Friday, August 30, 2013


As a preface, I must say that I have spent the last 15 years trying to find any clue as to the maiden name of HAPPY who married MOSES WHITECOTTON b 1804 Knox Co Kentucky.  And I know that there are many, many other Whitecotton researchers out there who have probably spent longer than that searching.

As I wrote in my previous blog post, a short while ago I finally obtained access to the complete National Archives file of the application to the Eastern Cherokee Tribe that was made in 1906 by my great grandmother SILOAMA KINNER WHITECOTTON BRUTON, her son JAMES JASPER BRUTON,  and her daughter (my grandmother) MINTTIE MAY BRUTON HUBER.  Previously I had only been able to find an abridged record, which  listed only the names of applicants, the date of application and the fact that tribal status was denied.

The 1906  Eastern Cherokee Tribal application of SILOAMA KINNER WHITECOTTON BRUTON  is the only primary source document I have ever found which indicates the maiden name of HAPPY, wife of MOSES WHITECOTTON.

In the application SILOAMA calls her grandmother "APPIE" RIDDLE.

Lots of researchers have speculated that HAPPY's maiden name was LINDLEY, because she named her eldest son LINDLEY--and I can't fault the logic in this, as it was a common practice in the south.  However, I have never been able to connect HAPPY with any southern LINDLEY family.

For a long time I researched the family of THOMAS LINDLEY b 1706  & RUTH HADLEY, Irish  Quaker immigrants who migrated through Chester Co Pennsylvania, and ended up in North Carolina.  I suspected they were HAPPY's ancestors, but search though I might, I never did find a connection.

I now believe that HAPPY's maiden name was indeed RIDDLE.

And while this line of research is a work in progress, I believe there is enough circumstantial evidence to  call  her  "HAPPY RIDDLE" in my family tree.

Here's what  is known about her:

HAPPY & MOSES WHITECOTTON were living in Jackson Co Alabama for the 1830 census, next door to MOSES' father ISAAC NEWTON WHITECOTTON (who married ELIZABETH STUMP).  The original census record is very difficult to decipher, and the surname was mistakenly  transcribed in the census index as "WILCOLTON". The record shows a couple in their 20s, with 3 young sons under 10, and one elderly man age 60-69 (no idea who this might be).

In the 1840 census, HAPPY WHITECOTTON is listed as a widow with several children, living in Bledsoe Co Tennessee.  I have always wondered:  Why would she move her family from Alabama to Bledsoe Co Tennessee???  Her son LINDLEY M WHITECOTTON b 1823 & wife SUSAN HORN married in Bledsoe Co Tennessee, and remained there, while his mother & siblings moved south.

From 1843-1848 approximately, HAPPY WHITECOTTON & her children JAMES MONROEISAAC M, ELIZABETH, WILLIAM, PLEASANT & HARRISON WHITECOTTON  lived in Bradley Co Tennessee. This information was gleaned from documents written by the Thompson family, whose two daughters, Malinda & Sarah "married" JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON, Happy's son.  Once again, I have wondered: Why Bradley Co Tennessee?

And in the 1850 census, HAPPY WHITECOTTON b 1805 Virginia,  was listed as a widow with children, as listed above, in Decatur, Morgan Co Alabama.  Her son, JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON, his wife SARAH (THOMPSON),  their daughter SILOAMA K WHITECOTTON and son JAMES J WHITECOTTON (died young) are listed on same page, just down the road, as it were.

So to answer my own two questions:  HAPPY RIDDLE WHITECOTTON moved to Bledsoe Co Tennessee and then Bradley Co Tennessee because she had kin there-- an uncle, aunt & cousins, and possibly parents & siblings.

It is now my theory that HAPPY RIDDLE WHITECOTTON was the granddaughter of Capt WILLIAM THOMAS RIDDLE b abt 1740 Orange Co North Carolina, who married HARRIET "HAPPY" ROGERS (some sources say ROBERTS) and lived at the time of the Revolution in what became Montgomery Co Virginia.

