature of this Roll: It ONLY lists those that were living and resided in the Boundaries of each nation (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole) and were recognized as citizens of those nations by the TRIBE itself. During the period from 1900 to 1907, In reality most of the roll was taken between 1900 and 1902 but there was some stragglers that were added as late as 1906. This is why its important to know some things more than a name. For example in my Grandma’s case, she was born in 1907 so she was not enrolled is a Too Late, no problem I just go back a generation to her Parents and yes they were enrolled in 1902 with two children. So the Brother and Sister of my Grandmother that were born in 1903 & 1905 were also not enrolled. I can confirm this is the family I am looking for because I know all my Grandmothers siblings and yes in 1910 Federal Census I see the whole family listed together. The Dawes Commission only enrolled those that were living and resided within the boundaries of each nation. So if you find that in your case the folks that would have been old enough to have been enrolled but lived in Arkansas or Missouri or any other State then they would not be listed. Ok that is not the end of the line for there is another Roll that was taken about the same time that could have possibly listed a Cherokee ancestor and that would be the Guion Miller Roll of 1909. This roll was a payment roll for Eastern Cherokees that resided East or West of the Mississippi River but excluded Old Settlers who were covered under the Treaty of 1896 and listed there. Now in my opinion this is a FAR more valuable roll to use in family research for several Large reasons. 1) Anyone could apply, which means the Husband or Wife could apply and would be paid separately. Any single adult 18 years or older and including orphan minors. 2) Its main goal was to find if the applicant was an ancestor or were listed on either the 1835 (Henderson) or 1851 rolls (Drennon or Chapman). These rolls listed those that were removed in 1835 (Trail of Tears) or were listed as Eastern Cherokees on either 1851 rolls one taken in North Carolina and the other in Indian Territory.
      3) Its main value comes in the fact that the applicant sits down and lists (as much as they can recall) ALL siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts grandparents ect ect ect. in English and in Cherokee so we have what the old name was all the way back to 1835 in some cases!!!
      4) You can compare what each sibling recalls it helps fill in huge gaps in the family tree its just invaluable!
      Good Luck

  8. sue shears says:

    I am trying to find out more about my GGGGG Grandmother Susan Hunter. She was a full blood and married a white man my GGGGG Grandfather William Reeves. The best I can find is she was born I believe in 1798 in or around South Carolina. Her son that is my GGGG Grandfather was Green Berry Reeves.
    I cannot find her on the Dawes rolls. Her Grandson did apply for citizenship, but I believe he was rejected.
    Do you have any information that could help in my search?

    • Josiah Hair says:

      To fully answer your question I need to brief you on what this Roll is and is comprised of.
      The Dawes Roll of 1907 is a listing of Cherokees in various categories, such as “by blood”, “married whites”, “freedman” ect ect. The very first misconception about this roll is the fact that anyone just came and signed up ( Thousands did and were rejected) when that was the farthest from the truth. In Negotiations with the Sovereign Nation that was the Cherokee Nation at this time, was the requirement to turn over to the Dawes Commission the Census of 1896 and 1880 that the Cherokee Nation accomplished of its citizens. It includes all those that have full citizen rights (By Blood), Freedmen, Shawnees, Delawares, Whites living among the Cherokees (Trades people Doctors Lawyers ect) and Intruders those that were living in the nation without permission or paying their fees. It even lists those that are in prison and Asylums a very thorough accounting of the citizens of the nation. This is also why the Dawes Commission wanted it so badly for they merely referred to these documents confirming if the citizens that were listed on those two Census were still alive AND still residing in the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation. They were only concerned with Allotting land to each Head of Household and Single Adults and the remainder of the unclaimed land sold off in a series of Land Runs much like the rest of Oklahoma was done.
      So let us look at your Ancestors, Who would have been alive and over the age of 21 between the years 1900-1902? Were they residing within the boundaries during this time? Would they have been listed on either Cherokee census in 1896 or 1880?? I have access to all of these documents and do routine look-ups. Would Susan Hunter be listed on Earlier Rolls such as the 1851 or 1835 roll??

  9. Crystal says:

    I have found an ancestor, John Monroe Price, on the Guion Miller Roll, does that mean he was Cherokee? according to the 1900 Ok Census he lived in Indian Territory, Chickasaw Nation. Should I look for him on the other rolls too?

    • Josiah Hair says:

      Question, Where did you find John Monroe Price? was it Application 40081?

