Category Archives: Marshall, Adkins and Ashworth Family

Lee Adkins – 52 Weeks/52 Ancestors

Lee Adkins or Why We Don’t Challenge Crazy Gunmen

Richard Adkins, my Grandmother Flora Hardin’s grandfather, had several siblings. He doesn’t mention in his interviews nor in his court testimony if he knew any of his siblings other than Lee Adkins. Lee Adkins was the child of Thomas Adkins and Mary Jane Davis and Richard Adkins testifies that he sent money to Lee Adkins’ widow when Lee died.

Lee Adkins was born in approximately 1857, six years after Richard Adkins was born. Richard Adkins gave testimony regarding his siblings.

richard adkins testimony

So, Richard Adkins didn’t know Billy Adkins or Nancy Adkins (two of his siblings, same father different mother) but he says the last time he’d seen him, Richard Adkins had been in the town where Lee Adkins was raised. He acknowledged that Lee had sisters but not that he knew them nor recognized them as his own siblings. Richard Adkins had received two or three letters from Lee Adkins, Lee Adkins’ wife wrote Richard after his death, and Richard sent money to help with his tombstone.

I have also found testimony in another case that indicates that Richard Adkins had one full sibling. That sibling is listed as Elmira Adkins. Now, why he wouldn’t have mentioned her anywhere is strange to me. He is very clear that when they left during the war, he was with his grandmother, grandfather, an aunt, his mother and himself. No mention of a sister at all.

Apparently Thomas Adkins was legendary. Here is testimony given by Chief Pleasant Porter regarding Richard Adkins’ father, Thomas Adkins.

Pleasant Porter Testimony

So Thomas Adkins was a pretty wild sort of fellow. That might have been the understatement of the century.

Poor Lee Adkins. His life comes to a tragic end on the streets of Checotah, Indian Territory. Checotah was a town named for Chief Samuel Checote, a full blood Muskogee Creek Indian, Methodist minister, and the first principal chief of the tribe after the Civil War. Checotah also happens to be where Carrie Underwood, the country singer, was raised.

Scan_Pic0013

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So while this article is difficult to read, this is a copy of the November 19, 1894 Muscogee Phoenix Newspaper account of the murder of Lee Adkins. Lee Atkins was shot by Amos McIntosh after 7:00 in the evening.

Reports were conflicting but most people agreed that horse races had been held in Checotah that day and that alcohol had been consumed. A gentleman by the name of Mr. Cresswell was passing by the Bumgarner Hotel and saw two men standing near a tree next to the hotel. Not wanting to get involved, as he could tell they had been drinking and trouble was brewing, he continued on his way, saying he didn’t have time to stop.  As he came back by the same location, there was a man lying on the platform in front of the billiard hall, the man groaning and calling out “I am killed, I am killed.”

How sad. Just 37 years old, Lee Adkins died of his second gun shot, about 12 hours after he was hit.

I found an additional newspaper article for this incident that claimed Lee Adkins had called Amos McIntosh a coward and dared him to shoot, saying Amos didn’t have the guts to pull the trigger.

If you take no other lesson from this story, please take this. Never dare someone to shoot you.

The gunman Amos McIntosh took a train to Eufaula just after the shooting, where a witness heard him say Lee Adkins was gunning for him but that Amos was too quick for Lee and got off a shot first.  They had both been drinking but was not “crazy drunk”.  Amos McIntosh and Lee Atkins were Creek citizens of prominence. McIntosh had served as a prosecuting attorney for the Eufaula and Muskogee districts. Lee Atkins had served the past year as a cattle inspector and was a candidate before the recent council as permit inspector. Lee Adkins lived in Eufaula until two years before his death, when he went to Muskogee and ran the billiard hall for a year before returning to Eufaula. Lee Adkins was popular in Eufaula and his friends were outraged at his killing.

Amos McIntosh was taken into custody and turned over to the police in Ft. Smith, Arkansas. Lawmakers at Fort Smith refused to charge Amos McIntosh and thus he was turned over to the Muscogee Creek Lighthorse Brigade. Amos McIntosh was eventually freed and no charges were brought against him.

At the time of his death, Lee Atkins was a newly appointed U.S. Deputy Marshal.

adkins

This is the Indian Territory Checotah Cemetery, where Lee Adkins was the first person to be buried.

cemetery sign

cemetery record

A lot of the information I found lists Lee Adkins as Lee Atkins. Their surname is spelled both ways and Richard Adkins himself had no idea which was correct. He testified that he was uncertain but thought that his father had spelled it Adkins.

