Reader Warning

This blog is for serious open-minded readers who are interested in documenting their Native American ancestry. Most of the articles challenge the internet genealogy of mythical Native American ancestry. If you have already made up your mind and if you can't handle an opinion other than your own, THIS IS NOT THE BLOG FOR YOU. Comments will be restricted to intelligent questions and concerns.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Jacob Castle and Sowega "Gliding Swan"; Fact or Fiction?

Have you ever played fantasy football? If not, I'm sure you know what it is. Each fantasy football participant chooses the best football players from different teams to put together their own personal fantasy team. You can pick a quarterback from Seattle, a running back from Dallas and a defensive lineman from Houston. Any imaginary combination you want. It's a lot of fun, if you like football. I like football.

Have you every played fantasy genealogy? Have you every heard of fantasy genealogy? Fantasy genealogy is a not a game per sea  but,  it is played everyday on the internet. This is how it happens. I want to put together my family tree, but I don't know exactly who my ancestors were, so just like in fantasy football, I pick and choose my ancestors. They can come from anywhere and heck they don't even have to be real. So, say my ancestor's name was Castle; I find a guy whose name is Cassel, close enough. Bam he's my ancestor's father. Someone said this Cassel guy might have been married to a Catherine Elizabeth; here's a woman named Elizabeth. Bam! She's my ancestor. No proof required, please, this is fantasy genealogy. That is how you play that game. I don't like fantasy genealogy.

By now you've put two and two together and see where this is heading.  I believe that much of what is written about Jacob Castle, who lived at one time in far western Virginia is false and that he has been the subject of the fantasy genealogy game. Most, if not all, of what is written about Jacob is unsourced. I would like see what I can find about him and put it to the test using the Genealogical Proof Standard. To use this standard we have to ask a genealogical question and try to answer it using evidence from available sources. The best evidence is original and primary, but this can hard to come by in pre-revolutionary America. So my questions are:

1. Who were the parents of Jacob Castle who lived in Augusta County, Virginia in about 1740.
2. Who was the wife of Jacob Castle who lived in Augusta County, Virginia in about 1740.

As with other articles I've written using this system I want to start with what is currently out on the internet about Jacob Castle and his wife Sowega.

wikitree bio for Jacob Castle as of 20 November 2016 [1]
(there are currently three bio's for this man so I am picking Castle-331
Name: Jacob "White Tassel, The Long Hunter, Taumee-Elenee" Castle Sr aka Cassell
father:  Peter Cassel b. 1673 in Kriegsheim, Pfalz, Bayern, Germany (unsourced)
mother: Catherine Elizabeth Hobart b. 16 Feb 1676 in Groton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA (source is said to be findagrave, which is unsourced)
Birth: Jacob's birth is said to be in 1717 in Lancaster County, PA. (unsourced)
Wife: Sowega- a Shawnee Indian woman who was born in 1720 in Western Pennsylvania. This bio says that she and Jacob were married in 1736 in Lancaster, County. She is said to have changed her name to Mary Elizabeth. (source: a marriage record from 1764 for the marriage of Mary Swan, and findagrave, what Mary Swan's marriage has to do with Jacob Castle is not explained.)
Children: 1.Valentine Cassell Sr, 2. Cawakawachi (Castle) Shawnee, 3. Rachel (Castle) Vance,
4. Elijah Castle, 5. Catherine (Castle) Fulk, 6. Benjamin Castle, 7. Jacob Castle Jr, 8. Littleton Castle and 9. Joseph Castle.
Notes: Much of this information is based on the unsourced book by Don Greene. Genealogy is all about sourcing. 🚩marriage of a Massachusetts Puritan and a German Mennonite in Philadelphia,
🚩use of a middle name in 1676 Catherine Elizabeth.

Geni bio for Jacob Castle as of 21 November 2016 [2]
Name: Jacob 'The Hunter' Castle, b. 1717 Palatinate Germany, d. 17 Feb 1789 Holsten River Area, Russell County, Virginia. (unsourced)
Father: Peter Cassell b. 1673 Kriegsheim, Kreikesheim, Alzey-Worms, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, d. 1748 Lancaster, PA (unsourced)
Mother: Catherine Elizabeth Hobart, b. 16 Feb 1676 Groton, Massachusetts, d. 1748 New River, Pulaski County, Virginia, United States (unsourced)
Wife: Sowege Gliding Castle (unsourced) bio states that Jacob "had more than four Native wives and more than 20 known children." (but we don't know who all the known children are)
Children: 1. Valentine, 2. Jacob, 3. Joseph, 4. William, 5. Littleton, 6. Bazel, 7. Mary, 8. Elijah, 9. Benjamin, 10. Catherine, 11. Rachel. (mostly unsourced)