      2nd part to this question is the fact the criteria for the Dawes roll of 1907 and the Guion Miller were far different. Dawes Roll had several requirements: 1st that you lived within the boundaries of the Cherokee nation and had to be recognized and listed on either the 1896 or 1880 census that was done by the Cherokee Nation itself. The Miller roll only was concerned with determining if you were listed or you Descended from somebody (Mom, Dad, aunt, uncle, cousin, somebody) on either the Chapman or Drennon Roll of 1851. More importantly it did not have a requirement for residence, so Cherokees as far away as Alaska, Hawaii even Poland were admitted. The only Cherokees that were excluded were those that could only prove they had ancestors only on the Old Settlers roll of 1851, meaning all of their ancestors were only listed on that roll. I have a Great Grandpa for instance, his Dad was an Old Settler but his Mom was an Eastern Cherokee listed on the Drennon Roll that listed those in Indian Territory in 1851 so he was admitted on the Miller Roll. It is common to find Cherokees on the Miller Roll and not the Dawes roll for living as you say in Chickasaw Nation very common actually same for those that lived in other States or Foreign Countries the Dawes Commission only was concerned with Alloting land to those that resided on it.

      • Crystal says:

        Yes, that is the correct application number for my John Monroe Price.
        I have found him in the following census:

        1860, 1870 & 1880 Cherokee Co., Ga
        1900 IT Chickasaw Nation (OK)

        In 1900 his parents, William and Delila (King) Price were in Marshall Co., AL

        I am new to Native American genealogy so I have no idea what I am doing….

        Thank you for all of the information you provided, that is enormously helpful.

        One more question: What is an Old Settler Roll?

      • Josiah Hair says:

        He was rejected, Finding somebody on the index is only the first step that gives you his document number. Using that number in this case we call pull up the files that were transcribed for this person. On the index in this case there are 5 pages in his files. The cover page has some notes from the commission and really is the most important, in this case this application was rejected and it says he is the “Grandson of #26628 and claims through same source”. Pulling up that application #26628 that is of a John Price, which the commission says he is the Grandfather of John Monroe Price. Now looking at this application we see 26 documents in this file, The commission could not find any ancestors that lived among the Cherokee and were counted as Cherokee on the 1851 or 1835 rolls. Using the Testimony of John Price they certainly lived in the area: Georgia on the Etowah River and did continue indeed reside while the main body of the tribe was rounded up and relocated to Indian Territory. The testimony of John Price can not give reasons why his folks did not enroll nor claim to be Cherokee until he attempted to in 1909.
        This is a very common application literally Hundreds of thousands applied for the compensation but only 30 thousands applications were proven been a descendant or to have been a party to the Treaty of 1835 and were removed from Georgia on the Trail of Tears.

        To answer your last question; An Old Settler is a Cherokee that moved from the Eastern Nation between 1800-1830 prior to the Indian Relocation Act when President Jackson deemed the Indian problem could be solved by forced removal. These Cherokees are what makes up the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and reside alongside the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. We have the same customs and language we are only separated by politics along with the Eastern Band of Cherokees who reside in North Carolina.

      • Crystal says:

        Wow! You are amazing! That is a lot of information!
        So in conclusion to your research should I assume that they were actually NOT native American at all? Is that what this means?

        Thank you so much for your assistance. I cannot express how much you have helped me.

      • Josiah Hair says:

        I read thru the whole file and it certainly looks that way in this case, the Miller commission was pretty thorough they spent 5 or 6 years researching all claims. It is possible in the early 1800’s an ancestor was indeed Cherokee and then intermarried with whites and never looked back it is very possible. This is what Assimilation actually is blending with the surroundings and adopting the culture of those that you live among and never looking back. In 1909 there was a huge interest in proving some type of tie and thousands attempted, but were thwarted by the fact too much time had gone by and the ties were lost. It is very difficult to pull back the mists of time in these cases for no roll was taken of Cherokees until 1817 and that was the first group that left the Eastern areas to live at first in Arkansas Territory and then eventually in 1828 in Indian Territory and it was called then. We have some journals of Missionaries but they were only concerned with conversion and not counting those that had no desire to convert. However in your case you have more information than what you started with it is a good day. I always let the research take me where it will and always keep an open mind…

  10. James "Red Buffalo" Edmondson says:

    I’ve had a long standing question that has really never been truly answered. My family was listed in the 1896 (overturned) Dawes as Cherokee but they were then rejected but then not put back into accepted one. I have been told many reasons why. Yes, my family still hides the Cherokee, Creek family ties from me but what is the ruling on the 1896 Dawes to the next one if you were in the one but not the next?

    • Josiah Hair says:

      Overturned by whom? The 1896 Census was done by the Cherokee Nation however there were some issues with it, namely intruders claiming “by blood” or “by marriage” were included by the Dawes Commission then excluded over the protests of the Cherokee Nation; either way it should give the reason why the rejection in the Dawes Packet that information is not listed in the index portion of the Roll.