I am still researching Lee Adkins…I wonder what happened to his wife, if he had children and any other juicy tidbits that I can find. Until next time…

The excerpts from the interviews were reproduced with permission from

University of Oklahoma
Western History Collections
Indian-Pioneer Papers Collection

Martha Marshall

When I get stuck in research, stuck on a problem that doesn’t feel as if I will ever solve it, I will put it aside until I can come up with another path of attack. That is what happened with Chief Benjamin “Ben” Marshall, my fourth great-grandfather. His life is such a puzzle to me.  I will find bits and pieces of information that relates to him but doesn’t entirely tell his story. It never does.
However, I was researching different terms recently and came upon testimony of a young woman by the name of Elizabeth Benton. She was applying for citizenship in the Chickasaw Nation. I started reviewing the testimony of her witnesses and came across one page that suddenly cleared up a lot of confusing information for me.
When I was originally researching the citizenship application for Richard Adkins, a witness said Ben Marshall had a daughter by the name of Louisa Martha. There was a lot of information that was not clear in that testimony and thus I had dismissed it.
Now, after reviewing the testimony for Elizabeth Benton, it appears that her mother was Martha Marshall, daughter of Ben Marshall.
When Richard Adkins was interviewed in 1938 for the Pioneer records in Oklahoma, he mentioned that he had escaped during the Civil War with his Grandfather, his mother and an aunt. I think it was Martha Marshall to whom he was referring.
However, Elizabeth Benton gives little information regarding her mother. She was married to Theodore Benton and living in the Chickasaw Nation. She was claiming Indian heritage for herself and her four children.  Her children were Isabella Neal, Isaac Benton, Eliza Benton and Verna Benton. Isabella Neal was the child of a different husband. When you read Elizabeth’s testimony she says that Isabella’s father left her and never returned. However, there is also testimony from the ex-spouse saying she told him to leave and refused to allow him to return to the marriage. That made me laugh. Always two sides to the story, even in the late 1800’s.
Back to the story at hand, Elizabeth says that her father was Charles H. Strickland and that her mother was Martha Marshall. There is a second person who also applied for their rights through the Chickasaw Nation and her name was Josephine Belvin. Josephine and Elizabeth were sisters. Josephine was married to Charles A. Belvin and they were also claiming Chickasaw heritage for their children, Elizabeth, Arabella, Rosa Ellen, James Charley and William Guy Belvin.
Charles H. Strickland was a well-known recognized member of the Chickasaw tribe by blood and also held the office of Sheriff of Pontotoc County.
The only objection of the Commission, in enrolling Josephine Belvin and her family, is that they should be enrolled with the tribe of their mother and that these applicants should instead be enrolled as Creeks and claim their allotments in that nation. The records show that Josephine’s mother came from the Creek Nation before her marriage to Charles Strickland and that Martha Marshall’s mother, the grandmother of Josephine Belvin, was a Choctaw who went from the Choctaw Nation to the Creek country.
Wow, so that information kinda blew me away. So, Martha Marshall’s mother, one of Benjamin Marshall’s wives, was a Choctaw native. I had assumed that his wife was a Creek. Then, I had also read that she could have been a Euchee Indian. Now, we see that she is a Choctaw. Curious how many wives he had.
The Commission was not bound to follow the old tribal custom of the mother rule except in cases where the reason for the rule demands it. That rule grew out of the idea that due to the indiscriminate sexual relations that prevailed in the early history of the tribes, the identity of a child’s father may often be in doubt while there can be no doubt as to that of the mother.
I can see how that rule came to be and they weren’t kidding when they talked about the indiscriminate sexual relations that prevailed!
Also, testimony given by a Reuben Carney said that he lived in Stonewall, I.T., that he knew Martha Marshall well and while he didn’t know what tribe she came from, Charlie Strickland told him she was a Creek.
There is also testimony from Martin B. Cheadle. He stated that he lived about 10 miles from Tishomingo, Indian Territory (The same place Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert currently live and where Miranda Lambert has a club, The Pink Pistol) and that he knew Charlie Strickland, who was a first cousin to Mr. Cheadle. He knew Martha Marshall and that it was understood she was a Creek. Martha Marshall’s father, Benjamin Marshall was buried on the place where Mr. Cheadle was currently living. He said he had never had a conversation with her about but that it was very well known that they were Creeks and that they had been refugees after the war.
Now, that was a great piece of information. If only the courts actually took things like names and addresses, I would have information that we have been searching for the last couple of years. But, alas and good grief, why would they do something like that?
Josephine herself testifies that she lives at Paul’s Valley and has lived her entire life in the Chickasaw Nation. Her mother was Martha Marshall. She always heard her father say that her mother was part Chickasaw and part Creek. She does not know who her mother’s mother was. Her father was Chickasaw and her mother was part Chickasaw. Martha Marshall died after she was separated from Charles Strickland.
Page 15
A witness by the name of T.C. Walker says that he knew Martha Marshall intimately and that she came from the Creek Nation.
Josephine’s direct testimony was that she did not know any of her mother’s family. She said her parents were married in the Chickasaw Nation and that Mr. Walker was present at their wedding. She believes she was about 4 years old when her mother died.
Now, she was born in 1875 so it seems that Martha Marshall died in approximately 1879-1880.
On February 25, 1903, the Blevin family was granted enrollment as citizens of the Chickasaw Nation.
This leads us back to Charles Strickland. Charles H. Strickland was born on April 8, 1837, and fought in the Civil War with the First Chickasaw Mounted Rifles. Charley Strickland was a crazy man.
Strickland)
Charles became the first Sheriff in Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory.  As you can see, the story goes that on March 19, 1895 Charles Strickland was riding in a buggy with a friend by the name of Bill Lewis near Byrd’s Mill. Allegedly, Charles raised his Winchester rifle near Lewis’ face. Lewis was able to knock away the rifle and told Strickland not to do it again. Strickland pointed the rifle at him a second time and Bill Lewis pulled out a revolver and shot Charles Strickland dead. Then Bill Lewis took Charles’ body and tossed it over the fence at Elizabeth Benton’s home. Charles Strickland was buried in Stonewall, Indian Territory.
So, while Josephine Belvin and Elizabeth Benton did not know their mother, nor their mother’s family, we still pick up a few clues about the Marshall clan. Here are the children that I’ve found thus far:
Benjamin Marshall Jr.
Robert Marshall
William Marshall
George Marshall
Millie Marshall
Lavina Marshall
Martha Marshall
I can’t help but wonder how many more there were!

