The Indian people who moved to Indiana and Ohio appear to have been absorbed into the general population, but as late as 1910, the U.S. Census listed some families of Jeffrieses in the Whitley County area as Indian (U.S. Bureau of the Census 1910), showing that the awareness of their heritage may still not have died out completely.
In 1904, the Eastern Band of Cherokee won a settlement with the U.S. government based on violations of earlier treaties. This meant that thousands of persons of Eastern Cherokee ancestry were eligible for part of the settlement, and many of these people applied to the U.S. Court of Claims for a share (Jordan 1987-1990). It is interesting to read these applications, since a significant percentage of applicants were not Eastern Cherokee, but members of other tribes. These persons would now be identified as Lumbee, Alabama Creek, Meherrin, Haliwa, and Occaneechi (Saponi), along with a number of individuals who probably were of unmixed white or black ancestry.
At least 20 Occaneechi descendants also applied; all were rejected by the commission as not being of Eastern Cherokee ancestry. Among these were Aaron Thomas Guy, born in Caswell County, North Carolina, the son of Henry Guy and grandson of Henry Guy. Henry Guy, Sr., was the brother of Richard Guy, Buckner Guy, and others who moved to Macon County, North Carolina, from the Texas community in the 1820s. Aaron Guy stated that his mother was a free woman of color, born free and raised by the Quakers in Guilford County, North Carolina. There is also testimony from a former slave who knew Henry Guy, Jr., to the effect that he was an Indian, married to a colored woman. Aaron Guy was living in Indiana at the time of his application.
William C. Wilson, from Wichita, Kansas, also applied. He stated that he was born near Hendersonville, North Carolina, and was the son of Sam Wilson, a "half Cherokee," and Julian Guy. Julian Guy was the daughter of Richard Guy and Martha Whitmore, and Martha's mother was Lottie Jeffries. Wilson claimed that his grandfather, Richard Guy, was a white man, although the Macon County records list him as a "Free Colored head of Household." He also stated that his father, Sam Wilson, could speak the Indian language. Assuming he was not exaggerating to impress the government man, William Wilson's father may have spoken the old Saponi language, or he may have learned Cherokee from his neighbors in Macon County.
William and Joe Gibson, from Murphy, North Carolina, applied, and the note "Probably Negros" was written on their application. William Gibson stated that his parents "passed as part Indian. No Negro blood in them." He further stated that his father spoke the Indian language. On the bottom of his testimony is a note, presumably written by the agent, which says, "This applicant shows the Indian so does his brother now with him. However, their ancestors were never enrolled." These Gibsons, who lived at various times in Tennessee and North Carolina, probably were also related to the Gibsons found in the so-called Melungeon groups of eastern Tennessee and western Virginia, which appear to have originated in the early mixed-blood populations of the North Carolina Piedmont area.
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