Wednesday, October 30, 2013


The Story of the Pugh and Cox Families
Frances Jackson Freeman, Ph.D.

Quaker Religious Dissenters 
The influence of the Quaker Faith in 19th Century Louisiana has been largely overlooked, primarily for three reasons: 1) the Southern Quaker movement virtually perished in the aftermath of the American Revolution; 2) by the time they arrived in Louisiana, the families were “former” Quakers, having left their Faith and integrated into other churches; and 3) Southern prejudice against Quaker beliefs and practices was pronounced in the 1800’s and many Quakers hid their previous religious affiliation.  For these reasons, many descendants of Southern Quakers are unaware of their Quaker Roots and heritage. 

As a genealogist, I was at first surprised, and then delighted to discover the extent of my Quaker roots.   Surprised because this heritage was not a part of my family lore, and delighted because the Quakers kept and preserved extensive records.  This report focuses on two families (Cox and Pugh) who settled in Louisiana and specifically in DeSoto Parish before the Civil War.  Other allied North Louisiana families with Quaker ancestry include the Boone’s, Hick’s, Vaughn’s, Robinson’s, Stewart’s, Julian’s, Jackson’s, Swinebroad’s and Freeman’s.  We focus on the Cox and Pugh families because their history and migrations paralleled one another, and can be discussed together.

In 17th Centaury England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland the Quaker movement attracted many ardent
William Penn Negotiates with Native Americans
followers.  The stubborn Quakers were a thorn in the side of the established Church of England (Anglican/Episcopal).  Because of resulting persecution, many Quakers in England and Wales immigrated to Ireland or to the American Colonies.  The British government was happy to be rid of these hardheaded dissidents, and further encouraged them to leave through a major land grant to William Penn.  While we think mostly of this grant as bringing Quakers to Pennsylvania, 17
th Century colonial boundaries placed many of the new immigrants in areas now located in Delaware or Maryland. 

In 1684, James M. Pugh and his brother David, Quaker converts, from Merionethshire, Wales, immigrated to Radnor Township in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.  There they married Quaker Welsh sisters Joan and Catherine Elizabeth Price. By the time James died in 1724 and David in 1738, their children were already moving south.

About that same time, three Quaker brothers from London, William (1658-1742), John (1675-1711) and Thomas Cox (1674-1711) arrived in Maryland, were married in New Castle, Delaware, and eventually buried in Pennsylvania.  These brothers were sons of Thomas Cox (1641-1711) and his wife Christian Matthews (1649-1679).  In the four subsequent generations (approximately 200 years), members of the Pugh and Cox families migrated south and west, always moving together and occasionally intermarrying.  They initially migrated into Virginia, settling in the less populated western regions, and then into western North and South Carolina (mostly in Orange, Anson, Rowen, Cumberland, and Granville Counties and near the towns of Guilford and Hillsborough). 

      In North Carolina, the Cox, Pugh, and allied families (e.g. Hicks, Jackson, and Husband) played prominent roles in the Regulator Rebellion of the1760’s (see ccbn/dewitt/mckstmerreg1.htm).  In North Carolina, the wealthy, slave-holding, Anglican landowners of the coastal provinces desired to own and control the state’s western regions where poor Quakers, Presbyterians, Moravians, Baptists, and Methodists had settled.  The Crown-appointed Governor and the House of Burgesses enacted land ownership and taxation laws that forced western farmers off their lands and into bankruptcy. When the settlers forcibly objected, Governor Tyrone sent British troops to capture and hang dissenters.  

Plaque Commemorating the Hanging of Regulators
James Pugh and Hermon Cox were among the six hanged for treason on June 19, 1771. The leader of the Regulator Revolution was Herman Husband.  Herman’s first wife was Elsey Phebe Cox and his second was Mary Pugh.  Herman left North Carolina, and later played a critical role in the Whiskey Rebellion, siding against Washington.  You can read about this “First Act” in the America’s Revolution in Marjoleine Kars book, “Breaking Loose Together: the Regulator Rebellion in Pre-Revolutionary North Carolina” (2002) or in Jimmy Carter’s historical novel, “The Hornet’s Nest” (2003).  The key Battle of Alamance is featured as a significant event in Diane Gabaldon’s novel “The Fiery Cross,” in the 5th book in her “Outlander” series.


