The Shawnee Bluejacket Family

The Shawnee Bluejacket family reaches back into the mid-1700s.  Records begin with Chief Bluejacket himself, also known by his Native names of Se-pet-te-he-nath, Big Rabbit, his name given at birth and Wa Weyapiersehnwaw, his adult chosen name, found in use about 1777.

Little is known of Blue Jacket’s early life. He first appears in written historical records in 1773, when he was already a grown man and a war chief. In that year, a British missionary visited the Shawnee villages on the Scioto River and recorded the location of Blue Jacket’s Town on Deer Creek (present Ross County, Ohio).

This would put BlueJacket’s birth at least before 1750.  Historians estimate it to be about 1743.

Blue Jacket participated in Dunmore’s War and the American Revolutionary War (allied with the British), always attempting to maintain Shawnee land rights. With the British defeat in the American Revolutionary War, the Shawnee lost valuable assistance in defending the Ohio Country. The struggle continued as white settlement in Ohio escalated, and Blue Jacket was a prominent leader of the resistance.

On November 3, 1791, the army of a confederation of Indian tribes, led by Blue Jacket and Miami Chief Little Turtle, defeated an American expedition led by Arthur St. Clair, governor of the Northwest Territory. The engagement, known as the Battle of the Wabash or as St. Clair’s Defeat, was the crowning achievement of Blue Jacket’s military career, and the most severe defeat ever inflicted upon the United States by Native Americans.

Blue Jacket’s triumph was short-lived. The Americans were alarmed by St. Clair’s disaster and raised a new professional army, commanded by General Anthony Wayne. On August 20, 1794, Blue Jacket’s confederate army clashed with Wayne at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, just south of present-day Toledo, Ohio. Blue Jacket’s army was defeated, and he was compelled to sign the Treaty of Greenville on August 3, 1795, ceding much of present-day Ohio to the United States.

In 1805, Blue Jacket also signed the Treaty of Fort Industry, relinquishing even more of Ohio. In Blue Jacket’s final years, he saw the rise to prominence of Tecumseh, who would take up the banner and make the final attempts to reclaim Shawnee lands in the Ohio Country.

Later a story spread that he was in fact a European settler named Marmaduke Van Swearingen, who had been captured and adopted by Shawnees in the 1770s, around the time of the American Revolutionary War. This story, popularized in historical novels written by Allan W. Eckert in the late 1960s, remains well known in Ohio, where an outdoor drama celebrating the life of the white Indian chief was performed yearly in Xenia, Ohio from 1981 until 2007.

However, subsequent DNA testing proved that story to be false.  Bluejacket’s DNA is unquestionably Native, and the Swearingen family’s is not.  Not only does the Bluejacket and Swearingen DNA not match, they are not even in the same haplogroup.  Swearingen is European, so they haven’t shared a common ancestors in 10s of thousands of years.  An article published in the Ohio Journal of Science in September 2006 which details the findings is shown at this link:                                                                       

The Bluejacket family has a website with further information about history and current activities at this link:

Also on this site is the list of the 772 Shawnee adopted into the Cherokee tribe in 1871:


About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
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23 Responses to The Shawnee Bluejacket Family

  1. Caroline Clark says:

    Can Youcheck my dna for my connection to emma blue jacket ? family finder said we are connected and Rowland .My kit -n6112-password z8038 thank you Caroline Dodge Clark

    • Please don’t post passwords here. Everyone who reads the blog can see them. Family Finder tells you if you are related, and beyond that, it’s up to you to figure out how you are related to that person. I can’t tell you anymore than you already know, that you are connected if she is on your cousin list. You’ll need to go in and change your password.

  2. Dee Jay Silverheels says:

    Sarah Eliza Jane Silverheels Blue Jacket is my G-G-Grandmother and was the Mother of my G-Grandfather Jay Silverheels-Smith. Her mother was Eliza Jane Silverheels who was married to David Likens Blue Jacket and was the one that broke her arm with a repica or decorative tomahawk, as she defended her home against invasion. G-Grandpa Jay told me about her and all our history is on line now and I just wanted you all to know that we need to be included there, in our family History. Please don’t forget us! Dewowah (Deborah Pearl Lung-Judge) my Father is: George William Lung and his Mother was Mary Margaret (Maggie) Mitchell. Jay Silverheels also went by other names and that included: George William Mitchell/Charlie Mitchell. Thank you all there and I’m proud of you all there! Sincerely Dewowah

  3. marsha says:

    Eliza Silverheels Bluejacket is not in any way connected to Jay Silverheels! Jay Silverheels (Tonto) was a STAGE name used by actor Harold “Harry” J Smith who was a Mohawk Indian born in 1912 in Canada, the son of Alexander George Smith.

    Eliza Silverheels who married David L Bluejacket, was the daughter or Moses Silverheels and Betsy Bartlett. She was born in 1847 in Kansas Territory and died in Kansas in 1929, she spent her entire life in Kansas and Oklahoma.

