Mary Dodson (c1730-1807/1808), A Touch of Luxury on Dodson Creek, 52 Ancestors #144

Mary Dodson, the wife of Raleigh Dodson is only mentioned two times by name.  I’m just grateful that both times, the name was the same.  Now, this doesn’t assure us that Raleigh wasn’t married twice, to two Mary’s, but we don’t have any evidence to suggest that.

Assuming that Mary was about Raleigh’s age, she would have been born about 1730.  Calculating the births of Mary’s children from known events in their lives, Mary’s oldest child’s birth would have been about 1751 or 1752.  Mary would have been roughly 21 or 22 at the time, so a marriage in 1750 or so would be suggested.

Raleigh’s parents were still living near Farnham Parish Church in Richmond County until 1756, so it’s reasonable that Raleigh married a young lady from the neighborhood. They probably courted in the neighborhood and flirted in church when they were supposed to be listening to the sermon. Maybe Raleigh stole a kiss out by the barn before he asked Mary’s father for her hand in marriage.

The North Farnham Parish Church Register of Births were extracted and published in the William and Mary College Quarterly, Volume 13, pages 139 and 180.  They have also been reproduced online here.

Various daughters named Mary born in the timeframe to possibly be Raleigh’s wife include:

  • Mary, daughter of James and Ann Thornton, born March 14, 1722-23
  • Mary Tarpley, daughter of William and Mary Tarpley, born Dec. 7, 1723
  • Mary, daughter of Moore and Margaret Fauntleroy, born February 28, 1725
  • Mary Beckwith, daughter of Marmaduke and Eliza Beckwith, born June 12, 1727.
  • Mary, daughter of James and Mary Tarpley born October 30, 1740 (implying that the child born in 1723 died)

The Mary born in 1740 is too late if Mary married Raleigh in roughly 1750.  There aren’t any people in Mary’s offspring or grandchildren named Moore, Fauntleroy, Tarpley, Marmaduke, Beckwith, Elizabeth, Eliza or Thornton.  Mary has a daughter named Margaret, grandson named William, but no son, William.  It sure would make attempting to identify a family easier if some of these unusual names were found among her children.

Of course, even if Raleigh and Mary were married in the North Farnham Parish Church, that doesn’t mean Mary was born there.  It goes without saying that the relevant records are missing.

If Raleigh and Mary were married in 1750 or 1751, their first child, a daughter, whose first name is unknown but married a Shelton was probably born about 1752.

In 1756, their first known son, Raleigh was born, probably someplace near North Farnham Parish Church.

Daughter Margaret, known as Peggy, would have been born about 1758 or 1759, either in Richmond County or perhaps Prince William.

Mary and Raleigh may have been living in Prince William County between 1759 and 1761 when Raleigh is mentioned in a lawsuit, but only once.

Mary’s sons, Oliver and Lazarus were both born around 1760, and they seemed to be close for their entire lives.  Lazarus conveyed land to Oliver’s children after Oliver’s death in 1819.  These men could both have been born in Prince William County.

By about 1763, Mary and Raleigh may have moved on to live near the Broad Run Baptist Church in Fauquier County, Virginia, founded as a dissenting church in 1762.  Several of the Dodson families, including Raleigh’s brothers who went on to settle in Halifax and Pittsylvania Counties in Virginia, border counties to Caswell County, North Carolina were dismissed from Broad Run, many together, in 1766.

The move to the Virginia/North Carolina border region in 1766 wasn’t trivial, with at least 5 children ranging in age from toddler to about 14.  It was about 300 miles and probably took about 30 days in a wagon. It’s very likely that a group of family members traveled together. The children probably thought it was a great adventure!

Raleigh is found witnessing documents in 1766 in Halifax County, Virginia, so they apparently settled there for at least some time.

On February 19, 1768, John Roberson and wife Margaret of Orange County, NC sold to Rolley Dodson of said county for 16# Virginia money 50 acres on the east side of the Country Line Creek.  Witnesses were Hugh Kelly, Henry Hicks and Henry Willis.

Why Mary and Raleigh bought land on Country Line Creek instead of in Halifax or Pittsylvania County, VA, with the rest of the Dodson clan, escapes me.  The land along Country Line was particularly difficult.  Even 100 years later, the 1860 census taker commented that the land along Country Line Creek was extremely rough.

raleigh-halifax-to-country-line

The map above shows Mary and Raleigh’s journey from North Farnham Parish, to Broad Run Baptist Church, to Halifax County, Virginia, and on to Country Line Creek.

Caswell County, NC was created from Orange County in 1777 and Raleigh’s land fell into Caswell. Orange County, North Carolina records need to be checked for Raleigh between 1768 and 1777.

country line creek

Daughter Nelly was probably born sometime in 1768, or perhaps a bit earlier.  She could have been born on Country Line Creek or perhaps someplace in either Halifax or Pittsylvania County in Virginia.

The Caswell County tax list for 1777 shows Raleigh assessed for property worth #172 in the Richmond District.

By about 1772, son James had arrived to join the family and would have been born in Caswell County.

Beginning in 1776, the beginning of the Revolutionary War was bearing down on Caswell County.  Local militia units were in place.  All able-bodied men were required to participate.  Raleigh would have been 46 years old, and we know that he did eventually serve in the war after moving to the western frontier, the part of North Carolina that eventually became Hawkins County, Tennessee.

On April 22, 1776, the Orange County militia unit that would become the Caswell County unit was formed and in late 1776, was headed out on the Cherokee Expedition.  For some reason, the unit was recalled – some say due to lack of wagons and pack horses.  It could have been during this time that Raleigh first saw the Holston River, if they got that far, and the land where he would eventually settle.  Or perhaps he simply heard about the opportunities for plentiful cheap land in this wild western part of North Carolina.

On July 5, 1778, Raleigh and his wife Mary sold their 50 acres of land on the south side of Country Line Creek to Clement Gann (the land being purchased of John Robinson) and evidently packed up a wagon and moved to what would eventually become Hawkins County, TN.  Fifty acres wasn’t much to farm and land grants for significantly more were available on the western frontier.  Raleigh proved to be an astute businessman.

The move to the Holston River from the Piedmont in 1778 was different from the move in 1766.  Mary was 12 years older, to begin with.  The 7 known children were now ages 6 to about 26. The oldest daughter had probably already married a Shelton, had children and already passed away.

What we do know about the married daughter is that she had 2 daughters by Mr. Shelton, Mary and Nancy, and Mary was old enough to witness Raleigh’s will in 1793.  That suggests that Mary was of age in 1793, so born in 1772, or earlier, which indicates that probably both Mary and Nancy were along with their grandparents in 1778 when they moved to the western frontier.

Mary’s unnamed daughter had likely already passed away back someplace on Country Line Creek, given that she only had two children.  Mary would have stood at her daughter’s grave, her arms around those two granddaughters, who probably reminded Mary every time she looked at them of the daughter she lost.

It must have been very hard for Mary to leave the graves of her children behind, and she surely did that, at least once.

mary-dodson-caswell-to-rogersville

The trip west would have taken more than a month and crossed mountain ranges.  This was a much different trip that through the winding gently sloping foothills of the Piedmont.  Wagons didn’t have brakes in those days, the inclines were steep and the trip itself was risky, and that’s without the threat of Indians. Once the mountains begin, around Martinsville, just west of Caswell County, they never end.

mary-dodson-lovers-leap

This particular area, called Lover’s Leap, for obvious reasons, is the “best” way to get from Caswell County to the west.  I have driven this many times in a Jeep, and I always PRAY that there is no logging truck behind me with brake trouble, no one coming the other way with a death wish, because there is no place to go except “over” and no logging truck in front of me that loses its load.  It’s a beautiful vista but a frightening journey. Every time. And that’s in a modern vehicle WITH brakes.

By 1778, we know that Mary and Raleigh were settled on the Holston River on Dodson Creek, where they would live for the rest of their lives.

holston river at dodson ford

They did not purchase land that was already cleared, but applied for land grants.  That meant of course, that Mary, Raleigh and all of the children helped fell trees, build a cabin and prepare the ground for at least a garden that first year. In the photo above, I’m standing on Raleigh and Mary’s land, peering out through the overgrowth at the Holston. It probably looked a lot the same then, except perhaps denser.

In the photo below, taken from across the Holston River on the north side, looking south, Raleigh’s land where he lived is located to the immediate right of the TVA plant smokestacks. Raleigh also owned the land where the TVA plant is located, but gave that land to his daughter Nellie and son-in-law, John Saunders.

mary-dodson-land-across-holston

The next photo is standing on the north side of the Holston, looking across onto Dodson land.

mary-dodson-holston

Raleigh patented land in Sullivan and then Hawkins County, at least 300 acres and purchased even more along beautiful Dodson Creek where it intersected with the Holston River.  While the county names varied on Raleigh’s land grants, it was the county lines that moved, not the people.  Raleigh and Mary settled on beautiful Dodson Creek, below, which still carries their name today.

mary-dodson-dodson-creek

Raleigh and Mary would have built a cabin when they arrived, much like the cabins of other pioneers in the area and set up housekeeping. Raleigh began his ferry business back and forth across the Holston, and farmed.

mary-dodson-michael-roark

Michael Roark was Raleigh’s neighbor on Dodson Creek.  This old photo of Michael’s cabin, built sometime after 1792, may have looked something like where Raleigh and Mary lived. Mary, I’m sure was quite familiar with Michael’s family and was probably close to Michael’s wife, Letitia Grigsby whose family also lived further up on Dodson Creek. They may have delivered each other’s children and assisted when ill.  Near neighbor women had to depend upon themselves because they had no one else on the frontier.

Raleigh Sr. was a successful surveyor, a ferryman operating ferrys across Dodson Ford on the Holston River, and worked as a stone turner in the local mill.  It goes without saying that Raleigh farmed, fished and hunted.  Everyone did, and Raleigh traded his corn, rye and wheat on account at the mill.  Two items he traded for were a hank of silk and calamanco, a glossy woolen cloth.

Mary’s life may have been much more robust on the frontier than it was back in Caswell County, at least after the Revolutionary War was over.  It appears that there was more money available and more opportunity.  However, all was not rosey, because as the war clouds loomed, so did the soldiers.

In October, 1780, the forces under Col. Arthur Campbell gathered at Dodson’s Ford before going downriver to the attack on the Overhill Cherokee towns of Chota, Talequah, Tallassee, and others.

This field lay between Dodson Ford on the Holston and the Dodson home. It’s likely where the soldiers camped, as it was flat and had access to water from Dodson Creek, behind the tree row. It would have been the perfect gathering point and muster ground.

dodson ford

Would the soldiers be successful?  What would the Cherokee do?  Dodson’s Ford was located on the old Warrior Path.  Would the Cherokee traverse the path, if they lost, killing every white person they could find?  And what about the Shawnee who were known to attack?  Would they take advantage of the situation, knowing the men in the settlement were absent?

Was Raleigh at home, or did he accompany Col. Campbell?  How about Mary’s son, Lazarus? Was Toliver old enough to go too, or did he stay home perhaps?  Mary had to be concerned when Lazarus was camped with the Indians in the winter of 1781/1782.  And why was Lazarus camped with the Cherokee before going “down to the Nation?”  The Revolutionary War was a time of great turmoil and anxiety on the frontier.

Raleigh and Lazarus both served from North Carolina in the Revolutionary War.  This part of Tennessee was still part of North Carolina at that time.  We know Raleigh was discharged in 1783, so he served from the Holston River, not from Caswell County.  Raleigh’s son, Lazarus served in the unit with him.  Both of their pay rosters were found in the North Carolina State archives.

Was Mary a patriot or a loyalist?  Patriots supported battling with the Indians and separating from England.  Obviously, the Patriots eventually won.  Loyalists supported remaining with England and supported the Indians, albeit mostly because the Indians were willing to fight the onslaught of settlers invading their lands.  Clearly Raleigh and Lazarus were Patriots, fighting for the cause. May be Mary just wanted the fighting and killing to stop, or maybe she felt strongly one way or the other.  Did Mary have a mind of her own or did she simply adopt Raleigh’s viewpoint as women of that time were expected to do?

Not long after that, in 1784, some of the residents in the part of North Carolina where Mary and Raleigh lived decided to form the rogue State of Franklin.

mary-dodson-state-of-franklin

By Iamvered – I, Iamvered, drew this map myself., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3868073

However, not everyone who lived there participated in the secession, nor agreed in practice or concept, so people living in that area in essence had two competing governments at the same time and no one really knew quite what to do. Emotions ran very high and assuredly, everyone had an opinion. Was there never to be peace?

In 1786, Raleigh, Lazarus and Toliver all three signed a petition for the formation of a new county to be taken from Sullivan. This new county was initially named Spencer County in the State of Franklin but would eventually become Hawkins County.  The verbiage in the petition provides a bit of perspective on the political climate, trials and tribulations faced by these hearty pioneers on the frontier.

        To the Honorable the General Assembly of N. Carolina —-

        We your petitioners, the inhabitants of Sullivan County, humbly sheweth that we have ever been disposed to have true allegiance to the Sate of N. Carolina being well attached to her government and revere her constitution, therefore we pray you to extend to us the benefits of civil law and continue us under your protection and relieve us from those intestine broiles that are aggitated among us by wicked and designing men, who are perverting your law and seducing your good citizens to withdraw their allegaiance from your government. As we view ourselves unequal to the task of supporting a separate government and are freely desirious of being continued under yours until such times that we may be separated with ease of convenience with your assistance and approbation. Should you at any time hereafter think it expedient to make a cession of any part of your vacant western territory for the payment of the National debt or other imports, agreeable to the requisitions of Congress, we pray you to continue your sovereignty and jurisdiction over us until such times that we may by our virtur, wisdom, experience, numbers and wealth inabled to conduct the affairs of government with credit and convenience to ourselves, to the honour of the parent state who gave their assent to our seperation, added strength to the union and gave ease to her people. We also pray you to take into consideration that indigeanes of our present circumstances and render to us every ease and indulgence that you in your wisdom and goodness may think consistent with the welfare and interest of your good citizens in general — and as sensitive measures have been used with those who have abused your powers and usurped your authority, we hope you will with the same spirit of uniminity consider the grievances of those who ever strove to support them — as our inclinations lead us to consult the welfare of our country and will enjoin us to defind our rights by a cheerful and stedy obedience to government and as the citizen depends on the wisdom and goodness of government.  We cannot doubt your prudence and leade to promote them. We also humbly conceive that when the precepts and powers of government are abused her Sovereignty and jurisdiction discarded, her public credit must sink and the private interest of the citizen can share no other fate, therefore that peace and tranquility may be restored, public credit and private interest revive.  We pray you to inforce your laws and exert the powers of government with a feeling sense of our sufferings. We supplicate you to whom the powers of government are given and beg your paternal interposition — and Whereas numbers among us look upon themselves to be considerabley injured by the precipitation and injurious proceedings of the Nominal Courts of the supposed State of Franklin. Many suits of law have commenced and judgment awarded against ___  _____. Seased and unlawfully sold to the greate prejudice of many your good citizens, we therefore pray you extricate us from every species of injustice there by devised against us as we have _____ of Society bound ourselves to the obedience of your laws. By them we expect to be protected in our rights. We also beg leniency, recommend to your mature consideration the vast extend of the County of Sullivan, which must undoubtedly render many inconveniences to the inhabitants thereof and for our eased convenience divide sd counties into two separate and distince counties as follows: (To Witt) Beginning where the boundery line between the Commonwealth of Virginia and the State of No Carolina crosses the North Fork of Holestons River, thence down Sd fork to its junction with Main Holeston, thence cross said River due South to the topp of dividing Ridge that divides the waters of French Broad River and Holeston River to French Broad River thence down Sd French Broad to its junction  with Holeston, thence down Holeston to its junction with the River Tinisee and thence down the same to the Such Whare Sd River runs through Cumberland Mountain, thence along the topp of the mountain to the afforesaid boundary line and thence along the same to the begn and

    We your petitioners as in duty bound shall ever pray —- <followed by list of signatures>

However, the war and political turmoil wasn’t the only challenge facing Mary.

It also appears from the Amis Store account books that Raleigh bought a lot, LOT of whiskey between 1782 and 1790.  Mary might have had a husband with a drinking problem.  If he had a drinking problem from 1782 to 1790, he likely had the same love of whiskey his entire adult life.  Perhaps this explains why we find no church records.

It’s also possible that Raleigh bought whiskey to resell to his ferry clients.

Raleigh seems to have still been actively engaged in his ferry business in September of 1792 and expected to remain so.  Published in the Knoxville Gazette, which was published in Rogersville in its early years, I found an ad for R. Dodson, dated Sept. 8, 1792 stating:

The public are hereby informed that there is a FLAT kept at Dodson’s Ford on Holston where constant attendance will be given to convey passengers across the river.  R. Dodson, Sept. 6, 1792

mary-dodson-dodson-ford

These two pilings from the old bridge crossed the Holston River either at or near the same location as Dodson Ford.

mary-dodson-dodson-ford-road

This is the closest location to the River of Dodson Ford Road on the south side of the Holston.  You can see the piling part way across the river and the landing on the north side.  The wires follow the same right of way.

Sometime between September of 1792 and July of 1793, it became clear to Raleigh that his days were numbered, and it would have been clear to Mary too.  Raleigh at 63 wasn’t old by today’s standards, but well beyond the average life expectancy of 37 at that time. Mary would have sensed that her life was about to change in unknown ways, and probably not for the better.  Widowed women often became dependent on their family for everything since they generally did not have the ability to farm for themselves and often owned nothing of their own.

Source: Hawkins County Wills:_ Page 145

In the Name of God, Amen. I, Rawleigh Dodson Sr. being in an infirm state of health but of sound mind and considering that I may shortly leave this life, I have thought it necessary to make this my last Will & Testament, revoking all former wills by me made, and in the first place I resign myself to the disposal of my Creator hoping for mercy & forgiveness. In respect of my Earthly affairs, To my wife I leave and bequeath my whole Estate real & personal to her use during her natural life, after which I leave to my son Rawleigh Dodson the plantation on which I now live with all the appurtenances, also one other piece of land joining, butted and bounded as appears by the patent in my name, also all my working tools, horses, except a motherless colt, three cows with their calves, one feather bed with the furniture, half the pewter, and one half pot mettal, also what hay I may have remaining. To my grandchildren Mary and Nancy Shelton, the remainder of my cattle equally divided, also the remainder of the pewter and pot mettal to be equally divided between them, and to Mary Shelton one bed and furniture, also the motherless colt, one cotton and one linen wheel and half the cards, the other wheel & cards to Nancy. There is a bond due me of fifteen pounds from Henry Rowan to be collected and my debts paid out of it. Peggey Manafee my eldest daughter having by her husband obtained credit for sixty pounds for which I have his note, I hereby direct my Executor to give up said note. My sons Lazarus and Tolliver I have done a Fatherly part by and hereby acquit them of all demands that I may have against them. My daughter Nelly the wife of John Saunders I consider I have done enough for, having given her husband the land he now lives on. My son James to whom I have (already) given several things, I now bequeath my claim on Thos. Jackson for share of some land to be obtained by a warrant by me given to said Jackson to be laid on the halves provided said warrant obtains a title for land. Warrant was for 300 acres. I also appoint my son Lazarus and my neighbor Rodham Kenner my Executors and do authorize and direct them to put this my said Will & Testament into effect. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal This 20th day of July A.D. 1793._Rawleigh x Dodson (seal) (his mark) _Test. Thos. Jackson Rodham Kenner Mary x Shelton (her mark)

Raleigh wrote his will on July 20, 1793 leaving his land to his son, Raleigh Jr.  The date of probate is not known, but indications are that he was still alive in Nov. 1794 when he and his son James sold tracts of 40 and 110 acres to Robert Brown (Hawkins deeds 2-328 and 2-329).  This land may have involved the joint patent with Thomas Jackson referred to in Raleigh Dodson’s will, which land he left to his son James.

Raleigh left everything to his wife in a life estate, which meant she couldn’t sell it, but she could use it for income for the balance of her life, and after that, the life estate went to whomever Raleigh left it to.  Raleigh did not name Mary by name in the will, but an 1806 deed provides that information.

By the time Raleigh wrote his will in 1793, we know for sure that one adult daughter who had married a Shelton had already died, probably several years previously.

Between the time Raleigh wrote his will and 1795, another daughter, Peggy, who was married to James Menasco died as well, leaving two children.

Mary endured a lot of grief in a short time.  You expect that you may one day lose your spouse, but you never expect to lose your children, especially not adult children.  Granted, at that time, death associated with childbirth claimed many women, but losing a husband and an adult daughter within a few months of each other is a heavy burden.

Mary would have been about 63 or so at this time, no spring chicken herself.  I’m sure that any of Mary’s children could have taken daughter Peggy Dodson Menasco’s two children to raise, but I have to wonder if Mary raised them?  That might have been considered a good fit, given that their father moved to Georgia and Raleigh had died. It’s unclear whether the children went with James or not.  If so, that would have been additional grief in 1795 for Mary.  She would clearly have known that she would likely never see those children again, watching, waving and sobbing as the wagon disappeared into the distance, headed south.

Raleigh Dodson Jr., sold his father’s patent land to James Breeden on January 29, 1806 and we find the following as well:

‘I, Mary Dodson, widow and relict of Raleigh Dodson, decd, relinquish and quit claim my right, title and interest to this land.”  (Hawkins deed 4-154)

I believe this is the last record we have of Mary Dodson.  She would have been about 76 years old in 1806.  Given Mary’s age, she would have had no choice except to quitclaim the land if Raleigh Jr. wanted to sell?  How would she have lived, farmed and supported herself without Raleigh Jr.? After that, we don’t know if Mary and Raleigh Jr. simply continued to live there, if they moved, or if Mary lived with a different child after Raleigh sold the land.

Raleigh sells additional land in December 1808 without Mary’s quitclaim, which could have been after Mary died and he was preparing to leave the area. The 1810 census does not exist for Tennessee and 1820 does not exist for Hawkins County.

Giles County, Tennessee, Court records show that a Mary Dodson, widow, was appointed administrator of the estate of Raleigh Dodson on September 7, 1815.

It has been speculated that the widow, Mary Dodson, from Hawkins County, may have gone with her son Raleigh Jr. to Alabama and then to Giles and Williamson Counties, TN.  Jackson County, Alabama was not a destination location until the Cherokee there ceded their land in 1819. The Cherokee did, however, cede land in Giles County in 1806.

There is one Rolla Dotson on the list of Intruders on Choctaw land in Giles County in 1809 and Raleigh Dodson is shown on the Giles County tax list in 1812. I am doubtful that the Mary in Giles County in 1815, widow, appointed as administrator of the estate of Raleigh Dodson, is the wife of Raleigh who died circa 1793/1794 in Hawkins County. Mary would have been about 85 years old in 1815, and if she were still living, it’s difficult to believe a court would appoint an 85 year old women as administrator of any estate. I believe these two families have been conflated because of similar names.  It is certainly possible that the Raleigh in Giles County was Mary’s son.

