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