  11. PK Murphy says:

    Josiah how informed you are. Thank you. In had CD w names of rejected applicants. In my case I think my gr grandfather Sam Murphy. I. I lost the rejected number. It had 4 numbers. If I understood correctly it was because family not living in now OK or Indian Territory but in Texas. Could that be correct?

  12. PK Murphy says:

    Josiah I forgot to add Cherokee. Sorry typos but with such dark blue background hard to see type.

  13. Anna Edwards says:

    I have a ggggg grandmother who married Woodard Fouch in 1830. Her name was Morning (Nantanoah/Natanoah). Supposedly he was a scout for the Army before the time of the Trail of Tears. I have yet to figure out what the surname Nantanoah/Natanoah means. Her parents were supposed to be on the removal prior to the trail and may have been in a group of Cherokees who were living with other tribes at the time the Trail took place. Do you have any suggestions as to where to look for their names?

    • Josiah Hair says:

      I am in the process of writing an article regrading surnames of Native Americans and specifically the Cherokee, I will use some of what I have to answer your question. Surnames were not a practice of the Cherokee, actually prior to 1880’s mostly mix-breeds only made a practice to use a surname that they took upon marriage of a white citizen. So in this case a Cherokee woman married a white man she would not only take his last name but in most cases would also use an English first name usually Sarah,Elizabeth,Jane ect ect. The normal way of tracing using a surname in the present time and going backwards would be extremely difficult and near impossible. Also the name Nantanoah is very suspect as being what I call a transliteration of a Cherokee name, that in most case an English speaker could not pronounce so would change to suit there own idea of what the name “sounded’ like thus rendering the name into gibberish in the language of the native speaker. For if you speaking of morning that time of the early sun it would be su-na-le-i (pronounced soo-nah-lee-ee, or mornings plural it would be u-gi-tsi-s-gv (pronounced uh-gee-che-ss-guh). It was very common for female to have several names, that what her clan and family called her and other names that she would take like if she married a white man or later in life would use another name as it suited her. Culturally your name spoke of many things in your life and as you matured so would your name, I have ancestors that used many many names throughout their lives and the surname that we use today had nothing to do with any ancestor prior to the 1920’s!! As for where to search, resources for native populations are scarce prior to 1835, in the case of the Cherokee there were a few rolls prior to removal but those only listed a few hundred Cherokee that had a desire to relocate to the west one was in 1817 and another was earlier but in both cases they only list the head of household and those that were in the house by number but no specific reference who was whom. Other resources would be missionary records specifically at Spring place near present day Elijah Ga. Good luck

    • Rob says:

      Hi Anna Edwards. Morning and Woodard are supposed to be my 4th great grandparents as well through son James who married a Bass in Hawkins TN. They had a son Aaron James who married a Whitacker/Whitacre, then had John Decatur my great grandfather married to Cora West. I carry the surname Fouch, (sounds like couch). I read the book you spoke of and was in contact with the author. Much of the research seems true to the time frame but perhaps poetic license made for a better story. I think the author traces her lineage to Andrew, my James brother and your Mary Louvinas brother. I’ve seen Mary listed as “Viney” as well. IMHO Natanoah is a transliteration of “quah-nah-tah-yo-hah”, found on the Drennen Rolls of Eastern Cherokee 1851.A name or words indicating “going home” or “coming home”. I would love to solve this great puzzle. Thank you all for your posts. R.Fouch

  14. Henia Anderson says:

    Hi…I have been working on my family tree and it has lead me to my third great-grandfather Thomas Bell who was listed on the 1900 census as full blooded indian. His children are listed as Choctaw. By the time you get to my great-grandfather who was born and raised in Indian Territory as well but his grandchildren…were listed first as indian…then on the final dawes rolls as freedman. I don’t understand the disconnect

  15. starr says:

    Looking up my family. We’re black and native american. Found my great grandma sister’s on the guion rolls now I can’t find them. My family is from misdouri/omaha
    Her name is eunice Smith married name was davis. Them my great grandma was rosie/rosa Smith and her sister viola smith. I found these names but have no idea if it was thrm. Some records dhow their mother India Smith (Thompson? ) as white others mulatto. I was always you’d they were born on a half breed tract in or around omaha.