Not The Right Ben Marshall

 

As my Benjamin Marshall trail has continued, I find so many nuggets of information that trying to keep it all straight isn’t easy. You can search for Benjamin Marshall, Ben Marshall, Ben Marshall Half-Breed, Benjamin Marshall Creek, Benjamin Marshall Coweta Tribe; I could go on and on, but I think I’ve made my point. Change a search term, change a name, change a city, change a state and you come up with a hundred different possible hints.

I have a great research assistant. My husband Paul is interested in what I am doing and is a great help. He spends a lot of time searching names that might be helpful to me and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.

A week ago, Paul came to me with a page he had discovered. It was a school record for a Benjamin Marshall from the Carlisle School. I was immediately suspicious. Not because Paul wasn’t looking in the correct manner, just that there are two individuals named Benjamin Marshall.

Isn’t that awful? So many times I have been searching for a term using Benjamin Marshall and once I review it, I realize, it is the wrong Benjamin Marshall.

The Benjamin Marshall I am searching for is born in approximately 1800 and dies in approximately 1863 or 1864.

Let’s meet the second Benjamin Marshall.

So part of my issue with our Benjamin Marshall is trying to figure out who he is married to, who his children were and where they ended up. So far, these are the children I have been able to locate:

Benjamin Marshall Jr. (this isn’t the “not right Ben Marshall”, but Chief Grayson speaks of Benjamin Marshall Jr. in a very uncomplimentary way and since he was there, I’ll believe him)

Robert Marshall

William Marshall

George Marshall

Millie Marshall

Lavina Marshall

So the Not Our Ben Marshall is the son of George Marshall. Here he is

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Now Paul has located the sweetest record from Carlisle Indian School. This is a letter Ben Marshall writes to his alma mater, congratulating the football team for their winning season from an old student and says that he was there from 1880 to 1884.

letter from benj marshall

Sweet note, right? But there is no way it is our Ben Marshall.

But the second Ben Marshall is also a descendant of our Ben Marshall and therefore, I did put him on my tree. He is a prominent member of the Creek Nation himself. He sat on the council for the Allotment of Indian Lands in 1899. He married two different women, was also wealthy and well respected. Not bad to have that leaf on our tree.

Now let me tell you what has confused me.

When Richard Adkins testifies to who he is during his trial in 1899 or so, he says

Richard Adkins nickname

His testimony says, 

“Q: Well, did you say you know Lee Adkins? Well I saw him. I came up here once, the last time I saw him. He was just a little boy then, and he had sisters; I never did see him any more. I went over to my uncle’s Ben Marshall’s father here”

Vague at best. It sounds like there is a Benjamin Marshall present during his testimony. If this is true, why doesn’t he testify? Not sure and doubt I’ll ever have the answer to that question, and I can’t tell if he is talking about Benjamin Marshall Jr. (my thoughts, as he says my uncle) or Not the right Benjamin Marshall.

Always more questions than answers.

The best thing about finding the picture of that Benjamin Marshall, after I got over the disappointment that it wasn’t my Benjamin Marshall, was that this Benjamin Marshall is a first cousin to Richard Adkins.

