Certain Aboriginal Mounds of the Georgia Coast

mounds 2

You can read this book online or download it free at:


 mounds 1


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Indian Slaves, New Kent County, VA 1722-1726

St. Peter’s Parish was located in New Kent County, Virginia.  Parish records exist from 1680-1787 and in those records, three Indians were mentioned.

Page 52 – Indian Will a slave belonging to Mr. Ebener Adams dyed October 18, 1723

Page 64 – Charles an Indian belonging to Capt. Goodrich Lightfoot died October 9, 1722

Page 66 – Enoss Indian dyed at Robert Moore’s Dec. 15, 1726


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New Native American Mitochondrial DNA Haplogroup, A4, Discovered

The genetic community continues to learn more about the genesis of our Native ancestors.  A couple of years ago, I suspected that a maternal DNA haplogroup, or clan, that had previously been designated as Asian was found both in European and Native American populations as subgroups.

We have enough participation in DNA projects now to work with these kinds of questions.

The results were not quite what I expected.  The group I thought was going to be Native, was not, but instead we found another group that was.  There are still a couple of other subgroups that are likely Native as well.  A very interesting picture of haplogroup A4 has emerged.

For those interested, I published the results in the article, “Haplogroup A4 Unpeeled – European, Jewish, Asian and Native American.”

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Chiskoyack Indians of Goucester County, VA

A reader sent these two images of a 1655 transaction in Goucester Co. VA – one of which is transcribed.  Interestingly, I have never run across this tribe or the reference to the Chiskoyack before.



Hat tip to Tommy for this information.

Posted in Chiskoyack, Virginia | 5 Comments

Sophia Williams Estes (1849-1928) – Native American Woman

Sophia Williams Estes

Sophia Williams Estes

In 2006, Onor Goin was a critically ill man, on dialysis, when the Dallas morning news wrote a story about Onor, known as Bouncer, and his family.

Bouncer’s family was typical of a Native American family whose members had “married white” and tried to leave their Native heritage behind, not because they wanted to, but as a matter of self-preservation.

Bouncer’s family lost its heritage and lived under a false identity, that of being white.  But Bouncer found his family’s heritage, literally, under the floor boards of the old home place, and started putting the secrets back together again.  Not, I might add, without problems from the older family members who remembered all too clearly how bad it was to be “Indian.”  As Bouncer put it, “to say you were Indian was material for the shotgun.”

John Williams and Eliza Wood were Cherokee and born in Georgia.  Their daughter, Sophia would marry Thomas G. I. Estes in Alabama in 1868.  From there, Sophia and her family would become white, as a way of protecting themselves and their children.

Sophia’s sister, Eliza Wood Williams would marry George Washington Goin,  Bouncer’s ancestor.

According to Bouncer, the unofficial historian of Northeastern Denton County, some of the Cherokee broke from the exiled tribe as the Trail of Tears progressed though Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma.  Others bolted south for Mexico and called themselves “Black Dutch,” a name he says held an “empty heritage dug from the blood and dirt and death along the Trail of Tears.”

Some Cherokees who were headed for Mexico settled in North Texas, the area surrounding Tarrant among them, in particular, the city of Watauga.  They called this community, “Unega” the Cherokee word for “white.”  On the deeds, it was spelled Onega.  In 1880, the town no longer wanted an Indian sounding name, so they drew slips of paper for a new name and it became Aubrey.

However, when the Cherokee families originally settled here, it was an untamed frontier, perfect for people who didn’t want to be found, according to Richard McCaslin, a history professor at the University of North Texas.

The photo above is of Sophia Williams Estes, the sister of Eliza Wood Williams Goins, having just arrived from the reservation in Oklahoma.  After that, she became a Black Dutch transformation, according to Bouncer.

The next picture is a large family photo take in 1885 in Aubrey.  Everyone was dressed entirely in “white apparel” with no hint at all of Nativeness.

Another 55 years later, Bouncer was crawling under his grandmother’s porch retrieving potatoes from where they were kept, where it was cool, when he overheard relatives talking about the Indians and his grandparents would talk in a language he did not understand.

When he asked about the word Indian, once, his mother slapped him across the mouth.

His uncle chopped wood and chanted to the sky.  Him mother told him to stay away from that uncle, that he was crazy.

The family quietly practiced Native medicine, but it was never called that.

And the family made moonshine, Bouncer’s grandmother in particular.  When his grandmother, Granny Laura, was elderly, Bouncer would sneak her a bit of moonshine, since she was living in her tee-totaler daughter’s house, and Granny Laura would tell him about smoke signals between her husband and the Comanches.  He heard the stories of old Georgia, how the houses were invaded by solders, the violence and the death along the Trail to Oklahoma and Texas – and more.

In 1953 while Bouncer was in the service, Granny Laura died, and she left her house to Bouncer.  He came home, ready to settle down, got married and began to remodel his grandmother’s house.

He pulled up the old linoleum.  Underneath he found some old newspapers, dating as far back as the 1820s, and some were marriages, births and obituaries, with names and words underlined.  He gathered them all up to throw away, but his wife advised against it.  In time, Bouncer came to realize that these old clippings held the secret to his family’s past and he began a scrapbook, and began talking about his finds.

A few months later, an aunt came into the hardware store that Bouncer bought from his father and warned him to stop, pleaded with him to leave the secrets alone.  She told him that he was “gonna dig deep enough that he would uncover something he would wish he hadn’t.”