I suspect that Mary Dodson, wife of Hawkins County Raleigh Dodson, is buried right beside Raleigh, probably in the Saunders Cemetery on what was then called Dodson Ford Road, overlooking the Holston River where Mary spent the last 30 years of her life. I don’t think she would have wanted to be buried anyplace else.

raleigh-sanders-cem-2

Raleigh and Mary’s Children

Raleigh and Mary had several children, and were it not for Raleigh’s will, we’d have to do a lot of speculating.  Children as named in Raleigh’s will:

  • Grandchildren Mary and Nancy Shelton
  • Rawleigh Dodson Jr
  • Peggy Manafee (Margaret Dodson Manasco)
  • Lazarus Dodson
  • Toliver (Oliver) Dodson
  • Nelly, wife of John Saunders
  • James Dodson

Elisha, shown below, is not mentioned in Raleigh’s will.  This means that if Elisha is Raleigh’s son, Raleigh would have already taken care of Elisha’s inheritance and that Elisha did not own Raleigh any debts, or at least none that he mentioned or forgave.

  • Elisha Dodson (speculative)

Daughter Dodson (Shelton) – In Raleigh Dodson’s 1793 will, he makes bequests to his grandchildren Mary and Nancy Shelton, but no further information is given. Mary Shelton witnesses Raleigh’s will.  If Mary was of age when she witnessed the will, and her mother was 20 when she was born, that would put Raleigh’s daughter’s birth 41 years earlier, minimally, or 1752 or earlier.  There is no Shelton listed on the 1786 petition to form Hawkins County (although some names are illegible) and there is no Shelton on the Amis Store accounts beginning in 1782. This would suggest that Mary and Raleigh raised these girls, because Mary Shelton clearly had to be in close physical proximity to witness Raleigh’s will – likely tearfully standing beside her grandfather’s bedside as he slowly wrote the words with a quill pen that she would then witness that she had seen him write. 

The Dodson family has many interactions with the Shelton family in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.

Raleigh Dodson Jr. received in Raleigh’s will the plantation (after Mary’s death) on which Raleigh Sr. lived along with another abutting piece of land and other livestock and household goods.

Raleigh Jr. was born about 1756 in Virginia and Silas Lucas believes he died June 3, 1836 in Williamson Co., TN.  The Raleigh in Williamson County wrote his will Nov 26, 1828 and it was probated in October 1836.  He married as her second husband Margaret Peggy Dodson, daughter of Elisha Dodson and widow of Fortunatus Dodson.

Reverend Lucas tells us that Raleigh Jr. is on the tax lists of Pittsylvania Co., VA. which begins in 1782.  He purchased a tract of land there on April 16, 1798 from David Dodson.  Raleigh and wife, Peggy, sold this tract on April 15, 1806 which is about the time they permanently left VA.  I am not convinced that the Raleigh married to Peggy is the same individual as Raleigh’s son, Raleigh, whose wife’s name in the Hawkins County deeds is referenced as Sarah.

The biggest fly in that ointment is the fact that Raleigh Dodson, on January 29th, 1806 sold to James Breeden land in Hawkins County which was proven by Raleigh in February 1806 in Court.  In February 1806, Raleigh, “of Hawkins County” bought land as well.  It’s very unlikely that he and his wife returned to Pittsylvania County to sell his land in April of 1806. He would have sold it before he left because the journey over the mountains in a wagon was treacherous enough once. If he had not sold his land before he left, he would have appointed a power of attorney to sell his land.

Some researchers believe that Raleigh left Hawkins County after selling his father’s land in 1806 and wound up in Giles County, Tennessee, where he is on the list of Intruders on Choctaw land in 1809, on the tax list in 1812 and where one Mary Dodson, widow, was appointed administrator of the estate of Raleigh Dodson in September of 1815.

However, Raleigh sells additional land in Hawkins County in both November and December 1808, and there is a Raleigh Dodson on the Hawkins County 1809 tax list.

We don’t know what happens to Mary’s son, Raleigh Dodson.  It’s possible that he was the Raleigh who died in 1815 in Giles County or in 1836 in Williamson County, or perhaps he is simply unaccounted for.  There are no later records for him in Hawkins County after he sells his land.

Peggy, short for Margaret, was born before 1759 and apparently died sometime between when Raleigh wrote his will in 1793 and in 1795 when James Menasco sold his plantation and moved to Augusta, Georgia.  James remarried and died in 1803 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, leaving a will that mentioned his two children from Margarita Dotson as Juan, age 23 and Elinda, age 20.  John, born about 1779, settled in Giles County, Tennessee and was living there in 1809 as an intruder on Cherokee land.  Elinda may also have remained in Tennessee and eventually married.   

Lazarus Dodson, my ancestor, was born about 1760 in Virginia, married Jane and lived beside his father on Dodson Creek and the Holston River until after Raleigh passed away.  In 1797, Lazarus moved a few miles south, near Bull’s Gap, and by 1800, was living in Claiborne County, just beneath the Cumberland Gap.  He apparently went to Alabama in 1819 or 1820.  His children are referenced in deeds in McMinn County in 1826, Lazarus being noted as deceased.  You can read Lazarus’s story here.

Oliver (Toliver) Dodson settled in Anderson County, TN after selling his land in Hawkins County, from Anderson County, in 1805.  He was alive in 1806, but deceased by Oct. 16, 1819 when his brother Lazarus conveys land to his 5 children.

Oct. 16, 1819 – Lazarous Dodson of Claiborne Co. to William Dodson, Moses Stout, Willie Mullins, Henry Guttry, and Prudence Dodson, all of Anderson Co., for $1, 100 acres in Anderson Co. on Cane Creek by entry made by Lazarous Dodson, certificate #31 on Jan. 22, 1812, including the improvements where Oliver Dodson formerly lived.  Wit Elijah Jones, Jesse Dodson, John Cooper, John Lewalen. Proved Jan. session 1820.

The date of Tolliver’s birth is not known, but he would have been born prior to 1765 given that he was of age to sign the 1786 Hawkins County petition.  If he is by chance the “Schier Dodson son of Roby Dodson taken into the care of the Broad Creek church, then he was born before 1763, possibly in Fauquier Co., Va.  His name eventually evolved to Oliver by which he was known in adulthood.  Oliver died by 1819, probably in Anderson Co., TN.  The name of his wife is unknown.

On April 16, 1784 Tolapher Dotson entered for 5000 acres of Elk River for which a warrant was issued on Feb. 19, 1787.  He assigned the warrant to David Ross.

This transactions puts Oliver’s birth in 1763 or earlier.

Oliver first lived on Honeycutt’s Creek on the south side of Holston River in Hawkins County on a tract of land given him by Raleigh.  He sold this land in 1805 after he had moved to Anderson County. (Hawkins deed 4-135).  He purchased land in 1803, 265 acres in Anderson County from John Rhea and John Adair (Anderson deed A-61).  In 1806 he was on the tax list of Anderson County and was appointed to a road jury in the same year.  In 1819, Lazarus Dodson of Claiborne Co., assigned to the “heirs of Oliver Dodson” a tract in Anderson Co. which had been patented by Lazarus, but on which Oliver Dodson formerly lived.  Anderson deed E-135.  This Lazarus is not the father of Oliver, because Lazarus’s son, Oliver, was born in 1794 and died in 1875 in McMinn County.

The names of Oliver’s children have been gleaned from the deed records of Anderson Co., TN.

It would be presumed from this list of grantees that Oliver’s daughters were married to Willie Mulllins, Henry Guttry and Moses Stout.  We know little about Oliver’s four daughters.

  • Margaret Dodson married April 24, 1813 in Knox Co. TN to Moses Stout
  • Prudence Dodson evidently never married and was living in Calloway County, Kentucky in 1819
  • Daughter Dodson married Henry Guttry (Guthry, Guthrie) who lived in Claiborne Co. TN at one time
  • Daughter Dodson married Wylie or Willie Mullins

Oliver’s son, William Dodson, was born June 10, 1793 in Hawkins Co., TN and died May 11 or 12, 1872 in Jackson Co., Alabama, from tombstone and newspaper accounts of his death.  William and wife Mary are both buried in the Dodson Cemetery located at Lim Rock, Alabama.

mary-dodson-dodson-cemetery

William Dodson and his sisters inherited 100 acres in Anderson Co., TN located on Cane Creek near the town of Clinton from their father, Toliver.  In 1822, William deeded his one fifth share to Michael Spesart.  At the time, William Dodson was a resident of Decatur Co., AL, which is now an extinct county, existing only between Dec. 1821 and Dec. 1825.  William Dodson served as a justice of the peace in Decatur County being appointed Sept 7, 1824.  Earlier he had held this post in Jackson County being commissioned on Aug 4, 1820.  The 1830 census of Jackson County indicates that William and Mary Dodson had 1 son born 1810-1815 and 3 daughters born between 1820-1825 and 1 born between 1815-1820.

When land became available for patenting in Jackson County, William was granted several tracts between 1831 and 1837.  His land lay in Township 4 south range 4 east.  He also purchased land in 1831 from Woody Shelton and wife Sarah Shelton.  The town of Dodsonville, no longer in existence, was named for him.

Eleanor (Nelly) Dodson married John Isaac Saunders/Sanders and was probably born prior to 1768.  They lived on Dodson’s Creek on land given them by Raleigh in deeds 2-80 and 6-139.

mary-dodson-sanders-land

This land stretches from the mouth of Dodson Creek in the upper left hand corner of this satellite image today, including the land on the right of the creek.  This encompasses everything from the Holston River across the yellow areas which includes the original Sanders homestead on Sanders Road, up Dru Haynes Road to include the farm in the lower right hand corner, still owned by Raleigh’s and Nellie’s descendant today.

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Silas Lucas reports that John Sanders was a Revolutionary War soldier, although I have been unable to confirm his service.  It’s possible John may have served with Lazarus and Raleigh, and if so, finding his records could be very enlightening.  Nellie and John had 3 known children.

  1. George Nathan Saunders born April 20, 1788, died January 1873 and married on April 7, 1805 in Hawkins County to Mary Grantham
  2. James Saunders died in childhood
  3. Tabitha Saunders married a Mr. Chestnut

The dates of Nelly’s son’s birth puts Nelly’s birth at 1768 or earlier.  I don’t know where Nelly met or married John Isaac Saunders, but there are many Saunders found in both Orange and Caswell County, NC.  We don’t know when Nelly died, but she may not have lived long after Raleigh’s death if she only had 3 children.

If this is the case, then Mary suffered yet another loss in the same time span.

It’s likely that Nellie and John are both buried in the Sanders Cemetery on the old Dodson Ford Road as well.

raleigh-sanders-cem

James Dodson was apparently one of the younger sons of Raleigh, though little is known of him.  He was apparently born before 1772 because Raleigh does not mention that he is a minor when he wrote his will in 1793.  Silas Lucas indicated that James appears to have been living in Hawkins County for a number of years and suggests that he left after 1830.  I find nothing referencing James between 1797 and the late 1820s when an entirely new generation of Dodson men were becoming established.

The land referenced in Raleigh’s will to be inherited by James was on Dodson’s Creek, the sales taking place in 1790 and 1794.  The 1799 tax list of Grainger County has a James Dodson taxed for 640 acres in Capt. David Shelton’s district.

Reverend Lucas provides information about possible James Dodsons in nearby counties, but Mary’s son James cannot be positively identified and there is nothing known about his descendants.

Elisha Dodson

There is no Elisha Dodson mentioned in Raleigh’s will, but Elisha appears very early in Hawkins County, owning land adjacent both Lazarus and Raleigh and having an account at the Amis store by 1783, meaning if he is Raleigh and Mary’s son, he would have been one of the older children, born in 1762 or earlier.  Elisha would be too old to be the son of either Lazarus or Toliver.  There is no evidence to prove that Elisha is Raleigh’s son, but given that he arrives concurrently with Raleigh and his sons and lives in the family grouping, this possibility needs to be considered.  If Elisha is not the son of Raleigh and Mary, who is he?

The Silent Babies

The children documented above are the children who lived until either 1793 or were mentioned in Raleigh’s will.  These children were born between approximately 1752 and 1772, over a period of roughly 20 years.  If Mary was born about 1730, or so, they would have bracketed the time from her marriage to the end of her child-bearing years.  However, this leaves several slots in the family vacant, which means those babies were born in the following locations and died sometime before adulthood or 1793 when Raleigh wrote his will, whichever came first.

1754 – Probably North Farnham Parish

1764 – Possibly Fauquier County, Virginia

1766 – Probably Halifax County, Virginia

1770 –Country Line Creek in Caswell County, NC

There could have been additional children.  Mary buried at least 4 children who never reached adulthood, if not more. In addition, Mary buried her Shelton daughter, daughter Peggy and possibly, daughter Nellie.

Hawkins County Stragglers and Confusers

In 1838, Raleigh Dodson is mentioned in the chancery court records of Hawkins County as a Deputy Sheriff in a suit between George W. Brown and others vs Margaret Surguine and others. Jack Goins, the Hawkins County archivist found this and graciously sent it my way.  It motivated me to see if this later Raleigh is a descendant of Mary and Raleigh Dodson who settled on Dodson Creek.

In this case, in 1838, Judge Williams fined a group for contempt of court for objecting to the Judge’s decision by taking land from a widow. Margaret Surgoine, widow of James Surgoine founder of the town of Surgoinsville, Tn.

It is ordered by the court that Raleigh Dodson the deputy sheriff of this county in attendance on the court be fined $2.50 for a contempt of this court in not keeping silence in the court room and that execution issue therefore.

Ordered by the court that Thomas Whiteside, John Easley, William M. Cocke, and Archibald Greene be each fined in the sum of $2.50 for a contempt of the court and that execution issue for the same.

This doesn’t seem to have hurt Raleigh’s career, because in 1850, Raleigh, age 46, is deposed and said that he levied an execution of a negro girl of Ellis Riggs to satisfy a Judgement in favor of Cisby Austin. He was still clearly acting in the capacity of a sheriff.

This Raleigh seems to be an interesting character.

In 1834, Raleigh receives a trust deed from Valentine Wolf for land on Clinch Mountain that included a grist mill and two stills and tubs belonging to the distillery.

And one last Raleigh entry, just to confuse things. In 1843 Raleigh sells land to a William Williams, but in the sale of the land, on which Raleigh lives, we see that Raleigh’s neighbors are Mastin Moore and various Stubblefield’s, which tells me this land was near the Hawkins/Grainger County line.  Mastin is the brother of my ancestor Nancy Moore who was married to John R. Estes and living in Claiborne County at the time. The Stubblefield family traveled with the Moore line and married in, although downstream of my ancestor.

So, just who is this Deputy Sheriff Raleigh?  Let’s see what we can determine by process of elimination.

We know that two of Mary and Raleigh’s sons moved away, Lazarus and Oliver, and through their estates, we have a list of their children.  Son Raleigh certainly appears to have moved away about 1809. The fourth and youngest son, James, is found in the records in 1797 selling land, but not afterwards, suggesting that he too probably left.

Mary and Raleigh Sr.’s son, Raleigh Jr. disappears from Hawkins County records not long after 1808 when he sells his father’s land, although there is a Raleigh Dodson on the 1809 tax list.

The name Raleigh does not reappear in Hawkins County until 1810 in Thomas Dodson’s will as an underage child, and then in 1827 when Willis Amis sells Raleigh Dodson land. The 1827 Raleigh is the son of Thomas Dodson based on a deed in 1829 where 4 people, including Raleigh and his mother Jamima and brothers Elisha and James sell land purchased by Thomas Dodson on Cedar Creek.

No later than 1792, there is a Thomas Dodson in Hawkins County who owns land at the same time Raleigh Sr. does. Thomas lived on the north side of the Holston River at the mouth of Blair’s Branch. In 1798 Thomas also bought land called “James King’s improvement” lying opposite the mouth of Tate Creek. In 1800, Thomas bought land on the waters of Cedar Creek.

Thomas is likely Raleigh Sr.’s brother or his first cousin. In Thomas’s undated will (Lucas indicates this was before 1810) he lists wife Jamina, children James, Sarah, Elisha and youngest son Rolly.  Also mentions that if “Thomas Robinson and John Robinson lives with his wife Jamima and behaves orderly and well” they are to have a horse and saddle when they arrive at age of 21.  Executors Jamina Dodson, James Johnson and Samuel Riggs.  Witnesses James Dodson, Richard Hellson (Hittson?) and Richard Robertson (Will book 1- page 149)

In 1810, William Dodson, son of Thomas, dies, apparently with assets and without heirs.  William’s father, Thomas, winds up with William’s estate. Thomas who has already “relinquished all my own personal estate to my children” distributes William’s assets among his children, listing his heirs as William Johnson, James Johnson, Stephen Johnson, Jesse Dodson, Samuel Dodson, Rhoda Hitson, Thomas Dodson’s descendants – except for one lot in Pulaski County, KY.  Proved in Court November 1811 (Deed book 6-475)

This suggests there are two separate Thomas Dodsons that are elderly or infirm at the same time in Hawkins County – one who made a will and one who did not and distributed his son, William’s assets through the deed. These men and these lands were all north of the Holston.

This leaves 2 unidentified Dodson men functioning in the Dodson Creek group, owning land on Dodson Creek.

There is a John Dodson by 1801 that is an adult and is functioning in the group on Dodson Creek south of the Holston, buying and selling land. He is likely the son of Elisha because we know he isn’t the son of Lazarus or Oliver and he is too young to be the son of James. He could also be the son of Raleigh Jr. He dies in 1838 owning land on Dodson Creek as indicated in his will. (Will book 1- page 152)

There is also a William Dodson functioning in 1797 in the Dodson Creek group. He has to belong to either Elisha or Raleigh Jr.  If Raleigh Jr. was born in 1756, he could have married by 1776, and could have had a son, barely of age, in 1797.  If Mary and Raleigh Sr.’s son is the Raleigh that died in 1836 in Williamson County, his only sons named in his will are Bird and Presley. If Reverend Lucas is right and Raleigh Jr. left Pittsylvania County in 1806, then neither John nor William can be his sons and that only leaves Elisha Dodson as their possible father. Unfortunately, we have absolutely no idea what happened to Elisha other than his property lines are still referenced in the 1806 deed.

One last land grant proves quite interesting.  In 1834 the State of Tennessee granted to Elisha Dodson land on the north side of the Holston, adjoining James Johnson and others, beginning on the north bank of the river below Dodson’s Ferry landing.  This tells us two things.  First, Elisha’s land abuts the land of James Johnson, mentioned in the will of Thomas Dodson as probably his grandson.  So this tells us that Thomas Dodson’s land was not far from Raleigh Dodson on the other side of the Holston River.  A generation later, Elisha, Thomas’s son, is patenting familiar land, directly across the River from Raleigh’s original land half a century earlier.

From all of this, we gather than the deputy sheriff Raleigh is the son of Thomas, who is probably the nephew of our Raleigh Sr.  So Deputy Sheriff Raleigh is not a descendant of Raleigh Sr., but likely his great-nephew, named for him in 1804, 10 years after Raleigh Sr.’s death.

DNA

All of Mary’s children would have received her mitochondrial DNA, inherited from her mother, but only her daughters would have passed it on.

Men don’t pass their mother’s mitochondrial DNA on to the next generation.  Only females do.

Mary only had three daughters, Nellie, Peggy and the daughter who married the Shelton.

Nellie’s only known daughter, Tabitha, married a Chestnut.  Hawkins County deeds might reveal his name if Chestnut deeds were read individually.  In 1850, there is a Tabitha Chestnut, age 67, married to Henry Chestnut living in Monroe County, Tennessee.  We don’t know if this is the correct Tabitha Chestnut, or not.

Mary’s daughter that married the Shelton had two daughters, Mary and Nancy.  Unfortunately, we don’t know any more about Mary or Nancy either.

Mary’s last daughter, Peggy, who married James Menasco, had one daughter, Elinda, born about 1782.

We’re striking out here, because nothing is known of Elinda either.

Hopefully, in time, descendants of these daughters, through all females to the current generation which can be male, will appear.

At this point, mitochondrial DNA is our only hope for finding a match and possibly, Mary’s family.  I know it’s a long shot, but it’s all we have, short of that miracle Bible on e-Bay or undiscovered records in some courthouse basement.

Summary

When I think of Mary, I think of her raising children, burying some, working in the fields with Raleigh and being a hostess to weary travelers who needed rest.  Her life must have been difficult on Country Line Creek, and it makes me wonder why they bought that land instead of land in Pittsylvania or Halifax County, VA where the rest of the Dodson clan settled.

The combination of a small plot of land, rough terrain and the Revolutionary War may have made Mary glad to leave – although the frontier must have been frightening in a different sort of way.

I know that Mary made her own fabric, because Raleigh’s will left both a cotton and linen wheel to Mary Shelton, his granddaughter, clearly named for Mary, along with half the cards, and the other wheel and the other half the cards to the other granddaughter, Nancy Shelton.  I don’t know, but I strongly suspect that Mary raised these girls after their mother’s death and they learned spinning from Mary.

When a man died at that time, all of the property, except for the wife’s clothes, were considered his – so he would have bequeathed Mary’s items when he died.  Mary owned nothing in her own right.  Obviously spinning wheels and cards were considered valuable.

Pioneer women didn’t just make their clothes, they carded the wool, cotton or flax, spun it into thread, died it and wove it into cloth, then made clothes for the entire family. Contemporary cards are shown below.

mary-dodson-cards

The carding process disentangles, cleans and intermixes the fibers to produce a rolag or tuft of fiber suitable for the next step, which is spinning, shown with the cards, above. Personally, I think this looks a lot like what I get when I brush the cats and dogs, and I think I’ve missed a golden opportunity now for decades.

mary-dodson-spinning-wheel

By Detroit Publishing Co. – Library of Congress REPRODUCTION NUMBER: LLC-DIG-ppmsc-09892, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3510030

This woman at her spinning wheel may have looked something like Mary Dodson as she spun.

mary-dodson-contemporary-spinner

A modern spinner spinning thread from rolag.  You can see the cards on the table

Mary probably spun and wove since she was a child at her mother’s knee, and was surely quite proficient.  If you weren’t, your children went naked!  Mary’s cherished spinning wheel was probably one of the few things that she brought in the very limited space of the wagon when she and Raleigh made the trip from Caswell County to the Holston River.

Every inch of cloth was valuable and absolutely nothing was wasted.  After the clothes became worn, they were either remade into something for a smaller person, or the salvageable pieces were recycled into a quilt – along with scraps leftover from making the clothes.

In March of 1787, Raleigh brought Mary a surprise, or at least I’m assuming it was a surprise.  A hank of silk.  I’m amazed that the Amis Store even had silk, but they did because Raleigh bought that, along with his typical whiskey.  Maybe these two purchases are related.

mary-dodson-silk-hank

A hank isn’t very much silk, as demonstrated above, but I’m sure, absolutely positive that Mary was thrilled.  This may have been the first silk she ever touched.  Were her hands rough from work and snaggedon the threads?  Did she work the silk into a woven design of some sort?  What did she make? Oh, how I’d love to know!

Did Mary order this from the store, or did Raleigh bring it home as a loving surprise, maybe for her birthday?  Had Mary suffered a loss and Raleigh was trying to offer comfort?  Or, was Raleigh in a heap o’ trouble and brought this home as a peace offering.

The only other similar item was just over a year later when Raleigh bought 3 yards of calamanco, a thin glossy woolen fabric.  Some calamanco had stripes, but other types were solid colors and was used in quilting.  This fabric was often died vivid red or blue.  I couldn’t find a copyright free image to include, but you can see examples here.