    • gchinshaw1 says:

      Good on you Marsha;
      Eliza Silverheels killed one of Quantrill’s raiders in 1863 as the raiders were on the way to sack Lawrence KS. She was protecting her home as one or the raiders tried to enter the house. She accosted him straight on with a tomahawk given to her husband by his father, Rev. Charles Bluejacket. With a swooping swing, she hit the bad one in the head, breaking her arm and the half of the tomahawk, doing him in for good.

  4. Where did Blue Jackets DNA sample come from?

  5. Perry Madison says:

    Chief Graham Rogers Burial Site

    I think that Samuel M Cornatzer’s wife Caroline came to Kansas from Ohio with Charles Bluejacket and Graham Rogers, and arrived around christmas….

    Where was Graham Rogers buried? His daughter Rachel lived with my ancestry in Kansas, (the Cornatzers), then continued to live with them in Oklahoma after the removal. My grandmother, (Ninya Jane (Cornatzer) Madison) was executrix to Rachel’s estate.

    Any help to Graham’s burial site? He and Anna are probably still in Kansas somewhere in Johnson County.

    • Julie Kincaid says:

      Charles BlueJacket is my so many greats Grandfather.

      • Linda Davis says:

        Julie, I am a member of the Piqua Shawnee DNA project and have my dna results of my father at and I have about 8 other BlueJacket possible matches. Through one of those, I am aware of a Linda Kincaid who also is a Bluejacket connection. Not sure if you might know her. My connection is through the Snow surname. I am under the impression since we do not carry the BlueJacket surname, possibly one of my Snow males fathered a child with a female BlueJacket sometime in the 1790-1810 time frame. I am still searching for my male Snow who was father of a Richard Snow b in TN, his father, unknown, was b in NC according to three census records.

    • Brittany Carpenter says:

      Have you had any further luck finding his burial site? We are related through Graham’s wife Anna Carpenter. I know they must be buried next to each other and I’ve searched the indexes of the cemeteries near his home he built and lived in till he died. I have a small suspicion that he may have been buried on his homestead but have no evidence to back that up.

      • Perry Madison says:


        There is so much speculation about the lives and location of these people and about what they did between the few known benchmarks in their lives.

        What I speculate about Graham and those around him.

        Anna died in Kansas before the move to Oklahoma.
        Anna is not listed on the June 1871 Register of Shawnee admitted to Cherokee citizenship. Anna’s mother, Graham, Acenith, Rachael and Simpson are on that register. Conclusion: Anna is buried in Kansas maybe at the homesite on Mackey Street, Overland Park, Kansas.

        Graham died in Oklahoma right after the move from Kansas.
        Until I found the obit in The Olathe Mirror (Olathe, Kansas) Feb 1872, I thought Graham was probably in Kansas. However, I feel that he is buried at Military Cemetery or on the home site there on military road by Okoee.

        Kah Che Qha, Anns’s mother, died in 1873 and is buried there at Military Cemetery (speculation).
        Rad, her son, also dies in ’73 and is buried at military cemetery (speculation).
        Grahams’ 3 children are alone and Samuel M Cornatzer is assigned as their guardian, and they are living back in Kansas in 1875. Samuel’s wife Caroline is a sister-in-law to Graham.

        Acenith, I have lost the trail on this girl. I think she possibly died in Kansas.
        But to keep the flame smoldering, Acenith would have become of age and moved to Oklahoma. I did find a Acenith Jones, mother-in-law to Frank Hughes. That was in 1930. I have not payed to much attention to this lead.

        Simpson died in 1894 and is buried at Military.

        Rachael died in ‘1935 and is buried at Military.

        Any clarification and lead that you could extend, I would much appreciate it. I have very little about or above Kah Che Qua (sp?), really not much on the Carpenters.
        If you would care to, I would like to talk with you sometime.

  6. For the record, my mother and I are both Gedmatch matches with the Bluejacket sample referenced. I’m noting the Native QM3 Y DNA haplogroup listed for this sample. I am glad that you had written this article — as I was trying to learn more and came across it right away. This result, that appears for mine and my mother’s results, only strengthens my belief that there are answers to questions that I’ve not thought to ask yet, lurking under the surface of my family’s Autosomal DNA.

  7. I had to add this…The same Bluejacket match as I had noticed in Gedmatch is showing up in mine and my mother’s Family Finder matches as well…. and I wouldn’t have thought to check Family Finder, had I not seen this same Bluejacket result in Gedmatch and then read your article! I’m going to need another bushel of nights so I can stay up and research all of these new questions!

  8. Oh, we’re bad! A good kind of bad — but bad. Once again, we find each other up past midnight digging around in the DNA! (Smiles).

  9. Thanks for keeping the history straight in regards to who Chief Blue Jack really was! Here is a link to the actual report: file:///C:/Users/User/Downloads/BlueJacket%20(1).pdf’
    Marc Faulkner

  10. Chuck Holden says:

    The Reservation is in Wyandotte, OK if you are curious

  11. Kiara says:

    My Father is the 5x great grandson of James Colwell & Sarah Rising Sun Kishpoko. He did a Dna test already, I’ll see if he can submit it to ged match and ancestry. He looks European (German/English) but his Dna has 10% unaccounted . Im so excited.

  12. Tab Bluejacket says:

    I wouldn’t mind doing a DNA sample

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