1869 Cherokee West Census Interesting Transitional Names

I have, finally, finished my work with the 1869 Cherokee Census West.  As I worked with these records for so many weeks, I felt like in many ways I came to know the people, to recognize their family members.

I’ve gone off on several side journeys, the internet equivalent of seeing an interesting roadsign on the interstate and exiting to take the back roads for awhile.  Yes, it takes a little longer, but generally, it’s well worth it…and when all is said and done in this life it’s the memories that make it all worthwhile.  You’ve shared these journeys via this blog.

This census was particularly relevant because it showed us a tribe or a group of Native people in transition between Native ways and more Europeanized ones, including name adoption, selection or assignment.  Given this transition state, we see some names that we never see again….and when you see some of them, you’ll understand why I’m sure.

The literal translation may have had unintended consequences or simply didn’t translate well.  I laugh every time I think of the Buzzard Flapper family who indeed, did change their surname and took their ancestor’s first name, Martin, instead.  Personally, I’ve grown fond of Buzzard Flapper and like the unique name, but they weren’t quite so fond it seems.

I’ve listed some of the more interesting names below.  On some of these, I just have to bite my tongue to keep myself from commenting.  Some of these will make you wonder, some will make you laugh and a few, I guarantee, with both surprise you and make you say “ewwwww” as my granddaughter so succinctly put it!!

Enjoy this little journey to the past.  I certainly have.

