EXPERT GENEALOGY Newsletter     By Jeannette Holland Austin
Issue No. 2             November 2002
Your family may have already been traced. Find out!
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Cherokee Indians.... The Cherokees in Georgia lived in north Georgia counties of Hall, Lumpkin, Cherokee, Paulding, White, Gilmer, Forsyth. The preferred settlement pattern was to locate towns near border areas. Certain towns were White towns and were known for places of refuge. The Cherokee tribal government consisted of a Red organization and a White organization. Each of the two divisions had its own officials and functions to perform. Each town had its own white chief, but the highest political office was that of White chief, or uku. This office was mostly hereditary, assing from the chief to his oldest sister's son. The wife of the White chief was considered a very important person.

The Cherokees began leaving Georgia voluntarily after the treaties of 1814. It is this group of early emigrants whose names appear on the Old Settler Rolls.

Lieutenant Henry Timberlake, an English officer who spent time among the Cherokees during the 1760's, described the Cherokee appearance as "of a middle stature, of an olive color," and heavily painted and tattooed. Bartram, in his travels throughout Georgia, said that they were taller and more robust than the Creeks, and that Cherokee women were tall, erect and of a delicate frame. Cherokee men shaved their heads, or plucked their hair leaving only a scalplock on the back of the head which they decored with beads, fathers, wampun, stained deer's hair, etc. Women wore their hair long, decorating it with ribbons. During that era, the Cherokees were already wearing European clothing.

Cherokee tribal life varied between war and peace. I suppose everybody has a Cherokee tale, but here's mine. At the time of the Cherokee removal and famous Trail of Tears (1833-1835), my ancestor, George Washington Holland, built a home in Paulding County, near Pumpkinvine Creek. A famiy of six Cherokee children lived nearby. After the family left, an old black cooking pot filled with silver was found buried under the bridge crossing Pumpkinvine Creek. Adjoining this area is a 33-acre Indian field, and mounds. It is a common exerience to find arrow heads in the creek bed. Villages were located on the site of the Etowah Mounds at the mouth of Pumpkinvine Creek, on the site of W. H. Stiles' home. On Raccoon Creek a Cherokee village called Cherokee was situated on the Jones-Puckett property. Another site was on the R. S. Munford property on Two-Run Creek.

From 1833 to 1835 Cherokees surrendered their lands to the United States, moving into Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. The famous Trail of Tears was described by a U. S. cavalryman, sent as an escort -- John Barnett, as being a journey of extreme hardships, where many Cherokees dies.

North Georgia has many unexplored caves and mines of magnetic maganese, gold and silver. After the Cherokee left, gold was mined lim Lumpkin County on a large scale. But the Cherokees had hidden their gold, sealing up mines. The blasting system used in Dahlonega became the fastest means of discovery. However, about 1900, a wagon train from Oklahoma came to Forsyth and Lumpkin Counties. Cherokee descendants used old maps to locate their silver and gold mines.

Another settlement area was Big Spring, located near Chatsworth. According to the Guion Miller Rolls, many claimed descent from these Georgia Indians. This is where the notorious Chief James Vann built a large commodious house and successfully farmed, using slave labor.

Because the main body of Cherokees arrived in Oklahoma in 1839, the genealogist refers to the 1851 Old Settler Rolls. Also, other rolls, viz: The Dawes Rolls Plus, Guion Miller Rolls and Baker Rolls contain the applications of those claiming a blood line to the Cherokees, in order to receive title to Oklahoma land. The applicants are replete with all kinds of genealogical data. To save time, you can purchase these rolls in book format They contain alphabetical listing of the names of applicants. The next step is to search the applications themselves at the National Archives. See the Dawes Rolls, Guion Miller Rolls (extracted in Cherokee by Blood, see above website), and Eastern and Western Rolls.

In order to participate in the large cash settlement due the Eastern Cherokees because of violations of the treaties of 1835 and 1836 and 1845, claims were filed with the U. S. Court of Claims from 1906 to 1910. A requirement was that one must prove Cherokee ancestry. Over 46,000 persons filed claims, and completed detailed applications. About 9/10ths of the applicants lived west of the Mississippi when they applied. The majority of applicants were white, with a significent number of blacks also included. Many persons living in north Georgia counties filed, however, were mostly rejected because of lack of proof. Guion Miller accepted applications, and reviewed them carefully, checking them against previous Indian Rolls, such as the Old Settlers Rolls, Drennan, Chapman, etc. If the "claimed ancestor" was not found on earlier rolls, if the information was too vague (exclusion of names of the presumed Cherokee ancestor), or if the application, when compared to other relatives' claims using the same ancestor as proof, were inconsistent, the claims were rejected. Thus, many so-called blood descendants of the Cherokees, were denied. Nevertheless, the job of sifting out those applicants without sufficient data, was tedious and thoroughly accomplished.

The genealogist must not overlook this area of research, even if the claimant was denied, because of the vast amount of family data supplied. These applications have been extracted.

@Jeannette Holland Austin

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