Mary would have been about 57 years old.  Was she having trouble weaving, or was this perhaps a lovely gift for the pioneer woman, a touch of luxury on Dodson Creek?

I can see Mary lovingly smoothing the beautiful red or blue calamanco as she spread it out in the sunshine to decide how she was going to use the luscious fabric, probably with granddaughters Mary and Nancy excitedly looking on.  I can see Mary weaving the soft, shiny silk into some beautiful heirloom, perhaps for those granddaughters.

I will leave Mary here, on a lovely day on the Holston River alongside bubbling Dodson Creek, in the sunshine with her granddaughters and her calamanco, joyfully planning something lovely together.  This is how I want to remember Mary.

Acknowledgements

Much of the information about the early Dodson lines, including Raleigh and Elizabeth’s children, comes from the wonderful two volume set written by the Reverend Silas Lucas, published originally in 1988, titled The Dodson (Dotson) Family of North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, Virginia – A History and Genealogy of Their Descendants.

I am extremely grateful to Reverend Lucas for the thousands of hours and years he spent compiling not just genealogical information, but searching through county records in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and more.  His work from his first publication in 1958 to his two-volume set 30 years later in 1988 stands as a model of what can and should be done for each colonial family – especially given that they were known to move from state to state without leaving any type of “forwarding address” for genealogists seeking them a few hundred years later.  Without his books, Dodson researchers would be greatly hindered, if not entirely lost, today.

Jane Dodson (c1760-1830/1840), Pioneer Wife on 5 Frontiers, 52 Ancestors #142

Jane Dodson was the wife of Lazarus Dodson who was born in about 1760 and probably died in either McMinn County or Claiborne County, Tennessee in about 1826. However, were it not for the 1861 death record of Lazarus and Jane’s son, Lazarus Dodson (Jr.), we would never have known Jane’s name.

Lazarus Jr. died in Pulaski County, Kentucky on October 5, 1861, just before fighting began there in the Civil War. Fortunately, for us, he has a death record and that record tells us that he was born in 1795 and that the names of his parents were Lazarus Dodson and Jane.

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This is the only extant record of Lazarus’s mother’s name. Granted, there is no surname, but I’m just grateful for the tidbit we do have. How I do wish though that someone had thought to record her maiden name, because it’s unlikely at this point that we will ever know.

Getting to Know Jane Through Lazarus

What do we know about Jane? Most of what we know about Jane’s life is through Lazarus’s records – not an uncommon circumstance for a frontier wife.

The first positive ID of Lazarus Dodson Sr., Jane’s husband, was when he was recorded as having camped at the headwaters of Richland Creek (in present day Grainger County, TN) in the winter 1781/1782. Lazarus would have been approximately 22 years of age at this time, or possibly slightly older.

From the book Tennessee Land Entries, John Armstrong’s Office:

Page 105, grant 1262 – Dec. 4, 1783 – James Lea enters 317 acres on the North side of the Holston below the mouth of Richland Ck at a “certain place where Francis Maberry, Major John Reid, and Lazarus Dodson camped with the Indians at they was going down to the Nation last winter and opposite the camp on the other side of the river, border, begins at upper end of the bottom and runs down, warrant issued June 7, 1784, grant to Isaac Taylor.

The “Nation” referred to is the Cherokee Nation.

It has long been suspected that the Dodson and Lea families were intermarried or somehow interrelated, and it’s certainly possible that Lazarus’s wife, Jane, was a Lea. I almost hate to mention that possibility, because I don’t want to start any unsubstantiated rumors.

On the other hand, if an unattached Jane Lea were to be documented, of the right age, in the right place, she would have to be considered as a candidate. Keep in mind that we don’t know who Lazarus’s mother was either, so these families could have been intermarried before Lazarus came onto the scene.

It’s also possible that the only connection between the two families was that they were neighbors for more than a decade on the rough shores of Country Line Creek in Caswell County, North Carolina, before moving to untamed waters of the Holston River in what would become eastern Tennessee. Country Line Creek was described by the 1860 census taker almost a hundred years after Raleigh and Lazarus lived there as the roughest area in Caswell County. The area called Leasburg, in fact, was designated at the first county seat in in Caswell County in 1777, although it was a few miles distant from Country Line Creek.

The James Lea (1706-1792) family lived on Country Line Creek in Caswell County, NC, as did Raleigh Dodson, Lazarus’s father. This James Lea, according to his will, did not have a son James, nor a daughter, Jane – so it wasn’t his son who patented the land at the mouth of Richland Creek.

Due to the land entries, we know that both Lazarus and members of the Lea family were present in what would become Hawkins County at least by 1783, and probably earlier.

We don’t know exactly when Lazarus arrived in what was then Sullivan County, NC, but we do know that in 1777, men named Lazarus and Rolly Dodson are recorded as having given oaths of allegiance in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, bordering Caswell County, NC, an area where they were known to have lived, based on multiple records including their Revolutionary War service records. It’s unclear whether this pair is our Raleigh and Lazarus, but the fact that those two names appeared together is highly suggestive that they might be. However, they were not the only Raleigh and Lazarus males in the Dodson family or in this region.

If indeed this is our Lazarus, he was likely of age at that time, so he could have been born before 1760. This suggests that Lazarus was likely married not long after 1777.

Therefore, it’s likely that Raleigh along with Lazarus moved from the Halifax/Pittsylvania Virginia border with Caswell County, North Carolina to what was then Sullivan County, Tennessee sometime after July 1778 when Raleigh sold his land and before May of 1779 when Raleigh’s first tract was granted in what would become Hawkins County, Tennessee.

We know that Lazarus was clearly there by the winter of 1781/1782 and probably by spring of 1779 when his father first appears in the written records.

Sometime in the fall or winter of 1778, Raleigh and Lazarus, and Jane if she were married to Lazarus, would have navigated the old wagon roads from Caswell County to near Rogersville, Tennessee. Was Jane frightened, or excited? Was she pregnant? Did she have any idea what to expect? Was this, perchance, her honeymoon? If so, she probably didn’t care where she went, so long as it was with Lazarus. I remember those days of lovestruck early marriage. The words “to the moon and back” are in love songs for a reason!

The earliest record where we find Raleigh Dodson in what would become Hawkins County, TN is in a land warrant dated October 24,1779 which is a tract for Rowley Dotson for 150 acres joining another tract “where said Dotson lives,” that warrant being issued on May 21, 1779.

By 1780, the Revolutionary War had come to eastern North Carolina.

In October, 1780, the forces under Col. Arthur Campbell gathered at Dodson’s Ford before going downriver to the attack on the Overhill Cherokee towns of Chota, Talequah, Tallassee, and others.

Jane and Lazarus lived at Dodson Ford, and this would probably have been quite frightening for Jane. Could she see the soldiers from her cabin? Did she hear the talk about the expedition? Did Lazarus go along?  Colonel Arthur Campbell brought 200 additional men to the Battle of King’s Mountain, also fought in October of 1780.  Was Lazarus among those men too?  Unfortunately, there is no definitive roster for the Battle of King’s Mountain, only information gathered from here and there.

We know that both Lazarus and his father, Raleigh, served during the Revolutionary War, being discharged in August of 1783 in what was then western North Carolina. Both of their service records provide that information. We don’t know how long they served, but most men served in local militia units routinely.

We also know that in the winter of 1781/1782, Lazarus Dodson was camped on the Holston at the mouth of Richland Creek with Major John Reid “with the Indians,” before they “went down to the Nation,” meaning the Cherokee Nation.  Major Reid’s militia unit was form in 1778 and early 1779 at Long Island on Holston. The phrase, “with the Indians” is baffling, especially given that the militiamen destroyed the Indian towns.

One way or another, Jane was probably alone much of the time between when they settled on the Holston in late 1778 or early 1779 until August of 1783.  Those days, waiting for word about Lazarus were probably very long days, weeks and months, although during this timeframe, men often returned home between engagements if they could.

We don’t know if Jane was Lazarus’s first wife, or not – or whether he married her in Pittsylvania or Halifax County, Virginia, Caswell County, North Carolina or on the frontier in what would become Tennessee. Pittsylvania, Halifax and Caswell Counties bordered each other on the Virginia/North Carolina line, and the Dodson family was active in all three counties.

We do know unquestionably that Jane was the mother of Lazarus Dodson Jr. born in 1795, so she was assuredly married to Lazarus Sr. by that time.

In 1794, Raleigh Dodson, Jane’s father-in-law, died and in 1797, Lazarus moved within Hawkins County from near Dodson Ford on the Holston River to the White Horn Fork of Bent Creek near Bull’s Gap.

The 1800 census is missing, as is 1810, but we know that by 1800 Lazarus and Jane had moved once again were living near the Cumberland Gap, on Gap Creek, in Claiborne County. In 1802 Lazarus is recorded in the court notes of Claiborne County as a juror, which would indicate that he owned land there by then, a requirement to be on a jury.

Lazarus, and therefore most likely Jane as well, was a member of Gap Creek Baptist Church in Claiborne Co., which was located on Lazarus’ land. Lazarus is referenced in the minutes on Saturday, June 5th, 1805. Another church, Big Springs, in the same association, had asked for Gap Creek’s help with determining what to do about “a breach of fellowship with James Kenney and it given into the hands of members from other churches, to wit Absolom Hurst, Lazarus Dodson and Matthew Sims and they report on Sunday morning a matter too hard for them to define on for they had pulled every end of the string and it led them into the mire and so leave us just where they found us.”

I’m sure whatever that breach was, it was the talk of Gap Creek Baptist Church.

The only Lazrus Dotson or similar name in the 1820 census is found in Williamson County, Tennessee and is age 26-44, born 1776-1794, so too young to be our Lazarus who was born about 1760.

However, 1819 is when Lazarus Dodson sells his land on Gap Creek in Claiborne County, Tennessee and reportedly goes to Jackson County, Alabama for some time. So the 1820 census may simply have missed him. It’s also possible that Lazarus and Jane were living on Indian land in what is now Jackson County.

Or perhaps Lazarus and Jane were in transit. Lazarus’s nephew, William, son of Lazarus’s brother,Toliver, also known as Oliver, was living in Jackson County by early 1819 and lived there until his death in 1872. In fact, there is a now extinct town named Dodsonville named after William.

Two of Lazarus Sr’s sons apparently went with him to Jackson County; Lazarus Jr. and Oliver (not to be confused with Lazarus’s brother Oliver,) born in 1794. Lazarus Jr.’s son and Oliver’s son both claim to have been born in Alabama, Oliver’s son in 1819 and Lazarus Jr.’s son about 1821. If Lazarus Sr. was living in Alabama during this time, then so was Jane. It must have pained Jane to leave some of her children behind in Tennessee. No matter how old your children are, they are still your children.

Jane would have been close to 60, and she would have been packing up her household, for at least the third time, if not the fourth time, and moving across the country in a wagon. The distance from Claiborne County to Jackson County, Alabama was approximately 200 miles, which, at the rate of about 10 miles per day in a wagon would have taken about 3 weeks. I wonder if Jane got to vote in the decision to move to Jackson County. I’m guessing not.

Trying to wrap our hands around when Jane was born is made somewhat easier by the fact that she was recorded in the 1830 McMinn County, Tennessee census. Yes, I said Tennessee. Yes, she moved back. With or without Lazarus? We don’t know.

jane-1830-census

In the 1830 census, Jane Dodson is living alone and is recorded as being age 60-70, elderly by the standards of 1830 when the average life expectancy was a mere 37 years. This would put Jane’s birth year between 1760 and 1770. Therefore, Jane was likely married between 1778 and 1790. Those dates bracket the other information we have perfectly, but it doesn’t offer us any help in determining whether or not Jane was married to Lazarus before moving to the frontier, or after. Jane is not shown in the 1840 census, so either she has died or she is living with a family member where she can not be identified.

How Many Moves?

We know that Jane wasn’t born in eastern Tennessee in 1760 or 1770, because very few white families lived there then. Well, of course, this is assuming that Jane was not Native. I’m not entirely sure that’s a valid assumption, but without her mitochondrial DNA, we’ll never know for sure. Without any evidence, or even oral history for that matter, we’ll assume that Jane is not Native, although the fly in that ointment could be the record showing Lazarus camping “with the Indians.” Certainly not direct evidence about Jane, but enough to make you pause a bit and wonder, especially in a time and place when Indians were considered the enemy.

One way or another, perhaps as teenager or maybe as a bride, Jane probably moved from the relative security of the Piedmont area to the volatile frontier with Indians and soldiers coming and going for at least half a decade.

The soldiers destroyed the Cherokee villages in 1780 and early 1781, so the war on the frontier was far from over. The Revolutionary War was still being fought in many locations – and if Jane was married to Lazarus then, she spent that time in a cabin on the frontier along the Holston River, below, in what is today Hawkins County, Tennessee. Her cabin joined the land of her father-in-law, Raleigh, but he was gone fighting in the War too. Perhaps Jane spent a lot of time with her mother-in-law, Elizabeth, and her sister-in-law, Nelly Dodson Saunders whose husband John was serving as well. In fact, I’d wager that every able-bodied man was serving, so the women of Dodson Creek on the Holston River had better be able to defend themselves.

jane-near-dodson-ford

This photo was taken very near where Dodson Ford crossed the river, also the location where the Great Warrior Path and Trading Path had crossed for generations.

Lazarus served in the Revolutionary War and was discharged in 1783. That would mean that Jane likely waited at home, hoping that he would not be killed and leave her with some number of small children. At that time, women were either pregnant or nursing, so Jane could have been pregnant while he was at war.

We know that after Lazarus was discharged, he patented land in the western Tennessee counties, but it appears that Lazarus lived on Dodson and Honeycutt Creeks adjacent his father, Raleigh, during this time. That does not mean Lazarus and Jane didn’t perhaps move from one place to another, just not a great distance.

jane-dodson-creek

Dodson Creek, above, is beautiful, as is Honeycutt Creek, below. Jane and Lazarus lived between the two.

jane-honeycutt-creek

This old tree stands at the mouth of Honeycutt Creek and the Holston River.

jane-tree-at-honeycutt

Did Jane stand beneath this tree when it was small and watch for Lazarus to return?

In 1793 or 1794, Jane’s father-in-law, Raleigh, died and the family would have mourned his passing. Jane may have been pregnant at that time for either Oliver or Lazarus Jr. I’m quite surprised that there is no Raleigh among her children, although it’s certainly possible than an earlier Raleigh may have been born and died.

There is a hint that Lazarus may have moved to Greene County, TN and was living there in 1794, or at least a stud racehorse that he co-owned with his brother-in-law, James Menasco, was being advertised “at stud” in Greene County. I can just see Jane rolling her eyes over this great adventure.

Sadly, Lazarus’s sister, Peggy Dodson Mensaco died between 1794 and 1795 when James Menasco sold his land and moved to Augusta, Georgia. Jane would have stood in the cemetery a second time in just a few months as they buried her sister-in-law. I do wonder who raised Peggy’s two children. Was it Jane who comforted them at the funeral?

Oliver was born to Jane in 1794 and Lazarus in 1795.

In 1797, we know that Lazarus sold his land on Dodson Creek and moved to the Whitehorn Fork of Bent Creek, ten miles or so south in Hawkins County, but now in Hamblen County.

White Horn Fork of Bent Creek begins someplace near Summitt Hill Road, runs south, and then intersects with Bent Creek in Bull’s Gap. However, White Horn runs through an area called White Horn, following 66 the entire way, for about 5 miles, from the top of the map below to Bull’s Gap, at the bottom.

jane-white-horn-map

You can see on the satellite map of the region below that this is rough country.

jane-white-horn-satellite

This view of White Horn Creek, below, is from White Horn Road.

jane-white-horn-from-road

White Horn from a side road, below. The creek wasn’t large, but the water would have been very fresh. Water from the source of a stream was always coveted for its cleanliness.

jane-white-horn-side-road

A few years later, by about 1800, Lazarus and family had moved to Claiborne County, where they settled just beneath the Cumberland Gap on Gap Creek, shown below on Lazarus’s land where it crosses Tipprell Road today.

jane-gap-creek

Lazarus bought land early and by 1810 had patented additional land on Gap Creek.

jane-tipprell-road

Lazarus and Jane were likely living on or near this land the entire time they lived in Claiborne County, based on deed and church records. The Gap Creek Baptist Church, which stood on their land still exists today. Jane very probably attended this church, but of course it would have looked very different then, if it was even the same building, at all. It would have been a log structure at that time, as would their home.

gap-creek-church-cropped

In 1819, Lazarus sold out, again, and headed for Alabama. In Alabama, Jane and Lazarus would have settled in the part of Jackson County ceded by the Cherokee earlier that year, so perhaps someplace on what is now Alabama 79, then the main road from Tennessee into Alabama. It probably looked much the same then as it does today. Hilly and treed – for miles and miles and miles. I can’t help but feel for the displaced Cherokee. I wonder if Jane did as well.

jane-jackson-co.

The historic town of Dodsonville once existed in Jackson County, just beneath Scottsboro.

jane-dodsonville

Lazarus’s brother Oliver’s son, William, lived in Jackson County from 1819 until his death in 1872. He is buried in the Dodson Cemetery near Lim Rock, not far from historic Dodsonville, named for him. Dodsonville is probably under dammed Guntersville Lake, today.

By this time, I just feel weary for Jane. I’m sure she longed for a cabin where she could put down roots and didn’t have to sell out and pack up every few years to start over again with few belongings in an unfamiliar place with unknown dangers and strangers she didn’t know. I wonder if Lazarus was the kind of man that was always starry-eyed and enamored with the next great opportunity. Was life just one great adventure after another to him?

We know that in 1826, Lazarus Jr. (we believe) repurchased his father’s land back in Claiborne County, and that Lazarus Sr.’s land transactions, apparently having to do with his estate, were being handled in McMinn County. There is no will or probate for Lazarus Sr. in either Claiborne County or McMinn County, and the Jackson County records were burned in the Civil War.

Giving Lazarus Sr. the benefit of the doubt here, we’ll presume that Lazarus Sr. moved from Alabama directly back to McMinn County and did not first return to Claiborne and then move to McMinn. One way or another, they, or at least Jane, came back to Tennessee as did her sons Lazarus Jr. and Oliver.

Sometime between 1827 and 1830, Jane’s daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Campbell Dodson, Lazarus Jr.’s wife died. If Jane had not already returned to Tennessee, she may have returned in the wagon with Lazarus Jr. to help with his four children born between 1820 and 1827. However, by 1830, those children were living with their Campbell grandparents, who would raise them to adulthood, in Claiborne County. Perhaps the Campbell grandparents raised the children instead of Jane because they owned a farm and there were two of them and they were somewhat younger than Jane by at least a decade, if not more.  Jane, alone, would have had to handle 4 young children. Besides that, Jane’s other son, David had recently died too, leaving his widow needing help with her children as well.  Jane would have been approaching 70 by this time.

Lazarus Jr. returned to Claiborne County and is found in the records beginning in 1826 when he repurchased his father’s land. This is presuming that the land repurchase was by Lazarus Jr. and not Lazarus Sr. Lazarus Jr. remained in Claiborne County where he is found in the court notes from 1827 through about 1833 when he is recorded as being absent and owing taxes.

We know that in 1830 Jane lived someplace near Englewood in McMinn County. Liberty Hill Road runs between Englewood and Cochran Cemetery Road, so this view would have been familiar to Jane, then, too.

jane-liberty-hill-road

So Jane got to pack up for at least a 5th time and move back to Tennessee, and that’s if we know about all the moves, which is certainly not likely.

If Jane married Lazarus in 1778 or 1779, before they left Virginia, that means she got to make major moves at least 5 times between about 1780 and 1825, or roughly every 9 years. And those moves would have been while pregnant, nursing babies, with toddlers, and whatever other challenge or inconvenience you can think of.

In 1825 or so, Jane would have been 60-65 years old. The last thing most people want to do at that age is bounce around in a wagon with no shocks on rough rutty roads crossing mountains – relocating “one last time.”

jane-cumberland-gap

Cumberland Gap, from the summit, overlooking Claiborne County.

Perhaps Lazarus died mysteriously after suggesting “just one more move.”

Jane’s Children

We know beyond a doubt that Lazarus Jr., born in 1795, was Jane’s son, and we can presume that any children born after Lazarus were Jane’s as well since she was still living in 1830.

This 1826 McMinn County deed comes as close as we’re going to get to identifying Jane’s children.

Abner Lea and Others Obligation to William Dodson: State of Tennessee McMinn County. Know all men by these presents that the Abner Lea and Oliver Dodson and Eligha (sic) Dodson and William Dodson and Jessee Dodson and Lazrus Dodson and held and firmly bound in the penal sum of two thousand dollars which payment will and freely to be maid now(?) and each of us do bind our selves our heirs executor and administrators to the abounded signed sealed and delivered this day and date above written. This is our obligation is as such that has the above abound to appoint Abner Lea and Oliver Dodson to be the gardeans [guardians] of the estate of Lazarous Dodson dc’d also we authorize the said Abner Lea and Oliver Dodson to make to William Dodson a deed of Conveyeance to the part of land granted to the said William Dodson North East Quarter of Section 11 Township 5 Range first east of the meridian. Also that we confirm the sale made on the 13 day of May 1826 we also agree to give unto the heirs of David Dodson a certain piece or parcel of land designated to David Dodson by Lazarus Dodson de’d be it further understood that this is to be there part and all that they are entitled to by us, where unto we have set our hand and quill this 11 day of September 1826. Abner Lea Oliver Dodson Eligha Dodson Lazarous Dodson Jesse Dodson

Witnesses: Landford and Rhodes, William Dodson

Therefore, based on the above deed, and the information for each of the individuals below, I believe that Lazarus had 7 children that lived to adulthood, and therefore, Jane probably did as well. We know for sure that the youngest three are Jane’s children.

  • Jesse
  • Elijah
  • Mary
  • Oliver
  • Lazarus
  • David
  • William

Jesse Dodson was born by 1781 or earlier as he was of age in March 1802 when he served as a juror in Claiborne Co., TN at the March term and also the June term when he was designated as “Little Jesse Dodson.” Junior or “little” in this context meant younger, not necessarily “son of Jesse.” This designation was no doubt for the purpose of distinguishing him from Rev. Jesse Dodson, a much older man who was also a resident of Claiborne County at this time. Jesse, the son of Rev. Jesse Dodson was born in 1791, thus being too young to serve as a juror in 1802.

Prior to this, Jesse Dodson Jr. was “assessed for 1 white poll” and was was included “among those living within the Indian Boundary for the year of 1797 which the county court of Grainger released the sheriff from the collection of taxes.”

Apparently these people, it had been determined, were living beyond the treaty line on Indian land and were not within the jurisdiction of Grainger Co. This part of Grainger became Claiborne in 1801 and included the area beneath Cumberland Gap that Lazarus eventually owned and was living on by 1800.

Jesse Dodson and Mary Stubblefield Dodson joined the Big Spring Baptist church “by experience” in March 1802. They received letters of dismissal from the church in Nov. 1805, but Jesse returned his letter in May 1806. Apparently in early 1807 Jesse got into a dispute with the church over a theological question which continued on through Sept 1807 when the question was dismissed. In Aug 1808, Jesse was “excluded” from the church for “withholding from the Church.” He is not again found in the records of Claiborne Co.

