I sent this to people I have corresponded with who are descended from James A. White and Delilah Norton, who lived in Lawrence County from about 1820. I thought I would post it mainly because of the generic history that others might find interesting:
Here is what I have put together on the POSSIBLE Indian connections of the White family. I emphasize "possible," because nothing is definite, and it might all be a wild goose chase. I had to get this out of my head and focus on something else! It is very long, and I hope it makes sense. I can send a Microsoft Word file if you prefer.
I was contacted by a very excited Renee Perkins, a descendant of a Cherokee named Shoeboots, suggesting that Delilah Norton might possibly be Shoeboots’ sister or niece. She made no claims, but said that from family oral tradition, etc., she remembered a Lila or Delilah as the sister’s white name or her daughter’s name, and Nortons were also very close relations. She said some Norton researchers were working on this connection to Shoeboots’ family, as well.
This is particularly interesting because Shoeboots was a son of Attakullaculla, “emperor” of the Cherokees in the 1700s. Another son was Dragging Canoe. Historically, the Cherokees had been divided into several bands, but the English, weary from dealing with so many “heads of state,” withheld vital trade goods until the Cherokees selected a single individual with whom they could deal. They chose the diminutive Attakullaculla, who was known for his wisdom.
I don’t know how this can be proved, if our White/Norton family conscientiously stayed off Indian rolls of the period. But it is interesting that I can’t find a Delilah Norton connected with the very few Nortons associated with old Pendleton District or Lawrence County, although those Nortons seem to be associated with each other (according to postings on genealogy forums, including a family Bible).
Renee said she had it in her head that Chahwahyoocah was Shoeboots’ twin sister and was also known as Lily or Lila. It is clear Chahwahyoocah could not have been the same person as our Delilah Norton, because “ours” was born too late. However, there are some peculiar coincidences that may bear a closer look and might suggest a relationship:
1) She said she got most of her information from documents in Cherokee Nation vs. William Shoeboots. William Shoeboots was Shoeboots son. Most of the information came from a John Cochran, who was Chahwahyoocah’s grandson and 90 or 100 at the time he testified. Renee said John Cochran is also supposed to have frequently used the name John Norton; she said this wasn’t uncommon in her family, who sometimes used one name in Indian Territory and another outside.
2) John “Cochran” or “Norton” lived with Chahwahyoocah and Shoeboots. He would have been born about 1800.
3) Among the Cherokee, descent was matrilineal. Another woman in Attakullaculla’s family (can’t remember if daughter or granddaughter) married an Englishman named Norton, and their son (also called John) was educated in England, then went to Canada and became very prominent before returning to the Southeast. Cherokees often adopted a white name of someone they honored, and this would be a logical choice.
4) All that is really known about Chahwahyoocah is that she was married to Pumpkin Boy, the brother of Cherokee chief Doublehead. She had a daughter named Catherine (Caty) who was raised by Doublehead after Pumpkin Boy’s death in the late 1700s.This puts at least one member of Chahwahyoocah’s family right smack in Lawrence County, where James A. White and Delilah Norton ended up in about 1818 or so. Presumably, Chahwahyoocah remarried and had other children, although it is not known where she herself was during this period. See timeline below.
5) At this time, family usually moved with family. Others in the Attakullaculla constellation were:
• George Guess, Gest, Guest or Gist, also known as Sequoyah, was related to Attakullaculla. There are plenty of people with this surname in the area, and I think I saw somewhere that Sequoyah also lived there for awhile.
• The Looneys, who are strongly associated with the Lawrence/Winston County area (“Incident at Looney’s Tavern,” when Winston County seceded from Alabama after Alabama seceded from the Union). The Lawrence County Looneys were also related to Attakullaculla.
• Alex Sanders/Saunders, one of Doublehead’s assassins, was supposed to have ties to Town Creek in Lawrence County. There are also Sanders/Saunders in Lawrence County at the time.
• Other names historically associated with the Cherokees are the Adairs, the Lowrys and the Houstons. James Adair was a trader who wrote a book about the Cherokees, while Gen. Sam Houston was adopted into a Cherokee tribe in Tennessee as a boy, taking the name “Raven.” Chief George Lowry was a cousin of Sequoyah’s and therefore also related to Attakullaculla, but I would have to sort that out. There are also Houstons, Adairs and Lowrys in the first Lawrence County census.