findagrave memorial for Jacob Castle as of 22 November 2016 [3]
Name: Jacob 'White Tassell' 'The Hunter' Castle Cassell Kassell, giving a birth date of 1 April 1717 and date of death as 26 Sept 1803 but the bio included a DOD of 1 April 1789. (unsourced)
Father: Peter Cassell (1673-1748) b. Germany d. USA
Mother: Catherine Elizabeth Hobart (1676-1748) b. Groton, MA d. Scott County, VA
Wife: Sowega b. 1720 Shawnee Nation Middle Ground Indian Territory Pellissippi River
Children: Valentine (1736-1804) and Jacob (1749-1849)
Notes: despite a lengthy bio there no sources for parents, birth, marriage or death. 🚩Birth and death dates on 1 April.
ancestry trees include all the same information as above in various combinations. One thing that all trees have in common is lack of sourcing for parents, birth, marriage, death and children.

what the records show; a timeline of jacob castle(s) in Virginia
1734 Orange County, Virginia formed
1738 Augusta County, Virginia formed
1738  Jacob Castle listed on the Orange County Tithe List of Delinquents for the year 1738; typically had to be 16 years old or older to be tithed. this would give Jacob and estimated birth of no later than 1722. [4]
1740 25 June; Jacob Cassell purchased 200 acres of land from Jacob Stover, a large land owner in Orange County. He paid £40.00 current money. He would have had to have been 21 to purchase land, this would give him a birth date of no later than 1719. [5] This property was at the mouth of Hawksbill Creek and the Shenandoah River. The closest town is Luray in Page County. This is in far Northwest Virginia some 300 miles from Castlewoods. [6]
1740 26 June; Jacob Cassell sold 75 acres of the land he just purchased to Jacob Coger, for £17.00 Pennsylvanian money. [7]
1740 NLT November; Jacob Stover, Sr. was dead and Jacob Castle was given guardianship of Abraham Stover, orphan of Jacob. The fact that Jacob was given guardianship of a young man whose father was a large land owner would seem to indicate that Jacob is a more mature adult man who could manage Abraham's share of his father's estate.
1740 27 November; Jacob purchased a female slave, a cow and a horse from the estate of Jacob Stover. [8]
1741 24 February, Alexander Thompson petitioned for a new road or bridleway from Jackson's Mill to over the ridge by way of Swift Run Gap. This road was in the Shenandoah Valley. Jacob Cassell and others were chosen to mark, view and  lay off the road. [9]
1741May; Jacob and Henry Dows paid £100 bond for the guardianship of Abraham Stover. [10]
1742 15 September, Jacob is on a list of men on Captain Hugh Thompson's list of delinquents presented at a Courts Martial for failing to appear for a general muster of militia.[11]
1742 23 September; Jacob leased the remaining 125 acres of land to Elizabeth Dows for £5.00 current money. [12]
1746 24 Feb. survey for Jacob Castel was recorded for property lying on the Woods River 180 acres.  [13] This land was near Ft. Chiswell as it was later described as on the lead mines.
1746 19 November, the settlement South and West of the Roanoke had become so important that the court ordered four roads to be built. The first was from Reed Creek to Eagle Bottom to the top of the ridge that parts the waters of the New River and the South Fork of the Roanoke. Various men were assigned to help build the road. A second road was ordered from Adam Harman's house on the New River to the North Branch of the Roanoke. Jacob Castle was a member of the crew assigned to build the road. [14]
1749 17 Feb 1748/9, attachment made against Jacob Costell and Philip Cable and John Lamme's estates, charged that these had announced that they were going to the French Dominions on the Mississippi and such desertion would be harmful to the English in the war with France. [15]
1749 There is an unsourced story about the naming of the Clinch River. In his Scotch-Irish Book (Vol. 1) Chalkley states that the undocumented story was told to him by the Grandson of the magistrate (George Robins?) who issued a warrant for Castle's apprehension after Harman was robbed by Indian's, who took his animal skins. Chalkley does not give first names, but others have assumed the men to be Jacob Castle and Adam Harman. There is no source to back up this story, that I can find. Jacob was never charged or brought to court for this misdeed, despite his appearing in court later in the year for other offences. The event also occurred 180 years prior to the printing of the book, a lot of time for a good yarn to evolve, from a grain of truth. [unsourced]
1749 22 April, commitment of Valentine and Adam Herman for violent robbery of the goods of Jacob Castlean, by warrant of George Robins. [16]
1749 17 May, charged by Adam Harman with threatening to aid the French. ordered arrested and brought before the court on the following Monday.
1749 22 May, Jacob Castle acquitted. [17]
1749 undated, letter petition calling for the building of a road from Zachariah Calhoun's to New River. One of the signers was Jacob Costell. [18]
1749 August, In a letter printed in 1750, Samuel Eckerlin described to a Alexander Mack a great flood that took many lives along the Roanoke River.He mentioned the names of fellow Dunkards who had been affected including Kassel's wife and children and one or the others mother. This is believed to have been Jacob Castle's family, but there is no definite proof.
1750 Dr. Thomas Walker, a surveyor for the Loyal Company, entered and surveyed over 800,000 acres in Southwestern Virginia. During this time he kept a diary. On 16 March they stayed with the Dunkards on New River and learned of the flood the prior summer that had 'swept away houses, fences, and crops. On 9 April they reached Clinches River, "We traveled to a river, which I suppose to be that which the Hunters call Clinches River from one Clinch a Hunter, who first found it." [19]
1750 May, Court order, residents of Reed Creek named as workers on a road includes Alexander Sayers, John Miller and Jacob Castle at the Lead Mine....[20]
1753 Jacob Castle is mentioned in a letter from Robert Jackson, this letter is in the Preston Papers, I do not know the contents. [21]
1754 Beginning of the French and Indian War
1758 Jacob Castle is listed in an account book, part of the Preston Papers. [22]
1762 Entry for Jacob Castle 100 acres between Weltshire and the Great Falls. (Foster Falls) [23] 
1762 Jacob Castle and others including Alexander Sayer were appointed to view and report on the valuation and improvements made by John Staunton on the New River. [24]
1764 22 June; Jacob Carsell no longer an inhabitant of Augusta County. [25] This is the last entry for Jacob Castle in the Augusta County records. Of note; despite being almost 50 years old, no adult male sons are mentioned in the Augusta County Records.
1764  A Mr. Wiltshire and others visited Bethabara, North Carolina....[26]
1768 A Jacob Castle was taxed in Rowan County, North Carolina
1769 The first settlers arrive in Castle Woods. The first tithe is taken in 1770. [27]
1780 October 7, the men of Castle Woods who took part in the battle of King Mountain were under the command of Col. William Campbell. The fight took place following a 45 day forced march from Virginia to North Carolina some 200 or so miles away. 
1780 Robert Sayer, son of Alexander Sayer, given 400 acres of land including that which he inherited from his father. Alexander Sayer was the 'assignee' of Jacob Castle. Robert Sayer's land included Jacob's land along the New River near the lead mines that he bought in 1746. Did Jacob sell his land to Alexander Sayer?
1789 Feb 17, Russell County Court, Jacob Cassell motion to be appointed administrator of the estate of Joseph Cassell approved. Also ordered that the estate be inventoried. [28]
1782  A John Donoho purchased 701 acres of land, Treasury Warrant 14292 on 16 September 1782, he paid £1182.02 for the land, which he resold to others including 13 acres to a Jacob Castle. [29]
1786 Russell County, VA created.
1798 A Jacob Castle registered his land purchased from Treasury Warrant 14292. The land is on Copper Creek. [30]