  • Little Bird (first and last name in this case, and it others, a surname)
  • Bear Paw (surname)
  • Catcher Coon (first and last name)
  • Drunkard (no first name, and there were several different men with this name)
  • Dick Fool
  • Five Killer (surname)
  • Snake Girty
  • Halfbreed (surname)
  • Ice Nits
  • Split Nose (first and last name – here’s the first ewwwww)
  • Jack Post-Oak (a post oak was generally a property marker)
  • Pumpkin-Pile (surname)
  • Sookey Scrapeshin
  • Twist (only name)
  • Walkingstick (surname)
  • Warspeaker (surname)
  • Redbird (used as a first, a last and an only name for different people)
  • John Big-Leg
  • Blacksnake (only name)
  • Blanket (surname)
  • Clinging (surname)
  • Dirt-Pot (both as a surname and as an only name)
  • Dick Duck
  • Evilsizer (surname)
  • Fish Egg (first and last name)
  • Gal-Catcher (both as surname and as only name)
  • Horsefly (only name)
  • John Leaning-Up
  • Dread (first name)
  • Looking (surname)
  • Pathkiller (only name)
  • Rat (surname)
  • Rotten-Man (only name – I just can’t comment on this, so many things come to mind)
  • Run-About (surname)
  • Shotpouch (surname)
  • Dick Six
  • Stealer (surname and only name)
  • Sunday (surname)
  • Swan (surname)
  • David Tadpole
  • Tick-Eater (only name – see, there’s the second ewwww)
  • Lewis Whale
  • Trotting Wolf (first and last name)
  • Bat (surname)
  • Beaver (surname)
  • Little Buffalo (first and last name)
  • Bull-Frog (surname)
  • Joe Coming-Deer
  • Corn Silk (surname)
  • Curlyhead (only name)
  • Day-Light (only name)
  • Dirt-Seller (only name – I can’t for the life of me figure this one out)
  • Big Field (first and last name)
  • Lewis Forked-Tail (like a dragon?)
  • Cutter Frog (first and last name)
  • Half-Moon (surname)
  • Going Snake (surname)
  • Going Star (surname)
  • Elk Hare (first and last name)
  • Hog Shooter (surname for several families)
  • Hog Toater (surname – I wonder if Hog Shooter and Hog Toater work as a team)
  • Johnny-Cake (surname)
  • King-Pot (surname)
  • Longbow (surname)
  • Long-Tail (surname)
  • Mistake (surname)
  • Pig (only name)
  • Go-About Prince (first and last name)
  • Rainy Raven (first and surname – I really like this one)
  • Harry Shavehead
  • Six-Killer (surname)
  • Young Snail (first and last name)
  • Stop (surname)
  • Riddle Sweetcorn (first and last name)
  • Loony Tiger (first and last name – we don’t have tigers in this country)
  • James Tin-Cup
  • Darky Tread-About (first and last name, this person was not listed as colored)
  • Young Turkey (first and last name)
  • David Turn-Over
  • Whirlwind (surname)
  • One-Eye Wilson
  • Tame Wilson (As opposed to One-Eye??)
  • Runabout Wolf (first and last name)
  • Stand Backwater (first and last name)
  • Beanstick (surname – I always think of Jack and the beanstalk when I see this surname)
  • Fall Bendabout (first and last name)
  • Squirrel Bill (first and last name)
  • Watta Birdchopper (first and last name)
  • Big Bullet (first and last name)
  • Rabbit Bunch (first and last name)
  • Lassy Canoe (first and last name)
  • Big Catcher (first and last name)
  • Flying Christie (first and last name)
  • Guts Diver (first and last name – Ok, let’s hear it, a resounding EWWWWWW)
  • Rose Diver
  • Dirt-Thrower (only name)
  • Double-Tooth (only name)
  • Double-Head (only name)
  • Getting Down (first and last name)
  • John Fall-Down
  • Cloud, Old and Runabout Feather
  • Little Fog (first and last name)
  • Frog-Thrower (only name – I wonder why someone would throw frogs.)
  • Darky Goodwoman (first and last name – not noted as colored)
  • John Gunhead
  • Cooking Head (first and last name)
  • Long John (first and last name)
  • Man-Killer (surname)
  • Naked Head (only name)
  • Robin No-Fire
  • John Otter-Lifter
  • Sleeping Paw (first and last name)
  • Polecat (only name)
  • Poorbear (surname)
  • And Rabbit (first and last name)
  • Climbing Rabbit (first and last name – rabbits where I live don’t climb)
  • Dollar Redbird (first and last name)
  • Chicken Rooster (first and last name)
  • Saddle-Blanket (only name)
  • Liver Scott
  • Shooter (surname)
  • Stop Sitting-Down (first and last name – I’d love to hear the story of how this person go this name.)
  • Snaketail (surname)
  • Soap (surname)
  • Spring Frog (only name)
  • Squirrel Swimmer (first and last name)
  • Runabout Tale (first and last name)
  • Pap Thrower (first and last name)
  • Tree-Frog (only name)
  • Mix Water (first and last name)
  • Water-Hunter (only name)
  • Wild Tom (only name)
  • Hawk Wolf (first and last name)
  • Bark (surname)
  • Bee-Hunter (surname)
  • Bull-Frog (surname)
  • Coffee-Water (only name)
  • Corn Tassell (surname)
  • Standing and Young Deer (first and last names)
  • Little Dick
  • Dollar Return (first and last name)
  • Six Downing (first and last name)
  • Skull Fodder (first and last name)
  • Four Killer (surname)
  • Setting Hen (first and last name)
  • Young Hider  (first and last name)
  • Big Drum Jay-Bird (first and last name)
  • Peach-Eater (only name)
  • Frog Six-Killer (first and last name)
  • Soap (surname)
  • Chik-killer Spade (first and last name)
  • Jumper Stealer (first and last name)
  • Twish B Stick (first and last name)
  • Three-Y-Bird (surname)
  • JD Tooth
  • Yellow Hammer (only name)
  • Black Bat (first and last name)
  • Wild Cat (first and last name)
  • John Deer-in-the-Water
  • Lewis Deer-Head
  • Walker Dry-Head
  • Fox and Rock Fields
  • Water Killer (first and last name)
  • Jumper Lizard (first and last name)
  • Lucy No-Wife
  • Sleeping Rabbit (first and last name)
  • Raincrow (surname)
  • Rock-Thrower (only name)
  • Betsy Stooping-Tree
  • Aky Walker
  • White-Killer (surname)
  • Yellow Jacket (only name)
  • Thomas Big-Meat
  • Bony-Face (only name)
  • Cabbage (surname)
  • Rape Campbell
  • Dirt-Eater (surname)
  • Berry Dreadful (first and last name)
  • George Eater
  • Good-Money (only name)
  • Jumper (only name)
  • Kate Moccasin
  • Nakey (only name)
  • Young Pigeon (first and last name)
  • Falling Pot (first and last name)
  • Wat Squirrel (first and last name)
  • Snow-Maker (only name)
  • Dirt T Tiger (first and last name)
  • Back Water (first and last name)
  • Standing Water (first and last name)
  • Trim Bush (first and last name)
  • Killy Cow-Eater (first and last name)
  • Crying-Deer (surname)
  • Crying-Bear (only name)
  • Big Elk (first and last name)
  • Jumper Empty (first and last name)
  • Fawn Head (first and last name)
  • Middle-Striker (only name)
  • Ned Mole
  • Money-Crier (only name)
  • Celia Naked
  • Left-Out Rain-Crow (first and last name)
  • Sam Sick
  • Sitting-Down (surname)
  • John Standstill
  • Spade Sunshine
  • Tough (only name)
  • Mink Wrinklesides
  • Backbone (surname)
  • Push Flying (first and last name)
  • Flute Foreskin (first and last name)
  • Alex Get-Up
  • Johnson Good-Money
  • Looney Guess
  • Dog Guts (first and last name – I warned you about the eewwwww factor)
  • Hominy Hanging (first and last name)
  • Belted Heaven (first and last name)
  • Money Hunter (first and last name)
  • Hawk Jug (first and last name)
  • Good Money (first and last name)
  • Chicken Moving (first and last name)
  • Jack Pack
  • Young Pig (first and last name)
  • Dry Water (first and last name)
  • Fallen Water (first and last name)
  • Woman-Killer (surname)