            In the aftermath of the Regulator Rebellion, North Carolina was no longer a “healthy” place for the Cox and Pugh families. Led by Joseph Maddock and Jonathan Sell, they joined other Quaker families in moving to Georgia where they established a Quaker settlement named Wrightsborough, (see http://freepages. genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry. com/~wrightsborough/history.htm  or ~gentutor/ Wrights.pdf ).  The town’s name honored Gov. James Wright of Georgia, whose lack of religious prejudice and forward thinking led him to welcome this Quaker settlement in his Colony.  The ruins of the town of Wrightsborough are an historical site and can be visited today. 

Historical Marker in Wrightsboro, Georgia
The direct ancestor of many of the Louisiana Cox family, Thomas J. Cox, was born in Wrightsborough in 1775, just as the Declaration of Independence was signed.  His father Richard Cox (1750-1821) was born in Pennsylvania, and married Ann Hodgins (1756-1797) in Wrightsborough. They had three sons, including Thomas.  Richard was the son of Thomas Cox (1694-1784) and his wife Elizabeth Fincher (1700-1756).  Thomas was the son of William Cox (1658-1742) and his wife Naomi Amy Cantrell (1657-1742).  William Cox was one of the three Cox brothers (sons of Thomas Cox and Christian Matthews) who immigrated to America from London about 1680.

Elijah Stewart Pugh (direct ancestor of the DeSoto Parish Pughs) was born in Guilford North Carolina in 1760, and married Ruth Julian in Wrightsborough in 1784.  Elijah’s father, Jesse Pugh (1732-1811) and his wife Elizabeth Stewart  (1736-1804) had six sons.  Jesse was the son of Thomas Pugh (1703-1794) and his wife Elizabeth Richardson (1709-1794).  Thomas was the son of James M. Pugh (1665-1724) and his wife Joan Price (1670-1723), the Welsh Quaker immigrant of 1684 discussed above.

The Rock House in Wrightsborough GA.
The Revolutionary War years were a nightmare for the Quakers of Wrightsborough.  In the beginning, most held fast to Quaker pacifist (antiwar/ peace) doctrines.  However, both British loyalists (Tories) and American patriots eventually decided that, “If you aren’t with us, you must be against us,” and the Quakers were attacked by both groups.  The Indian allies of both the American and British forces raided Quaker farmers, and on at least one occasion attacked the settlement.  As the balance between Patriots and Tories moved back and forth, Quaker suffering was great.  The agony of the Revolutionary War years in this geographical area is depicted in the film, The Patriot, (2000) starring Mel Gibson.  Many Quaker men  (including our direct Cox and Pugh ancestors) eventually abandoned their pacifism, and fought for the American cause.  Others, members of the same families, held fast to Quaker teachings. Brothers opposed each other, wives opposed husbands, and sons were set against their fathers. The conflict in the community and within families was great.  Those Quakers who took up arms lost their good standing in the Quaker community and were eventually expelled.

After the end of the Revolution, Quakers abandoned the township of Wrightsborough and the settlement gradually died.  Those who remained faithful to Quaker doctrines moved north, mostly into the states of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.  Those who choose to fight with the Americans remained in the South, claimed head-right lands for their military service, and moved further west.  Our Cox and Pugh families settled in Georgia and then in Alabama before moving to Louisiana. 

The split in these families must have been heart wrenching.  Richard Cox, and one of his sons moved to Illinois, while the other three sons remained in the South.  Jesse Pugh and three of his sons (including Elijah Steward Pugh) remained in the South while the other three sons moved north to Ohio and Indiana.  Family records show that members of these separated families wrote letters and made long pilgrimages in order to maintain family ties across the divides of religion and geography.