As I have said before, searching for Richard Adkins has become my mission. I don’t think that will happen until I am able to make a trip to Oklahoma myself. I hate that I can’t just drive over to the local historical society and start sifting through their documents myself. However, I did find this picture

Louisa Marshall

I found her information listed as Louisa Marshall, the daughter of William Marshall. Another first cousin of Richard Adkins

While not finding a photograph of Richard Adkins (YET!) is still difficult, I have found photographs of people who are on my tree. And those faces mean a lot to me.

Chief Benjamin “Ben” Marshall, 52 Weeks/52 Ancestors

So, when I was a little girl, I spent a tremendous amount of time with my Grandmother, Flora Burgess Hardin True. None of her other grandchildren spent as much time with her as I did. Every summer I began spending a week with her, one time being flown from San Jose, CA to Sacramento, CA by myself when I was about 8 or 9 years old. Grandma lived in the forest, near Nevada City. I loved going to stay with her because I was very spoiled, and I knew she loved me unconditionally, much like my own mother. My grandma would tell me about her grandfather, Richard Adkins, how he was Native American. She used to have two very large prints of an American Indian Squaw and an American Indian Warrior on her wall in her living room. She also built us a teepee in her backyard (It was very scary out there, but to be fair, she lived in the forest …hahaha)

teepee

Thus began my fascination with Native Americans. I knew from a young age that my grandmother was so proud of being an Indian. Of course, my dad, thinking he was very funny, would tell her that the only good Indian was a dead one…it would send Grandma into a tizzy. He was only teasing her. Serious researching has led me to discover Richard Adkin’s testimony to prove that he was Native American. After he moved about 141 miles away from the Creek Nation near Muscogee, OK to Durant, Ok, Richard testified that his Grandfather, Benjamin Marshall, his mother, aunt, and he had traveled to get away from the fighting of the Civil War. He never went back to Muscogee until approximately 1897. He got an Attorney and fought for his right to claim his citizenship in the Creek Nation. Richard gave testimony that his grandfather was Benjamin Marshall. A very white sounding name, not very Indian. Searching for Benjamin Marshall became obsessive for me.

His father was a fur trader of either English or Irish descent. I found a story saying that his father was Thomas Marshall, who married the daughter of a Chief after his brothers were killed in an Indian raid. Her name was Hits Kartay. Finally, I thought, now we are getting somewhere.

Benjamin Hawkins was a U.S. Indian Agent and a member of the Continental Congress, that was assigned by President George Washington to deal with the Native Americans.

Col. Benjamin Hawkins Grave Marker

He says about Benjamin Marshall’s family

"In the course of conversation to-day with Mr. Marshall on the domestic economy of the Indians, I was surprised at his want of information as he has resided twelve years in their towns, and has 
two Indian wives. He explained for himself, by saying that during the whole of his residence he had not entered 3 of the Indian houses, that whatever business he had with the men he went to their doors, mentioned it to him, said and did what was necessary 
and left them, or sat under their corn house."

Oh, so Thomas Marshall has two Indian wives… now I wonder if one was Hits Kartay, the mother to Benjamin and his brothers, Joseph and James, and if the other Indian wife gave birth to other children, because at one point in documents I have found mention of a sister and yet, whenever Benjamin Marshall is discussed, it is always as he and his two brothers, no other mention of other siblings.

There are so many mentions of Benjamin Marshall that it is difficult to keep it all straight. He was a Second Chief of the Creek Nation, he owned a big plantation across the Chattahoochee River from his father’s plantation, signed the Treaty of Indian Springs of 1825, and moved his town of 502 Creeks to Indian Territory in 1832, before the Trail of Tears. Benjamin Marshall said in a quotation that he felt sorry for his people that refused to move, because he knew it was going to happen, that they would be forced to move. Benjamin Marshall also owned slaves and traded them.

Wow, I wasn’t prepared for that. I would never have suspected that the Indians were slave owners and slave traders. If you had told me that any of my Hardin relatives had been slave owners and traders, I would have said, well, of course they were. I never met my Grandfather Hardin; he died before I was born, but my mother would say that he liked black people just fine, as long as they came to the back door with their hat in their hands, meaning that they knew their place. I try to keep the perspective that people who were raised in the south understood and were used to treating people of color differently. I have a difficult time with that. I don’t like it.

So Benjamin Marshall, Native American Second Chief, Translator for the United States Government, was a slave trader. There are so many facets to him that it will take me several posts to truly cover this ancestor. Richard Adkins says that his grandfather came to own and operate three plantations in Oklahoma by possessing  foresight and being a good businessman.

Indian Patch

So, good, bad, or indifferent, I can’t wait to get to know more of Mr. Benjamin “Ben” Marshall.

