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

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