In additional to their opposition to War and violence, Quakers differed in a number of beliefs from other groups of the 18th and 19th Centuries.  Even though they abandoned, the Quaker faith, many ex-Quakers maintained these core values or beliefs as witnessed by their later actions and writings.  In addition to pacifism, Quakers held the following views:
1.     Slavery – Quakers opposed slavery.  When servitude was accepted, they held it must be voluntary and/or for a limited term (as with indentured servants).  All actions toward others must be humane, and motivated by the good of the mortal body and immortal soul.  Quakers were required to educate and emancipate slaves.

Quaker Meeting House Visited by Native Americans
2.     Native Americans (Indians) – The Quakers viewed Native Americans as fully human and worthy of education, Christian teachings, and respect.  They opened and maintained more schools for Indians than any other group.  They opposed cruel treatment, expulsion, and murder, and formed strong bonds with many groups.

3.     Literacy and Education – Quakers placed premium value on literacy and education, and believed that everyone (male, female, White, Black, Indian) should be educated.  Every believer was to read and interpret scripture for themselves, and this required universal literacy.  They built schools and colleges everywhere they settled.  Because most were literate, they kept extensive written records.

4.     Women – Quaker women enjoyed a higher level of literacy, economic rights, and political power than most other women of their era.  They presided over and conducted their own church conferences, and voted and made democratic decisions.  They taught school, kept written records, presided over meetings, and voted.  It is not surprising that in later years Quaker women were leaders in the anti-slavery and suffrage movements.

Leaving behind the bad memories of Wrightsborough, the Patriot Cox and Pugh Families first moved further westward into Georgia.  However, when the lands of Alabama were opened to white settlement during the War of 1812, they moved to south Alabama, settling in what is now Clarke County near the town of Grove Hill.  The courthouse in Grove Hill contains many original documents related to these families, and the Clarke County Historical Society has a great deal of information about both families.  We visited cemeteries where our Cox and Pugh ancestors are buried, and met distant cousins in town.  The monument to Revolutionary War Soldiers of Clarke County includes the names of Elijah Pugh and John Cox.

Monument Honoring the Veterans of the American Revolution Who Founded Clarke County Alabama

Cox Family Crest
The specific descent of my Cox family is as follows: Thomas J. Cox, Sr. (1775-1821) married Mary Polly Vaughn (1776-1838).  They had 12 children, including Lewis (1800-1852), Richmond (1803-1872) and Thomas Jr. (1810-1868).  Between 1811 and 1814, the Thomas Cox family moved to Clarke County Alabama. Eventually, ten of their 12 children moved west to Louisiana, settling in DeSoto, Union, Winn, and Beauregard Parishes (with one dying in Texas).  The Louisiana settlers included all three sons, Lewis, Richmond, and Thomas, Jr.  My direct Cox line is descended from Thomas, Jr. through his son, Thomas J. Cox III.  Thomas III (1810-1868) married Elizabeth Hicks (1807-1870) and settled first in Jackson and then in Winn Parish.  They had eight children (6 boys and 2 girls).  Their daughter Susan Jane Cox (1834-1900) is my 3rd great grandmother.  Their sons Thomas W., Lamuel Mansel, Golden D., John J., Lewis J., and Steven Lonzo are the ancestors of many citizens of DeSoto and Red River Parishes.  I consider Greggory E. Davies of Winnfield to be the premier living genealogist for the Louisiana (and Texas) branches of our Cox Family.