These are the entries that I can find and confirm concerning Jacob Castle. Although there is no proof that the Jacob Castle first found in the Shenandoah Valley is the same as the Jacob Castle on the New River, it seems highly likely. No mention of children's names or any mention of a wife was made in any reference to Jacob. The only reference to a parent is in the letter concerning the flood of August 1749, when Samuel Ecklin states that Mrs. Kassel and their old mother survived the flood. We do not know if the woman was Mrs. Kassel's mother or her mother in law. So, with the above information at hand, I will try to answer my genealogical questions concerning the identity of Jacob's parents and wife.

who was jacob's father?
The first genealogical question that I am trying to answer is who was Jacob's father (and mother). There is absolutely nothing in the known documented records that would indicate where or when Jacob was born, other than an estimated age based on adult actions, such as being of an age to be tithed. But we do not know if in 1738 he was a very young man or a man in his thirties.

In the records, Jacob's surname is spelled in various ways. Most often it is Castle but it is also spelled Cassell, Kassel, Casel, and any other way you can think of to spell it. It probably depended on the nationality of the writer; the English would most likely spell it Castle and the Germans and Swiss would write Cassell. Many of the men who Jacob knew were German or of German descendant. Most of these German men came to Virginia via the German settlements in Pennsylvania. the first men on the New River were Adam Harman, the German Eckerlin brothers and their religious group the Dunkards as well as many others. [31] Does this mean that Jacob was also a German? There is certainly a strong possibility that he was and this opens the door for those fantasy ancestors.

There was a family in Germantown, Pennslyvania by the name of Cassel who had immigrated in 1686 from Kreigsheim to Philadelphia aboard the ship the Jeffries. Johannes Cassel and his wife Mary had several children including a son named Peter. [32] The only information known about Peter, is that he lived in Germantown and was a court crier. His date of birth, date of death, and, if he married, the date of his marriage are all unknown. If he did marry, I guarantee you his wife was not a Puritan gal from Groton, Massachusetts. Cultural and religious differences aside, the 325 mile geographic divide between these two makes it clearly impossible for them to have met, not to mention married.