On June 20, 1811, one Jesse Dodson was licensed to trade with Indian tribes in Madison Co., Alabama which borders Jackson County. Descendants of this man reportedly carry the oral tradition that he was an Indian trader. Jesse was said to be the oldest son of a large family of boys. Once when the Indian trader returned from one trip and was preparing to leave on another, the father implored his older son to take along his younger brother. The trader refused, saying the boy was so inexperienced that he would be killed by Indians. The father was adamant and insisted, so the trader relented and took the boy along. The brother was killed by Indians before Jessee’s eyes. From then on there were hard feelings between the Indian Trader and his father.

This is a tradition which may have grown with the telling over the generations, but there could be some grains of truth in the tale. The land that became Jackson Co., Alabama was originally part of the Mississippi Territory and was occupied by the Cherokee until they gave it up by treaty on Feb. 27, 1819. It is certainly possible that Jesse Dodson, Indian Trader of the Mississippi territory, was a son of Lazarus Dodson, Sr.

A Jesse Dodson was on the 1830 census of Jackson Co., AL though the family statistics are puzzling. The household consisted of 2 males 5-10, 1 male 10-15, 1 male 20-30, 1 female under 5, 1 female 10-15, 1 female 30-40 and 1 female 50-60. This would not be Jesse Dodson the Indian Trader unless he were away from home on the date of the census enumeration or unless the census taker made an error in recording the statistics. We have no record of the children of this Jesse Dodson.

Elijah Dodson, based on the 1826 deed, was also a son of Lazarus Dodson Sr, although there were multiple Elijah Dodsons. Elijah appears to be connected in the records of Claiborne with Martin Dodson and Jehu Dodson who are not mentioned in the 1826 deed. Elijah was born in 1790 in Hawkins County according to information in the Oregon Donation land claims. He died in Yamhill Co., Oregon in 1859. His first wife was Mary, surname unknown, whom he married March 12, 1807 in “Clayborn Co, Tn.”. His second wife was Elizabeth surname unknown who died in the Autumn of 1854. They were married in September of 1848 in Polk Co., Oregon.

In the June 1805 term of court, Claiborne Co., TN, Elijah along with Jehu was appointed as a road hand to work on a road of which Martin Dodson was overseer. It was a segment of the Kentucky road from the top of Wallen’s ridge to Blair’s creek. In August 1814 Elijah proved a wolf scalp he had killed in 1814 and at the August term 1815 he served as a juror. There are no records of Elijah in Claiborne beyond this date.

It is possible that Elijah eventually went to Henry Co., Ohio and Clay Co., Missouri before moving to Oregon where he made a claim to land in Yamhill Co. on which he lived from Feb 1848 until his death. It is believed that two of his sons were with him in Oregon. The record stated that his first wife left 6 children.

Mary Dodson

Abner Lea is certainly an interested party in the 1826 deed from the heirs of Lazarus Dodson. Abner is reported (although unverified) to have been married to a Mary Dodson on November 15, 1796 in Orange County, NC. The list of Lazarus’s heirs, which apparently includes Abner Lea, strongly suggests that Mary, Abner’s wife, was the daughter of Lazarus Sr. Abner’s birth date is reported to be about 1770 in Caswell County, NC, so too young to be a brother-in-law to Lazarus Sr. and about the right age to have married his daughter.

In 1810, Lazarus purchased land from Abner Lea in Claiborne County. If this is the Abner Lea born in 1770, he was about 40 in 1810. Abner Lea’s brother was James Lea, born in 1767, and in the winter of 1781/1782, Lazarus Dodson was encamped on the land patented by one James Lea in 1783 at the mouth of Richland Creek where it intersected with the Holston River, in what is now Grainger County. A James Lea family is also found on Country Creek in Caswell County, near where Raleigh and Lazarus Dodson lived before moving to the Holston River in 1778/1779.

Nothing is known about descendants of this couple.

Oliver Dodson was born August 31, 1794 in Hawkins Co., TN and died December 8, 1875 in McMinn Co., TN. He married Elizabeth, surname unknown who was born March 16, 1795 in Virginia and died Aug 7, 1883 in McMinn Co., TN. Both are buried in the Mt. Cumberland Cemetery, McMinn County.

jane-oliver-dodson

The first records of Oliver in Claiborne County are found in the court minutes in August 1815 when he proved he had killed a wolf and collected the bounty for the wolf scalp.

On January 16, 1820, Oliver was relieved as road overseer of the Kentucky Road from where Powell’s Valley Road intersects the same at Wallen’s field to the state line at Cumberland Gap. At the August term 1820 he exhibited the scalp of a wolf he had killed in Claiborne in 1819. In June, 1824 he sued William Hogan for a debt and was awarded damages and costs.

Sometime before or after these events, Oliver spent some time in Jackson Co., Alabama. where one of his sons Marcellus M. Dodson claimed to be born in 1819. By 1830, Oliver was settled in McMinn Co, TN where he lived the remainder of his life.

A chancery suit filed in McMinn in 1893 involving the estate of Oliver Dodson gives us a list of his children and some of his grandchildren. The suit, chancery case #1282 Lazarus Dodson (his son) vs Mary Jane Reynolds stated that all were nonresidents of McMInn County except for Lazarus who files for himself and as administrator of Oliver Dodson and Mary Jane Reynolds. Some grandchildren lived in Knox Co., TN and the others lived in California, Texas, Missouri, Oregon, Montana, Georgia and other states.

David Dodson, based on the 1826 deed, is also a son of Lazarus Dodson, Sr. David is not in the records of Claiborne County except for the one time when he witnessed the deed to William Hogan from Lazarus Dotson and Abner Lea in May 1819.

If it is the same David Dodson who later appeared in McMinn Co., TN, then he was probably born between 1790 and 1800. David Dodson (Dotson) died in McMinn County before the 1826 deed. David’s widow was Fanny Dotson born 1790-1800 according to the 1830 census of McMinn Co. with a household consisting of herself, 1 male 5-10, 1 male 10-15, 1 female under 5, 2 females 5-10. She is living beside Jane Dodson, the widow of Lazarus Sr. and also beside William Dodson.

The land referenced in the 1826 deed is roughly the Cochran Cemetery area, shown below, near Englewood in McMinn Co.

David Dodson who died on August 15, 1826 is reported to be buried in this Cemetery, although he is not listed on FindAGrave, so his grave is apparently unmarked. It appears that David and Lazarus may have died in very close proximity to each other relative to their death dates. Poor Jane apparently lost a husband and a son within a very short time. This makes me wonder if there was an illness that took them both.

cochran cemetery

William Dotson was living next door to Jane Dodson in 1830. His household consisted of 1 male under 5, 1 male 20-30, (so born 1800-1810) 1 female under 5, 1 female 5-10 and 1 female 20-30. He was the administrator of the estate of David Dotson and seems a little old to be a son of David and Fanny, so could conceivably be a brother instead.

In 1826 in McMinn County, we find the land in Section 11, Township 5, Range first east of the meridian being conveyed to William by “guardians of the estate of Lazarus Dodson, deceased.”

jane-mcminn-1836

1836 McMinn County district map – The Rogers Connection – Myth or Fact by Sharon R. McCormack

If William is Jane’s son, and he was born about 1800, then she would have been about 30-40 at that time, and based on the birth years of her other children, closer to 40.

A William L. Dotson was appointed one of the arbitrators between the administrators of the estates of Thomas and William Burch, decd, in June of 1834. Thomas Burch died circa 1830 and had been the administrator of the estate of his father, William Burch, who died about 1828. One of the daughters of William Burch was Mrs. Aaron Davis, apparently, a former neighbor of Lazarus Dodson in Claiborne Co. Mentioned in Thomas Burch’s estate is a note against the estate of William Burch, decd and an unidentified piece of land in Claiborne Co. Aaron Davis was a member of Gap Creek Church of Claiborne Co. TN in 1818.

There were several William Dodsons in McMinn Co and it is not entirely possible to separate them without further records, but one of them was the son of Lazarus Sr.  William L. Dodson, believed to be the son of Lazarus, was born December 11, 1804 and died August 29, 1873. I sure would like to know what the L. stood for. Lazarus, or perhaps his mother’s maiden name?  William L. is buried in the Cochran Cemetery in McMinn County, along with Lazarus’s son David. It’s likely that Jane, Lazarus Sr.’s widow, is buried in the Cochran Cemetery as well, given that she was living adjacent to David and William in 1830, and William owned the land on which the cemetery stood.

It’s possible that Lazarus Sr. is buried in the Cochran Cemetery too, although based on the land purchase back in Claiborne County in 1826, it’s also possible that he is buried in Claiborne County or even back in Jackson County, Alabama. It has never been entirely clear whether the Lazarus that repurchased that Claiborne County land was Sr. or Jr. In any event, Claiborne County is where Lazarus Sr.’s marker rests today, set by descendants in 2011 in the Cottrell Cemetery on the land Lazarus once owned.

laz dodson marker

Unfortunately, Lazarus’s death date of 1826 was inscribed incorrectly as 1816, but by the time we saw the stone for the first time, it had already been set and it was too late to change the engraving.

Jane’s Other Children

If the children listed above are all Lazarus and Jane’s children, there were other children who were born and did not survive, given that children were typically born every 18 months to 2 years. The (approximate) birth dates of the children we can identify:

  • Jesse – 1781
  • Elijah – 1790
  • Mary – 1790+, so say 1792
  • Oliver – 1794
  • Lazarus – 1795
  • David – 1790-1800, so call it 1797
  • William – 1800-1810, so call it 1804 based on the cemetery record

This means there were children born in the following approximate years, in the following locations, that did not survive:

  • 1783 – probably on Dodson Creek
  • 1785 – probably on Dodson Creek
  • 1787 – probably on Dodson Creek
  • 1789 – probably on Dodson Creek
  • 1799 – probably on White Horn Branch
  • 1801 – in Claiborne County
  • 1803 – in Claiborne County

If Jane was 60-70 in 1830, she would have had to be closer to 70, or born about 1760 to be having children by 1781, so she would have been about 40 in 1800. It’s likely that she did not have any children after William born in 1804.

Of course, we don’t know when or where those children died, or were buried. It could have been where they were born or anyplace between there and McMinn County. One son could have been killed by Indians. If that is true, Jane must have been heartsick and I’d wager there were some rather unpleasant words between Jane and Lazarus, if indeed he encouraged Jesse to take the son who was killed along on the trading expedition.

All we know for sure is that no additional children were mentioned in the 1826 deed and unlike son David, they did not leave heirs. Given that Lazarus apparently did not have a will, or if he did, it has never been found, all of his living children or deceased children with heirs would have been mentioned in the deed.

If Jesse is Jane’s son and first child, that puts her marriage year at about 1780, so she either was married in North Carolina (or bordering Virginia) and her honeymoon was spent in a wagon bouncing its way to the new frontier, or she arrived to homestead on the Holston River with her parents, whoever they were, and soon thereafter married the handsome frontiersman, Lazarus Dodson. There were probably not many spousal candidates to choose from on the Holston River, so they were both probably very pleased to marry and begin their family.

Jane’s Death and Burial

Jane died sometime after 1830 and before 1840, based on the census. In 1830 she was living beside son David Dodson’s widow and William Dodson. Later deeds show that the land owned by William Dodson conveyed in the 1826 deed includes the Cochran Cemetery near present-day Englewood.

jane-cochran-cemetery-map

We know that William Dodson is buried there and David Dodson is reported to be buried there as well, along with several other Dodsons listed on FindAGrave. Jane seems to be surrounded by her descendants.

jane-cochran-internments-2

William L. Dodson, buried in the Cochran Cemetery, is shown on FindAGrave to be the son of Elisha Dodson and Mary Matlock. Elisha is shown to be the son of the Reverend Jesse Dodson, who was the preacher at Big Springs in Claiborne County. I don’t know if this is accurate, nor do I know what documentation was utilized for this information.

Unfortunately, both the Reverend Jesse Dodson and Lazarus Dodson Sr. were both functioning in Claiborne County at the same time in the early 1800s. I do find it odd that Jesse’s son, Elisha, who died in Polk County in 1864, would have a son, William L., living beside Jane and David Dodson, in McMinn County. It’s entirely possible that Elijah and Elisha, very similar names, have been confused and intermixed.

jane-cochran-aerial

The Cochran Cemetery, where Jane is probably buried is shown above and below.

jane-cochran-from-road

County Road 479 is Cochran Cemetery Road.

jane-cochran-cemetery-road

The terrain is hilly but not mountainous and these rolling hills are what Jane saw in her last few years, living in McMinn County.

jane-cochran-distance

Mitochondrial DNA

If Mary Dodson who married Abner Lea is indeed the daughter of Jane Dodson, and if there are descendants who descend through all females to the current generation, we could test that descendant to obtain the mitochondrial DNA of Jane.

Mothers give their mitochondrial DNA to both genders of children, but only females pass it on. In order to find Jane’s mitochondrial DNA we’d need to find a descendant through her one female child, Mary – assuming that indeed Mary is Jane’s daughter.

Jane has been theorized to be a Honeycutt, given that Lazarus lives on Honeycutt Creek and has some interest in land conveyed in 1810, a Lea based on continued interaction with that family, and a Native woman since Lazarus was encamped with the Native people in 1781/1782. That may not be terribly likely since the Cherokee towns were destroyed, but then again, love has never been hindered terribly by warfare – and married to a white man might be as safe as a Native woman could be at that time.

Finding the haplogroup of Jane’s mitochondrial DNA would at least put the Native possibility, as small as it is, to sleep one way or the other, forever. Native American haplogroups are distinct from European, African or Asian haplogroups.

If you descend from Jane Dodson through daughter Mary through all females to the current generation, which can be male, please let me know. I have a DNA testing scholarship for you.

Autosomal DNA – The Dog’s Leg 

Can autosomal DNA help?

Well, theoretically, yes. However, in actuality, for me, today, the answer is “not exactly” or at least not in the way I intended.

I need to warn you, before we start, that this section is the proverbial dog’s leg – meaning we start in one place, and through a series of twists and turns, wind up someplace entirely different.  I debated removing this section – but I decided to leave it because of the educational value and discussion.  “The Dog’s Leg” would actually be an apt description of my entire 37+ years doing genealogy.

So, if you’re up for a bit of an adventure on twisty roads, let’s go!!!

jane-dodson-chart

The first problem we encounter is that Jane is several generations back in the tree, even to the most closely related descendants that have DNA tested at Family Tree DNA where we have chromosome data to work with.

Son Lazarus Jr. carried half of Jane’s DNA, and with each generation, roughly half of Jane’s DNA from the previous generation was lost. Today, descendants would carry anyplace from 3.12% to less than 1% of her DNA, so the chances of carrying the same segment that matches other descendants is progressively smaller in each generation.

Furthermore, today, we have no way to tell which DNA that the descendants might carry is Jane’s DNA, even if it can be attributed to Lazarus and Jane and no common ancestor downstream. In other words, Jane’s DNA and Lazarus’s DNA combined in their children and to sort it back into Jane’s and Lazarus’s individually, we have to have the DNA of Lazarus’s ancestral Dodson line and Jane’s ancestral line to be able to sort their DNA into his and her buckets. Today, we have some people from Lazarus’s line, but obviously none from Jane’s, since we don’t know the identity of her parents or siblings.

To know whose DNA is whose, we’d need matching DNA from Lazarus Sr.’s siblings descendants, for example. That, we may be able to obtain. However, we don’t have that information about Jane.

For the record, the person labeled “Tester,” below, in red has not tested today. If they were to test, because they descend through Lazarus Dodson Jr. through a second wife, if that red tester matches any of the green testers, we would know for sure that their common DNA is that of Lazarus Jr. (and not his wife), assuming no other common ancestral lines, because the green testers and red tester descend through different wives of Lazarus Jr.

jane-dodson-chart-2

While this would help us identify Dodson DNA in Lazarus Jr.’s generation, which means that DNA came from Lazarus Sr. and Jane as a couple, it doesn’t help us identify Jane’s DNA.

What Can We Tell About Jane?

So, what might we be able to tell about Jane?

I have access to the DNA results for Buster and Charlene (above) at Family Tee DNA, in addition to my own DNA results, of course.

I checked my own results for any Honeycutt, using the match search filter. There were two, and both also shared other surnames that I share. No particular common ancestral line or location was evident.

I also attempted to search for the surname Lea, but unfortunately, one cannot request only a particular match string, so the matches included any first or surname that included “lea.” Even more difficult, the matching Ancestral Surnames column often didn’t extend to the “L” names, so I can’t tell whether the matching surname is Lea or something else that includes “lea.”

That’s disappointing.

Next, let’s try Dodson.

You can see an example of the Ancestral Surnames below and only 4 rows maximum are displayed, even when expanded. The first three matches didn’t make it to the D surnames. I’m hoping this problem, which is relatively new, will be fixed soon.

jane-ancestral-surnames

I have 21 matches for Dodson, with 15 having trees. Let’s see if any of these people share my Dodson line.

Match # Common Ancestors
1 George Dodson and Margaret Dagord, Raleigh Dodson’s parents
3 Greenham Dodson and Eleanor Hightower (brother to George Dodson who married Margaret Dagord), also a Campbell line
4 George Dodson and Margaret Dagord, also a Crumley line
5 No common ancestor shown, but have Dodson in their ancestor surname list (5 matches)
6 Not far enough back to connect (5 matches)
7 Greenham Dodson and Eleanor Hightower

Some of my Dodson matches list Dodson in their Ancestral Surnames, but I don’t find an ancestor with the Dodson surname in their actual tree.

Of the people who do have Dodson ancestors in their trees, I find 4 where I can identify the common ancestor, and all 4 are some number of generations before Lazarus Sr. or even his father, Raleigh. In one case, there is also another identifiable ancestor with a different surname (Crumley) and in another line, a common surname (Campbell) but no common ancestor.  However, I’m brick walled on Campbell and the Campbell line did marry into the Dodson line in Lazarus Jr’s generation.

These Dodson matches are exciting, and here’s my dream list of what I’d like to do next:

  • What I’d really like to be able to do is to select all 21 of my matches and create a grid or matrix that shows me the people who match in common with me and any of them. Those would obviously be people who do NOT carry the Dodson surname, because people who do carry the ancestral (or current) Dodson surname are already listed in the 21.
  • Then, I’d like to see a matrix that shows me which of all these people match me and each other on common segments – and without having to push people through to the chromosome browser 5 at a time.
  • I’d like to be able to sort through all of the ICW matches (both Ancestral Surnames and direct ancestors in trees) to see if they have Honeycutt or Lea, or any other common surnames with each other. Because if the common surname isn’t Dodson, then perhaps it is Jane’s surname and finding a common surname among the matches might help me narrow that search or at least give me hints.
  • I’d like to be able to see who in my match list matches me on any particular given segment. In other words, let’s say that I match three individuals on a specific chromosome segment. I’d like to be able to search through my matches online for that information.
  • I’d like to be able to sort through my Dodson matches list by specific ancestor in their tree, like Lazarus Dodson. Today, I have to search each account’s tree individually, which isn’t bad if there are a few. However, with a common surname, there can be many pages of matches.

In the following example, I match 3 other Dodson descendants on a large segment of chromosome 5. This match is not trivial, as it’s 32 to 39 cM in length and approximately 7500 to 9000 SNPs.  These are very solid matches.

jane-chromosome-browser

  • The green person (JP) is stuck in Georgia in 1818 with a female Dodson birth, so the common ancestor is unknown.
  • The yellow person (CA) descends from George Dodson and Margaret Dagord, Raleigh’s parents, through another child.
  • The pink person (JP) has no tree but shows Dodson, Smoot and Durham in Virginia which tells me these are the early generations of the Dodson line. Thomas Dodson’s wife’s birth name was Durham and they were parents of both George and Greenham Dodson.  Smoot comes through the Durham line.

These individuals match me on the following segment of chromosome 5.

jane-segment-matches

Lazarus and Jane are 6 generations upstream from me, so George Dodson is 8 and Thomas Dodson is 9. That’s pretty amazing that this relatively large segment of DNA appears to have potentially been passed through the Dodson line for this many generations.  Note the word potentially.  We’re going to work on that word.

Regardless of how early or how many generations back, these matches are clearly relevant AND have been parentally phased to my father’s side, both by virtue of the Phased Family Matching (maternal and paternal buckets) at Family Tree DNA and by virtue of the fact that they don’t match my mother.

The next question is whether or not these people match each other, so to answer that question, I need to move to the matrix tool.

jane-matrix

Utilizing the matrix, we discover that they DO match each other. What we don’t know is whether they match each other on that particular segment of chromosome 5, but given the size of the segment involved, and that they do match each other, the chances are very good that they do match on the same segment.

Of course, since the yellow match is unquestionably my line of Dodson DNA and because my common ancestor with this person is upstream of both Lazarus and Raleigh, then this matching DNA segment on chromosome 5 cannot be Jane’s DNA.

Therefore, I’d really like to know who else I match on this specific segment, particularly on my father’s side, so that I can see if there are any additional proven Dodson lineage matches on this segment.  This would allow me to properly assign the people who match me on my father’s side on this segment as being “Dodson line,” even if I can’t tell for sure who the common ancestor is.

That function, of course, doesn’t exist via searching at Family Tree DNA today, but what I can do is to check my Master DNA Spreadsheet that I’ve downloaded to see who else matches me on that segment.  If you would like to know how to download and manage your spreadsheet, see the Concepts Series of articles.

My Master DNA Spreadsheet shows 23 additional matches on this segment on my father’s side, 8cM or larger, with two, one at 32.96 cM indicating a common Durham lineage, and another at 33.75 cM indicating a Dodson lineage.  Therefore, this segment can reasonably confidently be assigned to the Dodson side of the tree, and probably to the Durham line – an unanticipated bonus if it holds.

jane-dodson-pedigree

I would need additional evidence before positively assigning this segment to the Durham line, given the distance back in time.  I would need to be sure my Durham match doesn’t have a hidden Dodson match someplace, and that their tree is fairly complete.

While this little exercise helps me to identify Dodson DNA and possibly Durham DNA, it hasn’t done anything to help me identify Jane’s DNA.

Of course, if I had matches to people with Honeycutt or Lea DNA, then that might be another matter and we would have a hypothesis to prove or disprove. Or, if I could search for common surnames, other than Dodson, among my matches trees and Ancestral Surnames.

I’m going to try one more cousin, Buster, who is generationally closer than I am to see if he matches a Honeycutt at Family Tree DNA, by any chance. Nope, no Honeycutt.

I also checked at Ancestry, just to see if I match anyone there who also descends from Lazarus Sr., and I do not. I do, however, match 2 people through Lazarus’s father Raleigh, 15 people through Raleigh’s parents, George Dodson and Margaret Dagord and 14 people through Raleigh’s grandfather, Thomas Dodson.

If I match this many, it sure makes me wonder how many from this line have tested and that I don’t match. Of course, at Ancestry, they have no chromosome browser or matrix types of tools (without building your own pseudo-matrix using the Shared Matches feature), so there is no way to discern if your matches also match each other and there is no way to know if they match you and/or each other on the same segments.