Pugh Family Crest
Susan Jane Cox married Stephen Pugh Jackson (1821-1880) in Winn Parish.  Stephen was the son of Isaac Jackson (1785-1839) and Mariam Pugh (1790-1836).  Stephen Pugh Jackson was orphaned by the deaths of his parents in 1836 an 1839.  He was the grandson of Elijah Steward Pugh (1760-1824) who was born in Wrightsborough and fought for American Independence.  After Stephen was orphaned, he traveled with his Uncle, Jesse Pugh (1795-1865) when Jesse moved from Clarke County Alabama to DeSoto Parish, Louisiana.  After marrying Susan Jane Cox, Stephen settled near his in-laws in Winn Parish.  He served in Company E of the 8th Louisiana Calvary in the Army of the Confederate States of America.  His eldest son, Isaac Thomas Jackson (1755-1946) married Martha Ardella Dean (1855-1912) and moved his family to the Red Cross Community on the border of Red River and Natchitoches Parishes.  They are the grandparents of my father, Wilmer H. Jackson.

Jesse Pugh had 12 children including 8 sons, at least 7 of whom left descendants in Louisiana. Recent DNA studies have connected the far-ranging branches of the Pugh family to their early Quaker ancestors.  This information is available on  My own modest research into the Cox and Pugh Families can be found on in the tree entitled Frances’ Family History. 


Sunday, August 18, 2013



            Fifty-four years ago today, (Aug. 18, 1959) Charles and I were married in the First Baptist Church of Logansport, Louisiana.  Any couple fortunate enough to spend over half a century together must be grateful for the blessings bestowed upon them.  However, even as I celebrate with gratitude and thanksgiving, my memories are bittersweet.  So many of those who made our wedding day special are no longer with us, and we miss them greatly.  I’ve been remembering them today, with joy and pain.  Seeing their faces and speaking their names freshens their presence and lets them live again, if only for moments in our memories.
I can see the church and those gathered there that day.  My grandmothers, Clora Frances Nolen Heard and Ida Belle Adams Jackson, were about the ages Charles and I are now.  MawMaw Heard lived 9 more years and Mama Jack lived 19.  Of the many Aunts and Uncles who were there, only my Aunt Edith Jackson and my Uncle Lindsey Heard remain, and we are blessed to have them still healthy and with us.  My cousins Brenda Faye Jackson and Linda Gail Lemoine, who served the Bride’s cake and presided over the guest book that day, both died young of cancer.  Linda Gail in 1984 and Brenda Faye in 2001.
My Mother was beautiful that day in a copper colored lace dress, and Daddy had tears in his eyes when he gave me away (after all, I was only 19).  I thought they were so old, but on my wedding day they were the ages our daughters Jackie Lee and Denise are today.  They had been married 52 years when Daddy died in Dec., 1990.  Charles’ Dad, L. L. Freeman was his best man, and his mother, Britt Annie Nunley Freeman wore a beautiful blue dress.  They were married 64 years when GrandDad died in Dec., 1990.  My Mother passed away in 1995 and Nannie in 2005.
            Rev. Orville Behm officiated the ceremony, and Mrs. Lois Behm played the piano.  They lived to celebrate their 50th Anniversary in a beautiful ceremony in the Church they designed and built for our congregation.  Paul Vandenberg played the organ.  To freak me out, Paul played the Drinking Song from the Student Prince as part of the prelude; but thanks to his musical talents, he disguised the piece so well, I think only Mrs. Behm, Nita, and I realized the joke he was playing.  Paul taught humanities at the high school for the gifted in Baton Rouge before he died young.  He taught my niece Leslie Faye Jackson.     
            Anne Nixon Freeman, wife of Charles’ older brother Billy, was the vocalist.  She sang Ruth’s Song, and The Lord’s Prayer so beautifully.  Her voice, always sweet and true, was silenced forever in 1989. 
All of Charles’ groomsmen are gone.  My brother, Jacky was only 40 when he died in an automobile accident in 1983.  His death was a tragedy from which our family never fully recovered.  The other two groomsmen were Charles’ brothers Billy and Dennis.  Dennis’ death in 2007 and Billy’s in 2012 are still fresh and painful.  Jacky was a dentist who practiced in Houston, El Paso, and Baton Rouge.  Dennis owned an Insurance Agency and was Mayor of Logansport for four terms.  Billy was a teacher and coach and a Methodist minister, touching the lives of many.
My bridesmaids have fared better.  Suanne, Katherine, Nita and Bette Faye have each known tragic losses, but they have all had rich, productive lives and enjoy wonderful children and grandchildren.   On that August wedding day, they were lovely in lime green dresses.  As I recall, Nita caught the bouquet, but Katherine was the next one married.  She became, and remains, our dear sister-in-law.

