Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Smith Family Research

Today I was all by myself at work. I took this time to finish reading and summarizing the Cherokee Citizenship application of Sarah Ann (Smith) Grider. Sarah Grider and several of her children and grand-children, filed for citizenship in the Cherokee Nation in 1896. Their application was denied, even though another Cherokee council member testified that they were Cherokee by blood.

This application was very important because it listed Sarah's parents - David and Sarah (Gallymore) Smith - and her grand parents - Jim Smith on the paternal side and Jennie (Lee) Gallymore on the maternal side. Sarah (Smith) Grider was the sister to my ancestor, Richard Smith.

The cherokee council member mentioned above was one John R Gourd. He testified that he knew David Smith's father, James Smith, who was known as "Cherokee Jim Smith" in the old country. This testimony gave insight about how the Indians migrated from the eastern US to the Central US. He testified that he knew James in the "old country" that was "east of the Mississippi River." He said he saw James in Chattanooga TN and in AL, but that he didn't see him again after he arrived at OK.

I did some research on this John R Gourd to get an idea of where he was from and how old he was. I found him on the 1900 Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory census report as John Rattling Gourd, b. 1819 in GA. Both parents in GA.

I read up on the Cherokee removal from the east to the west and the Trail of Tears. Most Cherokees came from the western half of GA, mostly in the north, western 1/3 of NC, and most of TN. During the Trail of Tears of 1838-1839, most of them were rounded up at forts along the TN river. Most of GA, TN and NC Indians left at Chattanooga, TN and went across the state into AR. Another trail left from AL at the TN river. This group followed the river up into MO, then back down in to AR. Most of them followed one of these two routes. A 3rd route was by land up into North TN and MO, then back down into OK. Many Indians had already left their lands and settled in AR by 1817. In 1838, these indians were also forced to move into OK.

I got confused because I could not find an 1840 census report for either Indian Territory or OK. Were there any census reports taken for these removed Indians during this time? I did find various Native American Rolls that were taken over time on the accessgenealogy page.

John Rattling Gourd was born in GA, as were his parents, so I thought maybe he knew James Smith back in GA. However, James' son David Smith's 1850 AR Census report listed his place of birth as TN. I pulled all the James Smiths from the 1830 GA Census reports, printed all of the county formation details and highlighted the counties that were original Cherokee lands. I tried to match them up with the Gourd family, however I coud not find any Gourd families in the old nation. I was able to trace John Rattling Gourd to the family of Rattlinggourd Conrad and Mary Polly Toney; Evidently their children took Rattlinggourd as their surname - then it was broken up into "Rattling" as a middle name and "Gourd" as a surname. This family is outlined in the book, "History of the Cherokee Indians and their Legends and Folklore" p. 635. This book is available for full view at google books.

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