The Ancestor Library – My DNA Daydream

I dream of the day when we will be able to recreate the DNA profiles of our ancestors and store them in an “Ancestor Library.” That way, when I identify the DNA on chromosome 5, for example, to be that of George Dodson and Margaret Dagord, I can assign it to that couple in the “ancestor library.” Then, if this segment on chromosome 5 is either partially or wholly Durham, I can move it up one generation and then to the Durham ancestral line in the library.

Let me explain what this “Ancestor Library” will do for us.

Let’s say we know that a piece of DNA on chromosome 1 that was inherited from Lazarus and Jane is not Dodson DNA, and let’s say we have ideal circumstances.  We know this DNA came from Lazarus and Jane because this large common matching segment is found in three descendants through three different children. We already know what the Dodson progenitor DNA in this location looks like, because it’s proven and already in the library, and our Lazarus/Jane DNA on chromosome 1 doesn’t match the Dodson DNA in the Ancestor Library. Therefore, by process of logical deduction, we know that this segment on chromosome 1 has to be Jane’s DNA. Finally, we have an identifiable piece of Jane.

Now, let’s say we can submit this sequence of Jane’s DNA into the “Ancestor Library” to see which “ancestors” in the library match that sequence of DNA.

There could be several of course who descend from the same ancestral couple.

We obtain our “Ancestor Library” match list of potential ancestors that could be ours based on Jane’s DNA segment, and we see that indeed, there is a Honeycutt line and our DNA matches that line. Depending on how many other ancestral lines also match, the segment size, etc., this would be sufficient to send me off scurrying to research Honeycutt, even if the results don’t “prove” beyond a shadow of a doubt who Jane’s parents were.  Ancestor Library matches most assuredly would give us more to work with on that magical day, sometime in the future, than we have to work with today. In fact, the Ancestor Library would actively break down brick walls.

Ok, I’ve returned from my daydream now…but I do wonder how many years it will be until that DNA future with the “Ancestor Library” comes to pass and we’ll be able to fill in the blanks in our family tree utilizing DNA to direct our records research, at least in some cases.

The Rest of the Story – My Secret

Ok, I’ll let you in on my secret. Truth is that I’ve been working on the Ancestor Library proof of concept for over 2 years now.  In November 2016, I gave a presentation at the Family Tree DNA Conference titled “Crumley Y DNA to Autosomal Case Study – Kicking It Up a Notch” about reconstructing James Crumley from 50 of his descendants.  Just to give you an idea, this is a partial reconstruction utilizing Kitty Cooper’s tools, not quite as she intended.

james-crumley-reconstruct

Just to let you know, ancestor reconstruction can be done. It may be a daydream today in the scope that I’m dreaming, but one day, it will happen. Jane’s ancestry may someday be within reach once we develop the ability to functionally “subtract out” Lazarus’s DNA from Jane’s descendants.

In Summary

I wish we had some small snippet of Jane’s voice, or even Jane’s identifiable DNA, but we don’t. All we can do is to surmise from what we do know.

We know that Jane moved from place to place, and apparently a non-trivial number of times.

Jane’s life can be divided into frontiers.

  • Birth to 1778 – 1780 – Virginia or North Carolina, probably
  • 1780 – 1797 – Holston River between Honeycutt and Dodson Creeks, present day Hawkins County, Tennessee
  • 1797 – 1800 – White Horn Fork, near Bull’s Gap, then Hawkins County, Tennessee, today, probably Hamblin County
  • 1800 – 1819 – Gap Creek beneath the Cumberland Gap, Claiborne County, Tennessee spanning the old Indian boundary line
  • 1819 – before 1830 – Jackson County, Alabama when the Cherokee ceded their land
  • 1830 – 1840/death – McMinn County, Tennessee

The longest time Jane spent in one place was about 19 years in Claiborne County where Lazarus was a member of the Gap Creek Baptist Church by 1805.  Jane was very likely a member there too, as it would be extremely unusual for a woman not to attend the same church where her husband was a member of some status.

It’s actually rather amazing that we were able to track Jane and family at all, considering the number of places they lived and given the distances that they moved. While we do hold onto them by the tiniest threads – surely we must know how many of the threads of the fabric of Jane’s life are now irrecoverably lost – like pieces of a quilt, frayed with wear and gone.

Jane had at least three children that lived, and probably a 4th since Oliver was born the year before Lazarus. She may have had 7 living children if all of Lazarus’s children were hers too – meaning she was Lazarus’s only wife. We have nothing to indicate that either Lazarus or Jane were married more than once, except for how common death was on the frontier. If all of Lazarus’s children were also Jane’s, then Jane likely had as many children that died as lived, presuming she was married for her entire child-bearing life. Losing every other child is a nightmare thought for a mother, especially today – but it was more or less expected before the days of modern medicine. Let that soak in for a minute.

One of Jane’s children may have been killed by Indians. If this is true, then that episode may have affected Jane’s relationship with her husband and potentially her son Jesse, too. Unfortunately, records during this time are scant and many are missing entirely. We will probably never know if Jesse, the Indian trader, was Jane’s son.

I hope that some day, in some way, we’ll be able to unravel the mystery of Jane’s surname. In order for that to happen, new records will either need to appear, perhaps in the form of a nice juicy chancery suit, or a family Bible needs to be found, or DNA technology needs to improve combined with some serendipity and really good luck.

In the meantime, I’ll remember Jane as the weary and infinitely patient frontier wife, repeatedly packing up and moving from one frontier to the next, for roughly 45 years, whether she really wanted to or not.

I will think of her gently caring for her grandchildren after Elizabeth Campbell Dodson died, perhaps wiping their tears as their mother was buried in a grave lost to time, not long after Jane lost her own husband, Lazarus and son David. 1826 and 1827 were grief-filled years for Jane, with one loss after another.  She buried far too many close family members.

I will think of Jane living in McMinn County in her final years, between her son David’s widow, Fanny, and their children, and son William’s family. Between those two families, Jane had 7 grandchildren living within earshot: 3 toddlers, 3 between 5 and 10 and one boy about 11 or 12. He was probably a big help to Jane and Fanny both.

I hope Jane’s golden years were punctuated by the ring of grandchildren’s voices and laughter as she gathered them around her chair in front of the fireplace on crisp winter evenings, or on the shady porch on hot summer days.  She would have regaled them with stories “from a time far away and long ago” about her journeys in wagons, across rivers before bridges and through wars into uncharted territory, where Indians and soldiers both camped in their yard at Dodson’s Ford more than 50 years earlier. I can hear her now, can’t you? “Why, they were right outside, chile.” Their eyes must have been as big as saucers. Grandma Dodson’s life was amazing!

I hope Jane’s death, when it came, was swift and kind. Ironically, she outlived her adventure-loving husband by at least 4 years and maybe more than 14. And I will always wonder if Lazarus died after suggesting to Jane that they move one more time!

Jane can never regret not having taken that leap of faith, not having followed the elusive dream, be it hers or his, or both, because it seems that they always went…well, maybe except for that one last time.

I surely hope Jane is resting in peace, because while her life is infinitely interesting to us today, with her progressive migrations to “the next” frontier, it appears that rest is probably not something Jane got much of during her lifetime.

The Genealogist’s Stocking

genealogist-stocking

As a genealogist, what do you want to find in your stocking this year? You don’t even have to have been good! No elf-on-a-shelf is watching – I promise!

  • Do you need a tool that doesn’t yet exist?
  • Do you need to learn a skill?
  • Do you need to DNA test a particular person?
  • Do you want to break down a specific brick wall?

Here’s what I want, in no particular order:

  1. A chromosome browser from Ancestry. Yes, I know this comes in the dead horse category and Hades has not yet frozen over, but I still want a chromosome browser.
  2. Resurrection of the Y and mtDNA data bases at Ancestry and Sorenson (purchased by Ancestry.) Refer to dead horse and Hades comment above.
  3. Tree matching at Family Tree DNA. (The request has been submitted.)
  4. A tool to find Y and mtDNA descendants of an ancestor who may have tested or be candidates to test at Family Tree DNA. Family Tree DNA is the only major company who does Y and mtDNA testing today, so this is the only data base/vendor this request applies to.
  5. To find the line of my James Moore, c1720-c1798 who married Mary Rice and lived in Amelia and Prince Edward Counties in Virginia before moving to Halifax County. I’d really love to get him across the pond. This is *simply* a matter of waiting until the right person Y DNA tests. Simply – HA! Waiting is not my strong suit. Maybe I should ask for patience, but I’ve already been as patient as I can be for 15 years. Doesn’t that count for something? Santa???
  6. To discover the surname and family of Magdalena (c1730-c1808) who married Philip Jacob Miller. Magdalena’s descendant has an exact mitochondrial DNA match in the Brethren community to the descendant of one Amanda Troutwine (1872-1946) who married William Hofacker on Christmas Day, 1889 in Darke County, Ohio.. Now all I need to do is extend Amanda’s line back far enough in time. I’m very hopeful. I need time and a little luck on this one.

I’d be happy with any one of the half-dozen “wishes” above, but hey, this is permission to dream and dream big – so I’ve put them all on my list, just in case Genealogy Santa is feeling particularly generous this year!

Tell us about your dream gift(s) in your genealogy stocking and what you need to make those dreams come true. What might you do to help make that happen? Do you have a plan?

For example, items 1-4 are beyond my control, but I have made my wishes known, repeatedly.  I’ve researched #5 to death, so waiting for that Moore match now comes in the “genealogy prayer” category.  But item 6 is clearly within reach – so I’ll be focused on Amanda Troutwine as soon as the holiday festivities are over.  Let’s hope you’ll be reading an article about this success soon.

So, ask away.  What’s on your list?  You just never know where Santa’s helpers may be lurking!!!

Family Tree DNA Holiday Coupons and Mitochondrial DNA, The Forgotten Test

Mitochondrial DNA is probably the most under-utilized type of DNA available to genetic genealogists. Mitochondrial DNA is a special line specific to your mother, and her mother, and her mother, on up that tree of mothers. It’s not mixed with any DNA from the fathers, so it’s a pure periscope line that extends back in time indefinitely – much like the Y DNA for the paternal line.

Just as an example, as an administrator looking at the Estes surname project, I can see an order summary. For clarification, the Estes project welcomes males and females alike, along with men who are not Estes surname males, but who are Estes descendants through other lines.

So, of the first 16 project participants, 2 are female.  The columns titled HVR1, HVR2 and FGS are the available mitochondrial DNA test levels.

estes-order-summary

Only one, me, has had ANY mitochondrial DNA testing done. The rest have not.

By comparison, 14 (all the males) have ordered some level of Y DNA testing and 7 participants, almost half, have taken the autosomal Family Finder test.

By any measure, mitochondrial is way WAY behind.

Mitochondrial gets forgotten about, often, because it’s not as “in your face” as a male surname is to a male and doesn’t have the “pride factor” associated with it. In fact, you might hear men say something like, “Yea, proud to be an Estes (fill in your surname here),” but when was the last time you heard someone say, “Yea, proud to be a H2a1a!”? It loses something someplace.

Because the matrilineal line’s mitochondrial DNA doesn’t follow any surname, it doesn’t invoke that surname loyalty factor, but it is a rich source of information that is often neglected.

What can we learn from mitochondrial DNA?

Pretty much everything we can tell about Y DNA – except of course we’re not looking to see if we match a particular surname. We’re looking to see if we match someone with a common ancestor. But that’s not it, there’s a lot more.

Haplogroup and Migration Path

Your mitochondrial DNA haplogroup tells you which continent your ancestor was from, meaning Europe, Africa, Asia or Native American, or an ethnicity like Jewish, and the path they took out of Africa to arrive on that continent. You may think you know, already, but do you really? There are surprises and you’ll never know if you don’t test.

estes-migration-path

Haplogroup Origins help to extend this information and tells you where your fully extended haplogroup is found in the world. Fully extended haplogroup means your full haplogroup, H2a1a, as opposed to simply haplogroup H. You have to take the full sequence mtDNA test to obtain your fully extended haplogroup.

Matches Map

Your Ancestral Matches and your Matches Map tell you where your matches most distant ancestors lived. This is most effective for full sequence matching because those are your closest matches. In fact, I only recommend full sequence matching today. You should obtain all of the ancestral information available and the only way to do that is to test the entire mitochondrial region.

Those who follow my blog know that I’m haplogroup J1c2f, and while that doesn’t make anyone gush at parties, it does provide me with information I not only didn’t have, but there is no way other than DNA testing to discover.

My most distant known ancestor is from Germany around 1800, but look at my matches map.

estes-match-map

There is obviously a historical, or maybe not so historical, Scandinavian story. You can read about this discovery here.

Your matches are sitting there, waiting for you, but first you have to test.  After that, the genealogy to find a common ancestor may take some work, unless you simply get lucky – and some do.

If more people were to test and provide their most distant ancestor information and pedigree charts, there would be more easy matches with known ancestors!!!  Just saying…

Matches Never Stop

The great news is that your mitochondrial DNA results are fishing for you 24X7. In July 2013, I had 3 full sequence matches, shown below.

my matches J1c2f

Today, I have 16, and the more full sequence matches, the more granular and detailed the story. It’s like watching your ancestral story hatch, one match at a time. These people all share an ancestor with you, sometime, someplace. The fun is in unraveling that story.  What does it mean to you?  What information does it provide about your ancestors and their journey?

Proving Your Point

You can also use mitochondrial DNA to prove, or disprove, a specific type of historic relationship. Suppose you suspect two women are sisters. If you can find descendants of both women through all females to the current generation (which can be males) you can either prove those two women have a common matrilineal ancestor or that they don’t. In cases like this, mitochondrial DNA in conjunction with autosomal matching can be a very powerful tool.  Comparing multiple kinds of DNA, together, is available under the advanced tools.

Building A MitoTree

If you’re after quick answers, building your own mitotree isn’t for you, but if you’re willing to invest some elbow grease, you can figure out the ancestral pedigree chart of how your matches descended from your common ancestor, based on their mutations.

I presumed, based on the matches map locations, that I was fairly closely related to my match in Poland, because at that time, it was the only full sequence match outside of Scandinavia. I was wrong. That person descended in a parallel line from a common Scandinavian ancestor. So no need looking in those Polish church records hoping to discover something about my direct line ancestors because they aren’t there!

You can read about how to build a mitochondrial tree here. If you like puzzles, this is for you.

Finding Your Ancestor’s Surname

I like to obtain the haplogroups of all of my ancestors and build a DNA Pedigree chart. My ancestor, Magdalena married Philip Jacob Miller, but we don’t know her surname. We do know they were Brethren, and Brethren married within their own religion. We know where they lived, and to some extent, we know the other Brethren families in that region.

After I wrote my 52 Ancestors story about Magdalena with hopes of finding a descendant who carries her mtDNA, someone contacted me to say a woman with a tree on Ancestry fits the bill. Indeed she did, and she agreed to have her mtDNA tested.

She immediately had an exact full sequence match, in the Brethren community, and the match does NOT descend from Magdalena herself. Unfortunately, the match does NOT have her genealogy back far enough to discover the family who might, just might, be Magdalena’s family as well. However, I can research genealogy to extend her tree, and I will, come spring when the roads clear.

The only path to Magdalena’s surname, short of a family Bible appearing someplace, is DNA, because I’ve exhausted all other available records.

Can mitochondrial DNA save the day and pin point Magdalena’s family so that I can prove the relationship through records? Maybe. I’ll let you know as this story unfolds.

Don’t’ Forget Mother

Genealogy without DNA is incomplete. It’s the holiday season. Give yourself the gift of your mother’s matrilineal history. DNA testing is the gift that keeps on giving, and you can have it even if your mother has passed over and is watching from the other side. Everyone carries their mother’s mitochondrial DNA, males and females alike.

What is your Mom’s story?

Coupons

Monday is coupon day and today’s discounts are valid through Christmas Day.

Click here to redeem this week’s discounts, below, or to check your own account for your holiday discount! Remember, if you don’t use your discount, you are welcome to share the code and what the discount is good for in the comments.

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John Iron Moccasin, The Story of a Sioux Man

Occasionally, the project administrators of the American Indian project are presented with a rare opportunity to test an individual who is either full-blooded Native or nearly so. Recently, a Native Sioux man, John Iron Moccasin, born Earl White Weasel, stepped forward.

In order to facilitate testing, project members and others contributed funds with the agreement that we could publish John’s results and story. Now that the original tests are complete and we are publishing his results, we would like to upgrade John’s Y markers to 111 (from 37) and add the Big Y test – so if you’re inclined to contribute to the American Indian Project for this advanced testing – you can do so by clicking here.

But first, perhaps you’d like to hear John’s story. The results of the research into John’s history, both genealogically and genetically are fascinating. I hope you’ll get a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy this journey. Come along – we’re going on an adventure to South Dakota and we’ll be visiting the Sioux people!

In the Beginning…

A few months ago, John Iron Moccasin was talking to his friend and told her that he would like to share not only his oral history, but his genealogy and genetic history, with his daughter. He didn’t know how to go about doing either, but that friend, Pam, did, and she turned to me.

John was born as Earl White Weasel on Eagle Butte Reservation in South Dakota. He then lived at Cherry Creek Reservation in South Dakota. After adoption, he relocated to Pine Ridge Reservation, Kyle Reservation and then Oglala Reservation.

Unlike many adoptees, John always knew the identity of his birth parents and has given permission to use both his birth and adopted surnames. He takes pride in both, as well as his heritage. However, since John’s genetic genealogy is connected only with his biological parents, that’s where this article will focus.

Both of John’s biological parents belonged to the Cheyenne Sioux tribe. His birth father was Timothy Urban White Weasel and his birth mother was Martha Hale.

John is tribally enrolled with the Cheyenne Sioux based on his birth parents. John’s card shows his “degree of blood” to be at least 15/16ths.

Let’s take a look at tracking both John’s maternal and paternal ancestry. Many people ask how to work with Native records, and this article will follow my step-by-journey with both John’s traditional genealogy as well as his genetic genealogy, tracking each line back in time. But first, let’s look at the history of the Sioux people.

The Sioux

The Sioux are groups of Native American tribes and First Nations peoples in North America. The term can refer to any ethnic group within the Great Sioux Nation or to any of the nation’s many language dialects. The Sioux comprise three major divisions based on language divisions: the Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota.

The Santee Dakota reside in the extreme east of the Dakotas, Minnesota and northern Iowa. The Yankton and Yanktonai Dakota reside in the Minnesota River area. They are considered to be the middle Sioux, and have in the past been erroneously classified as Nakota. The actual Nakota are the Assiniboine and Stoney of Western Canada and Montana. The Lakota, also called Teton are the westernmost Sioux, known for their hunting and warrior culture.

The Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1868 established the Great Sioux Reservation, shown below, much of which has been whittled away today.

Today, the Sioux maintain many separate tribal governments scattered across several reservations, communities, and reserves in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Montana in the United States; and Manitoba and southern Saskatchewan in Canada.

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By User:Nikater – Own work by Nikater, submitted to the public domain. Background map courtesy of Demis, http://www.demis.nl., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2309029

The Dakota are first recorded to have resided at the source of the Mississippi River during the seventeenth century. The source of the Mississippi trickled out of Lake Itasca in present day South Clearwater, Minnesota. On the map below, you can see that location as well as Eagle Butte, to the west (larger white circle in South Dakota), some 300 or more miles as the crow flies, where John Iron Moccasin was born. The third location, Wilsall, Montana, on further west (red balloon), is where the remains of the 12,500 year old Anzick Child were found with Clovis tools.

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By 1700 some Sioux had migrated to present-day South Dakota. John’s Native ancestors were born in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska and reportedly, Canada.

Late in the 17th century, the Dakota entered into an alliance with French merchants. The French were trying to gain advantage in the struggle for the North American fur trade against the English, who had recently established the Hudson’s Bay Company.

The first recorded encounter between the Sioux and the French occurred when Radisson and Groseilliers reached what is now Wisconsin during the winter of 1659-60. Later visiting French traders and missionaries included Claude-Jean Allouez, Daniel Greysolon Duluth, and Pierre-Charles Le Sueur who wintered with Dakota bands in early 1700. In 1736 a group of Sioux killed Jean Baptiste de La Vérendrye and twenty other men on an island in Lake of the Woods. However, trade with the French continued until after the French gave up North America in 1763.

For the most part, Sioux contact with Europeans was very limited until in the 1800s, and then, it turned deadly in a series of “wars” as the Sioux tried to protect their land and way of life. Europeans were equally as determined to eradicate the Indians, take their land and eliminate their way of life – and ultimately – they succeeded by containing the Sioux on reservations.

Records, other than oral history in the Sioux tongue, didn’t begin until Europeans began keeping them, so our earliest genealogical records of the Sioux only reach back into the 1800s. Thankfully, genetic records can reach back infinitely into time.

Let’s visit John Iron Moccasin’s ancestors, beginning with John’s paternal line.

The White Weasel Line

John’s father was Timothy Urban White Weasel, born August 1, 1939 to Oscar White Weasel and his wife, Esther (also called Estella) Ward. Timothy died March 28, 2004 in Eagle Butte, Dewey County, SD, the same location where he was born.

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John’s grandfather, Oscar White Weasel is listed as a farmer in the 1930 census in Ziebach County, South Dakota, in Township 8, district 59 as a full blood Sioux male with a note “74-5,” speaking Sioux, as is his wife, Esther, age 24. They have been married 5 years and have two children, Margie age 4 & 9/12 and Beatrice, age 2 & 5/12th. Oscar is a veteran.

Please note that you can click to enlarge any graphic.

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This means John’s grandfather was born about 1898 and his grandmother about 1906. It should be noted that many traditional Native people have only a general idea of when they were born.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs Death File shows that Oscar Weasel was born on Feb. 22, 1898 and died on February 12, 1979. His military service was from March 28, 1917 to May 12, 1919.

The 1940 census from the same location shows Oscar J. White Weasel, age 42, wife Esther M., age 38, both Indian, both born in South Dakota, both educated through 7th grade, with 5 children including baby Urban J. White Weasel, age 7/12th. They live in Cherry Creek in Ziebach County, SD in the same place they lived in 1935.

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The Rapid City, SD obituary index shows that two obituaries for Oscar exist.

Weasel, Oscar J. 80 12 Feb 1979 Fort Meade, SD BHN 14 Feb 1979 p.31

16 Feb 1979 p.5

BHN means that Oscar is buried in the Black Hills National Cemetery. Find-A-Grave shows that he is buried in Section C, site 455 and that he was a PFC in WWI.

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im-black-hillsThe Social Security Claims Index shows that Oscar’s wife was Esther Ward and their child that filed the claim is Beatrice Louise Janis.

The 1927 Indian Census of the Cheyenne River Sioux Agency provides a little more information.

Joseph, also known as Oscar White Weasel is listed as born in 1898 and with two numbers instead of an English name. 322986 and 328110. I suspect these are the governmental identification numbers assigned to his parents when they were paid from the settlement fund – although one of those numbers could he his. His wife is listed as born in 1903 and as Mrs. Joseph White Weasel, nee Esther Ward, and she has one number listed in place of English name, 359087. Their daughter Margie is listed as born in 1925 and has no number listed by her name. There are no additional White Weasel individuals listed.

The 1925 Indian Census (below) shows us that he is listed as Joseph with Oscar penciled in above the name, with the number 322986 beside his name – which is evidently his number.