Capt WILLIAM THOMAS RIDDLE was, according to several accounts, a Loyalist who was hanged for treason in 1781 in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, along with his son MOSES RIDDLE age 15.  His wife HARRIET "HAPPY" ROGERS married 2nd) to WILLIAM INGRAM / INGRAHAM, a Rev War Veteran; she may have died in Hawkins Co Tennessee in 1785.

Here are the known surviving children of Capt WILLIAM THOMAS RIDDLE & HARRIET "HAPPY" ROGERS:

--JAMES RIDDLE b abt 1773 Virginia, died 1851 Crawford Co Indiana; married SARAH DAVIS in Russell/Lee Co Virginia.  When his father died in 1781, he was bound out as an orphan to JAMES McCORKLE, according to Montgomery Co VA court records. Lived Lee Co Virginia & Cumberland Co Kentucky before moving to Indiana.

--JOHN RIDDLE b Feb 10, 1775 in Montgomery Co Virginia, died April 14, 1833 in Pulaski Co Missouri, married SARAH JOHNSON in Russell/Lee Co Virginia. When his father died in 1781, he was bound out as an orphan to JAMES NEWELL according to Montgomery Co VA court records.

--HARRIET "HAPPY" RIDDLE b 1776 Montgomery Co Virginia, died after 1860 Hancock Co Tennessee; married HENRY FISHER. 

--ISAAC RIDDLE b 1777 Montgomery Co Virginia, twin of JOSEPH, below; died Nov 30, 1861 Titus Co Texas; married ANNA GRIZZEL/GRISWOLD

--JOSEPH RIDDLE b 1777 Montgomery Co Virginia, twin of ISAAC, above, died Sept 4, 1856 in Cumberland Co Kentucky; married RHODA MONK

--WILLIAM RIDDLE II b 1779 Montgomery Co Virginia; died after 1850 Bradley Co Tennessee; married ELLEN HOLT, prob d/o WILLIAM HOLT,  of Lee Co Virginia; WILLIAM RIDDLE and WILLIAM HOLT are in tax list & deeds there (along with WILLIAM's brothers THOMAS & JAMES) from  1800-1806; they moved to Bledsoe Co Tennessee by 1815 according to tax list, and lived there until at least 1826 as they are both in deeds. WILLIAM lived in Bradley Co Tennessee as of  1850 census, with MARY HOLT age 100, quite possibly his mother-in-law, and MARY MANDLEY age 66, relationship unknown.  Some researchers indicate his wife's name as  ELIZABETH or ELLEN CHOAT (a supposed Cherokee), but as no CHOAT or CHOATE  family lived in Russell or Lee Co Virginia at the time of his marriage, I'm highly dubious.  

--THOMAS RIDDLE b 1781 Montgomery Co Virginia, died August 1856 in Cleveland, Bradley Co Tennessee.  He married 1st MARY IGOU / IGO, and 2nd DELILAH BURKS in Bledsoe Co Tennessee, and moved to Bradley Co Tennessee before the 1840 census. He is buried outside of Cleveland, TN.

As you can see, both WILLIAM RIDDLE II and THOMAS RIDDLE spent a considerable number of years in Lee Co Virginia, Bledsoe Co Tennessee and Bradley Co Tennessee.  They seemed to migrate together.

Either one of them could be the father of HAPPY who married MOSES WHITECOTTON, but I am leaning in favor of WILLIAM RIDDLE, since HAPPY & MOSES named a son WILLIAM--a name that was uncommon in the Alabama branch of the Whitecotton family.

So why this particular RIDDLE family? Let me count the ways:

1) They had a tradition of naming girls "HAPPY".
--Starting with the grandmother HARRIET "HAPPY" ROGERS (ROBERTS?) b abt 1740 who married Capt WILLIAM THOMAS RIDDLE & WILLIAM INGRAM;
--an aunt HARRIET "HAPPY" RIDDLE b 1776 who married HENRY FISHER and settled in Hancock Co Tennessee;
--a first cousin HARRIET "HAPPY" RIDDLE, daughter of JOSEPH RIDDLE & RHODA MONK; this HAPPY married JACOB BRAKE in Cumberland Co Kentucky;
--a first cousin HARRIET ELIZABETH "HAPPY" RIDDLE, daughter of ISAAC RIDDLE & ANNA GRIZZEL; this HAPPY married HOLLIS RIGGS and died in Titus Co Texas.