    • Josiah Hair says:

      The Miller Guion Roll was accomplished to disburse the settlement of money between the Eastern Cherokee/Descendants and the US Government. Basically it is a payment roll of 133 dollars to each claim, its important to us today for the commission that was charged to disburse the claim money had to determine if the person making the claim was actually authorized to receive the payment. They did this by using the claimants parents, grandparents, or any ancestor that would have been listed on the 1851 Drennon Roll or 1852 Chapman Roll. These two rolls were taken of Eastern Cherokees who lived in North Carolina or Indian Territory it lists the head of household and all of those in the household by name, it excluded those that were recognized as Old Settlers who had different Treaty rights.
      If they were Cherokee and an ancestor was a party to the two earlier rolls they would be on the Miller roll in most cases.
      The wealth of family information on the Miller is outstanding provided you find the correct person, if you find somebody on the index you have to use the number assigned to that claim to look at the application packet. In the packet will be a narrative of the Testimony and a listing of the ancestors including siblings of parent,grandparents etc.. that is the only way to determine is the person you think is the right one, actually matches!

  16. John Beverly says:

    I need your help Josiah! My G-Grandmother name is Johnnie Anna Vann and my GG-Grandfather name is Jerry Vann they are both Cherokee Freedmen. I found out that their slave master was full blood Cherokee his name was Joseph Vann. My question is was the any possible relation, since their name was both Vann?

  17. John Beverly says:

    I need your help Josiah! My G-Grandmother whose name was Johnnie Anna Vann and my GG-Grandfather name Jerry Vann are both registered Cherokee Freedmen. Their slave owner was full blood Cherokee and his name was Joseph Vann. I wanted to know if you could find if there was any possible relation due to them having the same name? Also I have just submitted my application for citizenship with the CN. Is there any possibility that I can obtain a CDIB card if I have land allotment records?

    • Josiah says:

      It is very rare for a fullblood to have had slaves, All Freedmen were granted full Cherokee Citizenship by the Treaty of 1866 just after the Civil War. The only Joseph Vann I found that was listed on the Cherokee By Blood Dawes roll was age 55 when his testimony was done in 1900 so he would have been born about 1845. Its possible he had slaves at an early age but he would have been 21 when the treaty was signed after the War in 1866. I looked for others and used variations of his first name Joe Joseph ect ect. Vann is a very common Cherokee name but they were mostly mix breeds by the late 1800’s and yes they held slaves but all were granted Citizenship in 1866. As for Land Allotments, Freedmen and Whites married to Cherokees did not receive land allotments unless they could prove they had Cherokee Blood and even then a lot of Freedmen still did not receive Land!

  18. Mark Hiett says:

    Hi I have a very unique situation.
    My great great grandfather was left on the porch of a white family by his mother at the beginning of the trail of tears.
    John Goins was his name.He was left at a home in Crossville Alabama, which is about a 30 minute drive from ft.payne. (wills fort)
    Absolutely no record of his mother, or her name.his daughter Rhoda Goins, was described by by my mother as very dark skinned.
    Does anyone have any helpful advice about how I can learn more? I’m not really interested in claiming cherokee blood by receiving anything at all, I would just like to know more about the mother, which would be my great great great grandmother.ive always heard how unfair different races have been treated, there could be nothing worse than a mother giving up her new born baby to the same race that had done so much, in hopes he would live.thanks for letting me vent lol

    • Josiah says:

      Shall we explore elements of this family Story?
      The Trail of Tears for the Cherokees began in 1835 when the removal treaty was signed and the actual movement of the some 16100 Cherokees began in 1837 and finished in 1838.
      So your great great Grandfather would have been born sometime in 1837 or 1838 to fit the story. That means that his children would have been born when he was of age sometime between 1850 (age 13) to 1870 a twenty year span for child bearing 1850 would have been the earliest though, you can do the math for the next generation. Now if you already know the ages of your Grandparents and Parents you can do the estimation to see if the story fits into this framework. With all family stories I explore the Ages first then fit them into the Historical time span and I usually find a generation or two have been skipped. Most stories of Cherokees leaving children with whites to take care of them I would have a hard time believing. With all family stories the retelling of the tale gets muddled with time perhaps one of the moms stayed behind because they were too sick to travel and died a few months and the white family raised the child as their own is one possibility. To attempt to trace Cherokee Blood from that far back will be impossible however for various reasons. One of the main problems is tying that child back to a family that left on the Trail of Tears, we have a listing of 16100 Cherokees that traveled the trail we also know a group of several thousands moved into North Carolina and were not subject to the Removal Act and now form what we call the Eastern Cherokee. Both groups were counted in 1848 and 1851 in the Chapman and Drennon Rolls. So a difficult journey ahead

      • mark hiett says:

        Sorry about late reply Josiah. Just now saw your comment. Yes, there is no doubt of my great great grandfather being left on the porch of whites.although hard to believe I guess, as the same as hard to believe the way they were treated.youve got a good point with checking the ages. My mother,80, was the youngest in her family.thats good and bad.i don’t remember my grandfather, but still she can tell of know Johns daughter,Rhoda, that her skin was almost black (half cherokee).I think more than anything I long for knowing where they lived, their lifestyle,& sometimes I have this whole inside so empty, because I wish I knew him.his mother, father grandparents.honestly, I search out rocks that were made for tools.i put my hand in the worn places where there’s were, and just meditate