Quote for Benjamin Hawkins obtained from

REYNOLDS HISTORICAL 
GENEALOGY COLLECTION

Henderson Ashworth 52 Ancestors, 52 Weeks

I think it is important to place perspective on each of our ancestor’s stories, eek out each life lesson we can learn from our history. I think many people would look at the life of Henderson Ashworth and think, his family had an impact on the area where they lived because they were considered “people of color”.  Even if they were European and Native American, not of African descent, their legacy lives on. For me, the best part of his story was the  life he led with his wife and family.

February 5, 1840 saw the passing of a law, enacted to prohibit the immigration of free blacks into the State of Texas. For those who lived there, the free blacks who refused to leave would be sold into slavery. They wanted to make the color of skin the standard by which people of servitude were determined.

By December 12, 1840 “The Ashworth Act” had been passed, brought about by influential white citizens who felt that the Ashworth family should be “grandfathered-in”. It had been signed by 71 citizens. The basis, these 71 citizens felt, was that William Ashworth and his brother Abner Ashworth had contributed generously to the Texas cause during the Revolution. This Ashworth Act would allow the Ashworth family to remain in Texas as Free People of Color.

This is the life to which Henderson Ashworth was born of William Ashworth and Deleide Gallier in 1827. Twenty-nine years later, his life would cease at the hands of a broken vigilante system, hanging from a noose.

Hanging Tree

The Ashworth family came from the Pee Dee (Pendleton District) area of South Carolina and moved to the Louisiana and Texas areas in the early 1800’s, settling into the Orange, Texas area as well as the Calcasieu, Louisiana areas, traveling back and forth across the border between these states.

William and Deleide had 13 children. William, himself, was one of 11 children. The patriarch of the family was James Ashworth, who married Keziah Dial/Dyal and they bore 11 children. I don’t believe that it was strangers who filed for a piece of Flora’s lawsuit but rather, they had so many offspring that there were countless family members. I don’t believe Flora would have known them since her grandmother seemed to have left the Ashworth family, changed her name and died before Flora was born.

Texas itself, going through a historic time, first the Revolution, the Texas Declaration of Independence, then being invaded by Mexico several times, and by 1845, the 28th State of the United States, just ten short years before the Civil War. So while the Ashworth family had been welcomed to the community, buying property, owning businesses, there was a newspaper article that was published on July 4, 1856 in the Calcasieu Press. This person asserted that there was a need to drive out the gang of gamblers, cow and hog and horse thieves, mail robbers, counterfeiters and murderers that have been living in the Orange County area of Texas for quite a few years and that the they had become wicked beyond endurance. They had been ordered to leave the area and this was to include all of the Mulatto families and their white associates. He seems to be referencing the Ashworth family. Crazy how the other townsfolk had been willing to stand up for them years before, and yet, these are the same people who turned against them.

They were being drummed out of the town.

Why they were being drummed out is questionable.

This was not the first time that the family had been singled out for behavior that, from a white person, would have been acceptable. Like being married. In the spring of 1847, Henderson was charged with adultery, stemming from the fact that he was considered a Negro and his wife was white, which was against the law. However, as it was an inappropriate charge the Sheriff couldn’t make the charge stick so then he was then charged with fornication. However, he and Letitia Stewart were married and therefore, fornication could not apply. Henderson fought this charge all the way to the Supreme Court, but they were found guilty and charged a $100 fine.

On May 15, 1856, Clark Ashworth was arrested for illegally butchering a hog. Mind you, hogs were wild but someone claimed it was his and Clark was arrested. Because the Ashworth clan was friendly with the Sheriff, Clark was allowed to escape. Clark’s cousin Sam Ashworth went to confront the Deputy Sheriff Sam Deputy (I guess he was in the right profession) and Sam Ashworth was arrested for abusive language from a Negro toward a white person. He was sentenced to 30 lashes.

Sam Ashworth was hauled before a judge and released on bond. He was humiliated and looking for revenge. He and another cousin by the name of Jack Bunch lay in wait for Deputy Sheriff Deputy (couldn’t resist!) with a revolver and two shot guns

shotgun

Sam Ashworth and Jack Bunch shot at D.S.Deputy and his companion, unloaded all of their ammunition on him, wounding him, but when he didn’t die, they bashed his head in with the butt of the gun.

Since the Sheriff was in the Ashworth camp, he was the one who allowed Sam Ashworth to escape, so another deputy pulled together a posse to search for the escaped suspects. For two weeks, free black people were harassed,  their homes plundered and burned, warning the occupants to vacate their town.  Several families moved back across the river to Louisiana but the men would return to try to protect their land, cattle and freedom.

The area of Orange, Texas became a hotbed of shootings and killings over the next couple of months.