And there may be more; this was a family that was apparently very happy to name or nickname daughters "HAPPY".

2) At least two of the sons of Capt WILLIAM THOMAS RIDDLE & HARRIET "HAPPY" ROGERS lived in Bledsoe Co Tennessee and Bradley Co Tennessee--where HAPPY WHITECOTTON lived.

( Interestingly, WILLIAM INGRAM / INGRAHAM, 2nd husband of HARRIET "HAPPY" ROGERS,  also moved from Illinois back to Bledsoe Co Tennessee by 1834, when he applied for his Rev War Veterans' pension. )

3) According to the 1850 Decatur, Morgan Co Alabama census, HAPPY WHITECOTTON was born 1805 in Virginia.  Most of this Riddle family  was living in Lee Co Virginia until about 1807--particularly the two youngest sons, THOMAS & WILLIAM.

In the 1850 Decatur, Morgan Co Alabama census HAPPY WHITECOTTON was living next door to a single woman about the same age named NANCY WELLS or MILES (?), also born Virginia.  I am wondering if NANCY WELLS / MILES might be HAPPY's sister or a cousin.

So what about the copper-olive colored skin and straight black hair that seems to be so prevalent in descendants?

It has been suggested that Capt WILLIAM THOMAS RIDDLE's parents were MOSES RIDDLE b about 1716 Hanover Co Virginia, and MARY GIBSON, who are believed to be Melungeons. 

But more on that in the next post.

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

They Believed They Were Cherokee: the 1906 Application of SILOAMA WHITECOTTON BRUTON to the Eastern Cherokee Tribe

This past week I was finally able to access the entire application to the Eastern Cherokee Tribe that was made in 1906 by my great grandmother SILOAMA K  WHITECOTTON BRUTON, her son JAMES JASPER BRUTON,  and her daughter MINTTIE MAY BRUTON HUBER (my grandmother).

Previously I had only found an abridged record, with just the names of the applicants and the date that the applications were rejected.

The entire application and all correspondence are in a file at the National Archives.  I was able to obtain scanned copies of the original file via the website Fold 3.

The application was rejected and tribal status was denied based on SILOAMA's claim of Cherokee blood through her father JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON b 1825 Jackson Co Alabama.  She claimed that MONROE was a half-breed Cherokee, his father (whom she mistakenly names as  EPHRAIM WHITECOTTON in the application) was a full-blood Cherokee, as was his mother, whom she named as "Grandmother STUMP".

This was entirely untrue and incorrect. Thus tribal status was denied.

It's also important to note that no other members of this particular branch of the Whitecotton family ever made application to the Eastern Cherokee Tribe.  None of JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON's brothers or his sister, many of whom lived in Arkansas,  ever made such a claim. Neither did any of MONROE's aunts, uncles or cousins in Jackson Co Alabama or Texas--most likely because they actually knew their grandmother ELIZABETH STUMP WHITECOTTON, mother of  MOSES WHITECOTTON who married HAPPY (MONROE's parents).

Here is the 3 page application of SILOAMA K WHITECOTTON BRUTON to the Cherokee Tribe:

Included in the file was a hand-written letter by my grandmother's brother, JAMES JASPER BRUTON.  There was also a letter by my grandmother, MINTTIE MAY BRUTON HUBER, but unfortunately it was so faded that I could not easily transcribe it.

Here is a transcription of JAMES J BRUTON's letter to Hon. GUION MILLER of Washington DC, my notes in red:

Sparta, Mo.   June 26, 1908

Hon. Guion Miller, Washington, D.C.

