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An Account of Some Sand Mountain Families, Part 3

William Davis was born about 1753 in Hanover County, Virginia He fought in the Revolution and filed for pension, cert. 糲, issued by the Alabama agency, Sept. 18, 1842, under the act of June 7, 1832. In 1787, he signed the State of Franklin petition as William Daves, and he appears on the 1790 tax list in Hawkins County, Tennessee Around that time, he married Mary Ann Black, a daughter of Black Fox, who had briefly been married to a trader by the name of Pogue. Gen. John Sevier, governor of Tennessee, 1796-1801, mentions "Davis" as a prominent Chickamauga chief. His son William Alexander Davis also became a chief, marrying the daughter of Chief Arthur Burns about 1830. On William Davis' tombstone in Proctor Cemetery, Maynards Cove, Jackson County, Alabama is: Alabama Pvt Lindsy's Va Regt. Rev. War. According to secondhand information, "In his pension application William Davis stated that he was acquainted with Col. James Lewis in Albemarle County, Virginia, who resided later in Franklin Co, Tennessee A letter from Col. Lewis stated that he and William Davis were boys in the same neighborhood. The history of Albemarle County, Virginia gives the location of Col. James Lewis' residence as being on the western part of the present University of Virginia. William Davis also stated in his pension application that he lived in Albemarle County, Virginia at the time of his enlistment." William Davis lived to be 95.
William Alexander Davis was born about 1790, probably in Tennessee. He married Susan Morgan, a white woman, about 1810. A daughter by his first wife is said to have disavowed her father because he later married an Indian woman (Mary Burns). In 1817, he signed the treaty of July 8 as Young Davis, between Charles Hicks and Saunooka. He signed the treaty of New Echota as William A. Davis (1835). After the death of Chief Arthur Burns, his father-in-law, William Alexander Davis became chief of the Cherokee in Jackson County, inheriting the North Sauty reservation near Blowing Cave, comprising 640 acres, an entire section of land. On October 19, 1837, he sold this to Jesse French for $1.00 an acre (Jackson County, Deed Book A, p. 172). At this time, he was a medical doctor, schoolteacher and planter, and his property on Sand Mountain was evaluated at $3,887.00, as printed in the Acts of Congress, p. 277. The loss was substantial. In 1838, the family went over the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma. They are listed on the Drennan Roll of 1851. Son John Lowrey Davis married Nancy Turkey. Son William Henry Davis married Eliza Lowrey (Emmet Starr, Oolootsa 1-1-1-7-1-5, p. 368). Daughter Mary Elizabeth Davis married Robert Harrison Akin. Two other daughters married Mayes brothers.
Davis, Davie, Dow, Davidson and their various forms constitute one of the most common Levite names in Scotland. The DNA is usually R1b.

The progenitor of this large Sand Mountain family came from England. In 1837, when most of the Cherokees around Creek Path were forced into a stockade in Fort Payne, Richard Fields's farm was evaluated at $2611.00, as published in the acts of Congress, p. 13 (277). He had married Susannah Emory, a mixed blood descendant of Ludovic Grant, one of the first Scottish traders in Cherokee country (1725). Grant's "morganatic" marriage to Elizabeth Tassel of the Long Hair Clan is said to have been the first intermarriage between a British officer and chief's daughter. Susannah's sister, Elizabeth, married 1) Robert Due, 2) John Hellfire Rogers, 3) Tahlonteeski, and 4) Chief John Jolly, the adoptive father of Gen. Samuel Houston.

Guntersville and Lake Guntersville are named after this Scottish trading family who intermarried with the Cherokee and resided in Creek Path. Samuel Gunter married Katherine Ghi-go-ne-li of the Paint Clan, and his brother Edward (Ned) Gunter (died 1843, Tahlequah, I.T.) married 1) Elise McCoy, and 2) Letitia Keys. Like the Keyses and Coopers, the family became split between the east and the west during Indian Removal. Augustus Gunter (1815-1894) was agent for the N.C. & St.L. Railroad in Bridgeport. According to the Cherokee Advocate, 19 Oct. 1844, George Washington Gunter erected a cotton gin at his place on the Arkansas River, 15 miles from Ft. Smith, the first in the Cherokee Nation.

