Connecting Generations: Cherokee Connection Details

Note: Sorry to have taken so long to finish this one up but everyone at our house has that cold/flu that’s going around. Ugh. Glad that’s over with! And here’s hoping that you and yours didn’t get it.

In the previous post a couple of issues came up that we might examine in greater detail. They are smaller items that don’t interfere with the main objective, and that was to prove the identity of Jesse Bushyhead’s mother. However, the rooted family historian needs to follow every lead to the end of the line even when the investment of time isn’t a sure thing but only might yield some new information. So we push on, looking for more information about Jesse Bushyhead and his birth mother.

Jesse said that he was “an orphan” and brought up by “kin folk”.
Now this is one of those small details found in a document that might be passed over, but sticks in your mind even though it doesn’t impact the main goal. Take a look.


See where it says “The variations of the applicant’s name on the roll of 1880 has been explained in a satisfactory manner, he having been an orphan and having been brought up by his kin folks, who bore the name of Seven.”  Now that’s interesting and we’d not have known it if we hadn’t read the entire Dawn interview, carefully.

We know that we should read every word on a document and try to understand what it’s saying, but how often do we grab up the names dates or places we seek and move on?

I won’t take the time here to explain who Jesse lived with and who those kin folk were but let’s say that it’s one of those tiny details that can easily be missed but in the long run was the hint that made the difference: his surname in some records was Seven!

A timeline for Jesse.
There was such a strong piece of evidence for proving who Jesse’s mother was in the Dawes records and Jesse’s own testimony that we didn’t need to go much beyond that. (I didn’t even include all of the times his mother’s name was stated, just enough to cover a sampling of the variations.) However, if that hadn’t worked out or if the variations in his stated mother’s name as found in the Dawes records was too wide, there is another way to prove just who his mother was and that’s by using a timeline. It would show that Jesse was born before his mother Sally McCoy died and before Charles Bushyhead, his father, married his second wife, Pauline Starr.

So why not use the timeline? Because it’s better to use the Dawes documents. The transcription of the Dawes interview with Jesse Bushyhead is direct evidence. Those are his words naming his mother. The timeline, while fascinating to the Rooted Tree type of genealogist, isn’t direct evidence. And it’s a lot of stuff to prove something that could be more easily proven with one page of the Dawes interview with Jesse’s own words. Get it?

How do you say that?
If you’ve read the previous post, you’ve seen the evidence in the Dawes interview about the name of Jesse’s mother and how it was recorded. It might be argued that it wasn’t entirely conclusive. Now let’s look at both Sally McCoy and Pauline Starr’s Indian names and see if they tells us anything.

In the Dawes interview, Jesse names his mother as “Deyanne.” The file folder lists her name as Ti-yane. The 1851 Drennen Roll shows her as Ti Ya Ne. I think that even the most persistent skeptic would see the similarity!

Pauline Starr is listed as such in the records, even in The History of the Cherokee Indians. The only other name associated with her in the usual records is Polly, which is to be expected, but there is no readily available Indian name for her. As far as the records go, Pauline Star had no Indian name.

Take away:

  1. When you think that you’re finished with a search, stand back and look for other avenues not taken. There’s no telling where each of them might take you!
  2. Look for patterns. Can’t emphasize this enough. If you’re making research notes, you’ll be more likely to find them. Just read over the notes and let the patterns emerge.
  3. Timelines are great! Use them.

Note: Source citations are very important, as we all know. Had a little trouble deciding when, where, and how to post them. So please bear with me as I figure this out once and for all. Thanks for your patience.

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