I received your letter of the 15th and ...(illegible)...with care.
1) I do not know whether any of my race was enrolled or not.  If any of them was enrolled I never heard them say anything about it.  
Grandpa said there was something coming from the old settlement, but he did not know how to get at it.  All I know is what they taught us, Grandpa and my mother (MONROE WHITECOTTON and Mrs SILOMA KINNER BRUTON).
2) None of my ancester were slaves.
3) We pass as white in our community.
4) I do not know whether any of my ancestors were parties to the treaties of 1835-6 or 1846, or not. When the Cherokees left Georgia, Tennessee & Alabama, he, MONROE WHITECOTTON remained.
5) MONROE WHITECOTTON is the ancestor through whom we claim our right to share in this fund. There was not but one or two of Granfather's people that could write. All we know is what Grandfather's people or ancestors taught him and he taught us.
Grandfather WHITECOTTON's grandmother was a STUMP by name. He said she was a full-blood Cherokee. He said his father was mixed blood (Note: this is entirely untrue and incorrect; MONROE's grandparents were ISAAC NEWTON WHITECOTTON & ELIZABETH STUMP; the STUMPs were German/Swiss immigrants who settled in the Valley of Virginia, in what is now West Virginia. ISAAC NEWTON WHITECOTTON's father was JAMES WHITECOTTON, a Rev War veteran, also a settler in the Valley of Virginia.  Both families are easily traceable and in records in Hampshire & Hardy Co VA, now W VA. MICHAEL STUMP Sr, the grandfather of ELIZABETH STUMP, had his land grant surveyed by a young surveyor from Virginia named GEORGE WASHINGTON)  
Grandfather (MONROE WHITECOTTON), my mother (SILOAMA WHITECOTTON BRUTON) and myself are of a copper color, long straight black hair, high cheek bones. My mother's hair was nearly four feet long.  We have Cherokee characteristics. Grandfather said he was with the Cherokee about 15 years. He died about two years ago, age 82 years of age. My mother died 28 of March, 1908.
S K BRUTON is my mother's name, not S K BENTON (referencing an error in Miller's previous letter) 
Grandfather's Grandmother Stump, she said, was 104 years of age when she died. (Note: ELIZABETH STUMP WHITECOTTON died at age 82 in Jackson Co Alabama; she lived with her daughter Nancy Whitecotton Ross according to the  1850 census, and with her daughter Sarah Whitecotton Davis according to the 1860 census) 
She taught him he was Cherokee.  He taught us.
Grandpa (JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON) died in Jackson County Alabama.  Hollywood was his P.O. 
I would give you his Indian name if I wasn't afraid that I would not spell it right. I know it but can't spell it.
Very Respectfully yours,
James J Bruton
My mother (SILOAMA BRUTON WHITECOTTON) said she remembered being with the Cherokee when little, going to dance. My mother was a fortune teller.
 (NOTE:  The myth of Cherokee ancestry was likely started by JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON himself; he was a thief, a scaliwag and a womanizer--having at least five known "wives" and several illegitimate children.)

The two most important pieces of information that I found on the above application was

1) SILOAMA's full name (SILOAMA KINNER WHITECOTTON; she married BENJAMIN B BRUTON in Sparta, Christian Co Missouri)  and

 2) the  maiden name of HAPPY who married MOSES WHITECOTTON. In the application HAPPY is named as "APPIE RIDDLE".

So, if the Whitecottons and Stumps were not Cherokee, what is the source of the copper-olive colored skin and black hair that is so prevalent in descendants of JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON?

The answer might lie in the ancestry of HAPPY RIDDLE WHITECOTTON, which I will address in my next post.

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2013

Friday, August 16, 2013


Wednesday August 21 will be my 5 year blogoversary!  Will reflect on this in an upcoming post.

Looking forward to more adventures in genealogy!

Have a great day!


PS does anyone know how to get rid of or block Vampirestat?  They are showing up in my stats list as an originating source for my blog.

© Betty Tartas  2013

Thursday, August 8, 2013

They Believed They Were Cherokee--Mystery Solved!

It's been three years since I wrote the blog post about my father's family's long-held belief that my grandmother MINTTIE MAY BRUTON was part Cherokee.  The blog post was entitled "Mystery Monday: They Believed They Were Cherokee".  My father's family believed that the Whitecotton family was Cherokee, and in particular my gg grandfather JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON b 1825 Jackson Co Alabama.