6) By this time, things were getting pretty bad for Cherokees in the area, and many voluntarily removed to Arkansas between 1817 and 1835. If they signed up for removal, they received a good rifle, a blanket, a kettle, five pounds of tobacco and compensation for all improvements abandoned, with each head of household removing at least four people receiving $50. This information should all be contained in federal records.
7) I haven’t got this all sorted out yet, but in 1817 there was a treaty (mainly with the Chickamauga Cherokee around Lawrence County?) that gave up Cherokee lands south of the Tennessee River. Some of the Lawrence County area Cherokees signed up to go to Arkansas, while those who wanted to stay were granted 640-acre reserves in the area of what is now Jackson and Marshall counties in Alabama.
8) This is where it gets interesting, and I haven’t got it all sorted out. But listed on the 1817 Cherokee Census of Cherokee Emigrants to Arkansas are a Chawahuka, a Chawweyoukay, two Chowayyucahs and a Chowukah, any one of which could be Chahwahyoocah. Curiously, a “Capt. White” and an “Abram Davis” are also listed. Need to get more info on them. A “Catey” is also on the list; I saw a posting on a genealogy board from someone who had an electronic version of a claim for property lost that Catey, Doublehead’s niece, filed when she moved to Arkansas at that time. “Our” Patrick White, James’ father, seems to disappear during this period, and Cherokee genealogist Tony Mack McClure says “think Cherokee land” when your ancestor is from that general area and “disappears.”
9) I saw this posting as well, taken from “Cherokee Emigration Rolls, 1817-1835”: Abram Davis, Nov 9, 1829, No. 92, No. in family: 4, Residence: Creekpath, Ala. I have to sort out why the first roll says 1817 and the second says 1829, but I do believe I also saw that an Abram Davis was one of those who stayed and received a reserve. He may have signed up for the first census and not gone; also, I saw somewhere that there were people with the surname White living on the reserves, but not among those actually granted the reserves. A 640-acre reserve, however, is quite large – and Creekpath was a real town, located in what is now Marshall County (double check). I have to pin this down. This Abram Davis is too old to be the one who married Rachel Ianthe White, but you can't help but wonder if they are connected.
MISCELLANEOUS NOTES: Township 4, where Delilah White sold land after James White died, is in the very northern part of Lawrence County, along the Tennessee River. This is bottom land, good for growing cotton. The southern part of the county is more mountainous and forested.
The Creek Nation ruled over the mountainous forest area of Lawrence County until 1814. The Cherokees also claimed land along the Tennessee River on the northern edge of the county, so the area was in continuous dispute. The Chickasaw, Creek and Shawnee territories also overlapped in Lawrence County.
By this time, all the tribes had intermarried extensively with whites and the Indian nations were all controlled by mixed-blood families. A large number of the early families of Lawrence County descend from these mixed blood families (Walker, 1997).
1776: The large move of Cherokees into Alabama was under Dragging Canoe, a son of Attakullaculla. Dragging Canoe violently opposed the signing by Attakullaculla of a treaty that ceded a large area of land in upper Tennessee. Afterwards, Dragging Canoe and his followers, among them Doublehead, made war against white settlers starting in 1776. Dragging Canoe decreed that “The settlement of this land shall be dark and bloody,” and he made it so.Dragging Canoe’s followers were known as the Chickamauga Cherokee, and those names were feared in the territory.
Doublehead, known as a cruel and bloodthirsty warrior who preyed on those traveling down the Tennessee, traveled even further – into what is now Lawrence County – and is credited with founding four villages along the river. The settlement at the mouth of Town Creek in Lawrence County is supposed to have stretched for a mile along the river and far up the creek.
1788: On Sept. 1, 1788, Congress forbade white intrusion into Cherokee Territory. White “intruders” kept coming, however, and Franklinite settlers from the State of Franklin in what is now Tennessee established a settlement near the shoals. The Chickamaugas drove them out.
1793: Pumpkin Boy was killed, and his daughter Caty or Catherine went to live with Doublehead in the Lawrence County area. Although she has been described as an orphan, her mother Chahwahyoocah seems to show up in later documents. She probably moved to Lawrence County as well, and probably had more children.
1806: Doublehead and Tahlonteskee ceded lands north of the Tennessee River to the federal government under the Cotton Gin Treaty. At the time, Doublehead lived in Lauderdale County, but before that he lived near Brown’s Ferry in Lawrence County. Doublehead leased 1,500 acres of Lauderdale County for 99 years (McDonald, 1977).
