Sunday, June 25, 2017

Christian Gottlieb Priber; What Evidence is there for Daughters: Creat and Susanna Caroline

Christian Gottlieb Priber was a man ahead of his time. Born, raised and educated in Saxony, he ended his unusual life in a prison in Frederica, Georgia. On 22 April 1743, Governor James Oglethorpe described him, in a letter, as a "very odd kind of man." Oglethorpe wrote to his superiors in England that Priber had wished to establish a Utopian paradise, welcoming all of society's castoffs; slaves, Indians, debtors and transported felons. In this setting all crimes and licentiousness were to be tolerated, save murder and idleness. This 18th century Disneyland for wayward adults was to be called "The Kingdom of Paradise." [1]

One of Priber's many Utopian ideas was the abolition of marriage. He said, “women should live with the same freedom as the men; that they should be free to change husbands every day; that the children who should be   born should belong to the republic and be cared for and instructed in all things that their genius be capable of acquiring.”

Priber had left behind his German wife and children when he fled his homeland. It doesn't sound like he was looking for a replacement. Priber was in England in 1635. His petition to sail to the newly formed Colony of Georgia was presented to the trustees at their meeting on 13 June 1635, who recommended him for the next embarkation. [2]

It is not my intention to write Priber's biography but rather to examine what evidence there might be that has led many people to claim that they are related to him through one or the other of two supposed daughters; the oddly named Creat and Susanna Caroline. Good genealogy always starts with a question, followed by research and the application of the Genealogical Proof System. Which is what I will do here, starting with three questions:

Did Christian Priber marry between 1736 and his capture by the English in 1743?
Did Christian Priber have a daughter named Creat Priber who married a Native American named Doublehead?
Did Christian Priber have a daughter named Susanna Caroline Priber who married Aaron Brock/RedBird?


Research Notes: (This research was done by Kathie Forbes and Jeanie Roberts)

Priber is mentioned in the writings of four of his contemporaries who had actually met him. The first of whom was Ludovic Grant, a Scottish immigrant who also lived among the Native Americans, particularly the Cherokee. Grant met Priber and had this to say about him, "[he] called himself German but was certainly an agent for the French. He went up from Amelia Township to the Cherokee Nation, and lived in the Town of Telliguo, and being a great scholar he soon made himself master of their Tongue, and by his insinuating manner Indeavoured to gain their hearts, he trimm’d his hair in the indian manner and painted as they did going generally almost naked except a shirt & a Flap."[3] Grant makes no mention of wife or offspring.

The second man was Antoine Bonnefoy, a Frenchman, who was captured by the Cherokee in 1741. He wrote a vivid account of his capture and his meeting with Christian Priber. Bonnefoy spoke at length with Priber, asking him where he learned French.  In his journal he wrote,  "that having found among the Cherakis a sure refuge he had been working there for four years upon the establishment which he had been planning for twenty; that the Governor of Carolina having discovered the place of his refuge had sent a commissioner to demand him of the savages there, but that then he was adopted into the nation, and that the savages, rejecting the presents of the English, had refused to give him up." [4] Bonnefoy was 'adopted' by one of the Indians with whom he lived. He said that Priber was 'lodging in the cabin with my adopted brother.' [5] This statement is significant. The Cherokee are a matrilineal society, when a man marries he joins his wife's clan. Yet, here is Priber lodging with an unidentified male, not living in his own home. Bonnefoy  make no mention of a wife or children.

James Adair was an Irishman who lived among the various tribes in North America. In 1775  he published his History of the American Indians. Adair was present when the English tried to apprehend Priber, but the Cherokee refused to relinquish him. Adair called him an agent of the French and was either ignorant of his Utopian plan or did not think enough of it to include in his book. He said of Priber, "he ate, drank, slept, danced, dressed, and painted himself, with the Indians, so that it was not easy to distinguish him from the natives, -- he married also with them." [6] Although Adair says that Priber 'married with the Indians', it seems unlikely that he took a wife, given his stance on free-love. There is no mention in this book of a wife or children.

Priber, long hunted by the English, was captured by February of 1743 by the Creek Indians and sent to prison in Georgia. The last man who both met and wrote about Priber is known only as Americus. He wrote a character description that was printed in The Annual Register, for the year 1760. His 'character' was Priber. The writer is basically anonymous, but claims that he met with Priber while in prison. Americus says that he left America and returned to England in 1744, the last year that Priber is known to have been alive. Americus describes Priber, both physically and mentally in great detail. He believed that Priber was a Jesuit Priest. [7] The Register was published in London in 1789.