Well, I can honestly say that the mystery has now been solved, and I have proof that neither the Whitecottons nor my paternal grandmother MINTTIE MAY BRUTON had any Native American blood.

Since 2010,  I have been tested by the three different DNA testing companies, and each one has clearly indicated that I have NO Native American DNA whatsoever, and that I am in fact 100% European.

My brother's tests show the same results.

And I now have DNA evidence that the Whitecotton family was in fact completely European, as several from that family have now been tested, and so far none show any Native American ancestry. One of them is the descendant of  LINDLEY M WHITECOTTON, who was the brother of my gg grandfather JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON, another is a male with surname Whitecotton, but from a different branch of the family. They are all testing out at 100% European.

Here is a screen shot of my own Ancestry Composition from 23andMe

So where did this long-standing belief come from?  Where did it all start?

Well, I have discovered that, too!

In 1908, when my grandmother and her siblings made application to the Cherokee tribe, their great uncle, JOSIAH BLAIR THOMPSON, age 76 (census shows that he was actually age 70), made a sworn affidavit in Cherokee Co Oklahoma, where he was living at the time,  that JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON, the grandfather of the applicants was a half breed Cherokee, claiming MONROE's father MOSES WHITECOTTON was full blood Cherokee. The claims were, unfortunately, based on hearsay, conjecture or fabrication, were  completely untrue, and could be easily disproved--as was indicated by the fact that the application was rejected by the tribe.

(In the affidavit JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON was said to be nicknamed "Indian Whitecotton" and while he was not Native American on his father's side as claimed, he was a relentless womanizer, often "shacking up" with women & begetting children without benefit of marriage. He was arrested & jailed for stealing at least once in Bradley Co TN in 1857, and was held in Nashville in 1864 near the end of the Civil War on suspicion of being a bushwhacker {he wasn't, his first cousin back in Alabama was}. All in all,  MONROE probably behaved in a VERY  uncivilized manner....and some of his cousins & one uncle were even worse! )

Anyway. While there are some grains of truth in the document,  there are some egregious misrepresentations, the worst being that JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON moved in 1849-1850 to Cherokee Co North Carolina (1850 census shows MONROE with wife & children, living near his mother HAPPY WHITECOTTON in Decatur, Morgan Co Alabama), and that JOSIAH himself accompanied MONROE to work for a company prospecting on Turtle Creek. This seems odd because JOSIAH was born 1838 and would have been eleven years old! The 1850 census shows JOSIAH living at home with his parents in Bradley Co Tennessee.

It seems that JOSIAH either truly believed what he said in the sworn affidavit--or else he was just trying to help his impoverished grand nieces & nephews.  And it is quite possible that as a young boy JOSIAH idolized MONROE (who did "marry" two of JOSIAH's sisters, after all), and that MONROE was the kind of dashing, lawless figure who would linger larger than life a boy's imagination.

Here is a copy of the 1908 affidavit by JOSIAH BLAIR THOMPSON concerning JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON aka "Indian Whitecotton".

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2013

An Easy Method for Figuring out Kinship or Cousinship

Here's a easy way to figure out how you are related to someone!

--If you share the same parents--you are siblings

--If you share the same grandparents--you are first cousins

--If you share the same great grandparents--you are second cousins

--If you share the same great great grandparents--you are third cousins

--If you share the same great x 3 grandparents--you are fourth cousins

--If you share the same great x 4 grandparents--you are fifth cousins

And so on, and so forth.

So how to figure out the dreaded " first/second/third cousin removed" part?

Here's an example.

My first cousin "B" and I share the same grandparents, Alonzo Cox Huber & Minttie May Bruton.  "B" got married and had three children.  Her three children and I are  first cousins 1 x removed.

Several of "B"s children have had children, so they are my first cousins 2 x removed.

If I had had children, they would have been 2nd cousins to "B"'s children, sharing the same great grandparents (Alonzo Cox Huber & Minttie May Bruton).

Or to show it another way:


My father                                                          His sister      (siblings)
|                                                                         |
Me                                                                  "B"                 (first cousins)
                                                                        "B"s  children (first cousins 1x removed)

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2013