One of Lookout Mountain Town's conjurors and a powerful chief was Dick Justice. In 1788, he fought with Dragging Canoe against the forces of Gen. Joseph Martin in the Battle of Lookout Mountain in Tennessee. Like many of the Chickamaugan leaders, he made peace with the settlers after Dragging Canoe's death in 1792 and became a respected businessman. In 1802, he operated the Justice Ferry near the mouth of Lookout Creek, which he sold in order to voluntarily relocate to Arkansas with his people. On May 28, 1818, at the age of 65, with 10 family members, he moved to Arkansas. The new owner of Justice's Ferry was Thomas Fox Baldridge, also a Cherokee. He operated it until 1838 when he was forced to leave. There are family stories of Chief Dick Justice having at least three wives and 24 children.
Dick Justice was associated with the Coopers, Troxells, Black Fox, and The Glass. He signed the 1805 and 1819 treaties.
According to Old Frontiers by John P. Brown, he was Uwenahi Tsus'ti, "he who has wealth." The word "Justice" was a corruption of Cherokee "Tsusti" or vice versa. According to "Romantic Arkansas" by Fred W. Allsopp, Vol. II, "Cherokee Chiefs who were considered priests, included High Priest Dik-Keh, the Just...lived to be over 100 years old...had white hair."
Some Justices, like the Coopers, stayed in the East and their descendants still live on Sand Mountain. For instance, John Alfred Justice, son of Abraham Justice, was born December 06, 1874 in Alabama, and died April 30, 1955 in Crossville, DeKalb County, Alabama

The Keys/Kee family was evidently Sephardic Jewish in origin. Many were noted as "bright mulattoes," or "other free" in Virginia and N.C. records of the 18th century. They appear to have been early mixed with Indian. In 1817, when a choice was given to the Cherokee to settle on a reservation in the east for life or emigrate west, Samuel Keys and his three sons Isaac, William and Samuel received reservations on Sand Mountain. Isaac Keys was married to Elizabeth Riley, William, to Sally Riley, and Samuel, to Mary Riley. The Riley sisters were all granddaughters of Chief Doublehead (Chuqualatague) through the two sisters Ni-go-di-ge-yu and Gu-lu-sti-yu Doublehead. During Indian Removal, some Keyses managed to stay in Alabama, others went on the Trail of Tears. Richard Keys (Chapman Roll 1686) lived for a while in Fabius on Sand Mountain before moving to Indian Territory with his large family. He died February 6, 1892, and was buried in Paw Paw Bottoms, Muldrow, Sequoyah, I.T. He is the Dick Keys named as a character witness on Peter Cooper's ECA. Richard Riley Keys (1813-1884), a brother of Letitia Keys, who was married to Minerva Nave, served as Judge on the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court. Samuel Riley Keys, born 1819, Fabius, married Mary Hannah Easter, a Choctaw.

Jackson County, AL
1680. Samuel Keys, Jr. 32
1681. Mary Keys 10 d
1682. Polina Keys 4 d
1683. William Keys 2 s
1684. Samuel Keys Sr. 64 [642]
1685. Mary Keys 25 d [1546, 642]
1686. Richard Keys 37 [642]
1687. William Keys 4 s
1688. Richard R. Keys 2 s
1689. infant not named s
1690. James M. Keys 30
1691. William Keys 2 s
1692. Eveline McCoy 35 w [8146]
1693. Leanah McCoy 8 d
1694. Mary McCoy 4 d
1695. Muzedore McCoy 2 d
Source: Chapman Roll, 1851, Cherokee by Blood.

George Lowrey was born in Scotland about 1740 and married Nannie Watts, daughter of Ghi-go-neli (father: Oconostota) and Rising Fawn (Agiligina Kenoteta). He was a trader, miller and man of many far-ranging activities who made his home in Battle Creek valley in the Sequatchie Country, which housed the fleet of war canoes of the Chickamauga Nation. Their daughter Aky Lowrey married Chief Arthur Burns. Another daughter, Jenny, was the wife of Chief Tah-lon-tee-skee. Yet another daughter married a Sevier. In fact, it can be said that none of the marriages in the Lowrey clan were taken lightly. Col. John Lowrey married Elizabeth Shorey, and Maj. George Lowrey married Lucy Benge. As in the case of the Browns and Keyses, some Lowreys remained in the Valley Head area without being forced west. They were known for maintaining a "free loan association" to aid poor farmers, widows and other needy individuals.
The meaning of the surname Lowrey is "Levite." It is believed to be related to the rabbinical family name Luria (WSWJ).