Everything that is known about Priber's personal life with the Cherokee comes from the writings of these men. None of them mention a wife or children. Priber spoke extensively with Bonnefoy about his ideas for his Utopian society and the abolition of marriage. If Priber had a wife and children, Bonnefoy would have known it. Priber doesn't strike me as a hypocrite, a bit of a madman yes, but not one who would abandon his principles. Why would he marry if it was the very thing he wished to expunge from his new world order?

Jesuit Priest
Just a quick word about the Jesuits. These are/were the hard core evangelizers/converters of the Catholic Church. They were sent to places hostile to Christianity, such as China and Japan, to bring their version of Christianity to 'the heathen.' Until new research, done in 1960, uncovered Priber's German origins, he was believed to have been a Jesuit Priest.[8] If Priber married and had children, why would they suspect he was a Catholic priest?

Emmett Starr
Dr. Emmett Starr, d. 1930, was a noted historian and genealogist of the Cherokee Nation. He wrote extensively about the Cherokee people. In his 1921, book, “History of the Cherokee Indians”, Starr mentions Priber three times. Twice he claims that Priber, whom he called an ex-Jesuit, came to the Cherokee in the role of a missionary, teaching them about the Bible. The third reference was only in a comment about Ludovic Grant, noting that he was with the Cherokee at the same time as Priber. He makes no genealogical references to Priber. [9] No mention of wife or child is made. Considering that Starr was a genealogist  and his books includes the genealogies of hundreds of Cherokee, it would seem highly unusual for him to have omitted descendants of Priber if they were known to exist.

Edward Davis
Dr. Edward Davis perpetuated the idea that Priber was a missionary. He wrote in 1936, "Christian Priber, a French Jesuit, was among the Cherokees from 1736 to about 1745. He seems to have taught many Bible stories to the Cherokees and laid a foundation of knowledge that the Protestant missionaries [built on]." [10] No mention of a wife or children was made.

Knox Mellon
Mellon researched and wrote two scholarly articles, published in 1960 and 1973, about Priber and his Utopian vision. [11] Fellow researcher, Kathie Forbes writes, "Knox Mellon researched Priber’s family at length. His article includes detailed information on Priber’s German parents, wife, and children, his education, his writings, his travels, his life with the Cherokee, and his time in prison. If there are records of any Cherokee descendants, I believe that Mellon would have located them."

The Age of the Internet
I could go on and on about the Christian Priber and the written word, suffice it to say that all pre-Internet writings about the man do not include a wife or child. It is not until the explosion of Internet genealogy, did Priber acquire a Native American family.  Kathie Forbes writes: "James Hicks on-line Cherokee genealogy, unfortunately assumed by many to be authoritative, lists two Pribers: Christian, and daughter Creat,(no mother listed) with zero documentation. Hicks lists Creat as one of Doublehead’s wives and attaches several children (including some mythical and some real people whose parents, according to Starr, are unknown). Interestingly, he includes not a single Kentucky Brock. He lists only one person named Redbird, a man who died in Indian Territory in 1904. Hicks abandoned his project about 10 years ago."

The genealogy of Priber, according to Hicks can be found here. He offers no document to prove such a claim, only that his information was from another web page, managed by  Don Chestnut. This page, Chestnut's, is no longer available. So who is Don Chestnut and what was his source for this information? Don seems to be related to a Cherokee named Benge. He put up his genealogy on his now defunct website. His name is thrown out frequently on the Benge RootsWeb message board. Some comments about the quality of his work are as follows:

Don has done a wonderful job managing the page and somehow kept out of the squabbles but he does have misinformation of my Benge line of ancestors...

Don has done a wonderful job in managing  the page. True, a lot of info on the page maybe incorrect but ...

I think what Oleta is trying to tell you, and what I found out after much  investigation, is that a lot of the information on Don Chestnut's  website is incorrect. Just because someone has posted it to a web site does not  mean  that they have done the research and have accurate information.

The Benge Rootsweb site and these comments can be found here.

Don himself made the following statement, which I have copied in full:

From: Don Chesnut <chesnut@kgs.mm.uky.edu>
Subject: Re: [BENGE] Don Chestnut, are you there? Re: Confusion about Wurteh
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2002 13:29:36 -0500
In-Reply-To: <004e01c1bcd7$2d71ae60$63a869ce@oemcomputer>

I am not a Cherokee researcher so shouldn't be recorded as an authority for
any Cherokee family (although I do try to follow the Benge families)..........

There you are from the man himself, he is no authority and should not be used as a source. Where he got his information from, one can only guess. One thing you should note in the early genesis of the Priber Family stories is that it began with a daughter named Creat who married Chief Doublehead. There is no mention made of her mother and there is also no mention of a sister Susanna Caroline. I put together a timeline of Internet postings about Christian Gottlieb Priber and the evolution of his family. My comments are highlighted in yellow.