On one side was the Regulators and on the other, the Moderators.

The guns, a skiff, and a disguise were given to Sam Ashworth by Henderson Ashworth.

news article henderson ashworth

So Henderson Ashworth comes to the end of his life at the end of a rope along with Jack Bunch. Sam Ashworth escapes, moves to the Indian Territory and serves in the Civil War. Letitia Stewart Ashworth becomes a 27 year old widow with six children under the age of 7. She is living in Calcasieu Louisiana, next door to Ashworth family and she, herself, is gone four years later, along with her mother, brother, and most of her children. Only the two girls grew to be adults and have families.

It is interesting to note that the Ashworth family owned extensive land in the Orange, Texas area. Could greed have been the reason why they were drummed out of town? It is certainly possible.

The land owned by James Ashworth was the land where oil was discovered.

image008

Along comes the 1920’s and Flora’s Great Uncle is knocking at her door, telling her of their inheritance, their windfall. Henderson Ashworth’s life, while short and tragic, produced two daughters and established his legacy.

That’s not my Ancestor – Sarah Ashworth AKA Sarah Smith AKA Sallie Adkins 52 Weeks/52 Ancestors

“The history that we share makes us who we are” Not my words, but those are the words of Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Harvard Professor and the host of Finding Your Roots. When I began researching my history, I had some preconceived notions about who I was, where my parents came from, their parents and so on, formed from stories and information shared over the years. After both my parents were gone, I was continuing my research when I came across information for one of my ancestors. As I have spoken a lot about Richard Adkins, it’s time to delve into his wife, Sallie Adkins.

One of the stories that was well known to me (as the article hung on our hallway at home for years) was a story of how my grandmother was set to become a millionaire at the tender age of 19. Big impact, right? How come we’re not millionaires, Grandma? My grandmother always said that they were duped out of the money by unscrupulous lawyers and people paid to say they were descendants of her great-grandfather, James Ashworth.

newspaper article flora

Flora’s great-uncle knocked on her door at midnight, about a month after she had married Charles Hardin, to tell her she was one of 21 people who had a right to share in money from an oil well. When I asked my grandma if she had gotten any money from it, she said she had received some, but not what they were supposed to. She said that her ancestor had gone by the name Smith and that lawyers brought forth a ton of people by the name Smith and that they ended up losing out on a lot of money. Now, my grandmother made a lot of money in her lifetime but she had done it the hard way, by old fashioned elbow grease. No heiress stuff for us.

While I was working on Ancestry.com’s website, I came across information for the Ashworth family. I added it to my tree until I opened up the 1860 Census and found a listing for Sarah Ashworth. I started reading the contents of the Census, thrilled until I came to the part where it listed her race. The word Mulatto shocked me. What? Oh, that can’t possibly be my ancestor, I thought. I don’t understand why those people think this is my ancestor but they must be wrong. It’s a mistake, I said to myself, and promptly erased that information off my tree. After all, when Richard Adkins talked about his wife, he very plainly says he was married to a white woman. It was in his testimony. Willa Adkins, too, plainly testified that she was married to a white man (she was) and that her mother was a white woman.

About a month later, I came across a document that I couldn’t deny. Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle (old term, I know) but it was the document showing who was included in the settlement for the Ashworth oil fortune.

Heirs of Henderson

There in big letters was Flora Burgess Hardin, Ovola Burgess, Henry Carter Burgess, Richard Adkins and Nat Adkins. Well, what do you know about that? Guess it was time to add her back onto my tree. I was so fortunate because once again, I found an ancestor with a crazy story and lots of press about it. People have used my ancestor’s story for the topic of a thesis on race relations of the 1850s. Well, there it is.

So, this ancestor, my Grandma Flora’s grandmother, Sallie Adkins, was born to a family who were considered Free People of Color in Orange County, Texas a time that was fraught with violence, hatred and outright racism. Because they lived on the border of Orange County, Texas and Calcasieu, Louisiana, the family slipped back and forth between the two states. If you have time, look up the Orange County wars. If you don’t, I will give you a modified version next week.

Sallie Adkins started out as Sarah Ashworth, daughter of Henderson Ashworth. While I don’t have all of the details, Henderson Ashworth was hung as an accessory to a crime in 1856. Four years later, his widow, Letitia Stewart Ashworth is living as a seamstress in Calcasieu, Louisiana and dies in 1860. Her mother Clarrissa Stewart also dies in 1860. Her child Mary Jane Ashworth dies in 1860. Her brother Martin dies in 1860. Sounds like a disease takes out a big portion of the family in 1860.