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The numbers probably related to the numbers assigned to Indians on the Dawes Rolls resulting from the Dawes Act of 1887 which allotted tribal lands in severalty to individual tribal members in exchange for Native Americans becoming US citizens and giving up some forms of tribal self-government.

In the South Dakota 1925 census, Joseph White Weasel is listed as married in 1924 and as Catholic. The South Dakota Marriages lists them as having married on October 18, 1924 in Cherry Creek.

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Many of the Native people were “converted” to Catholicism by missionaries. The French were Catholic and the traders in this region and throughout the Great Lakes were French.

The 1900 federal census (below) lists Joseph White Weasel, born in 1898 as the son of Charley White Weasel born in April of 1866 in South Dakota. They are living on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, district 48 in Dewey, County, South Dakota. Joseph’s mother is “Follows” and she was born in July of 1869 in Montana, as were both children. They have been married 12 years, had 5 children, and 2 are living. Joseph’s older brother is Wakes (probably Makes) Believe his (probably he’s) Running. Charley is listed as “Indian Police” and Follows is listed as “Ration Indian.” They have not attended school, cannot read or write and do not speak English.

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The bottom of the census document includes an area called “special inquiries relating to Indians.”

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This entire family is listed as Sioux, with no white blood. The mother and father of both Charley and Follows are listed as Sioux as well. They are not polygamous and they lived in a fixed, as opposed to moveable, structure. In other words, a “house” of some sort, not a teepee.

Polygamy was considered a grave sin by most Christian religions, and clearly someone still practicing the Native ways, which includes both polygamy and living in teepees, was highly encouraged to abandon those practices.

Note in the Indian census as late as 1902, some households are still listed with wife 1 and wife 2. It’s impossible to tell which child was born to which wife.

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Also note that the Native name and English name may have nothing to do with each other. They are not always literal translations. Please also note that Follows Him, above, is not the same person as Follows.

Christianity, and specifically Catholicism, along with “civility,” meant taking English names and living in established locations in structures. These behaviors were strongly encouraged and then forced upon the Native people with the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 when their children were sent to “boarding schools” to learn the white ways, renamed, and it became illegal to practice the Native ways, including spiritual practices, powwows and speaking their own language. These restrictions lasted until the Native American Languages Act of 1990 which once again allowed Native people to speak their own language and the 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act allowing Native people once again to hold events such as powwows and practice their own belief system.  Unfortunately, the half century plus between 1924 and 1978/1990 successfully eroded and destroyed much of the Native cultural heritage.

Follows continues to be listed in the Indian census documents. 1895 is shown below.

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The 1897 Indian census (below) shows Follows and White Weasel with Makes Believe he is Running and a new child, aged 2. This child is not yet named, which makes sense in the Indian culture because children are not named until they “earn” a name of some sort. In some tribes, names are changed as new names are earned.

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The family is also shown in the Indian Census of 1899 (below) where Joseph has been named, in 1900, in 1902 when Lucy has been born, in 1903, in 1904, in 1906 when Lucy is no longer with them, and in 1907.

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The June 30, 1909 Indian Census shows Follows, age 40, but White Weasel is gone and she is shown with both sons, below.

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The 1910 federal census shows a Louise Weasel on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, with sons Peter age 17 and Oscar, age 11. I don’t know if this is the same family with white names, or this is a different family. I suspect that Follows has been “renamed” Louise for the federal census document.

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The 1910 Indian census shows Follows with both boys again as well as in 1911, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1917.  In 1918, Follows is shown with only Joseph.

I cannot find either Follows or Joseph (Oscar) White Weasel in the 1920 census, although he was clearly living because he married in 1924. It’s unclear when Follows died.

The Ward Line

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John’s grandmother, Esther Ward is listed as Esther White Weasel born in 1904 on the 1945 South Dakota Census, with both of her parents born in South Dakota.

On the 1910 federal census, Esther Ward is 6 years old living with her father, Alfred Ward, age 32, married 13 years, and his wife Nellie age 28. They have another daughter, Mary, age 12 and (apparently) a son, Alec Chasing Hawk, age 2. Alec’s father is listed as having been born in Montana and mother South Dakota, white everyone else and their parents are listed as born in South Dakota – so Alec is a bit of an enigma. They also live with a man I would presume to be Alfred Ward’s’s father, although he could be Nellie’s father, as he is listed only as “father” but generally that is the relationship to the head of the household. Jerome Chasing Hawk, age 78, so born in about 1832, widowed, Sioux, a Ration Indian. However, we later discover that Alfred Ward’s father is Clarence “Roan Bear” Ward and his mother is Estella DuPris, so the identity of Jerome Chasing Hawk is quite a mystery.

Ration Indian means that they are receiving rations from the Bureau of Indian affairs, often in exchange for land traded by the tribe.

Alfred raises stock and both Alfred and Nellie can read and write, but Jerome cannot.

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In the special inquiries section, Alfred Ward is listed as ¾ Indian and ¼ white, married once, not living in polygamy, received an allotment in 1908 and is living on his own land.

Nellie is listed as full Indian, received an allotment in 1909 and has been married once.

Jerome Chasing Hawk is listed as full, married twice, not living in polygamy, and received an allotment in 1903. He is not living on his own land.

The 1900 federal census shows Chasing Hawk, a widower, as the father-in-law of Dirt Kettle, whose wife is Woman Eagle. Chasing Hawk is 68 and was born in May of 1832 in South Dakota. His father was born in an unknown location and his mother was born in North Dakota. He is a Ration Indian and does not read, write or speak English. In the special inquiries section, Chasing Hawk is noted with other name as “Cetan, unknown” and that he is full Native.

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I did not solve the mystery of Chasing Hawk’s relationship to this family.

If Alfred Ward is indeed ¼ white, then John Iron Moccasin is 1/32nd white, assuming all other ancestors were full Native.

The 1900 federal census shows Alfred Ward, age 22, with wife Pretty Voice, age 16 and daughter Irelia Ward, age 1.

Pretty Voice appears to be Nellie’s Native name.

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In the special inquiries section, Alfred is listed with both parents being Sioux, but listed as half white. Pretty Voice is listed as Sioux, all Indian with no white. He can speak English, she cannot. Alfred is shown in the photo below.

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On the 1925 Indian Census Roll, Alfred and Pretty Voice are both shown. He has number 246235 or 246285 next to his name and she has 248261 beside her name. They have 3 children.

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On the 1931 Indian Census Roll, Joseph White Weasel is listed with his wife, Esther, with their roll numbers and the identification numbers of their allotment, annuity and identification numbers.

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On the 1895 Indian census, Pretty Voice is listed as the child of Hump and White Calf is listed as Hump’s wife, although we will see in a minute why that may not mean that White Calf is Pretty Voice’s mother.

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This is a very interesting development, because Hump and White Calf are also in John Iron Moccasin’s mother’s line, as are Clarence Ward and Estella DuPris.

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The 1886 Indian Census shows Hump, age 45, with wife Beautiful Hail, age 26, and daughter Pretty Voice age 3 and Her Voice, age 2. This strongly suggests that Pretty Voice’s mother was Beautiful Hail and not White Calf.

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The 1891 Indian Census labeled “Sioux of different bands” shows Hump, age 43, his wife designated only as “Mrs.” age 21, With Pretty Voice, age 9, Sun age 6 and Hope or Hoop age 2.

The 1892 Indian Census shows that Hump, age 42, married to White Calf, with daughter Pretty Voice, age 11, Sun age 8 and Hope age 2. Her Voice is not with the family, so presumably has died.

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Pretty Voice is reported on another tree maintained by YanktonSiouxTribe, who indicates they are a professional genealogist, to be the daughter of Chief Hump, friend and mentor to Crazy Horse. YanktonSiouxTribe reports that Pretty Voice married Alfred Ward, son of Roan Bear also known as Clarence Ward and Estella Dupris, the daughter of Fred Dupris and Good Elk Woman whose photo is shown below.

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Good Elk Woman

In the 1895 Indian Census, Alfred Ward is shown living with his parents, Clarence Ward and Estelle Ward, ages 44 and 40, respectively. They would have been born in 1851 and 1855. Clarence and Estelle’s youngest son, Willie, is also John’s ancestor through his mother’s line, having married Hope (Dora) Hump.

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It’s interesting to note in reviewing the Indian census records that in the mid-1890s, many Native people did not have an English name. Some had both, but far less than half in this tribe. However, by the 1920 federal census, they all had white names.

The 1900 census shows us that Clarence Ward was born in July of 1850 in Nebraska and his parents were both born in South Dakota. He is listed as Missionary R and his wife is listed as a Ration Indian. The “R” is noted beside a number of occupations, so I would presume he is a missionary and the R may indicate “ration Indian” as well. They have been married 21 years and she has had 5 children, 4 of whom are living.

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In the special inquiries section, Clarence is listed as Sioux, as are his parents. Estella and her parents are also listed as Sioux, but she is listed as one half Native.

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In 1920, Clarence Ward was living, age 67, no occupation, wife Stella, age 64. Both were born in South Dakota and are living on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in SD.

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Clarence is reported to have died in 1933.

Stella, or Estella DuPris, was born in August 1854 to Frederick DuPris and Good Elk Woman and died on July 6, 1927. Stella married Clarence Ward (shown below), who was born in 1851 in Nebraska.

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In the 1886 Indian Census, Clarence is shown as 35, Estelle as 31 and Alfred as 9.

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The 1900 Federal census shows Clarence as a Missionary, Estelle as born in South Dakota, her father born in France and her mother born in South Dakota.

DuPris Line

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Stella’s father, Frederick Dupris, was born in 1813 in Quebec City, Quebec and died in 1898. He had 10 children with Good Elk Woman between 1845 and 1870. He died on June 16, 1898 in South Dakota. Good Elk Woman, also known as Mary Ann DuPris, died on February 13, 1900.

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Photo of Fred DuPris and his wife, Good Elk Woman and Son, Xavier Dupris, courtesy, South Dakota Historical Society.

In case there is any question about whether Fred DuPris was 100% white, the 1900 census lists his son, Fred Dupris as Sioux, father white, mother Sioux and he being one half Native. This, of course, indicates that Fred Sr. was all white.

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In the Indian Census of 1894, Good Elk Woman is listed as age 68 and is living with her daughter.

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Good Elk Woman was the daughter of One Iron Horn born about 1805 in South Dakota and Red Dressing born about 1810. Good Elk Woman was originally married to hereditary chief, Henry Makes Room and had a son, Henry Makes Room Junior.

The following information was provided by Calvin Dupree.

“The First Dupree Into South Dakota”

Frederick Dupuis came from Longueil, Quebec to Kaskaskia, Illinois and from there to the Cheyenne River area. One Dupuis brother, Pierre (known as Peter), went on up into Montana where he married an Assiniboin Sioux woman.

A French-Canadian, Fred Dupuis arrived at Fort Pierre in 1838 and was in employee of the American Fur Company under Pierre Choteau, Jr. Letters from the winter of 1861 were written to Charles Primeau from Fred Dupuis by M. C. Rousseau at the mouth of Cherry Creek. The letters were concerned with reports of the Indian bands and the number of buffalo robes Fred was sending in and a list of the materials he needed for trading and maintaining his small outpost at the mouth of Cherry Creek. The trader (Fred) was concerned that the buffalo were becoming scarce and that the Indians and their horses were “poor”.

By 1860, we must assume that Fred was married and busy with the affairs of a husband and father. He married a Minniconjou, Good Elk Woman, who became Mary Ann Dupuis. She had one son, Henry Makes Room, from a previous marriage who was adopted by Fred. Mary was the daughter of One Iron Horn and Red Dressing. Some elders in the family remember that Mary was from Cherry Creek. Mary and Fred had nine children. They were: Peter; Maggie (Fisherman); Esther (Ward); Edward; David Xavier; Alma (Blue Eyes); Fred, Jr.; Josephine (Vollin); Vetal; and Marcella (Carlin). “Not one of whom could speak English, with the exception of Edward, who was a student at Hampton, Va.”

After being an independent trader for some time (and probably as the buffalo dwindled and the Indians were put on reservations) Fred became a stock grower. He built the family home in a beautiful wooded flat on the north side of the Cheyenne River, thirty-five miles west of where it emptied into the Missouri. The patriarchal home was described as being 20 feet by 60 feet, and built of cottonwood logs. As each son or daughter married, a new small log house (called a tipi by the family) was built. These homes had dirt floor and gumbo roofs and were placed in a row near the main house. In addition there were usually a dozen tipis nearby, pitched by the full blood relatives of Mary Dupuis. The living arrangement was truly communal; the women had a large vegetable garden; the men worked the stock; all the cooking and eating was done in one cabin. One of the women baked all the bread, another cooked the meat and vegetables, and another made coffee and served the food. Three times a day 52 people ate together, along with any strangers or friends who might happen along.

The Dupuis home was known as a place for sharing good times and good food in the true Indian way. This was the era of government ration dispensing and all 52 of the family members collected their share which was hauled home in wagons from Fort Bennett, even though Old Fred was reputed to be wealthy with “several thousand head of cattle and 500 horses, a small herd of domesticated buffalo and a large amount of other property.”

The marriage of Marcella Dupuis, Old Fred’s youngest daughter, to Douglas F. Carlin, a non-Indian, of Pierre must have been a noteworthy event since newspapers from Deadwood and Pierre covered the event. Mr. Carlin was noted as the issue clerk at Cheyenne Agency. The ceremony was performed at the Dupuis home on the Cheyenne River with many important persons from the city, including the Pierre City Council, and unknown numbers of Sioux present. Forty fat steers were to be roasted. All the wedding gifts were put on exhibition after the supper, the most impressive being five hundred head of cattle and fifty ponies from Old Fred, father of the bride, and a decorated buffalo robe from sisters of the bride. The Sioux dancing continued for three days with the only interruption being a pause for more eating every three hours.

The Dupuis family’s contribution to saving the buffalo.

In 1883 (or possibly earlier) Old Fred and some of his sons and possibly Basil Clement (Claymore) went on a hunt for some buffalo calves in order to start a herd. By this time the great “surrounds” of the past were over and I can imagine that the desire to preserve at least a few of these animals, so necessary and so sacred to the Indian people, was strong. The group headed northwest from the Cheyenne River and was gone for many months and in Montana, or near Slim Buttes (reports differ), they located a small herd. They finally secured five calves (one report says nine), which were loaded into wagons brought along for that purpose. The calves were taken back to Cheyenne River.

By 1888 from this small start the Dupuis had nine pure-blood buffaloes. By the time of Old Fred’s death in 1898 the herd had grown considerably, and was purchased by James (Scotty) Philip of Fort Pierre. By 1918 (the herd) had increased to approximately 500 head. The State of South Dakota purchased 46 of these buffalo and transferred them to the State Game Park in Fall River County. Hearsay has it that Scotty Philip sold buffalo to other states and parks also, spreading the original Dupuis stock back into many areas where the buffalo once roamed free by the millions.

Old Fred died in 1898 at about age 80. Then, as now, a death was the occasion for sharing through a Give-Away of all the deceased’s belongings. From Aunt Molly Dupris Annis Rivers, Old Fred’s grand-daughter, I have heard the colorful story of how some of the Dupuis wealth was distributed. It is said that according to Lakota custom, any one who happened by was entitled to a gift and this even included a group of Crow Indians, traditional enemies of the Sioux since anyone can remember. The Crows were invited to join the other guests as they filed by a horse whose saddle bags had been filled with silver dollars. Each person took a silver dollar until they were gone; the next person in line was given the saddle, and the last person received the horse. And in this way, and probably by several other methods, Old Fred’s money and property were shared with the people. None of his oft mentioned wealth was inherited by any of his family.

Records indicate that Good Elk Woman, Mary Dupuis, died in 1900 at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Tom (Alma) Blue Eyes. One can only wonder about her life after Old Fred died, just as one wonders about her years of living, first as a child at Cherry Creek, then as a young wife of Makes Room and finally as Mary Ann Dupuis, mother of nine half French and half Lakota children. No stories about Mary have come down to me. Her life during the early time of tragedy and defeat for the Indian people cannot have been an easy one.

Old Fred and Mary, and many of their descendants, are buried in the Dupuis Cemetery on the hill above the river flat where their family home once was. Nearby is the old ”Buffalo Church”.

Old Fred and Mary may be gone, but South Dakota will not forget them. Dupree Creek runs into Rudy Creek and then into the Cheyenne River near the old home site, and the (town) of Dupree is located about 40 miles north of Cherry Creek where Old Fred carried on his fur trading. Just west of the Dupuis cemetery and the old church, in a draw filled with wild plums and chokecherries, the Dupree Spring (called the Circle P Spring, or Garrett Spring today) still furnishes clear, sweet water.

Imagine the hundreds of trips made to this spring, winter and summer, to haul water for the Dupuis family living down the hill by the river in the 1800’s.

The name, though changed from Dupuis to Dupris and in some cases to Dupree, has been carried all over South Dakota and to probably every state in the U.S. by their hundreds of descendants.

Calvin Dupree is the son of Adelia Fielder and Jonas E. Dupris; son of Sarah Red Horse and Frank Dupris; son of Harriet Cadotte and Xavier (David) Dupuis; son of Mary Ann Good Elk Woman and Frederick Dupuis. Calvin Dupree is presently a member of the faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada.

According to Suzanne DuPree, a descendant, Fred DuPris (in later generations spelled DePree), and Good Elk Woman are buried in the DuPris Memorial Cemetery on the hill above the river flat where their family one was once location, near the old “Buffalo Church.”

FindAGrave lists Fred DuPris’s birth date as September 5, 1819 and his death as July 16, 1898. His wife, Mary Ann, born as Good Elk Woman, is shown as being born in 1824 and passing over on February 13, 1900. The maps below are from FindAGrave.

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The Sioux Chief, Hump’s Line

John descends from Chief Hump twice, apparently through two different wives; Beautiful Hail and White Calf. John Iron Moccasin’s family information indicates that Hump had 4 wives: Good Voice/Good Woman, Brings Her, Stands As A Woman and Bessie/White Calf Woman. The census provides information about Beautiful Hail and White Calf, but we have no further information about Humps’s other two wives.

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Hump, also known as Thomas Hump, lived until December 11, 1908 where he died in Cherry Creek, SD.

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Photo courtesy of the South Dakota State Historical Society

Born in Montana, Hump became a leader of the Cherry Creek Band of Minneconjou Sioux. In 1876 he fought in the Battle of the Rosebud against Gen. Crook, shown below in the wood engraving below depicting the Sioux charging Colonel Royall’s attachment on June 17th.

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Hump also fought on Calhoun Hill in the Battle of the Little Big Horn with Crazy Horse, Gall and others against Custer and the 7th Calvary on June 25th where he received a bullet wound in his leg, according to the National Park Service.

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The Lakota Museum and Cultural Center tells us the following about Hump.

Etokeah, a Minniconjou Lakota war chief, was a great leader. He is especially known for his skills during the 19th Century Lakota-US Government battles. His exact birth date and facts of parentage were not recorded. However, he first came into public notice in 1866. Then, he led the charge against Captain William Fetterman’s soldiers outside Fort Phil Kearney in Wyoming.

Hump did not sign the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1866. Because of his action, he was deemed a hostile or “non-treaty” chief by the US Government. He was a comrade-in-arms of Crazy Horse, Red Cloud and other great Sioux chiefs of the period. In 1876, he led his warriors into battle against Generals George Crook and George Custer.

After the defeat of the Sioux in the 1880s, he briefly lived in Canada. He eventually returned to the United States but remained hostile to the whites. In company with most of the Sioux, his band was intrigued by the Ghost Dance religion, which culminated in the massacre at Wounded Knee Creek in 1890.

Although Hump seems never to have become a true believer, he did lead his people in the Ghost Dance raids until early December of 1890. The US Army was alarmed by the Ghost Dance, and they sent emissaries to all of the major chiefs.

Captain Ezra Ewers – an old friend – was sent to speak with Hump. Ewers convinced Hump of the futility in armed resistance. At this point, Hump separated his band from the Dancers and led them to the Pine Ridge Agency.

As Hump was breaking camp, refugees from Sitting Bull’s group arrived and related how their leader had been killed during an arrest attempt. Sitting Bull’s people were eager to find allies as they sought revenge. Hump refused to help, and the refugees set out to join Big Foot near Wounded Knee Creek.

After the infamous massacre and subsequent events in 1890, Hump and several other Sioux chiefs went to Washington, D.C. They pleaded for fair treatment of their people.

Some of their requests were honored; however, the chiefs failed to gain concessions in other important areas. Reservation confinement continued, effectively ending the old way of life.

Hump died at Cherry Creek, South Dakota on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in December 1908 at the age of 70. He is buried in the Episcopal Cemetery near there.

According to records provided by John Iron Moccasin’s family, Hump’s father was Iron Bull “TaTankaMaza”, and his mother was Ziti “Yellow Lodge”. Hump was born about 1848 when his father was 28 and his mother was 21.

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This photo was taken ca. 1879 by photographer by L.A. Huffman. The notation is that the photo is of Hump and his favorite wives. One of these women could well have been Beautiful Hail given that she appears to have had children in both 1882 and 1883 with Hump. He does look to be significantly older than the women.

Hump is shown with other Sioux leaders in this 1891 photograph.

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1891 Sioux Delegation LA-NA-DA-Kota

Front Row Seated; L to R: High Hawk, Fire Lightning, Little Wound, Two Strike, Young Man Afraid of His Horses, Spotted Elk (Oglala), Big Road; (2nd row standing) F.D. Lewis, He Dog, Spotted Horse, American Horse, Maj Gen Sword, Louis Shangreaux, Bat Pourier; (3rd row, standing) Dave Zephier, Hump, High Pipe, Fast Thunder, Rev. Charles Cook, and P.T. Johnson. Denver Public Library

In the 1900 federal census of the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, district 48 in Sterling County, SD, the last census in which Hump was alive, he is shown on the census as having been married 20 years, born in April 1850 in Montana, with both of his parents born in the same place. He is a Ration Indian and he does not read, write or speak English. In the special inquiries section, he is listed as Sioux, his father as Sioux Cheyenne and his mother as Sioux. He is listed as entirely Native and in this census, is not listed as polygamous.

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His wife is listed on the next page as White Calf to whom he has been married for 20 years, so dating back to 1880. Of course, as suggested by the picture taken circa 1879 and the 1886 census in which Hump is married to 26 year old Beautiful Hail, White Calf was not his only wife. Given that Pretty Voice appeared in the census in 1876 with Beautiful Hail as a young child, I would presume that Beautiful Hail is Pretty Voice’s mother.

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Dora, who was born in 1891, is not shown living with Hump. I cannot find her elsewhere on the census. However, remember that Native people changed their names. Hope is listed as being born in July of 1889 in Montana.

In the 1917 Indian Census, Hope Hump is also listed as Dora, age 26, married to Willie Ward who was born in 1889. This shows us that Dora is Hope or Hoop Hump on the earlier census records.

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According to the 1900 census, Hope was born in July of 1889 in Montana, as were both of her parents. She does not read, write or speak English. She is 100% Sioux.