OUR TWENTY-FIFTH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY (Aug. 18, 1984) was one of the most joyful days of our lives.  Not only did we renew our vows in the same church where we were married, we witnessed the marriage of our daughter, Denise to her sweetheart, Steven McGrade.  Rev. Behm officiated both ceremonies, and most of those from our wedding were with us to celebrate.  Others who became our friends from New York to Wyoming to Chicago to Puerto Rico came to Logansport for that wonderful day.   Our Anniversary became their anniversary, and was a doubly blessed day for 18 great years.   But on Aug. 11, 2003, Steve died at age 42.   With his loss, just a week short of our mutual anniversary, much of the joy of this date was lost forever.   For the past ten years we have celebrated only within our family, and all of our celebrations have been tinged with grief.   Even so, OUR 50 ANNIVESARY (Aug. 18, 2009) was a wonderful event.  Our children and grandchildren surprised us with a family cruise.  It was wonderful, and will always be remembered as a very special time together.  On that cruise, our now-grandson-in-law, John Mueler proposed to our oldest granddaughter, Veronica Perez, linking another family romance to our Anniversary. 

Charles and I have been so richly blessed in our lives – blessed in our families and in our friends.  Each of those whose loss we mourn brought a wonderful and very special blessing to us.  We miss them because of all they meant to us and all they contributed to our lives.  Grief is evidence of love.  We grieve only to the extent that we love.  Therefore, the bittersweet memories that have haunted our thoughts today are only proof of the great joy that we have shared with those for whom we grieve.  

Thursday, June 13, 2013



            It is June of 1948, and I am 8 years old and scared and excited.  Our family has come to Logansport for the first time.  My Daddy (age 37) has brought my brother Jacky (age 5) and I to see the school where he will be Principal.  In my mind’s eye, I can see the three of us standing there under those two big oak trees, looking up at the entrance to the school.  It is the biggest building I have ever seen, standing almost 3 stories (above-ground basement, first and second floors).   It looks huge but beautiful.  We walk down the walk and up the big stairs.  On the second floor, across from Daddy’s office, we enter a classroom, and I stand on a chair to look out the window.  I am looking out on the upper branches of the big oaks, and I think – “Oh my, we are as high as the trees.”

            I learned to ride my first bike on the sidewalk in front of those oaks, and in winter when it snowed, we built a big snowman in the open area where the dark leafless limbs cast their shadows.  When we took class pictures, we stood on those steps, and looked out at the oaks.  Every day during the school semester, parents waited under those trees for their children to emerge.  In the summer, the snow-cone man would stop his truck in front of the trees and all the children from the neighborhood would congregate; and after he left, we would eat our sweet ice while sitting on the roots of the big oaks.  When students misbehaved, Mr. Jackson made them clean up the school grounds, and they all tried to clean the shaded area under the big oaks. 

We made all kinds of pictures using those oaks as our backdrop.  The cheerleaders posed there and the majorettes.  Our championship girls’ basketball team took pictures in our uniforms standing with arms across our teammates shoulders.  I have a picture standing between the trees wearing my graduation gown, and a picture in the same spot three years later wearing my wedding gown.

Those trees were home base when we played tag, and the finish line for our races.  One night four of us sat under one of those trees crying our hearts out because we lost the final game in the parish tournament by one point.  On a fall night, after a football game, you could see the moon shinning through the limbs of that oak, and many a kiss was exchanged in the deep shadows.

          This photo, published on May 8, 1932, was taken after the dedication of the new school building, and shows the two oaks as young saplings carefully planted and supported.  According to the accompanying story, the trees were dedicated to the memory of the Logansport men who died in WWI.  Ninety years later, those oak trees still stand, the only memorial to the Logansport veterans of the First World War. For 67 years, those trees flanked the entry to LHS.  That grand old school building has been gone for twenty-three years, but the oaks remain to remind us of what once was and is no more.

