After spending the past several weeks working with the 1869 Cherokee West Census, I finished integrating the 4307 family names into the Native Heritage Names project. After finishing this work, I felt there was also a story to be told from the group of names as a whole, aside from the individual families.
Article 9 of the Treaty of August 8, 1846, between the United States government and the Cherokee Nation called for “a fair and just settlement of all moneys due the Cherokees under the Treaty of 1835.” The Drennen Roll was compiled in 1851 to determine eligibility to receive settlement payments for persons claiming membership in the Cherokee Nation at the time of its forced removal from the Cherokee Nation East.
The Drennan Roll was in turn used by the United States government in the early 1900s to determine the eligibility of the Guion Miller Roll Applications, which, like the Drennen Roll, concerned settlement payments to the Cherokee. Frequently, there were name changes between the Drennen Roll and the Guion Miller Applications which were taken from 1906-1910.
On the 1851 Drennan Roll, many of these families did not yet have European names. European names, including surnames, were often acquired during the Civil War era, so this is the first document that shows Cherokee families with predominantly European names. The 1869 census serves as a bridge document between the Drennan Roll and the Guion Miller Rolls.
The 1869 Cherokee West Census was divided into districts.
Unfortunately, there was not a lot of consistency between the districts in terms of the categories and how they were utilized.
The goal of this census was to determine who was eligible to be a tribal member. The slaves had recently been freed and they, if they applied within the time limits agreed to (6 months), were eligible to become full tribal members.
So there were really only 5 pressing questions:
- For whites, who was eligible to be Cherokee citizens?
- For whites, who was not eligible to be a Cherokee citizen?
- For blacks, who was eligible to be Cherokee citizens?
- For blacks, who was not eligible to be Cherokee citizens?
- For Indians, who was eligible to be a citizen?
Part of the problem in understanding the answers is to understand how each district’s census taker asked the questions.
I’ve divided the answers into columns by district and put the associated question or commentary for that category into the appropriate box. The answers’ categories are the table headings below. The question in that district to obtain that answer is listed in that district’s row.
|District||White Cherokee Citizen||White Cherokee Non-Citizen||Black Cherokee Citizen||Black Cherokee Non-Citizen||Other|
|FL||White citizens of US ??||Colored citizens||Not entitled (doesn’t say black or white, could be both), disputed Indians|
|GS||Whites who are citizens||Whites not entitled||Colored persons entitled||Colored persons not entitled||Cherokees not citizenized – NC|
|Ill||White citizen||Colored persons||Colored not entitled||Creeks not citizens|
|CA||White citizens||Whites not entitled||Colored entitled||Colored not entitled|
|CO||Whites entitled||White citizens of the US||Colored entitled|
|DE||Whites entitled||Whites not entitled||Colored entitled||Colored not entitled||Delaware Indians of the Cherokee nation, Mexican Indians|
|SA||Adopted Citizens||White Citizens of US|
|SE||Whites with Cherokee families||White intruders||Colored persons||Colored intruders||Disputed Indians|
|TA||White citizens by adoption||White intruders||Colored citizens||Colored intruders||Colored persons debarred by limitation|
The numbers are quite interesting. Of the 4307 families on the census, we find that 270 of them had an entirely native name, meaning no Europeanization evident at all, or about 6%. An example would be words that are hyphenated such as Chu-wa-stu-ta. Some individuals had both a first and last name of this style, but more had only one name. Six percent is higher than I would have expected to see given the Cherokee’s long history of contact with and assimilation of Europeans into their tribe before the Trail of Tears movement to Indian Territory in the mid 1830s. However, judging by the 1851 Drennan Roll, it appears that most of these people had only adopted Europeanized names sometimes in the previous 18 years.
Of the rest of the names, another 250 had only one name, but that name showed evidence of Europeanization. Examples would be Blackbird, Buzzard, Charles, Clark, Annie, etc.
This leaves a balance of 3787 names on the list which have both a first and last name of some description with evidence of European influence. In some cases, the names are entirely Europeanized, such as John Smith. In other cases, there is some evidence of Europeanization. I view at this as a 3 step process, based on the names on the list.
Step one is the beginning of Europeanization. This may begin by a Native name being literally translated to English, such as Fox, Rotten-Man, Dirt-Pot, Six-Killer, Big Leg, Walkingstick etc. This may be accompanied by a Native name also, such as Ca-ho-ka McDaniel.
The second step to Europeanization is when the name looks like it may become permanent. For example, the name John Walkingstick. John has become the first name and Walkingstick has become the second name. In some cases, this is questionable, because a name seems to be split between first and last, such as Money Blanket or Red Bird. Other questionable calls are situations where the name could be either Native or European, such as with Fox. In some cases, I suspect that the name is not completely transitioned, but it could be. So this is the second stage of transition.
The third stage is unquestionable Europeanization where either the name is indistinguishable from European names or you find entire families using the surname, such as several individuals with the surname of Walkingstick, Bearpaw or Beaver, for example, all with European first names. We also see the beginning of the use of Sr. and Jr. designations as well.
For the various districts, we find the following breakdown:
|District||Total||Native Name Only||One Name Only*||Stage One Transition||Stage Two Transition||Entirely Europeanized and %|
*Not including Native names only. One name individuals are included in Stage One and Stage Two transitions as well.
 Not entitled doesn’t say if black, white or both. If it means both, then White Citizens of US may mean white Cherokee citizens.
 The category of “White citizens of the US” is clearly in this context being used as opposed to white citizens entitled to Cherokee Citizenship.
 These are the only two categories for this district. Presuming here that White Citizens of the US means the same as within the CO district, adopted citizens likely applies to whites.
 These colored people were eligible for citizenship, meaning former slaves, had they applied within the time limit.