The only other person to reach adulthood is Sarah’s sister Hannah. Sarah Ashworth at one point becomes Sarah  Smith and by the time she marries Richard Adkins her name is Sallie Adkins. Impossible to tell if Richard Adkins knew of her background, knew of her family history.  They are married by a Chickasaw minister in 1873, she bears five children and in 1900 they are living in the Choctaw Nation. Her sister’s name is Hannah but in some documents she is named Joanna Smith. She also lived in the Choctaw Nation in 1900. It appears that the only two siblings left stayed in touch throughout their lives. Hannah was born the same year her father was hung as an accomplice to murder.

Sallie Ashworth Adkins dies in 1902.

Sallie Adkins headstone

I don’t have any pictures of her so I can’t judge for myself what race she might have been. But, what I do have is my blood. I had a DNA test completed about four months ago. This is what the results looked like:

Continent (Subcontinent) Population Percentage Margin of Error

Europe (Northeast European)

Finnish

53.37%

±6.58%

Native American (Central American)

Maya

17.98%

±0.61%

Middle East

Palestinian, Jewish, Bedouin

28.65%

±5.97%

So, I do know that Sallie Ashworth’s great grandmother was Keziah Dial/Dyle and that she was Native American. I wonder if the line that shows Palestinian or Bedouin could be attributed to her. I did find a picture of some of Henderson Ashworth’s nieces and nephews.

ashworths

This is a quote from the same article:

“The Ashworths and the Johnsons, as well as others such as Perkins, Dials and Goins, were members of a Southwest Louisiana group known as <a href=”http://www.redboneheritagefoundation.com/”>Redbones</a&gt;. The Redbones are a dark-skinned people with European features who emigrated from the Pee Dee region of South Carolina to South Louisiana about 1810. The racial makeup of the Redbones is very controversial, and some assert that they have some African ancestry. It is almost certain that they are of primarily European origins with bloodlines heavily influenced by the American Indians of the Southeast United States.”

I think this is a great description, the best I have read. Sallie Adkins wasn’t forgotten, as my Aunt Jean named her daughter Sallie after her.  Gone, but not forgotten.
So, I did learn something from Sallie Adkins. I learned that sometimes we have to remove our prejudice and look at the information we find as a clue, not an absolute.
The quote and photograph were taken from a website http://www.burketexas.com/people/ashworth.php

“Millie” Marshall – 52 Ancestors-52 Weeks

One of the best tips I received at Ancestry Day in San Francisco was during a presentation where the presenter said you can’t always trust the information you find, even when its in stone.  I was so glad to hear that because the date listed on Richard Adkins headstone shows he died in 1931. However,  he gave one interview to the Indian Pioneer History papers on March 11, 1937. For me, I had to decide which sounded more likely until I received his death certificate. There was no question that his death certificate shows his date of death listed as November 21, 1938. His age was listed as 87 years, 9 months and 7 days.

Richard Adkins headstone

Nothing fancy, but I am still glad there is a headstone in honor of his memory.

Returning to his birth date, February 28, 1851, I like thinking about that date because his mother was there. She is such a difficult person to write about, with so little information known about her,  but let’s review what we have.

Of course, per usual, we can’t confirm her name. Not her first name, at least. So far, we know she was either “Millie”, “Nellie” or “Louisa Martha” Marshall. Dick Adkins was born at Fort Gibson in 1851. His mother was the daughter of Benjamin “Ben” Marshall. We have lots to discuss about Ben but for now, she is one of his eight children.  According to his Creek card he filled out in 1903, Dick said that as of July 9, 1903 he was 52 years old. That seems to confirm the date of birth.  His father is listed as Thomas Adkins.  His mother is listed as Nellie Marshall. And both are dead. Well, that’s not much information, right? Both were dead in 1903. Good thing he filled that out.

Fort Gibson

This is one of the barracks at Fort Gibson.

Back to Millie. Or Nellie. Anyway, in one of his Pioneer Interviews, Dick says his mother was Millie Marshall, daughter of Ben Marshall. She was a Creek Indian and a Euchee Indian and raised in Indian Territory. So, sounds like she was born after her father moved his family from the Georgia and Alabama area in 1833.  He goes on to say she died in the last year of the Civil War. The second interview dated six months later , Interview for Dick AdkinsDick Adkins calls his mother Millie throughout the interview. Which document is stronger, his interview or his Creek roll? Tough decision.

Then, 1899 rolls around and Richard Adkins realizes he will have to have a trial to prove his citizenship. Several people testify during this trial and one of those who testified was  Mimie Kernal, a slave that belonged his grandfather Ben Marshall. Mimie Kernal didn’t know how old she was but knew Dick Adkins from birth, says that she nursed him and she names his mother as Millie Marshall.

I am liking her name being Millie more and more. I can’t really explain the difference to his Creek enrollment card but to say I know Richard Adkins couldn’t read or write and perhaps the person taking the information down misunderstood.