         Once some know-it-all students from the big city of Mansfield came to visit our little small-town school.  One of them turned to Mr. Jackson, and asked, “What kind of trees are those anyway?”  Without missing a beat or cracking a smile, Mr. Jackson replied, “They’re Tiger Oaks.”  That’s how I have always thought of them, the Tiger Oaks of Logansport High School.

           Now, a new and grand building, dedicated to the worship of God, is to be built on the site of the old school.  Once again these noble old trees can add beauty and grace (and a bit of the past) to the entry to a beautiful architectural structure.  The trees are old now (like a lot of us), but they have a few good years left.  I pray that their value and meaning will be recognized and that they will be allowed to continue to shelter squirrels and birds and provide shade for children and old people.  As the poet said, and the teachers of LHS taught us, “Only God can make a tree.”



Friday, May 10, 2013

HIDDEN CHEROKEES OF TENNESSEE: The Story of the Nunley, Hobbs, Stoner, Miller, Smartt, Northcutt, and possibly Wilson, Orr, Earnheart, Powe, and Wren Families.

HIDDEN CHEROKEES OF TENNESSEE – The Story of the Nunley, Hobbs, Stoner, Miller, Smartt, Northcutt, and possibly Wilson, Orr, Earnheart, Powe and/or Wren Families.

Male Adventurers in Early Virginia The earliest settlers of the Virginia Colony were predominantly male adventurers seeking wealth and land (the two being interchangeable).  The two most direct avenues to profits were trading with the Indians and development of land grants.  For those with wealth and influence, large land grants made the second course feasible.  For those without these assets, the Indian trade offered the greatest opportunity. 
Europeans aspiring to profits from trading quickly learned that marriage to Native American women was advantageous in negotiations. Given the paucity of white women in 17th century southern colonies, immigrants frequently married Native American women and formed allegiances with their wives’ families, clans, and tribes.  Intermarriage between European men and Native American women remained common through the 17th and 18th centuries.  While these early marriages were apparently considered valid and binding in both Indian and European cultures, in later years, European men were often polygamous.  They married and lived with Native American wives in tribal areas, while maintaining white wives in European settlements.  Other European men practiced serial marriage, marrying a Native American woman in their youth, and raising a family with her; and then “settling down” in their later years with a white wife, and raising a white family.  To further complicate this picture, some European men had more than one Native American wife.

Cultural Clash --  Patriarchal Europeans and Matriarchal Native Americans  -- From the beginning, the rigidly patriarchal Europeans had difficulty understanding the matriarchal culture of many Native American tribes, including the Cherokee.  Among the Cherokee, children belonged to their Mother and to their Mother’s Clan.  Property belonged to the Clan, and was controlled by the women.  Marriages between children of the same maternal clan were forbidden, and the leading women of each clan approved marriages.  Otherwise, Cherokee women were free to choose their lovers, to marry, and even to dissolve their marriages. 
Maternal Uncles (brothers of the Mother and members of her Clan) were charged with the education of their sisters’ sons.  Since fathers were not members of the same clan, a Father’s care and influence was supplemented or even replaced by that of the Mother’s brothers (members of the children’s Clan).   Orphaned Cherokee children were raised by their Clan, typically by their mothers’ sisters or aunts.
This pattern was in direct contrast to the European pattern in which children belonged to fathers, who selected husbands for their daughters.  Women were subject to their fathers before marriage and to their husbands after marriage.  Even as widows, they could not own or administer property in their own right, but were assigned male “guardians” to direct their affairs.  Similarly, orphans and the children of widows were assigned male guardians. 
Compared to European women, Native American women enjoyed great autonomy, freedom of choice, and financial security.  Most European men who married Cherokee women lived with the Cherokees or on farms established on Cherokee lands.  European men found that divorce was far easier among the Cherokee, and that polygamy was more widely accepted.  However, European husbands of Cherokee women were often subjected to rough jokes because of their wives’ independence and autonomy. 
 In the vast majority of cases, children of mixed European/Native American heritage were raised by their Mothers in Cherokee traditions.  There are documented stories of mixed Cherokee/European children, whose upbringing included exposure to European culture, including education and religion.  However, even in these cases, most individuals eventually returned to their Native American families and villages.
Patronymics:  One European cultural practice was preserved -- the custom of giving the Father’s last name to the children.  For a variety of reasons, Fathers’ names were given to children and passed down through the subsequent generations.
Prejudice: In the early 17th century, prejudices against mixed marriages and children of mixed heritage were relatively minimal; however, as conflict increased between Indians and whites, so did hatred and resentment.  By the 18th Century European prejudice against intermarriage and mixed race children was pronounced.  In contrast, the Cherokees were extremely tolerant of mixed heritage, and included many individuals of mixed European and mixed African heritage among their number.   It is only in recent times that Cherokees have begun to identify members of the tribe according to the purity of their Native American descent.