1999
Thats it, just a statement.

2003
Children of CHIEF DOUBLEHEAD and CREAT PRIBER are:
vi. CORNBLOSSOM DOUBLEHEAD, b. Abt. 1760, Stearns, KY; d. August 13, 1810,
Stearns, KY; m. JACOB TROXEL, Abt. 1780; b. 1759, Frederick Co, MD; d. July
01, 1843, DeKalb Co, AL.
vii. TUCKAHOE DOUBLEHEAD, b. Abt. 1762.
viii. SALEECHIE DOUBLEHEAD, b. Abt. 1764.
ix. NI-GO-DI-GE-YU, b. Abt. 1766; m. SAMUEL RILEY; b. Abt. 1747, Maryland;
d. 1818, Blue Spring, Tenn, Bradley Co..
x. GU-LU-STI-YU, b. Abt. 1768; m. SAMUEL RILEY; b. Abt. 1747, Maryland; d.
1818, Blue Spring, Tenn, Bradley Co
Creat now has a list of children.

Also, there was a Chief Aaron BROCK among the Cherokee. Some think he was Chief Red Bird Some say Aaron was 1/2 Cheroke the s/o Reuben BROCK and a  Cherokee wife, possible named Christian PLACE or Miss PRIBER. Aaron md. a  full blood cheorkee woman named Susan or Susannah Caroline ?
Christian Place or Ms. Priber marries Reuben Brock, father of Aaron Brock who marries Susannah Caroline. In this early internet version of Susanna Caroline, she is not a Priber, and she is full blood Cherokee. Later she becomes Miss Priber.  


2005
Susanna Christian Priber dated 1736-1764, "was born in 1736 in Overhills, Tenase, Great Tellico. She died in 1764 in Taluegue, Kentucky." Susanna Christian Priber was daughter of Christian Gottleib Priber and Susan Moytoy Carpenter "Christian and Susan had the following children: Susanna Christian Priber, Grand Priber, Place Priber, Great Priber."
Priber seems to have married a woman named Susan Moytoy Carpenter.

Please know most Cherokee here in Oklahoma don't consider the Troxell's to have any Cherokee blood -- none at all. That could change  if documents came out showing proof of this link. I am not trying to disprove a local legend, but rather I just want to find the truth. My ancestor Nevil Wayland was a neighbor of Jessee Brock in Lower Russell  County, Virginia in 1797 -- both are there on the tax rolls. But is  their proof Jessee's father or grandpa, was a Cherokee "chief" named  Red Bird?
A rare voice of caution, trampled no doubt under the moccasins of Troxells everywhere. The Troxell family tried to tie itself to the Moytoy legend through a daughter or Creat Priber, Princess Cornblossom.

There was a man named Priber. (This is my personal favorite!)
Christian Gottlieb Priber b: 21 MAR 1697 d: ABT 1744
+ A Cherokee Moytoy b: ABT 1720?
2 Cristian Place Priber b: ABT 1737?
2 Creat Priber b: 1740 d: 1790
+ Chief Doublehead (Taltsuska) b: BET 1744 AND 1799 d: 09 AUG 1807

Now, old Priber, was well educated, knowing many languages. He applied first for allotment land in Jamestown area. This was finally granted, but he did not take it, due to his absence from the area. Where did he go? Well, seems he heard of a German settlement! Germania, I presume (from the
gedcoms:), where he got hooked up with the native americans. Many of MY DECENDANTS were in Germania, and enviorns. (rememmber, I AM a Melungeon line from the "core", if you want to put it that way:) And there he bacame an indian!

I'm not kidding here. He, for all practical purposes, was indian. He taught them. He did not teach them english, french, math, because they already knew that!!!! (they all could read, write, and do math, taught them by one europen father that lived in a cave above Jamestown in the early years!:) And so what he did, was teach them how to trade with the english and others. This p.o.'ed the english! The english traders had to actually give good and equal value for what they wanted! Astonishing. But not for long. For the British thought he was a "spy" and an instigator, and an ambassador in the employ of France. As such, he could be hunted down and imprisioned. Which is exactly what happened. He was emprisioned, where he wrote in Cheorkee the bible, or the new testament, (part of?). Which writing has never been found. This in aide / collaboration with a monk/priest. He also enjoyed the visits of many educated and liberal english. But he died in prison. His son sold verything of value his father had (before or after dead, maybe before for bond/eating money?).

And the main thing is; he started a "Utopia"!