Realizing the significance of the story, he began to tie it together with official documents, census records and historical documents of the region.

Finally, in 1999, Bouncer began to write about his family history, and his other historical finds, publicly for the Aubrey newspaper in a column called “Talk Under the Tipi.”  He was no longer willing to keep the secret and felt compelled to share the gift his grandmother had left to him.

Bouncer joined his grandmother on July 24, 2009, but not before he preserved the story of his family and ancestors.  You can read his columns today and about his heritage at http://www.bouncergoin.com/.

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The Sycamore Tree and the Indian Legend of Notre Dame University

My friend, Suzanne dropped me a most interesting note.  She attended Notre Dame University in the early 1960s and developed a special relationship with a unique tree.

Suzanne oak 1963

Recently she went back to visit.

“While in the area in 2010, I took a sentimental journey to my other alma mater, Notre Dame University, including a visit to the sycamore tree where I often sat 48 and 47 years ago to read beside the lake on campus. The intersection of branches that formed my perch has grown as high as I am tall.  Its branches form an open hand stretched upward. Estimated to be about 200 years old, it is said to mark the spot where an innocent Potawatomi who lived near the lake was murdered for a crime committed by another; and, according to tradition, the tree represents the hand of God, who offers protection and proclaims, “Vengeance is mine.”

Suzanne Oak 2010

Thank you Suzanne, for providing your story, sharing your photos and for the links below to the rest of the story….

Notre Dame

On the Notre Dame University campus in South Bend, Indiana, stands a large Sycamore tree.  Legend has it that this Sycamore sprung from the place on the ground where the blood of an Indian was spilled.


Dorothy Corson spent quite a bit of time and effort researching the early Native Americans in the region and the relationships between the early Potawatomi and Miami Indians, pre-removal, and whites, both settlers and missionaries, associated with what would eventually become Notre Dame.

Is the legend true?  It might be.  Read what Dorothy has to say…


Please visit this link for additional chapters in the book, “A Cave of Candles.”


Posted in Miami, Potawatomi | 1 Comment

Naia – Oldest Native American Facial Reconstruction

Naia, named affectionately for the ancient water nymphs of Greek mythology is actually the face of the oldest Native American.  At least, the oldest one whose skull is complete and whose face we can reconstruct.  Naia was a teenager when she died between 12,000 and 13,000 years ago by falling into a cave in the Yukatan. In 2007, her remains were found in a submerged cavern, and history was about to be made, after waiting some 12,000+ years.

A scientific team would study her remains, sample her DNA and reconstruct her face.  The January 2015 issue of National Geographic magazine has an absolutely wonderful article and the online magazine version does as well.

nat geo naia

Start by reading the wonderful story, of course, but don’t miss the video about how they recovered the remains and the subsequent analysis.  There is also a photo gallery and several other links, across the top of the article – all worth seeing.

One of the unexpected findings was how different Naia looks than what we would have expected based on what Native people look like today.  She had a more African and Polynesian facial structure than later Native people, and she was much smaller.  Be sure to check out Nat Geo’s “clues to an ancient mystery.”

Naia’s mitochondrial DNA confirms that indeed, her matrilineal line originated in Asia, a common base haplogroup found in Native Americans todayhaplogroup D1.

The accompanying academic paper was published in the May 2014 issue of the Journal Science, titled “Late Pleistocene Human Skeleton and mtDNA Link Paleoamericans and Modern Native Americans” by James Chatters et al.

The article is behind a paywall, but the abstract is as follows:


Because of differences in craniofacial morphology and dentition between the earliest American skeletons and modern Native Americans, separate origins have been postulated for them, despite genetic evidence to the contrary. We describe a near-complete human skeleton with an intact cranium and preserved DNA found with extinct fauna in a submerged cave on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. This skeleton dates to between 13,000 and 12,000 calendar years ago and has Paleoamerican craniofacial characteristics and a Beringian-derived mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup (D1). Thus, the differences between Paleoamericans and Native Americans probably resulted from in situ evolution rather than separate ancestry.

A second article, published in Science, also in May 2014, “Bones from a Watery “Black Hole” Confirm First American Origins” by Michael Balter discuss the fact that the earlier skeletons of Native people often don’t resemble contemporary Native people.

Also behind a paywall, the summary states:


Most researchers agree that the earliest Americans came over from Asia via the Bering Strait between Siberia and Alaska, beginning at least 15,000 years ago. But many have long puzzled over findings that some of the earliest known skeletons—with long skulls and prominent foreheads—do not resemble today’s Native Americans, who tend to have rounder skulls and flatter faces. Some have even suggested that at least two migrations into the Americas were involved, one earlier and one later. But the discovery of a nearly 13,000-year-old teenage girl in an underwater cave in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula argues against that hypothesis. The girl had the skull features of older skeletons, but the genetic profile of some of today’s Native Americans—suggesting that the anatomical differences were the result of evolutionary changes after the first Americans left Asia, rather than evidence of separate ancestry.

Of course, the fact that Naia was found so early in such a southern location has spurred continuing debate about migration waves and paths, land versus water arrivals.  Those questions won’t be resolved until we have a lot more data to work with – but they do make for lively debate.  Dienekes wrote a short article about this topic when the paper was first released, and the comments make for more interesting reading than the article.

Posted in Archaeology, Archaic Indians, DNA, Mexico | Leave a comment