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

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