The following information was provided by http://files.usgwarchives.org/sd/ziebach/history/chap16-2.txt

Born in Montana in 1848 or 1850, Hump became a leader of the Cherry Creek band of Minneconjou Sioux.   In 1876 he fought in the Battle of the Rose bud against General George Crook and in the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

He later joined Sitting Bull’s band and other exiles in Canada.  Being considered American Indians, the exiles received no rations from the Canadian government. By 1881 the buffalo and other game were disappearing and the exiles returned to Fort Buford where they surrendered. They were taken to Fort Yates by steamboat. Later the Minneconjou under Hump and Fool Heart and the Sans Arc, led by Spotted Eagle and Circle Bear, were taken down the Missouri River to the Cheyenne River Agency, near their traditional camping grounds along the Cherry Creek and Cheyenne River.  They arrived at the Cheyenne River by May of 1882 and many of the Minneconjou settled near Cherry Creek, 50 miles west of the agency.

Hump and Big Foot became the most influential men on the Cheyenne River.  The Cherry Creek/Hump Band greatly opposed the land agreements of 1888 and 1889.  In 1890, the Ghost Dance found its greatest following in the Cherry Creek camps.

After Sitting Bull was killed on the Grand River, many of his followers fled south and camped a few miles above the junction of the Cherry Creek and Cheyenne River.  When the army at Fort Bennett moved to suppress the Ghost Dancing, Hump used his influence against the Ghost Dance. In the dead of winter he rode with two men from the garrison and two other scouts, 40 miles to persuade the Sitting Bull camp to surrender and move to Fort Bennett.  Those who did not surrender joined Spotted Elk, also known as Big Foot. When his band later fled toward Pine Ridge, they were met by the Army at Wounded Knee.

Hump was given 500 heifers for his service to the United States Government. These he turned loose, to share with his people. The heifers wandered near Leslie and many died of pinkeye.

Hump continued to work for his tribe until his death in 1908. He is buried in Cherry Creek.

HUMP

Told by John Hump

Hump (Thomas) was born in 1850 to Mashes His Nails/Iron Bull and Ziti/Mrs. Iron Bull (1827-1917) in Montana.

Hump’s brother, Little Crow, had been born in 1844. Hump’s sister, White Cow, married Fish (d. 1919) and had a son, James Fish (b. 1889) and a daughter. They lived on Rosebud.

Hump grew up in Montana. He had three or four wives, some of whom lived in Montana and were Crow.

While the Indians still roved in bands, he started to gather them together, to settle down and become ‘civilized’. Hump came down the Missouri River when the Army brought them to the Cheyenne River on boats. Their stock were driven over land.  Bertha Lyman Hump’s mother’s family came from Montana with Hump’s band.

Hump even joined the Army to work toward settling down. He was a scout from December of 1890 until June of 1891. He was discharged at Fort Bennett.

There were three Hump Flats. One east of Bridger, one by Iron Lightning and one across from Cherry Creek. All are so named because he lived on them. On the way to Montana for a visit, Hump camped with Iron Lightning on the Moreau River. At that time they chose their allotments. Iron Lightning community was later named for Iron Lightning after he moved there.

Hump had several wives. His son, by Good Voice/Good Woman, was Samuel Helper/ Stand by of Oglala, born in 1876.

Hump’s wife, White Calf/Bessie (d. 1915) was the mother of Pretty Voice/Nellie (b. 1882: Mrs. Alfred Ward); Important Woman/Sarah (b.1884: Mrs. Silas Yellow Owl); Spotted Bear who died in infancy; Dora (b.1891: Mrs. William Ward); Didn’t Drop/Nelson Hump, born in 1898 (no issue); William Miles Hump, born in 1900 and died in 1917 at Dupree, (no issue); and John Hump, born in 1904.

JOHN HUMP

John Hump was born at Cherry Creek, four years before his father’s death in 1908. Hump is buried at the Episcopal Cemetery in Cherry Creek.  John went to Carson Day School, Pierre Indian School and Rapid City Indian School.  In 1935 or 1936, he married Bertha Lyman, daughter of Ed Lyman. John transferred his heir ship lands from the Moreau River to Red Scaffold.

John and Bertha lived on the flat south of the (Cherry) creek, on her folks’ allotments. In 1954/1957 they moved north to their present home.  John went into the cattle business on the Rehab program. John and

Bertha’s sons, Duane and Darrell, now run the ranch.

Darrell is married to Alvina Runs After and Duane is married to Doris Halfred.

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The 1910 census taken at Cherry Creek station shows us that White Calf’s mother was Roan Hair, age 72, so born about 1838. She shows the birth of only one child.

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The special inquiries section tells us that she is Teton Sioux, full Native, married once, not polygamous, lived in an aboriginal dwelling and received her allotment in 1903.

Roan Hair is shown in the Indian census of the Cheyenne River Sioux in 1896 as the wife of Ragged, both age 56.

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Four years later, in 1901, they are shown again.

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Hump died on December 10, 1908 and is buried in the Episcopal Cemetery in Cherry Creek, SD.

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Hump’s Memorial at FindAGrave adds some additional information not found elsewhere.

Native American Chief. Sioux name “Etokeah.” Although very little is known about Hump’s early life, he eventually rose to become a Chief among the Miniconjou Sioux and was an active participant in the Red Cloud war. With Crazy Horse at the Rosebud Battle against George Crook, Hump led his Miniconjou Sioux, helping stop the column in their trek to meet Custer prior to the Little Big Horn. At the Little Big Horn, when the alarm was sounded, Hump jumped onto an unknown mount, and it which threw him to the ground. Hump rushed, mounted another horse and charged toward the soldiers. His horse was shot from under him and a bullet entered above the horse’s knee and went further into Hump’s hip. Hump was strained there due to the wound and did not participate in the main battle. Later, Hump went to Canada, and his band returned to the United States, the last of all the bands to return. On the reservation when other tribes had adopted white dress and housing, Hump’s band settled at Cherry Creek in South Dakota and maintained the old ways using lodges and traditional clothing. On the reservation when the authority of other chiefs wained, Hump continued to assert leadership over his band. Some said that Hump was feared by the whites even more than Sitting Bull. When the Ghost Dance religion surfaced among the Sioux, the military did not dare arrest Hump. Instead, they reassigned Captain Ezra Ewers, a trusted friend of the chief, to Fort Bennet in South Dakota. Ewers rode the 60 miles to Hump’s camp at Cherry Creek. Impressed with Ewer’s courage, Hump listened to his message and avoided the Ghost Dance religion. After the Wounded Knee Massacre, Hump along with other prominent Sioux went to Washington, DC pleading for a peaceful end to the tragedy. Interestingly enough, it was also Hump who taught the basic lessons of warfare to his better-known student, Crazy Horse. His grave is located on the west edge of the town of Cherry Creek.

This photo of Cherry Creek, probably in the early 1900s, shows both traditional teepees and more stationary buildings. This lends understanding to the special inquiries section of the census, and shows us what “fixed” dwellings look like as compared to “moveable.”

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The Hale Line

John’s mother was the daughter of Isabelle Ward and Robert Hale.

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South Dakota Marriage records show that Robert Clifford Hale, age 23, married Isabel Ward on May 3, 1946. Both lived in Cherry Creek, SD.

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Robert died on August 1, 2008. His photo and obituary are shown below.

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Death: Aug. 1, 2008 Sturgis Meade County South Dakota, USA
Robert “Bob” Clifford Hale, who lived in Cherry Creek, had the Lakota name Min A’ Kyan, which translates to Flies Over the Sea. While he may not have flown over the sea, he did ride the sea as a sailor in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Bob, at age 85, died Friday, Aug. 1, 2008, at the Fort Meade Veterans Hospital near Sturgis. He is survived by Larry (Delia) Hale, Theresa Hale, Herbert Hale and Cleo Hale, all of Cherry Creek, Martha (Erick) Hernandez of Chicago, Ill., Richard Hale of Rapid City, Connie (James) Bear Stops of Red Scaffold and Lavinia Hale-Eagle Chasing of Eagle Butte; grandchildren, Maude Hale, Denise and Richard Crow Ghost, Dawn Kills Crow, Angelic and Willard Demery of Cherry Creek, Amber and Alton Blacktail Deer Sr. of Manderson, Timothy Jr., Earl and Mary Iron Moccasin of Rosebud, Teno, Taun and Krista Bear Stops of Red Scaffold, Rhiana, Richard Jr. and Joshua Hale of Cherry Creek, Angel Prendergast and Aberham White Weasel of Rapid City, Maxine Flying By, Marsha Eagle Chasing of Eagle Butte, Sarah, Elizabeth, Mark and Posey Garter of Albuquerque, N.M., and Clinton and Kyle Harrison of Takini. Also surviving are his great great grandchildren, Morgan and Jasmine Hale, Eric Jarvis and Dewey Kills Crow, Kyra, Danieal and Alyssa Hayes, Adrienne and Royce Jr. Marrow Bone, Eric, Jarvis, Dewey, Drake and Autumn Kills Crow, Shantay Crow Ghost, Alton Blacktail Deer Jr., La’tia, Tyree and Lashae Bear Stops, D’Nica Ducheneaux, Tretyn Red Elk, Sage Bowker, Sarah Patryas, Jordan and Sierra Iron Moccasin, and Kleigh, Dawnelle and Deaconn Garter. Robert was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Ellen Hale; sisters, Claira Hale-Fritz, Myrtle Hale-Little Shield, Don’ta Black Tail Bear, Drazen Black Tail Bear, Mary Isabbella Kills Crow, Clifford Merle Hale; brothers, Martin and Wilson Hale; one daughter, Charmaine Hale Harrison; and his paternal grandparents. Funeral services for Robert were Saturday, Aug. 9, at the new Community Building in Cherry Creek. Ted Knife, Erick Hernandez and Elmer Zimmerman officiated. Hernandez read Matthew 7:7. Special music was provided by Buzzy Yellow Hawk, Daryl Whipple, the Tiospaye Singers, Michelle White Wolf and the Mennonite Singers. Harvey Eagle Horse played the Honor Song. Casketbearers were Bob’s grandsons, Joshua Hale, Taun Bear Stops, Timothy White Weasel Hr., Clinton Harrison, Posey Garter, Maris Reindall, Richard Hale Jr., Teno Bear Stops, Eric V. Kills Crow, Kyle Harrison, Mark Garter and Danny Hayes Sr. Honorary bears included all military veterans and all Bob’s other friends and relatives. Burial was at the UCC Cemetery in Cherry Creek under the direction of Oster Funeral home of Mobridge. Mobridge Tribune Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The US Department of Veteran’s Affairs BIRLS Death File lists Robert Hale’s birth and death dates and his service branch as Navy from July 24, 1942 to November 27, 1942.

The Social Security death index shows that Robert was born on Sept. 7, 1922.

I cannot find this family in 1920, 1930 or 1940 in the census, nor in the Indian census. It’s possible that the parents and siblings names are incorrect or nicknames.

Robert’s parents were given as Joseph Hale and Ellen in his obituary. John’s mother reports that Joseph Hale’s name was Joseph “Blows on Himself” and that this is the end of that line because they migrated from Canada on “the big trail.” I found nothing about this family at Ancestry or utilizing Google. It’s possible that the family was not living as a nuclear family as a recognizable unit.

The 1940 census shows a Joseph Hale, age 48, widowed, an Indian, as an inmate in the Davison County, South Dakota Jail, but we don’t know if this is the same Joseph Hale.  However, this is the only Joseph Hale in South Dakota, or for that matter, in that part of the country.

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This Joseph was widowed, an Indian and born on an Indian Reservation, so it may well be the correct Joseph. It would be interesting to see if any court records still exist relative to this case.

I found scanty information on the following individuals from the obituary listing them as siblings of Robert Clifford Hale.

  • Claira Hale – married Elmer Fritz on February 27, 1962 , born about 1926.
  • Mytrle Hale – Myrtle Faye Hale married Theophil Little Shield and died in SD at age 65.
  • Don’ta Black Tail Bear – nothing
  • Drazen Black Tail Bear – nothing
  • Mary Isabella Hale Kills Crow – nothing
  • Clifford Merle Hale – nothing
  • Martin Hale – if the same Martin, died in 1935 of appendicitis, age 20.
  • Wilson Hale born about 1921 married Eunice Eagle Horse. He died in 1950 in Ziebach County. In the 1940 census he is living with the Straight Head family which would make sense if his mother was deceased and his father was in jail.

The Second Ward Line

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John Iron Moccasin’s grandmother on his mother’s side was Isabella Ward, born in 1925 or 1927.

The 1930 Federal census shows Isabella Ward, age 5, living with her parents in Ziebach County, SD. Her mother, Dora is listed as a full blood and her father, William, a mixed blood, all born in South Dakota and Sioux.

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Her father is listed as a farmer.

We’ve already met Dora (Hope) Hump, daughter of Chief Hump and probably White Calf and William Ward, son of Clarence “Roan Bear” Ward and Estella Dupris.

DNA Results

Now for the most exciting part – the DNA results. Do John’s DNA results bear out his genealogy?

John’s tribal card says that he is at least 15/16th Native. That is accurate, given that he is 1/16th French on both his mother and father’s sides, from the same ancestor.

In percentages, for autosomal DNA, that translates into 6.25% white and 93.75% Native.

When I’m working with descendants of tribes located east of the Mississippi, I understand that they are very likely heavily admixed with (primarily) European males, and significantly so prior to 1800 and in most cases, prior to 1700. However, the Sioux are somewhat different. Except for occasional traders and missionaries, they essentially escaped the widespread influence of Europeans until the 1800s. With few exceptions, I would not expect to find earlier mixing with Europeans, meaning English, French or Spanish, or Africans.

Because of the history of the Sioux tribe, the sheer number of Sioux across a wide geography, and the lack of early European admixture, John’s DNA represents an opportunity to obtain a genetic view of a people not significantly admixed.

Endogamy

We know from John’s family tree that he shares at least 3 ancestors and possibly 4 on both his mother’s and father’s side of the family. Those ancestors are 4 generations up the tree from John.

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In most cases, one’s great-great-grandparents would each contribute, on average, 6.25% of your DNA. In John’s case, he received a double dose of the DNA of each of those ancestors. If John received the exact same DNA from those ancestors, from both sides, he would still only have 6.25 % of their DNA. This is very unlikely, because normally siblings share part of their parent’s DNA, but not all of it. Conversely, it would be very unlikely for John to inherit none of the same DNA from that ancestor from both lines. Therefore, it’s most likely that instead of 6.25% of the DNA from that each ancestor who is found twice at 4 generations, he would carry about 9.38% of their DNA, or about half a generation closer than one would expect.

And that goes for all 3 common ancestors. We’re not sure which of Hump’s wives gave birth to which children, so this could also apply to Hump’s wife, a 4th ancestor.

Furthermore, these individuals in the tribes are likely already very heavily inter-married and related to each other, long before any records. There were only a limited number of people to select as mates, and all of those people also descended from the same ancestors, who were part of a very small foundation population that migrated from Asia some 10,000 to 25,000 years ago, depending on which model you subscribe to.

Therefore, endogamy and pedigree collapse where one shares common known ancestors would be a phenomenon that has occurred since the time of Anzick Child, and before.

John’s Tests

We tested John’s DNA at Family Tree DNA where his Y, mitochondrial and autosomal DNA was tested. John’s Y DNA shows us the deep ancestry of the White Weasel line. The mitochondrial shows us the deep ancestry of Dora (Hope or Hoop) Hump, daughter of Hump, presumably through wife, White Calf.

John’s autosomal DNA shows us an overall ethnicity view, plus matches to autosomal cousins. Let’s see what we have.

Autosomal Results

John’s myOrigins results show that he is roughly 17% European and the rest a combination of Native and Asian that together represents 84%.

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One of the aspects that I find most interesting is that the portion of Europe that shows a genetic link is Finland, not France where 6.25% of John’s paper trail ancestry is from.

Finland is particularly interesting in light of the result of the Clovis Anzick Child burial found in Montana that dates from about 12,500 years ago. We have the Anzick Child’s results in the Family Tree DNA data base, compliments of both Felix Immanuel and Family Tree DNA.

The Anzick child’s myOrigins results are shown below.

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The Anzick Child’s DNA ethnic results are very similar to John’s. Anzick Child matches the reference population for Finland at 11%, where John matches at 17%.

Furthermore, John Iron Moccasin is one of 110 people in the data base today that actually match the Anzick Child’s DNA at contemporary levels.

The match threshold at Family Tree DNA today is:

  • No minimum number of shared cM required, but if the cM total is less than 20, then at least one segment must be 9cM or larger.
  • If the longest block of shared DNA is greater than 9cM, the match will show regardless of total shared cM or the number of matching segments.

Lowering the match threshold to 3cM, we can see several small segments that match between John and the Anzick Child.

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I downloaded their common matching segments.

Chromosome Start Location End Location centiMorgans (cM) # of Matching SNPs
1 4282649 5290332 2.56 500
2 98863262 101324606 1.69 600
2 112439588 114460466 1.71 500
2 169362301 170609544 2.27 500
3 8964806 10632877 3.03 600
3 14230971 16121247 2.83 600
3 46655067 53174054 1.28 1000
4 12866760 14721835 1.85 500
5 78642903 80323930 1.64 500
5 158757557 162829228 3.82 1000
6 34609507 36812814 2.88 600
6 127839067 130105402 2 500
7 76597648 78055762 2.84 500
7 99319352 101758792 2.05 600
8 10455449 12975017 2.68 700
8 30301880 34206702 3.45 799
9 26018352 27374204 2.37 500
9 104470303 106854637 3.76 777
10 71258510 72644677 1.46 600
10 102514460 106018240 2.65 800
10 110936823 113553555 3.83 700
11 32265994 34530393 3.35 700
11 91619854 94670011 3.71 800
11 102068510 103853340 1.76 500
12 27332778 29165805 1.66 500
12 96875639 99784589 2.74 700
13 55048728 58723000 1.66 600
13 78707414 80906921 1.34 500
14 22564888 24752111 3.59 800
14 68418807 70225737 1.65 500
14 76767325 78038237 1.71 500
16 12528330 14375990 5.49 659
18 33126219 35069488 1.37 500
19 8284870 13355259 7.87 1278
20 45913972 47494552 3.17 500

Their largest matching segments are on chromosome 19 for 7.87 cM and on 16 for 5.49 cM.

The genetic connection between the Anzick Child and John Iron Moccasin is evident. John’s tribe is descended from the same people as the Anzick Child who was buried in present day Montana. John’s ancestors, Hump, Roan Hair and Follows were all born in Montana, and the Sioux homelands stretched across this entire region.

This begs the question of whether John is simply lucky to have inherited these segments, or if they are found widely in the Native, particularly Sioux, population as a whole.

To help answer this question, I looked at John’s closest 4 matches along with the Anzick Child in the chromosome browser, compared to John’s DNA.

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At 5cM there is no overlap with John’s closest matches and the Anzick Child, whose DNA is shown in green, above. However, dropping the threshold to 3, below, shows overlap with Thomas’s closest match on chromosome 19 at 4.98 cM and other chromosomes in smaller amounts. This would suggest that perhaps the DNA that is the same as the Anzick Child’s does not repose in the entire tribal population.

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Let’s take a look another way.

John and the Anzick Child at GedMatch

At GedMatch, John matches the Anzick Child on slightly different segments than at Family Tree DNA. It’s not unusual for different vendors to produce slightly different results. In this case, the match on chromosome 16 is absent altogether, and there are larger segment matches on chromosomes 8 and 14 using a 5cM and 500 SNP threshold.  Chromosome 22 shows a match not present at Family Tree DNA.

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I was curious to see how many people matched John on his segments shared with the Anzick Child.

John matches a total of 2119 people at GedMatch at 5cM and 500 SNPs.

John’s results for his two largest segments, chromosome 16 (at FTDNA) and 19 were different. Chromosome 16, the smaller match, was generally unremarkable, but his chromosome 19 was a different story, carrying many names and surnames that I recognize.

Let’s take a look at the triangulation tool and see what we find there. We are looking for anyone who triangulates with both John and Anzick Child. This tool reports every triangulated match in excess of 5cM.

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Using the triangulation tool, no one triangulates, meaning matches both John and the Anzick child, on either chromosome 16 or 19. This suggests that all of John’s matches showing are on the “other” chromosome and that this chromosome segment is fairly rare.

If one of John’s parents were to test, we could identify which of John’s parents was matching Anzick, so we would know which side of John’s family these individuals are matching on these segments, assuming these matches are not identical by chance.

Out of curiosity, I triangulated Anzick Child’s kit to see if there were any triangulated groups. There were, but none that included John.

At GedMatch, let’s use the “Are Your Parents Related?” utility. We know that John’s parents are related, but are any of the segments that came from both parents the same segment that is found in John’s Anzick match? The match threshold at GedMatch for this tool is 7cM and 700 SNPs, so the only segment that would qualify would be this segment on chromosome 19, shown above in green.

19 8284870 13355259 7.87 1278

The “Are Your Parents Related?” tool at GedMatch shows the following results.

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According to GedMatch, this segment of chromosome 19 was not contributed by both of John’s parents, so this portion of the Anzick DNA is not found universally in the entire Native population in that region.

One last look at John’s DNA by comparing to the Ancient group contributed at GedMatch shows no segments 4cM or above that match with any ancient specimen other than the Clovis (Anzick) Child, including no match to the Paleo Eskimo in Greenland from 4,000 years ago and no match to Kennewick Man. The tiny orange bars represent matching segments at 400 SNPs and 4cM.

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John’s Mitochondrial DNA

John’s mitochondrial DNA comes directly from his matrilineal line, meaning from his mother, her mother, her mother, on up the tree until you run out of direct line mothers.

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In this case, that person winds up being Hump’s wife. We think that person is probably  White Calf, but it could be one of Hump’s other wives. We just don’t know for sure given that Hump was polygamous.

Mitochondrial DNA is passed intact in each generation, doesn’t get combined with the father’s DNA so it’s a direct line back in time.

Johns’s mitochondrial haplogroup is clearly Native, C4c1.

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Haplogroup C4c1 was originally reported in the Suswap by Ripan Malhi; in the Chippewa Creek and in Jasper House, Alberta Canada, in 2015 by Roberta Estes from the American Indian project.

At the HVR1 level, John has 62 exact matches, but he has no matches at the HVR2 or full sequence levels. This means that of the people who have tested at that level, he has more than 4 differences at the full sequence level. Translated, this means they don’t share common ancestors in hundreds to thousands of years.

Only 8 of John’s HVR1 matches have tested at the full sequence level, unfortunately.

Of those, the earliest ancestors are Spanish, indicating that they are probably from either the American southwest, or further south, and their haplogroup C ancestor was eventually associated with the Spanish. One is from New Mexico. One is from Michigan.

Few of John’s matches have entered the location of their most distant ancestor, but those who have provided that information are shown below at the HVR1 level, understanding that a common ancestor at that level could predate the migration into the Americas.

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Utilizing the information provided through the Genographic project, we find the following information about haplogroup C4c1.

im-c4c1-geno

This provides very interesting geographic distribution information, but it also begs the question of how haplogroup C4c1 was found in Germany or Sweden. Of course, we are relying on participant-reported information and it’s certainly possible that two individuals misunderstood the directions. It’s also possible that one or both are legitimate. I have wondered for a long time about a link between the northern Scandinavian populations, especially subarctic, and the Native subarctic populations in North America.