  19. Ashley Maxwell Calaway says:

    Hello
    I am in the middle of researching my Grandmothers line and have come across my 5th great uncle who would be her 3rd great uncle Thomas Jefferson Williams. He is listed on the Dawes Commission index 1896 (Overturned). But I am at a road block, I can’t seem to find out why his application was overturned. Word throughout the years was that His father Nathan Williams married a Cherokee woman names Rebecca Jackson but I can’t find any proof. My grandmother is very interested in learning her history due to the fact that some of it was kept quiet. Is there any certain steps we need to take be either confirm or put to rest these stories?

    Thank you

    • Josiah Hair says:

      Some background on your research:
      For years the 1896 enrollment among the members of the Five Civilized Tribes has created issues for genealogists. The enrollment was done at the insistence of the Dawes Commission in its effort to determine citizenship within each tribe. The series of problems with this group of records stems from certain individuals or families being enrolled by the federal courts which did not have the jurisdiction to determine who was a citizen and who was not. Moreover, many non-citizens were enumerated who were in fact intruders residing with a particular tribe. The tribal officials fought the enrollment and enumeration and contested the right of the federal courts in Indian Territory conferring tribal citizenship. After much debate, the Secretary of the Interior wisely sided with the tribes, thus the census and enrollment of 1896 was disregarded and would not be used as a basis for enrollment within the tribes. With this latest defensive move by the tribes, the commissioners representing the Dawes Commission sought congressional assistance to force the Five Civilized Tribes to negotiate agreements to prepare a final roll and eventual allotment of lands.
      In June 1898, the Curtis Act was passed by Congress which forced the tribes to treat with the Dawes Commission. The 1896 enrollments were scrapped due to inaccurate data. Unfortunately, those individuals who had citizenship conferred by the federal courts were in most cases not notified that their citizenship had been overturned. This led to a variety of legal issues that ultimately prevented large segments of non-citizens from being enrolled by the commission as only the tribes had the authority to determine who was a citizen.
      This is the main part to who is Cherokee and who is not, The Commission was forced to use the Cherokee Nation own Census! Which listed those CITIZENS who were recognized by the Cherokee Nation as Citizen, this is perhaps the most Misunderstood part to the Dawes Commission and one of the Many myths that grew out of this, That the Government tried to determine who was Cherokee and who was not when in reality it was the Cherokee Nation who determined that. IF your Ancestor was listed on previous Census such as the 1880 and 1896 CENSUS that were done by the Cherokee Nation they would have been enrolled if they still resided and still living at the time of Enrollment 1900-1907. If they were on the Overturned Roll then it is highly possible they either did not Reapply or were rejected because they were not recognized by the Cherokee Nation. Another group that was not allowed to apply or were overturned was intermarried Whites. Originally they were allowed to apply because of our marriage laws stated that a Married person to a Cherokee Citizen was also a Citizen but the US Government over turned that, stating that our Marriage Laws were modified in 1884 so that a White Citizen was not allowed to stay within the boundaries if there spouse passed away and no children came of there union! Some 300 or so were effected by this ruling and ultimately struck from the rolls. I took a look at the 1896 Roll it does not explain the individual cases and only lists those that reapplied later and rejected and in your case I found no such later application.

  20. Kathy LeValley-Foote says:

    Hello:
    I have a question and don’t know where to start. I am trying to research my grandfather who was a half-breed Cherokee. My problem is that as the story goes, my great-grandfather, who was full eastern US Cherokee went into the Motherland some time in the 1880’s, now known as Canada, met and married my great-grandmother, French Canadian. While traveling back to the US my grandfather was born on the boarder of the US and Canada, being a half breed in 1886, the US refused to register his birth, so Canada did. My problem is I can not find any mention of him until the 1930 Census where it states he was born in Canada and immegrated in 1902. All I know is that his name was Millard(could have one point been called Erie) Wineclear, his fathers name was John Wineclear. I know they are not on wthe Dawes Rolls. I am not even sure if they came back to the US only that my granfather came in the US in 1902 and since he lived the rest of his life in Indiana and Ohio, I will assume he came into the US somewhere around Michiagan. Help

    • Josiah Hair says:

      Several Questions for you, So how did you determine your Grandfather was 1/2 Cherokee? Was one of his Parents Full Blood and if so what were there names? The Dawes Rolls were done in 1900 true but there was also the Miller Guion Roll it was done in 1909 and listed Cherokees East and West of the Mississippi going further back in 1851 there were several very important Rolls done of all three Cherokee Populations either living in North Carolina (Chapman Roll) or living in Indian Territory and that would be the Drennon Roll then finally the Old Settlers Roll done in the same period this was done of the Cherokees that were subject to the 1832 Treaty where they agreed to move out of Arkansas Territory. If parents were indeed listed on these rolls that would not have been US Citizens but Citizens of the Cherokee Nation thus births would have not been Registered with the State. This fact has been misunderstood by many researchers, for if they were ever listed on a Federal Census prior to 1900 that meant that person gave up there rights as a Tribal Citizen and was now subject to the Laws of the State they lived in. This very Fact is why Cherokees Resided in North Carolina to this day they gave up there rights as Cherokee Citizens in 1838 and finally in 1860’s the State recognized them as a Tribal unit. I did some searching and found no one by the name of Wineclear on any roll going back to 1835….

  21. Kathy LeValley-Foote says:

    Josiah:
    The story goes that my great-grandfather, the full blooded Cherokee, went into Canada in the mid 1880’s, his name, at least on the documents I found on my grandfather, was John Wineclear, born in Indiana. I can’t find him on anything in Indiana so I don’t know my great great grandparents name. He married my great-grandmother in Canada who was French Canadian. My grand-fathers country of birth states Canada, again the story is the US wouldn’t register his birth(seems he was born somewhere near the boarder, because he was a half-breed, I have no last name for my great-grandmother. I can’t find the name Wineclear anywhere before the 1930 census where it states that he(my grandfather) came into the US in 1902, making him 16. There was some stories he told his only daughter, my mother, that he ended up in an Orphanage in Indiana. She remember a man on a street stopping him and calling him Erie. My grandmother filled out my mothers birth certificate by hand and put his first name as Chas (Charles) and since she was Irish Catholic she put white. I have older siblings that just learned that fact not to long ago and they were NOT happy because he wasn’t. Not sure if it was safer at that time. I have since learned his first name was Millard. I have a copy of his death certificate, which doesn’t tell a lot and my mother birth certificate. Interestingly I can’t find them on any census except for 1930 and I know for a fact he should have been on a 1940 census. It is maddening because to his friends and family he was known as a Cherokee Indian

  22. Beverly Funkhouser says:

    i have a question for you i have seen on microfilm that James Nathaniel pruitt applied and was rejected and cant seem to find it again. This is my husband’s family who we have been tracking for awhile and was told their was a roll number. His wife is Sarah osbourn Pruitt. Is their anyway you could give me some information on this i would be gratefully appreciate this very much

    • Josiah Hair says:

      I am assuming you mean he was rejected on the Dawes Rolls? I looked him up and could not find an application for him anywhere, I did a wider search and I found one James Pruitt Application #33636 he applied and was rejected for the Miller Guion Roll which was done about the same time as the Dawes Roll but instead of Land it was disbursing money to claimant’s who were classified as Eastern Cherokee east and west of the Mississippi.
      As for those rejected on the Dawes Rolls it would have been for several reasons mostly due to not living within the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation and or not listed on previous census that were accomplished by the Cherokee Nation in 1896 and 1880. If you have some more information I could narrow my search and provide as much as I can find

  23. Addie Sparo says:

    Hi Josiah,
    I recently had a DNA test done and it turns out that I am 52% Native American. I had no idea. I also found out that I was adopted. What do you recommend that I do to find information on my birth family?
    I have petitioned the court to have my sealed adoption record open but it will take weeks/ months. I am extremely interested in finding out about my heritage and birth family/tribe.
    Thank you

  24. Nikki says:

    I have been struggling for a LONG time (along with my great aunt and cousins) trying to find which nation my 3rd ggmother belonged to. Her name was Jane Roark and she was born in Ashe NC in 1852 and died in Crab Orchard WV. She married my white 3rd ggfather Isaac Taylor who ended up killing a man in NC and they were forced to flee to WV. She was a strong woman who traveled alone from NC to WV in a wagon with their four children. We have a photo of her and her heritage is undoubtedly evident, along with the heritage link being passed down with family history stories and such. I’ve tried searching the dawes rolls but you mentioned miller roles? Would those include eastern Cherokee the dawes roles left out, and would names on the miller roles be accepted by the Cherokee nation if some of my family wanted to apply for citizenship into the nation? I also did ancestry DNA and I have Native American ancestry that I REALLY want to know more about. Thank you for your time!

