WINNIFRED HUMAN:A FAMILY MYTH EXPLAINED by Charles Ward (CMW12635@aol.com)
Although I am not a descendant of the Human family, allegations made by them affect my research. An ancestress of mine, Winnifred George was married to Thomas Gilliam. I am a descendant of that couple. Following the death of Thomas Gilliam, Winnifred married Basil Human.
I recently made a posting entitled, "WINNIFRED (GEORGE) GILLIAM HUMAN"In it, I discussed at length a "myth" that arose among the descendants of Basil Human, the myth being that his wife, Winnifred (George) Gilliam, was a "full-blooded Cherokee."I will not restate what I outlined in the earlier posting.I will only reiterate that my posting illustrated the many facts which clearly indicate Winnifred was not a "full-blooded Cherokee."
In my posting, I asked the question, "How did this myth arise?"I believe I have discovered the origin of the myth and why it was created.
As a result of my posting, I have received many email responses.One very informative email was from a descendant of Basil Human's brother, Alexander Human.She brought to my attention the 1790 tax roll for Wilkes Co., GA.Wilkes Co., GA was the place of residence for Basil Human before moving to TN.On this tax roll, Basil Human is listed as a mulatto, or in other words, a person of mixed white and black ancestry.
This, I would suggest, is the origin of the entire "myth" that arose in the Human family.Apparently Basil Human "passed" for white once in Tennessee.At some point, the Humans probably explained their non-white features as being Cherokee or "Black Dutch."It was probably easier to tell grandchildren and great-grandchildren they had a "full-blooded Cherokee" in their family, rather than having African-American blood, given the strong prejudices in the American South during this period.
This provides a reasonable and logical explanation for the "myth"and why it was confined only to the descendants of the Human family.My previous posting listed at length many factors which show Winnifred(George) Gilliam Human was NOT a Cherokee.There never has been any documentation offered which ever showed or indicated in any way that she was a Cherokee.The 1790 Wilkes Co., GA tax record would indicate Basil Human was a mulatto and it was likely the knowledge of his background that almost certainly inspired his descendants to create a cover story for their non-white features (skin color, hair color, etc.).
I would hope this would inspire the descendants of Basil Human to search for their real roots.His African-American roots provide a fascinating and exciting avenue to explore, although the research options for African-American gÀ often are limited.