According to Dr. Doron Behar in the supplement to his paper titled, “A Copernican” Reassessment of the Human Mitochondrial DNA Tree from its Root,” haplogroup C4c1 was born about 10,095 years ago with a standard deviation of 4550 years, meaning the range of time in which C4c1 was born in likely 5,545 to 14,645 years ago. Clearly, there is enough latitude in this date range for some C4c1 to be found in either Asia or Europe, and C4c1 to be found in the Americas as well. If this is indeed the case, one would expect for the variants of C4c1 found on the differing continents to contain a significant difference in mutations, exceeding the 4 mutations allowed for genealogical matching purposes at Family Tree DNA.

To date, there has been no ancient DNA recovered bearing this haplogroup.

Other Mitochondrial Results

Individuals descending from several of John’s maternal lines would be perfect candidates to test for the mitochondrial DNA of those lines. One must descend from these women through all females to the current generation:

  • Follows
  • Esther Ward – Nellie “Pretty Voice” – Beautiful Hail or White Calf
  • Ellen (wife of Joseph Hale)

Testing a female descended through Pretty Voice, mother of Esther Ward, would determine whether or not White Calf was the mother of Pretty Voice, or if it was another woman, probably Beautiful Hail.

John’s Y DNA

John inherited his Y DNA chromosome from Charley White Weasel.

im-white-weasel

John’s Y haplogroup is Q-M242, a Native haplogroup.

im-y-hap-q

John tested to the 67 marker level, but has no matches at 67 markers. At 12, 25 and 37 markers, he matches a gentleman whose ancestor was from Fort Thomson, SD who also tested at 67 markers. That is John’s only match, so apparently John carries some unusual mutations in his Y DNA as well that are probably isolated to people from the Sioux tribe or their ancestors in the past a few hundred to thousands of years.

im-y-matches-map

On the map above, John’s match is shown and on the map below, John’s white balloon is shown where he was born in relation to that of his red balloon match.

im-y-matches-map-2

To obtain additional information about John’s Y DNA haplogroup, the Big Y test would need to be run on his sample. By running the Big Y, we could obtain a more granular haplogroup, meaning further down the tree, and we could also see who matches him more distantly, meaning further back in time. That information could well provide us with information indicating which groups of Native people John is most closely related to. That suggests a migration route or pathway and tells us about social interactions at some level hundreds to thousands of years in the past.

Anzick Child’s Y DNA haplogroup is Q-L54, a subgroup of Q-M242, shown on the haplotree below. You can also see that many subgroups below L54 have been discovered.

im-hap-q-tree

I strongly suspect that John’s haplogroup would be Q-L54 or a subgroup further downstream. I’m betting on a subgroup, meaning that mutations have occurred in John’s line that define a newer, younger haplogroup since the time that Anzick Child and John shared a common ancestor.

Other Y Line Results

I was hopeful that I would find results for John’s Ward or Hale line in the projects at Family Tree DNA, but I did not. I checked in the American Indian project for Hump, with the hope that one of his descendants has tested as well, but did not find that Hump is yet represented in the data base. Of course, anyone paternally descended from Hump’s father, Iron Bull or his father, Black Buffalo would carry the same Y DNA.

If anyone descends from these direct Y lines, please do let us know.

Summary

What we have been able to discover about John’s ancestry both through traditional genealogy and genetic genealogy has been both amazing and fascinating.

John now knows that he is connected to the Anzick Child, the Ancient One. John’s ancestors and Anzick’s were one and the same. Some 12,500 years later, John was born on the same land where his ancestors have literally lived “forever.”

Anzick has given John a wonderful gift, and John has given that gift to the rest of us. We continue to learn through both John and Anzick’s contributions. Thank you to both.

What’s Next?

I would very much like to upgrade John’s Y DNA to 111 markers and order a Big Y test while the holiday sale is in effect. If you would like to contribute to these tests of discovery, please donate to the American Indian project general fund at this link. If we raise more than we need for John’s tests, we have implemented an application process for other Native people. Every donation helps, and helps to build our knowledge base – so please contribute if you can.

Acknowledgements

My gratitude to the following people:

John Iron Moccasin for testing, providing family information and allowing us to work with and publish his results.

John’s mother, Martha Hale, for providing the original genealogical information, below.

im-original-pedigree

Johns’ friend, Pam, for bringing us this opportunity.

John’s wife, Carolyn, for coordinating information.

Family Tree DNA for testing and facilitating the Ancient DNA Project, the American Indian Project and various Native American haplogroup projects.

nat-geo-logoThe National Geographic Society Genographic Project for providing data base access to the project administrators of the American Indian Project as Affiliate Researchers

Project members and others for contributions to facilitate John’s testing.

My American Indian project co-administrators, Marie Rundquist and Dr. David Pike for their never-failing support.

Elizabeth Campbell (c1802-1827/1830) and the Alabama Frontier, 52 Ancestors #138

Elizabeth Campbell’s birth year is known only through the ages of her children. Daughter Ruthy Dodson was born on March 1, 1820. It’s believed that Elizabeth married shortly before that time to Lazarus Dodson who was born in 1795. Therefore Elizabeth was probably born sometime between 1795 and 1802.

Elizabeth was raised on Little Sycamore Road in Claiborne County, Tennessee by her parents, John Campbell and Jane “Jenny” Dobkins.

Elizabeth’s father, John Campbell, purchased this land in 1802 when the family moved from near Dodson Creek in Hawkins County.  Elizabeth could have been born in Hawkins County and moved to Claiborne as a toddler, or born right here in this house.

Campbell house

The Campbell house still stands today beside Liberty Baptist Church and beneath Liberty Cemetery where John Campbell and Jenny Dobkins are probably buried.

Liberty cemetery

Looking down from the cemetery, which is on the top of the “hill” behind the house, which is really a mountain, you can see the top of the Campell home.

Campbell house from cemetery

The current owners told me about the secret room under the foundation. Did Elizabeth play there as a child?

Campbell foundation

Elizabeth assuredly carried water from the spring.

Campbell spring

A natural spring provided clean drinking water for the family and would have been one of the primary reasons John Campbell selected this location. It would have been the children’s job to fetch water in a bucket. These old trees were likely standing when Elizabeth dipped into the fresh cool water emanating from the stones that mark the spring, even yet today.

Campbell spring 2

Viewed from a different direction, you can see that it wasn’t far from the spring to the house. The spring, here, is the ditch at the base of the trees.

Campbell property

The original steps that Elizabeth climbed still remain, as does the original doorway. The cabin underneath is made of logs.

Campbell step

We also know that Elizabeth’s children visited the same spring, trod the same land and probably jumped off of this same step, following in their mother’s absent footsteps.

Elizabeth may have married in this house as well.  Elizabeth probably married Lazarus Dodson in about 1818 or 1819, because their child Martha “Ruthy” was born on March 1, 1820, with another child following shortly thereafter.  Ruthy consistently shows her birth in Tennessee in every census from 1850 through 1910, as do her children.

We know very little of Elizabeth’s life between her birth and death. What we do know is quite interesting, albeit less than concrete.

The family lore from several lines includes the persistent story that Elizabeth and Lazarus went to Jackson County, Alabama after their marriage. I’ve always been skeptical of this story, because their children are found in Claiborne County, Tennessee, exactly where both Lazarus and Elizabeth are found as children. But, as it turns out, I was wrong.

The land that became Jackson Co., Alabama was originally part of the Mississippi Territory and was occupied by the Cherokee until they gave it up by treaty on Feb. 27, 1819. It’s known that the Dodson family had been involved with trading with the Indians since at least 1797 and that one Jesse Dodson was an Indian trader, licensed in 1811. It is certainly possible that Jesse Dodson, Indian Trader of the Mississippi territory, was a son of Lazarus Dodson, Sr., meaning a brother to Lazarus Dodson Jr., who married Elizabeth Campbell. Lazarus Dodson Sr. was himself camping with the Indians in Sullivan County in the winter of 1781/1782.  You can read more about the Indian trader story in the article about Lazarus Dodson, Sr.

The area on the map below labeled 101 is the Jackson County, Alabama land ceded by the Cherokee in 1819, bordering Tennessee, about 200 miles from Claiborne County. The area marked 203 was not ceded until the Indian removal in 1835. Additional maps and cessations can be viewed here.

1819-alabama-ceded-land

Given that at least one of Elizabeth’s children was born in Alabama in 1820 or 1821, and possibly more were born there, Elizabeth was actually living on a frontier. Alabama was made a territory in 1817 and became a state in 1819.

The Cherokee ceded land in 1816 and 1819 but retained the land just to the east of Jackson County. The Cherokee were their neighbors, and if the Dodson family was trading with the tribe, they were working among them on a daily basis.

The next hint that we have about Elizabeth is that Lazarus reappears in the Claiborne County Court notes in June of 1827. We know that his father, Lazarus Sr., died in 1826, so this 1827 appearance is most likely Lazarus, husband of Elizabeth. If this is the case, it’s possible that Lazarus and Elizabeth returned to Tennessee together and she died in Tennessee between 1826 and 1830.

It’s also possible that Elizabeth died in Alabama in 1827, prompting Lazarus’s return.

Thankfully, Elizabeth inherited from her father, John Campbell’s estate and because she was already deceased, her heirs are listed and inherit her portion. John Campbell died in 1838 and Elizabeth’s children are listed as minor heirs in 1840, 1841 and 1842.

          State of Tennessee, Claiborne County Court, October term 1842. page 280.

            GUARDEAN SETTLEMENT MINOR HEIRS, ELIZABETH DODSON, DECEASED.

            I, Wiley Huffacker, Guardean to John C., Nancy, Ruthy, and Lazarous Dodson minor orphans of Elizabeth Dodson, deceased, do make and present to your worships the following report, or settlement, to wit.

            To amount in my hands as reported to your worships at July term 1841, $120.08 3/4. Interest on same from July 1841 to September 1842, $7.81. Recd. of George Campbell rents for 1839 & 1840, $5.50. Interest recd. on G. Campbells note, date above, $0.27. Rents recd. of Wm. Fugate for the 1841, $3.00. Do – Do of Wm. Campbell for the year 1841, $3.00. Do – Do of Jacob Campbell for the year 1841, $2.12 1/4. Total: $141.79 1/4.

            Notes taken for sale of land as per decree of the Circuit Court, to wit. :

One note on Jacob Campbell due 1st. July 1843, $27.54. Due on 1st January 1844, $27.54. do on Wm. Campbell, due 1st January 1843, $78.44. Do on same due 1st January 1844, $78.44. sub total: $211.96, Total: $353.75 1/4.

            September 1842 recd. as administrator on auction sales of negroes by order of Circuit Court, $116.04. Total Amount: $469.79 1/4.

            Paid attorney Sawyers for advice, $5.00. Guardian bond to clerk Neil, $0.75. For attending to the whole business as Guardian, making and recording this settlement & &. $14.25. total: $20.00., yet due: $449.79 1/4.

            Guardian entitled to credits as follows, to wit: Paid Gray Garret my part expenses selling land, $1.00.

            John C. Dotsons rect. 26th Sept. 1842, in full his share $112.46.

            James S. Brays rect. 31st Dec. 1841 $63.90. Do – do for rents for 1841, $1.50. Due 3rd Oct. 1842 for balance in full, or his wife’s share in my hands as guardian, $47.06.

            John Y. Estes rect. dated 5th Sept. 1842, $54.35. Do – do rents for the year 1841, $1.50. Do – do order for what ballence may be in my hands as guardian, amt. $56.61.

            Total amount due the heirs, after expenses, $449.79 1/4.

            Vouchers filed to the amount of $338.38. balance, $111.41 1/4.

            Leaving yet in my hands, one hundred eleven dollars & fourty one cents which is each heirs share & which is due & owing to Lazarous Dotson, the youngest heir. The other three having received their whole share as appears from the vouchers on file. Which settlement was presented to the court at October term 1842 & by the court examined & ordered to be filed and recorded, being received by the court. Wiley Huffacker, Guardean.

Elizabeth apparently died sometime between the birth of her last child in 1827 and 1830 when her 4 children appear to be living with her parents in Claiborne County, TN.  Her father, John Campbell is show on the 1830 census, below.

1830-claiborne-county-campbell-census

John Campbell’s household has 4 small children living with he and his wife.

I do not find Lazarus Dodson, Elizabeth’s husband, in 1830, although there is a Lazarus Dotson in Pickens Co., Alabama but he is 40-50 years of age, along with his wife, and they have 6 children, 4 males and 2 females, which does not match our Lazarus and his known children.

Lazarus Dodson served on a jury in Claiborne County in March of 1830, so we know he was living there at that time and serves in both 1829 and 1831 as well. Perhaps he was living with another family in 1830.

I suspect that these are the Dodson children living with John Campbell, and that Elizabeth had passed over by then. Lazarus probably brought them back from Alabama and left them with their grandparents because he couldn’t farm and watch 4 small children too – all 4 being under the age of 10. If Elizabeth died in 1827 or 1828, those children would have all been under the age of 7 or 8.  The youngest children probably had no memory of their mother.  If Elizabeth knew she was dying, it must have broken her heart to leave her young children.

I would wager that wagon ride from Alabama to Tennessee was one long, sorrowful, journey. The children would not have known their grandparents and their mother had died. It’s possible that the first John Campbell and his wife, Jane “Jenny” Dobkins knew of their daughter’s death was when Lazarus showed up in a wagon, without their daughter and with 4 children. For that matter, they may not have known that Elizabeth had borne 4 children.

What a terribly bittersweet homecoming. The excitement of seeing the wagon, and who was driving, and then the agony of discovering that their daughter was not inside.

Snippets of confirming information about Elizabeth and Lazarus living in Alabama come from their children.

Elizabeth’s son, John Campbell Dodson, born in 1820 or 1821 shows himself to have been born in Alabama in the 1850 Claiborne County, TN census and 1860 Pulaksi County, KY census. His Civil War military records confirm that was well.

john-dodson-1850-claiborne-census

However, Elizabeth’s daughter, Nancy Ann was born in 1824 in Tennessee according to the 1850 Claiborne County, TN census.  She died before the 1860 census, but her son, Thomas Bray, in 1900, shows his mother as born in Tennessee.

Elizabeth’s son Lazarus is shown living beside his sister Nancy Bray in 1850, also born in Tennessee.  The 1860 census in Pulaski County, Kentucky and the 1880 census in Madrid Bend, Fulton County, KY also show that he was born in Tennessee.

Nancy Ann and Lazarus, the youngest children, may not remember living in Alabama, if, in fact, they did.

1850-bray-dodson-census

One thing we know for sure, Lazarus Dodson was absent from Claiborne County between 1819 and at least 1826 when either he or his father repurchased the land beneath Cumberland Gap.  He was back for sure in mid-1827 when he appears in the court notes.  Lazarus’s wife, Elizabeth would have been with him, wherever he was.

I believe that Lazarus Jr. purchased the land on Tiprell Road in 1826, previously sold by his father in 1819, given that the land was not mentioned in nor sold from his father’s estate and Lazarus subsequently swears that he sold that land in 1833.  Lazarus may have purchased the land, then gone back to Alabama to retrieve his family, returning by the summer of 1827.

If Elizabeth died in Alabama, the location of her grave is unknown to us.

If Elizabeth died in Claiborne County, she would be buried either in the cemetery on Lazarus’s land, known as the Cottrell Cemetery today, or in Liberty Cemetery above her father’s house (if the cemetery was in use that early), or possibly in the Campbell cemetery on Jacob Dobkins’ original land.  Regardless, I’ve visited her grave one time or another, and she was assuredly buried among family, regardless of which cemetery was her final resting place.

Elizabeth’s known children were:

  • Martha “Ruthy” Dodson (1820-1903) who married John Y. Estes
  • John Campbell Dodson (1820/1821-after 1860) who married Barthena Dobkins in 1839
  • Nancy Ann Dodson (c1824-1852/1860) married James S. Bray
  • Lazarus Dobkins Dodson (1827-1885) married Elizabeth Carpenter

DNA

Elizabeth’s mitochondrial DNA would be passed down from her mother to her, unmixed with any DNA from her father. Women pass their mitochondrial DNA to all of their children, but only females pass it on. That means that anyone who descends from Elizabeth, her mother, or her mother’s sisters, through all females to the current generation, carry her mitochondrial DNA. In the current generation, the testers can be either males or females.

Mitochondrial DNA is particularly important in these old families, because we really don’t know much about the female lines quite often. We may think they are of European origin, but sometimes they are Native, and vice versa. Mitochondrial DNA testing removes all question. Because it’s always passed intact, meaning never mixed with the father’s DNA, it remains clear for many generations, showing us the history of that one single line back into distant times.

Elizabeth had only two daughters, who had the following daughters who would be candidates to provide descendants who could test today for Elizabeth’s mitochondrial DNA.

Ruthy Dodson (1820-1903) married John Y. Estes – daughters:

Elizabeth Ann Estes (1851-1946) married William George Vannoy and lived in Montague Co., Texas. She had daughters

Doshia Phoebe Vannoy (1875-1972) married James Hutson and had daughters:

Audrey Lee Hutson (1917->2006) married Alfred Long

Opal Hutson (1900-197?) married Grady Murphy

Lizzie Lucille Hutson (1907-?) married a Luttrell

Eliza Vannoy (1871-1925) married Joe Robert Miller and had daughter:

Nell Miller (1902-1991) married William Jackson, daughter:

Reba Jackson (1926-2010) married John Webb

Nancy Ann Dodson (1821-1852/1860) married James S. Bray – daughters:

Mary Bray born circa 1848

       Rhoda Bray born (1852-1921) married William Hunter Wood, daughters:

Nannie Harger Wood (1883-1975) married Harry Barr Ross

Bertha L. Wood

      Carline Bray born circa 1838

If you descend from Elizabeth Campbell through all females (bolded above) to the current generation and are the first person who steps forward willing to DNA test, I have a DNA testing scholarship for you.  In the current generation, you can be either male or female, so long as you descend through all females.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

Your family is your very best genealogy resource, in many ways.

comet

With the holidays approaching, this is the perfect time to talk to your family about family history. Often, we think about family history in the sense of genealogy, meaning names, birth dates and death dates. But there is more to the story – a lot more. Or maybe better said, there are many stories to flesh out your genealogy.

It’s those stories that you want to hear and the holidays when family is gathered provide perfect opportunities. You just have to get the ball rolling!

I discovered over the years that people react better to questions that are open ended and encourage them, and others in the room, to talk and reminisce.

Questions I asked my mother that produced very interesting answers were questions like:

What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in your lifetime?

For mother, it was electricity in her home. It had never occurred to me that she had lived in a home without electricity before that conversation. The discussion then progressed to things like, “how did you preserve food without electricity,” “how did you have light in the evenings,” and “how did your parents heat the house,” especially since I don’t remember a fireplace in my grandmother’s home. The discussions that followed were very interesting and would never have happened without that single topic-opening question.

For example, I learned that the bedrooms weren’t heated, and the “bathroom” didn’t need to be heated since it was the outhouse.  That means bathing was with a cloth out of a wash basin or tub with water heated on the wood stove.

Another question that might produce some wonderful stories is to ask about “once in a lifetime events.”

My mother recalled a family trip to the 1933 World’s Fair in an old Model T Ford to see her grandmother, Nora Kirsch Lore McCormick’s quilt displayed in the Sears Pavilion.

nora-1933-quilt

In my case, one of those (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime events forever seared in my memory is the 1965 Palm Sunday Tornado which cut a wide and devastating swath through central Indiana.  I didn’t realize what I was seeing, but I saw that tornado move across the southern part of the city where I lived.  A tree fell on the house and in an instant my mother grabbed me and we ran for the basement – her half dragging me all the way.

Another time, Mother, my daughter and I were in a van in Illinois one beastly hot June day and after watching a wall cloud overtake us, a tornado picked the van up and moved it some 20-30 feet off the road, sitting it back down right side up, amazingly enough. We were all fine that day, albeit terrified, but others weren’t so lucky.

Another very memorable and somewhat surreal event, as an adult, was unexpectedly seeing the Hale-Bopp Comet from an airplane.

A humorous episode occurred when mother’s uncle died in the middle of a paralyzing blizzard and they put his body in my grandfather’s garage. That was the family joke for years, ribbing my grandfather, but what else were they going to do?

“Remember when” stories like these may never surface if you don’t prompt with questions – and the answers in terms of your family and also in terms of what was happening in society – like radio, TV, electricity and the space race – at that time in history are all part of your family story. Those things would clearly have affected everyone one way or another but the personal stories of how they directly affected people in your family will never emerge unless you ask those leading questions – and record them for posterity.

DNA

Of course, it goes without saying that you might want to take some DNA kits along to family gatherings, just in case.  I always have a swab kit in my purse or in the car, or both.

Your family is also your best resource for genetic genealogy as well. Different family members can provide haplogroup information for ancestors whose haplogroups you don’t carry.

Family members often can and will gladly provide this genetic information for the family, but they don’t realize they carry these genealogy gems, gifts directly from the ancestors passed down the direct paternal and direct matrilineal lines. For example, your father and his siblings can provide the mitochondrial haplogroup of your paternal grandmother (red circles on the chart below), something you don’t carry.  Of course, the blue squares on the chart below represent the direct patrilineal line for males which is both the path of the Y chromosome and the traditional way surnames are inherited.  Your father will carry the family surname and Y DNA, but your mother’s father or brothers will carry the Y of her birth surname.  There’s lots to be discovered!

DNA Pedigree

If you’d like to see an example of how to build a DNA pedigree chart, above, by collecting the haplogroup information from all of your ancestral lines, click here.

Let’s face it, both Y and mitochondrial DNA haplogroups are the only direct line periscope we have back in time more than the few generations provided by autosomal testing. Autosomal DNA is divided in half in each generation, but Y and mitochondrial DNA is not, and is passed intact, except for mutations that might occur, generation to generation – making Y and mtDNA extremely valuable resources to the genealogist.

Haplogroups, discovered through Y and mitochondrial DNA testing, are invaluable historical resources revealing your deep ancestry and not utilized nearly enough. We simply don’t know what we don’t know and testing the right people is the only way to find out.

In terms of autosomal DNA testing, anyone that is a third cousin or closer is used in Family Tree DNA’s phased family matching to indicate which side of your family your matches originate from, as shown by the little blue male, pink female and purple “both” icons shown beside matches, below.

Phased FF2

The only way to divide your matches into maternal and paternal sides, without both parents, is by testing other relatives.  If you’re lucky enough to have both parents, that’s wonderful, but the only way to divide your parents’ results is by testing other relatives as well.

Right now, you can purchase the DNA kits on sale and save them until you need them. You can fill in the name of the tester when you determine who is going to take the test, but be sure to let Family Tree DNA know the correct gender at the time the test is submitted if it is different than the gender indicated when you purchased the kit. The actual swab kit is the same for both genders, but gender verification is part of quality assurance for the various tests.  Listing the wrong gender will delay your test results – and no one wants that!

When I find a willing candidate, I have them swab right then and there, on the spot, and I mail the kit back to Family Tree DNA myself. That way, I know the swabbing gets done and the kit doesn’t take up residence in their junk drawer or under the front seat of the car forever!  In one case, family members found a used swab kit in the glove box three years later, after the person died – and amazingly – it was still good!  However, mailing the kit back yourself avoids these situations.

Enjoy your holidays, take DNA kits along, and ask leading questions. You don’t know what you don’t know and you’ll never find out if you don’t ask those questions and DNA test your relatives.