    • Josiah Hair says:

      I have written several Articles on the differences between the two Rolls which were taken near the same time. The “Dawes Roll” ONLY affected Cherokees that lived within the boundaries of the CHEROKEE NATION situated in Indian Territory. The Roll was comprised of those that were recognized as Citizens of the Cherokee Nation and were listed on previous Census done by the Cherokee Nation in 1896 and in 1880. The Commission was not concerned with anyone not recognized by the Cherokee and were ONLY concerned with those that RESIDED within the Boundaries that were on the previous Census and were actually still living. In most cases it was a good accurate picture of who was citizen. The problems arise when Cherokee Citizen had decided for whatever reason to move out the Nation (Perfectly Legal) and did not notify the Cherokee Council that had returned or they were a Married White of a Cherokee Citizen, only the Cherokee by blood and minor children out of that union were Allotted land. Then there are Freedmen and that is a different issue. ANYONE else that applied that did not meet the above criteria would not have been listed nor Allotted Land.

      The MILLER GUION Roll was far different roll it pertain to those that were Removed from Lands to the East and moved to the West and compensate them with 133 dollars arising out a court case in 1900. It is divided up in broad lists those that reside to the West of the Mississippi and those East of the Mississippi. The Criteria was a person had to prove that they were listed on either 1851 roll (Drennon or Chapman) or were descendant of somebody listed on the Roll or were listed on the 1835 removal roll. The only group of Cherokees that were excluded were Old Settlers that had left lands to the east prior to 1835. They had received Money in 1896 to conclude the treaties of 1828 and 1832.
      I have written several articles about the Miller Roll and the importance of this Roll for it lists Families and how they relate to those that were listed in 1851. It helps immensely with Cherokee Names that were used in the 1850 and the Modern Surnames that we use today from a Researchers viewpoint it is INVALUABLE!

  25. Joan Escudero says:

    I have several question But I well only ask one for now. my gggggreat father was George Grooms born 1780 in Tennessee married to Millie Cook. They were supposedly full blood Cherokee. Their grandson David Taylor and his kids were rejected from one of the Indian rolls. How do I find out more. David’s father was Zebedee Taylor his dad Samuel McDaniel Taylor was an Indian agent. Thank you Joan

    • Josiah Hair says:

      Found him, He applied for compensation with the Miller Guion Commission 24 August 1908 Application Number 20115. He was rejected due to the ancestor he listed had never listed himself as Cherokee nor any of his ancestors had ever did. There is a misconception that the Federal Government Determined who was Cherokee and who was not, Actually it was the Tribe itself who determined who was a Citizen of the Cherokee Nation not a Foreign Government (US). Those that left the Nation for whatever reason and took residence in a State became a citizen of that state and subject to the laws and TAXES of that state, in addition they would be counted on the Federal Census and would be able to Vote in Elections thus exercising their rights as a Citizen. The Five Civilized Tribes by treaties with the US in the the very beginning of this country’s existence were not treated as Hostile forces as were Plains tribes were. But as Sovereign Nations, with there own laws and Courts system including who was citizen and allowed to live amongst us. It took an act of Congress and the Supreme Court to Move the 5 civilized tribes from the East and why the Miller-Guion Roll was even accomplished and that was to determine who shared in the settlement with the Government and with those and their descendants that were forcible removed from the Sovereign Land that made up the Cherokee Nation in 1835. The group of Cherokee included in the Settlement were those that had moved in North Carolina and those that refused to moved and were moved to Indian Territory. The other roll during this period (Dawes Roll) only applied to the Citizens of the Cherokee Nation who RESIDED in the Cherokee Boundaries after 1880 to 1900 and who had been previously recognized as Citizens of the Cherokee Nation this roll broke up the Land in to Allotments of 160 acres and closed the Cherokee Government and Courts system. when it was completed the evening of the 16 Nov 1907 Oklahoma became a State.

  26. josh Willoughby says:

    Can you help me with some Choctaw research?

  27. Sam says:

    Thank you, Josiah for such an informative article. I really appreciate the time, attention, and research you’ve put into your work.

    My GGG Grandfather Issac Avants’ application was denied, with no reason as to why. On the court documents (he appealed) it states “entered Dawes No. 3612.” He made his claim as Cherokee by blood and indeed resided within the Cherokee Nation. He also notated our Choctaw heritage in the application. Perhaps this is why it was denied?

    Interestingly, it appears his brother’s children were not denied, but they used the name Avant, Roll #30731-34.

    When I lived in Tahlequah, I could never seem to get to the bottom of it all.

    Do you know of a researcher that could help me? I have copies of all the applications, letters, and documents.

    Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

    • Josiah says:

      I took a look at this, I did find that Isaac Avant #3612 was rejected but I never found the Reject roll# that he would have received. I next looked at George, Mary and Troy they were minors and were enrolled by a Guardian, it appears that there Mother an Alice Avant passed away in 1898 leaving 5 children the above three and Dottie Lands and Artie Avant. I also took a look at the Miller Roll to shed some light on this and Alice Avant was the Cherokee and why her children were enrolled her maiden name was Henson. I did not find any Avant’s’ on the Miller roll at all, they list everybody so it appears they were intermarried whites that married Cherokee Women. In the early days of the Dawes Roll(1898-1900) they were included on the Roll but later stricken when the Cherokee Nation objected and the case was heard before the Supreme court. I am still digging into why Isaac was rejected, He should have a rejected Roll number or even a Doubtful Roll Number. That is where I found the above listed children on file D135
      The testimony was done by the uncle of the Children a Terrell Henson who was the Brother of Alice Avant maiden name Henson.

  28. Debbie says:

    I have a ggg grandfather on the Dawes roll but he was crossed out due to his death. Can I still claim my Cherokee citizenship. Thanks

    • Josiah says:

      Depends, Did he have Children? they would have been enrolled perhaps by his siblings or Guardians, What about his parents were they still alive and enrolled?? I could look if you could provide his Name or even roll number…
      In order to apply for Citizenship with the Cherokee Nation you must provide documentation for each generation to an Enrollee it does not matter which generation. Like in my case My Grandmother was born after her parents had enrolled in 1900 so we just use her parents Roll Numbers to enroll.

  29. Nate says:

    I had a great grandmother who always claimed to be part Indian and passed this story down through the family. In addition, one of her brothers was described on her obituary in the late 1940s as being ‘of Creek Nation, Oklahoma.’ Her brother was born in the Indian Territory during the 1890s around the time of the Dawes Rolls, yet I can not find any evidence that their father ever tried enrolling and was rejected (and certainly not approved). Does this sound like evidence of one of the families that tried faking it to get land or just some strange family legend? I just have no idea why her brother would have been described as being ‘of Creek Nation’ in the late 1940s though. Hmm.

    • Josiah Hair says:

      One of the holes that a few actual natives fell through was the when during testimony they claimed mixed ancestry ie Cherokee/Creek or Chickasaw/Cherokee ect. The commission did a poor job of enrolling the person let alone the children, For the Dawes Commission was trying very hard not allowing enrolling in both places thus receiving their allotment in both nations. These were very rare cases but they would determine the person was in fact living outside of there home nation thus not eligible to enroll in the nation they were currently living in. Here is the scenario: Cherokee Man marries a Creek Woman they have Children, He dies just before 1896 she remains in Cherokee Nation and when she attempts to enroll in the Cherokee Nation she is told that since she is “Creek” go to there Court house; she goes there and is told since lives in Cherokee Nation she is not Eligible to enroll and leaves it at that… Although I am not saying that is the case in yours it is possible. Now if Brother is Creek the Parents should be listed, but by what name? One of the most complicated and very frustrating facts with doing Native Research is due to the fact that Names that Natives used DOES NOT use the European Naming Convention of a Surname!! Southeastern Tribes such as the Cherokees, Creeks, Chickasaws, Choctaws and Seminoles that lived in Indian Territory at the time fell into several categories when it came to surnames. Full-bloods were very resistant change, the Name that the Father used did not necessary mean the Son would take that as their Surname; This was because they did not use Surnames! Several other factors during this period (1860-1900) was Intermarrying with Whites, so different names would be introduced into Native names. Another was Translation of the Name into English I have found different Brothers with far different surnames but full brothers. How you ask? First name of the Father was would become the one son’s last name and the other son would use a variation of his name as there last name, or the Name would be shortened. Some fine examples are these: Squirrel Flopper becomes Squirrel, Sitting on a Fence Crying for Money becomes Good Money or just Money, Get Pigeon out of Water just Pigeon today. Others were so butchered like one of my ancestors, his name is Ahmadeske or Askwater or He Asks For Water or today its Ummerteskee as his descendants now use…
      My Advice: stay with it, I have been studying this for 15 years or so and have learned a lot but know I have way more to learn!

  30. Camille Hebert-Thomas says:

    Josiah,
    I don’t know where to begin.Approximately 25yrs ago I walked into the Madill, Oklahoma Historical Society’s office, being nosy. There were 2 elderly volunteers, I don’t recall their names. In conversation with the couple about Marshall Co., the gentleman asked about my family. I had little information but my gma was Jessie Mae Hebert, her mother Gladys Flower’s (1902) & great great gma Zada Stewart (1886). He knew Ms.Zada(an Indian woman), when he was a child, who lived near the rr tracks, made & sold sweets. I dropped the ball…
    Being of very mixed parentage, I don’t know where to begin. I found out Zada was on the Rolls in 186? then removed from Dawes Rolls 193?. If you could just point me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate.
    Thanks,
    Camille

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