About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
This entry was posted in Cherokee, Names. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to 1869 Cherokee West Census Interesting Transitional Names

  1. Dwight Wenzel says:

    This is really interesting. My mother in law is a Swan. Her father was listed as an indian on his birth certificate but was an abusive drunk. All his 27, yes, 27 kids were removed from their parents and placed in foster care. Could you possibly assist with any info to help them retrace their roots? Their mother told them they were all indian before she passed but there are differences in what tribe they came from depending on which sibling you ask.

    • Deborah Ivie says:

      My great great great grandmother was a Swan, but spelt Swann on her marriage license in the records for spalding county, Georgia in 1865. I have a copy of the page that leads to the records. The is a painting of her in my great aunt’s house. She is absolutely American Indian. We are told Cherokee.

      • Jackie K Phillips says:

        I have relatives from Spaulding County. I would love to see your painting and info. Thanks, Jackie

  2. Barbara Kinney says:

    My great-great Grandfather was Abraham Snow. He was married to Julia Parke. His daughter Rosia Etta (née Snow) Medlock is my great-grandmother,and I have photo of her – tall, distinctively Native American. Her brothers are John, Joseph and Perry. She married Spencer H. Medlock. In the photo is my dad, age 8. Trying to find the Native American link.

  3. Mary says:

    It always surprises me when students laugh at the mention of Double-Head, Dragging Canoe, and Six-Killer. Not so long ago, their ancestors trembled in fear and respect for such names.

    • Barbara Kinney says:

      Great to hear from you agsin! My great-grand mother Rosie Etta Snow Medock is 1/2 Cherokee supposedly. I do have a photo of her. So far no links. Even in Ancestry.Com nor in 23andme – but the bloodline is from my dad so perhaps mitochondrial did not map. So happy to get this link to my purported (even if unfounded) heritage. Thank you!

  4. Jacqueline Simmons says:

    I have been told that Dirt Seller was the name of one of my native American ancestors. I have seen it listed many times. I know that William Hawkins was Ella Hawkins dad. George Wright married Ella. Ancestry.com wants to tell me George was dirt seller. I realize that native Americans took western names and really tracing them is hard. I just would like to be able to know if my dirt seller is the dirt seller hung.

    • Sonja says:

      Dirt seller is also the name of a mountain in Chattooga county Georgia . The Native American it was named for sold a type of dirt used for war paint.

  5. Gina M says:

    I stumbled across this site as I am tracing my ancestry along my maternal linage and I made it back to 1874 and I hit a roadblock when I found the name of a great grandmother with the last name Pumpkin/Pumpkintine. I cant seem to find any surname and I’m not sure the records are within slave records or if my ancester was Native American. Based on what I can find from Census images, she said her mother was born in Georgia.

  6. Kimberly Dunning says:

    You mentioned Shotpouch. He’ll be Jack Shotpouch of Coowescoowee District. And he is my g-g-grandfather, His son William was orphaned young and raised in the Sam Keys household. He took the name Keys in his adult life.

  7. Kim says:

    We are relatives to the Falling Pots I am looking to find our clan. We are Birds and Clouds but now I do not know if that is Name or clan. tried to look it up and they say my connection is Ruby Trammel and that led to us being Choctaw so now….?!
    Any infoemation will be welcome.
    We married int the Scotts- Obie Dare, General Windfield Scott alliance marriage

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