The Riley family of Sand Mountain has been traced back to Sean O'Reilly of Northern Ireland in the 1500s. The emigrant Samuel Riley (about 1720-1792) married Nell Wallace in Maryland. Their children were named Samuel, Eliphas, Elizabeth, David Moses, Milcah, Margaret, Darby, Susanna, Edward, George, and James. Samuel Riley, Cherokee Indian merchant and interpreter, married two daughters of Chief Doublehead and received a 640 acre reservation on south side of the Tennessee River opposite Southwest Point, Roane County, "by right of wife" in 1817, but when Tennessee took back all Indian reservations, he moved to Sand Mountain in Alabama. Doublehead had important connections with the area around Yahoo Falls on the Cumberland River in KentucKentucky He was born in Stearns, in what is now McCreary County Tuckahoe Doublehead, his son, married Margaret Mounce, and he himself took as one of his wives Nannie the Pain Droomgool, the daughter of Scots trader Alexander Droomgool, whose extensive possessions appeared on the list of valuations as published by an act of Congress, 1837. Many years later, Alexander Droomgool's descendant, a Nashville journalist, invented, or at least popularized, the term Melungeon at a time when her cohorts among New York travel writers were inventing "hillbillies" (Benjamin Albert Botkin, A Treasury of Southern Folklore [New York: Crown Publishers, 1949], pp. 85-86). She placed the last remnants of the Melungeons on Newmans Ridge in Tennessee, oblivious of their migrations to other parts of the country during Indian Removal.
Riley is a corruption of Raleigh/Ralegh and is French Jewish in origin.

Scotland acted as a mecca for Jews from the rest of Europe during the Spanish Inquisition and Counter-Reformation. The Ashkenazic Jew Avold Shenkel migrated from Oldenburg, Germany, through the Netherlands to Berwick, Scotland, in the early 1700s. He continued to New Jersey and Pennsylvania around 1750. From there, like so many others, he gravitated to Tennessee. Sand Mountain residents George Shankle, born about 1808 in Franklin County, Tennessee, and John Shankle (born about.1814) raised large families around Maynards Cove, intermarrying with Ashberry, Byrd, Dawson, Holland (Cherokee), Lackey (Cherokee), Minor (Melungeon), Musgrove (Creek), Proctor (Cherokee), Sizemore (Jewish Indian), White (Choctaw-Cherokee) and Wooten (Choctaw). John Shankles (about 1814-1885) married Clarissa Proctor, the granddaughter of William Davis and Mary Ann Black. The Proctors came from Canada and became a prominent Cherokee family. Samuel G. Shankles (about 1846-1902) married Lovina (Dovey) Fossett (nee Lackey). Like many non-slave-holding Southerners, he fought on the Union side during the Civil War, serving in Company D, First Alabama Tennessee Vidette Cavalry. Their daughter, the author's great-grandmother, Lucinda, married James Lafayette (Fate) Goble, the son of Cornelius Goble, a former Indian agent, and Ellen Wooten. Lucinda Goble was reported to be "three-quarters Cherokee Indian," a blood quantum that proves fairly accurate if you add up the blood lines in her genealogy. Her mitochondrial DNA is a rare form of U2 (chapter 3).

