March 31st, 2014

Mythical Ancestors

My maternal grandmother is the source of all kinds of genealogical excitement. Her parents were first cousins. As a teenager, for reasons lost to history, she departed for Manitoba to marry a Mennonite man. While I knew about the Mennonite thing when I was young, I had _no clue_ until fairly recently that she not only married a Mennonite, she married a Holdeman (technically, a Church of God in Christ Mennonite), which as Mennonites go is more than a little unusual. I am distantly related to my husband (10th ish cousins) through some of her ancestry (not the Mennonites. *whew* That would have been weird. Through her Veeder/Plantz ancestors who were part of the Dutch Colony of New Netherland.)

As children, we were told a variety of stories about her ancestry, most of which I have, as an adult, assumed are, um, whoppers. We are supposedly related to Ethan Allen, of the Green Mountain Boys. And we supposedly have Native American ancestry. I long ago quit repeating the Ethan Allen claim. The Native American claim I also quit repeating, long before Elizabeth Warren got into trouble for a similar claim.

I hadn't been working on genealogy for a long time, and thought it might be a good time to restart. My 3rd great grandfather pops up out of absolutely nowhere in Bradley County, Tennessee in the 1860 census, surrounded by his wife's kin (I mean, seriously: the entire freaking page and part of the next one in that census is _all_ his wife's relatives). Researchers on the wife's side think that they both died shortly thereafter, because their kids go into the care of someone else. However, 3rd g grandfather actually goes to fight on the Union side of the Civil War and winds up remarrying after and getting the kids back and moving west. I had hoped to eventually figure out more about his ancestry by working on his wife's kin; alas, his mother-in-law, Martha or Patsey, Glass, similarly appears more or less out of nowhere a generation earlier. His father-in-law's ancestry can be tracked a ways back, and wow was he sort of a hot mess.

In fact, there's a whole lot of "appears out of nowhere" going on in that family, and I may have stumbled upon why. Alternatively, there was even more hot mess going on, and part of the family attempted (unsuccessfully) to con the government out of some money. Several of Martha's descendants applied -- and were rejected -- in the 1907-9 Guion Miller process, claiming that Martha's dad was Cherokee. The basis for the application is their failure to appear in any earlier rolls, to be a party to the treaty (which this process was a settlement for violations of) or generally to show a current connection to the Eastern Cherokee.

"Rejected. It does not appear that any ancestor was ever enroll-ed or that any ancestor was party to the treaties of 1835-6 [or] 46. Shows no real connection with the Eastern Cherokees."

I'm at a loss to know how to determine whether these early 20th century relations of mine were telling the truth on their applications or not (that is, was Martha's father Cherokee); the rejection is not based on whether their claims are true (and some rejections seem to be based on a rejection of the validity of the claims made in the application, vs. whether or not they qualify for the settlement).

But I figure I might as well keep poking around at this to see what else turns up.

What Does That M. Stand For?

Albert L. Battenfield applied to Guion Miller and was rejected. He says his father was Joseph Monroe Battenfield, died in September 1904.

I have a Find a Grave entry, with a picture of the headstone, for Joseph M Battenfield, who served in the confederate forces. He died in 1905 according to the headstone (but I've got other lying headstones in my family records).

There appears to be a confederate pension record application for him, giving his death date (in an index, so we know how accurate those are) as 18 Oct 1903. A user of ancestry has helpfully supplied his middle name as Matlock.

A helpful user of ancestry has supplied his middle name as Metcalf, for an index entry for a Confederate Soldiers Compiled Service Record for him.

This is clearly one of _those_ families.

ETA: Also, Albert Lafayette gave his birth year as 1878 for the old man's draft for WWI. Seriously. This is one of those families.

Rejected Guion Miller Application 43776

"Appl. #43776-32091

Mary J. Burch being first duly swon, deposes
and says:
My name is Mary J. Burch. I live at Laurel,
ArK. I was born in Bradley Co., Tenn. I was born in 1834
or 1833. I lived in Eastern Tenn. 27 years and then moved
to Ark. I moved out to Ark. just because my husband wanted to
come. I was born with the Cherokee tribe of Indians and was
living right with them in Tenn. I don't know whether I was
a recognized member of the tribe or not. I claim through my
mother, Polly Ann Carson. She was born in Eastern Tenn.
She was about 27 years old I reckon when I was born. I reckon
she was a recognized member of the tribe. They were living
with the Indians the first I can remember. She lived and died
in Tenn. She did not move out west with the Indians because
my grandfather was an American man and they could not make
him come out west with the Indians. My grandmother's name
was Martha Glass. I never made an application for citizen-
ship in the Dawes Commission. If any of my relatives did,
I did not know it. None of my ancestors received any money
or land from the Govt. on account of an Indian blood as I
know of.
See Mary J. Burch's original Appl May J. Lay Burch.
[signed]
Subscribed and swon to before me at Russellville, Ark. this
12th day of September, 1908.
[unsigned]
Ass't to Special Commissioner
U.S. Court of Claims"

Martha Glass and the unnamed grandfather are direct ancestors of mine. This is all very unexpected.

Today's Activities Include: school, scooter/walk, genealogy

Today, T. had reading mastery with E. They read two books. He also had morning meeting. He had hamburger for lunch, with chips and white milk. They had indoor recess.

I worked on genealogy today. Which was very exciting and very strange, because in my never ending quest to find out where William Carroll Allen came from, I got distracted by the family he married into, which, at the time, claimed to have descended in part from Cherokee. They had numerous rejected applications to the Guion Miller rolls.

T. and I scootered around the block this evening.