Now, a Utopia, in order to qualify as a "utopia", has to accept people. Which people? Well, some would be the blessed and educated and monied. But that would be a minority. Some would be Indian. And some majority would be the "dregs" of society. Yes I am talking about MY anctors, and probably yours! (as mine intermarried with indian and germanic) This would then be seen as a major problem to england.
Did you not love that! But anyway, here is another name for Susanna Caroline, it is Christian Place Priber.

2006
We are directly related to Chief Double head his wife Creat Priber. There child Cornblossom. Creat Priber's parents Gottilieb and Clogoittah, Her parents Cheif Moytoy and his Father Great Eagle. Clogoittah brother was Oconostota(Have pic).
Priber is now married to a woman named Clogoittah whose father was Moytoy.

It is a fact that Chief Doublehead's 1st wife was Creat Priber. He subsequently married a Delaware woman, Nannie Drumgoole, and Cornblossom (a Delaware). I've been unable to identify any descendant of Creat Priber because they had four daughters and a son Tukaho who was murdered in 1807 and died without heir. As for the Moytoy website, I consider it a work of fiction by a crackpot who will not answer questions or prove his claims.
This was written by a woman named Doris Ross Brock Johnson. Many people use her website as a source for the Redbird/Aaron Brock myth. She passed away, but her web page remains. The 'Moytoy' website, now defunct, was the work of a man named Jim White, who was trying to make a claim to be related to Moytoy of Tellico. His website seems to have been the source for all the Moytoy stuff. This was scooped up by Don Greene and put into his Shawnee Heritage books, which are total garbage.

2010
Do you have proof of Cornblossem or Creat Priber's existance? A man named David Cornsilk says neither one ever existed. If you have proof, I'd like to know what your source is, as I am a direct descendant of Gu-Lu-Sti-U and Samuel Reily - Doublehead and Creat Priber, and so on to Moytoy. I need to prove it to this man.
No reply was made.

2014
As you probably already know Red Bird Carpenter and Doublehead were brothers and married sisters Susan and Creat Priber.
There you have it, all neat and tidy.

There are literally thousands, if not millions of Internet messages about the “daughters” of Christian Priber and their descendants. These writers speak of 'research' and 'sources' but all they can offer are websites with the same regurgitated nonsense that seems to grow with each passing year. Details are added to the bio's of these mythical people, names added, children added, marriages added. But no one can come up with a single piece of evidence for their existence.

Back to our original questions.

1. Did Christian Gottlieb Priber marry a woman between 1736 and his capture in 1744. There is no evidence that Priber married during his stay with the Cherokee. He was averse to the ritual of marriage to the point that it would be abolished in his Utopia. Why then would he marry? Bottom line, using the Genealogical Proof Standard, there is no evidence to support a marriage.

2. Did Christian Gottlieb Priber have a daughter Creat? There is no evidence that would support this claim.

3. Did Christian Gottlieb Priber have a daughter named Susanna Caroline? There is no evidence that would support this claim.




Sources:

[1] Knox Mellon, Jr. “Christian Priber's Cherokee ‘Kingdom of Paradise’.“ The Georgia Historical Quarterly Vol. 57, No. 3 (Fall, 1973), pp. 319-33 Published by: Georgia Historical Society

[2] Allan Chandler, ed. Journal of the Trustees for Establishing the Colony of Georgia in America, Vol. 1, (Atlanta : The Franklin Printing and Publishing Co., 1904) 218.

[3] Ludovic Grant, “Historical Relation of Facts.” Charleston Probate Court Book 1754-1758, p. 301,  reprinted in the Journal of Cherokee Studies, Vol. XXVI pp. 8-9.

[4] Antoinie Bonnefoy, Journal of Captivity Among the Cherokee Indians, 1741-1742.  (Bonnefoy’s journal is available digitally at: https://archive.org/details/travelsinamerica02mere pp. 247-249.)

[5] Bonnefoy, Journal, 247.

[6] James Adair, The History of the American Indians, (London: Printed for Edward and Charles Dilly, in the Poultry, 1775)  p. 240.

[7] Americus, "Characters," The Annual Register for the Year 1760, London, 1789). (This book is divided into sections each with their own page numbers. Priber starts on page 21 in the section called Characters.

[8] Mellon, "Kingdom of Paradise," 320.

[9] Emmett Starr, History of the Cherokee Indians and Their Legends and Folklore, (Oklahoma City: The Warden Company, 1921). 24, 247, 466.

[10]Edward Davis, "Early Advancement Among the Five Civilized Tribes," Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 14, No. 2 (June, 1936)


[11] Mellon, "Kingdom of Paradise."