Richard Sizemore came from Spartanburg District, S.C.and moved to Habersham County, Georgia by 1822 and to Dade County, Georgia about 1845, where he joined a group of other mixed breeds avoiding removal near Rising Fawn. To credit descendants and relatives in Eastern Cherokee claims 1906-1924, which comprise two entire volumes of the Guion Miller Commission's Report, the family came from N.C. and Virginia and were Cherokee. These were Portuguese Jews like the Coopers (their closest neighbors in Surry County, Virginia, near Jamestown circa 1700) who came from London to Barbados and Jamestown, where they blended on the frontier with the Saponi, Powhatan, Mattaponi, Cherokee and Creek Indians.
Georgia. Dade County. In the name of God, Amen. I, Richard Sizemore of said state and county, being of advanced age and knowing that must shortly depart this life, deem it right and proper both as respects my family and myself that I should make a disposition of my property with which a kind providence has blessed me; do therefore make my last will and testament hereby revoking all others heretofore made by same.
1st item. I design that my body be buried in a decent and Christian-like manner suitable to my condition in life. My soul, I trust, shall return to rest with God who gave it.
2nd item. I design and direct that all my just debts be paid without delay by my executors hereinafter appointed, as I am unwilling my creditors should be delayed in their right.
3rd item. I give, bequeath and devise to my son Andrew Jackson and Thomas Benton and James Clayton and my daughter Malinda Elizabeth part of lot of land number two hundred and nineteen in the eleventh district of formerly Cherokee, now Dade County, containing one hundred and ten acres with all the rights, members and privaliges (sic) to said lot of land in any wise appertaining or belonging forever.
4th item. I give and bequeath to my son John one sorrel horse and two cows and calves and their increase and six head of sheep and their increase, one yoak (sic) of stears (sic) and cart, one hundred bushels of corn and ten head of hogs, and one rifle gun, and three feather beds and furnature (sic).
5th item. I hereby appoint my son John executor of this my last will and testament this April 18th, 1850.
Richard Sizemore
Registered this 20th of April 1850.
John B. Perkins, Clerk
Richard Sizemore was buried in Pea Ridge Cemetery, DeKalb County, Alabama on top of the mountain. This cemetery also contains the graves of Coopers and Bundrens. His widow Elizabeth moved to Fraction Township in the area known as Shraders Mill, where her neighbors were the Coopers and Shraders (Alabama 1866 State Census). She was reportedly the daughter of Francis Forester and a Chickahominy woman and died May 1, 1879. Recent research spearheaded by Alan Lerwick of Salt Lake City, Utah, has traced the Sizemores back to a Michael Sizemore, London merchant, who died in 1685. Lerwick has also mapped two distinct DNA lines in Virginia and N.C., one continuing the original R1b gene type and the other an American Indian Q haplotype. He believes - and we agree with him - that Indian descent entered the Sizemore family with Henry Sizemore, born about 1698. The descendants of Henry's older brother Ephraim are R1b.

Some Conclusions
This rather random listing of Melungeon families from Sand Mountain contains some revealing statistics. There are 24 untimely deaths, 6 murders, 2 hangings, 1 rape, 4 divorces, 4 instances of congenital deafness or blindness, an average migration rate of 4.2 moves per lifetime, 6 cases of lost treasure, and uncounted examples - whether individual or group - of theft, assault, imprisonment, legal sanctions, denial of Federal benefits and civil rights, law suits, and disinheritance. Families were split down the middle, with many members simply disappearing. A high number of sons and daughters chose never to marry to produce future generations. The average lifespan for a female in Bessie Cooper's one line, the mitochondrial U2e* presented in chapter 3, was 32.
Such were the depredations suffered by Sand Mountain Melungeons. And what about the spiritual side? Elders were often unwilling to speak of the losses. In the face of prejudice, they maintained whatever they could of their intellectual heritage, religion and culture - often in a secretive fashion. The decades beginning with the Nativist movement of the 1860s continuing to the heyday of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s were the worst. Knowledge faded as the years and generations went by. In the end, some gave up defending their identities, some veritably became mysteries to themselves, some angrily denied any such background, but others, perhaps a very tiny number, secretly continued to be what they were: Cherokee (and in some cases, Choctaw) Jews.


Boone, Daniel - first English colonial to survey and settle the lands that are now Kentucky and Tennessee

Chickamauga - militant faction of Cherokees who removed to the new Lower Towns around Chattanooga led by Dragging Canoe after 1775

Cumberland River - main river flowing through middle Tennessee, tributary of the Ohio

Guion-Miller Commission - federal agency established around the year 1900 to decide the rights of remaining individuals not on Indian rolls

Longhunter - early hunters in Tennessee who sometimes spent up to a year away from home

Lookout Mountain - flat-topped ridge extending from Chattanooga to Gadsden

Lower Towns - last sovereign towns of the Cherokee before removal, located in the tri-state area of Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia

Roll - official Indian census prepared by the U.S. government

Tennessee River - main river in East Tennessee and northern Alabama, tributary of the Ohio

Waldens Ridge - southwesterly extension of the Appalachians from Knoxville to Chattanooga

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