Challenges to Genealogical research -- Tracing the descendants of European men and their Native American wives is complicated ( .  Most written records are of European origin, and frequently do not contain information on marriages between Europeans and Native Americans.  While the names of children born to these alliances are often listed, the names of Native American wives and mothers are frequently not recorded.  In fact, a European wife, whose marriage was recorded, is often erroneously listed as the Mother of all the children of her husband (including the children born to his Native American wife or wives).  Careful consideration of birth and marriage dates often reveals evidence of these confusions.
            Conflict between European settlers and the Cherokee increased as settlers encroached on Cherokee lands, especially after the French and Indian (Seven Years) War.  As the 19th Century progressed, penalties associated with being identified as Native American increased dramatically.  Many Cherokee (especially those of mixed heritage) went to great lengths to disguise and hide their Native American roots.  Native American heritage became a deep, dark “family secret” hidden from outsiders and even from younger family members.  Rediscovering Native American roots after several generations of hiding is especially challenging.  Groups of Cherokee who hid their heritage are sometimes referred to as “Hidden Cherokee.”
Nunley, Hobbs, Stoner, Miller, Smartt, Northcutt, and possibly Wilson, Orr, Earnheart, Powe and/or Wren Families. – For the reasons discussed above, the tracing of our Cherokee Families is challenging, and many questions remain unresolved.  However, I am sharing this information in the interest of encouraging others to read, critique, research, and help us correct errors and expand our understanding.  This research began with the Nunley and Hobbs families (maternal grandparents of my husband Charles Freeman) and progressed backwards in time to the Stoner, Miller, Smartt, and Northcutt families of Tennessee.   Moving further back in time and to costal settlements in Virginia and North Carolina, we encountered the Wilson, Orr, Earneart, Powe, and Wren Families.  Evidence of the Native American roots for these five families is less clear than for those researched in Tennessee.  However, by the time these families intermarried, it is almost certain they were mixed race families, raised in the Cherokee culture.  
The stories of these families begin in early 17th century Virginia and lead through modern-day North Carolina to the Tennessee counties of Grundy, Warren, and Coffee (formed in part from White County).   The early stories are remarkably similar – European men married Cherokee wives and fathered mixed race children who were raised in the Cherokee heritage of their Mothers.  These European/Native American children intermarried and participated in the unfolding history of the Cherokee people. 
THE WARS --  Native American tribes were drawn into European conflicts.  The Cherokees did not present a united front in their response to European conflicts.  Some Cherokee leaders espoused peace and resisted any participation in White men’s wars.  Others established ties with neighboring colonial settlers and sided with them against the French and then the British.  Still others opposed the loss of traditional Cherokee lands.  They allied themselves with the French and then with the British in opposition to the colonists.
            This last group of Cherokee sided with the French in the French and Indian Wars because they saw the English settlers as land hungry.  The Anglo-Cherokee War (, considered part of the Seven Years War, represents the beginning of the conflict between the Cherokee and the colonists.  The Chickamauga Wars (1777-1794 ) represent almost 20 years of raids, campaigns, ambushes and full-scale battles between the British settlers and the resistant Cherokees.  This period represents the longest continuous Native American resistance to European intrusion.  In the Chickamauga Wars, the resisting Cherokees were led by the famous war chief, Dragging Canoe (  As nearly as we can establish, our direct ancestors were all followers of Dragging Canoe and are included among the Chickamauga Cherokee (    Our Cherokee families[1] moved with Dragging Canoe and his followers across the mountains, and were subsequently called Chikamauga or the Over-Hill Indian Nation (;  With the death of Dragging Canoe and the destruction of Nickajack ( 1794,  ) Cherokee resistance was crushed. 
            HIDDEN CHEROKEES – Many of the surviving Chickamauga (Over-hill Cherokees) literally hid in the valleys (coves), mountains, and caves of Tennessee.  Our families hid in what are now the counties of Grundy, Warren, and Coffee (portions of which were carved from the original White County).  As the earliest settlers, these families gave their names to numerous geographical sites (i.e. Nunley Mountain, Nunley Cove, Nunley Cave, Hobbs Hill, Northcutt Cove, Smartt Mountain, etc.). 
After the Indian Removal Act of 1830 (,, the survival of these Cherokees required denial of their heritage.  As passed down by the Nunleys, the members of their family who “looked white” took land in their names, while their relatives who “looked Indian” hid in the caverns in the mountains.  When Cherokees were rounded up by U.S. soldiers and forced into concentration camps to await deportation, their “Hidden” Cherokee relatives and friends took in their children to protect the little ones from deportation.   In our research we were at first puzzled by intermarriages that appeared incestuous, until we understood that many of the couples in these marriages were not related by “blood” but by “adoption.”  Children saved from the Trail of Tears ( ) were “adopted” by Hidden Cherokee relatives and friends.  As adults they married members of their “adopted” families, creating the superficial appearance of incest.