1807: Doublehead was executed, and there are various stories about his execution. Some say it was because he had violated the sacred unwritten law which prohibited cession of Cherokee lands without the National Council’s consent. Others suspect, that the assassins wanted to profit from Doublehead’s vast cotton enterprise. Still others say the “assassination” was just a drunken brawl. Doublehead’s killers were identified as Major Ridge, Alex Saunders/Sanders and John Rogers.
1808: Thomas Jefferson proposed to Tahlonteskee that he could escape punishment if he and his followers agreed to move west to Arkansas. Tahlonteskee, fearing assassination, accepted. He and some 1,130 Cherokees left Lawrence and Lauderdale Counties from the Town Creek-Bluewater village on the Tennessee River to become the first Cherokees removed west. They became known as “Old Settlers.”
1814: Because of the Treaty of 1814, the Creeks gave up their claim to most of Lawrence County. The Cherokees had moved into the area between 1780 and 1790. During early migration by white settlers into Indian country, Cherokees and Creeks were living in the same villages in Lawrence and Colbert Counties.
1816: In a treaty signed March 22, 1816, the Cherokee-Creek boundary was clarified by the Creeks recognizing Cherokee land claims south of the Tennessee River. The treaty also granted the United States free use of all roads and navigation of all rivers within Cherokee Territory and also permitted the Cherokee to erect “stands” – taverns and other public buildings along the roads (Woodward, 1963).
A second treaty, known as the Turkey Town treaty, was signed on Sept. 14, 1816. The U.S. government paid the Cherokees $65,000 for their territory south of the Tennessee River and east of Marshall County (Jones, 1972).
1817: On July 8, 1817, worn down by Andrew Jackson and perhaps by bribery, the Cherokees gave up land which later became Morgan, Lawrence and Franklin counties in return for the equivalent in land on the Arkansas and White rivers. (Woodward, 1973) Sequoyah, also known as George Guess or Gist, helped negotiate the treaty. He is said to have moved west shortly afterwards.
At this time, another contingent of Cherokees from Lawrence County decided to move west. Andrew Jackson took advantage of the situation, buying a plantation at Melton’s Bluff in Lawrence County for $60. He named the plantation Marathon.
1818: Traveler Anne Royall provided an in-depth report of Indian life in Lawrence County in January 1818, as the people prepared for removal. She noted that the Cherokees lived and dressed like white settlers, and said they were far more advanced than she first imagined. She described their cabins as roomy and tightly built, with doors as high as those of white’s, but only half as wide. She described cornfields, apple orchards and peach orchards enclosed by fences four or five rails high.
1819: Alabama attains statehood in December. Northeast Alabama was still held by the Cherokees.
1830: Indian Removal Act passes Congress.
1832-1834: Voluntary removals commenced by water along the Tennessee River.
1835: Treaty of New Echota signed. Those signing included George Adair.
1838: Forced removals begin. By this time, most of the Cherokee were already gone from Lawrence County, but as the Cherokees passed through the area many are said to have escaped and found refuge among mixed-blood friends and relatives in the area. Local stories say a Cherokee village existed deep within the forest until the 1850s.
MORE NOTES: At the time of the Trail of Tears some 160 years ago, only 7 percent of the enrolled Cherokee people were still ‘full bloods.” The government considered anyone of 1/4 degree Indian blood or more to be Indian for purposes of the Removal. (Tony Mack McClure)
The Siler roll of 1851 documented 1,700 Cherokees remaining in North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama after the Removal who were entitled to a per capita payment pursuant to acts of Congress in 1850 and 1851. Several thousands also fled Indian Territories during the upheaval of the Civil War, with some going north into Kansas and others south into Texas.
There is a whole lot more, but the basic point is this: The Whites stayed very close to the Cherokees during their travels west from South Carolina to Alabama, Arkansas, Texas and Kansas. Many of the mixed-blood families who came to dominate the Cherokee Nation were descended from Indian traders (a vast network of them crisscrossed Indian territory), and there are indications Patrick White may have been associated with a large trading company – but that’s a whole ‘nother story.
Finally, none of those in our direct line appear on the official Indian rolls dating from the 1850s and later (although I can’t remember if I have checked the Siler Roll). There is, however, a sturdy tradition of “Indian blood” in several branches of the family, although not mine. In mine, there is an indication there was an effort to hide their heritage, because they attributed their dark appearance – which according to my grandmother caused speculation – to “French” blood, yet there doesn’t seem to be any. That is very consistent with a family hiding Indian heritage, according to my research.
Anyone interested in doing some research please let me know, because my family at this point thinks I am nuts. I can tell you where to start.