Mimie Kernal says they were living between the Verdigris and the Arkansas rivers and that Ben Marshall was her master.

In later testimony, Dick says that his mother died within one mile of Fort Washita.

Fort WashitaFort Washita is in Durant, OK, the same place Dick Adkins goes on to raise his family and where Flora is born.

So I am comfortable with Millie. Reviewing everything I’ve found, I feel confident that was her name. Confident enough, I do believe I will remove the quotes that I’ve had around her name for quite some time. Millie Marshall. The sweetest thing she did for Dick Adkins was to call him Lump. Not much of a nickname, but a nickname it was. Lump Adkins was loved by Millie Marshall. I can tell he was loved, because Dick Adkins turned into a really great man who was well thought of by the people in his town of Sapulpa, OK and by others interviewed in different Pioneer interviews who said Lump Adkins was a kind friend. Poor Millie didn’t get to raise her son long if she died in the last year of the Civil War. If he was born in 1851 and she died in 1865, he was only 14 when she died. Millie Marshall left a good son behind.

 A portion of the interview used was from:  Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma Federation of Labor Collection, M452, Box 5, Folder 2. Western History

Collections, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma.

Durant, OK 1902

Image

So 1902 finds Willa (there are a lot of different spellings and variations on her name, but Flora called her Willa, so Willa it is) and Cart (also the name he was known as) with a fresh marriage and a brand new baby.

Now, I’ve had a busy week but I received an email from a friend I went to high school with, who said she had a friend who had discovered a link to an ancestor that was listed on the final 1906 Dawes Roll.  I told my friend to send me her friend’s name and I would be glad to reach out to her.  I’m no expert, but because I am passionate about ancestry research, I never mind helping if there is some way that I can help.

The Dawes Roll was an accounting of all Native Americans and was a listing created by the Dawes Commission. It included the Five Civilized Tribes: Creek, Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole.  I personally feel offended by the term Civilized,  as if every other Native American tribe was uncivilized. However, every time I make a new discovery, I am forced to remind myself to keep it in perspective. That is how the Native Americans were viewed in the 1800’s.

The path to citizenship for the Muscogee Creek Indian Nation includes an ancestor on the Dawes Roll, but it is so much more than that. It took me over three years from start to finish to gather all of the paperwork. We were so fortunate that Richard Adkins was included on that roll.

Sallie Adkins.cgi

Richard Adkins, too, wasn’t called Richard. He was called Lump. Notice the trend? I have found several documents by using variations of family member’s names and I have had great luck finding the name Lump.

When 1902 begins, Flora’s grandmother, Sallie Adkins (nee Ashworth), had been deceased for four months. As you can see from the headstone above, Sallie Adkins is known as Lump’s wife.

 As a kid, I thought it was funny that my mother had said she had cousins whose names were Natalee, Brookielee, Lee, and Lump. I thought that was hysterical. Really, they apparently loved the name Lee and who would call someone Lump?  What I didn’t know was this.

Nickname for Richard Adkins

So Lump was his nick name, given to him by his mother who died when he was a young boy. Then, further on my travels, I uncovered this little nugget

.

Lumpkin County in Georgia, not far from where his Grandfather lived.

Of our little family, says Flora, “My father was not well and no means of livelihood. A poor excuse for a son in law whose ambitions for a daughter ran high”.

So Lump Adkins had a great ambition for his daughter Willa. Why let her marry Cart? Why would he give his consent? Flora says that Willa’s sister wanted to marry someone unworthy and Richard Adkins had said no. The sister took a rifle to the barn and shot and killed herself. I am still looking for confirmation of that story.

Flora also said that Willa had a herd of cattle and her own cattle brand. There was a log cabin on the ranch that they fixed for their home. Cart took over the duties as foreman on the ranch.

True? Not true? Hard to say. But it adds interesting pieces that I am looking to verify.

“My father and mother were very happy.” Flora says that Cart had a third grade education and her mother a high school education in an Indian school.

Willa took care of the money. I come from a long line of women who were born to be in charge. See, I can’t help it. It’s in my blood. So, Willa was in charge of the money and most likely also in charge of where they lived. Willa was raised to have everything she wanted but she never complained about their more meager circumstances.

Flora said Richard Adkins was Cherokee Indian. All of the information I have to date shows his Grandfather Benjamin Marshall was Creek, so for now, let’s go with that. But Flora indicated that Richard Adkins was forced to give up his ranch when the territory was divided up into Indian nations and had to move to the Cherokee Nation.

Cart and Willa also had to move. Cart knew he had a job with his brother John Burgess in Joplin, MO. Flora was 2 years and 9 months old when they moved.

Next time, the Burgess connection…

Burgess'

Kinda scary looking people if you ask me!