NICKAJACK AND THE CIVIL WAR – The story of Nickajack ( ) illustrates the history of our family during the Civil War.  Many of the Hidden Cherokees resisted involvement in a conflict they considered a White Man’s War.  Others, like the inhabitants of the Nickajack area resisted the secession of Alabama and Tennessee and voted to remain part of the Union.  Some members of our Cherokee families fought for the Union, others for the Confederacy, and still others refused to take up arms in either cause. 
Enmity toward representatives of the U.S. Government appears to have been common among the Hidden Cherokee.  Unpopular laws, especially those related to taxes were regularly ignored.  Among some Tennessee families, their war with the Revenuers was just an extension of earlier resistance to the encroachments of European settlers.

            HIDDEN CHEROKEES AND THE CHEROKEE NATIONS – The “Hidden Cherokees” of Tennessee were never part of either the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma ( ) or of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation (, but they had close relatives in both groups.  There is evidence that our Hidden Cherokees families maintained lines of communication with their relatives in the Nations.  Most persuasively, when our Nunley and Hobbs families migrated out of Tennessee in the early 20th Century, they moved to Northeast Texas where Cherokee relatives from Oklahoma settled after the Civil War.  
Family names offer additional evidence of kinship.  The family names derived from our Tennessee research appear on lists for both the Eastern Cherokee Band and the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.  The Hidden Cherokees of Tennessee (Chickamauga or Over-Hill Cherokee) resisted to the bitter end, and can rightfully claim that they never surrendered.  However, these same Hidden Cherokee survived by denying their heritage and in so doing lost much of their culture.  It is a paradox that those who resisted and refused to surrender eventually lost much of their traditional culture, while those who compromised and surrendered were able to preserve their heritage.  

[1] Not all members of these families were part of the resistance.  Some of their relatives remained in North Carolina.  Thus, some of these family names are still present in the Eastern Cherokee Nation.