Despite this, as seen in the internet information above, many people believe that Jacob was the son of Peter Cassel of Germantown and Catherine Elizabeth Hobart of Groton, Massachusetts. A little bit about "Catherine Elizabeth," This woman is said to be the daughter of the puritan minister Reverend Gershom Hobart of Hingham and his wife Sarah Aldis. Gershom and Sarah are known to have had eight children, none by the name of Catherine Elizabeth. [33] [34] In fact, the double name 'Catherine Elizabeth' is a genealogical red flag. Middle names were not used by the English colonists until closer to the time of the American Revolution. Gershom Hobart would not have given a child a middle name.

So far, YDNA testing on FamilyTreeDNA does not back up the claim of descent from Peter Cassel.

Genealogical Question #1: Who were the parents of Jacob Castle of New River Virginia?
Answer: The parents of Jacob Castle are unknown.

who was jacob's wife?
My second genealogical question is who was the wife/wives of Jacob Castle. Again there is nothing in the record which connects a specific woman to Jacob Castle. We cannot be confident of any children either. Many online ancestries state that Jacob was married in Pennsylvania prior to his move to Virginia. He was tithed in Virginia in 1738 so the marriage, if he was in fact married in 1738, presumable occurred by 1737. No marriage can be found for Jacob in Pennsylvania or Virginia. No record gives any clue who she might be.

DNA testing by several Castle descendants show no Native American ancestry. See the comments on this blog post and the post called DNA circles Jacob Castle.

Genealogical Question #2: Who was the wife of Jacob Castle of New River Virginia?
Answer: Unknown.

so who was sowega?
But wait, I hear you saying, Jacob was married to Sowega and a passle of other native women. Was he? Where does this information come from? Where was it recorded? Who remembered it? No one knows.

Sowega, it is said, was a Shawnee woman who married Jacob Castle in Pennsylvania. Her name supposedly means 'Gliding Swan.' Sowega took the English names of Mary Elizabeth when she married Jacob.(SOWEGA is also an acronym frequently used for Southwest Georgia) Some sites say she was born in Western Pennsylvania and others in a very odd sounding place they call 'Shawnee Nation, Middle Ground, Indian Terr., Pellissippi River.' The Pellissippi River is the Clinch River which runs from Tazewell, Virginia down into Tennessee. It is possible that 'middle ground' refers to the Ohio Valley, which became a quazi melting pot of Native Americans pushed west out of the Eastern Woodlands. But, the Clinch River is not in the Ohio Valley. The Shawnee Nation did in fact live in the Ohio Valley, Pennsylvania, into Virginia and Kentucky. So basically this tells us exactly nothing about where Sowega was born.

If and I mean a hypothetical 'if,' Sowega was born in Ohio or Tennessee, why did her family migrate to the Philadelphia area when the majority of her tribe was headed west away from the encroaching white colonists? This does not make sense to me.

According to her wikitree profile, Sowega died 1 April 1789 in "Pellissippi River Indiana Virginia." Make of that what you will. The date of her death has no source and tellingly is the same date of death as her husband Jacob Castle. According to her find a grave bio she died in Pennsylvania, no explanation given as to why she had returned to PA. However at the bottom of her bio it states she was buried in the Castle Indian Cemetery in Russell County, VA. Hum...

a kispokatha pekowi shawnee
Sowega, it is written, was a Kispokotha [Kispoko]. The Kispoko were one of the five major divisions or political units of the Shawnee people. She is also said to be a Pekowi Shawnee. Pekowi is also one of the five divisions. I'm no expert but I don't think you can belong to more than one.   In some of her bios the names Hokolesqua (Cornstalk), and Waupaathee are also attached to her. Waupaathee is supposed to mean swan in Shawnee.  The 'Cornstalk' name appears to be an attempt by Don Greene to tie virtually every Native American on the Eastern seaboard to his Powhatan/Shawnee theory and get you to buy his books. 

According to a rootsweb bio, Sowega, was "probably a playmate of Tecumseh's sister, Tecumapese." [35] Since Sowega was supposedly born about 1720  and Tecumapese was likely born around 1750 or later, this is clearly not true. This false information is also found on an message board. This is just another example of why you need to do your own independent research, and by research I do not mean copying stuff off the internet. I encourage you to make a copy of my citations below and look them all up for yourself!

shawnee heritage
If you are reading this, there is a pretty good chance that you have either read or heard of the Shawnee Heritage books written by Don Greene, Chief of the Appalachian Shawnee. The information about Jacob and Sowege (sp) begins on page 111 of Volume VI of his books. What better source for a book on the Shawnee than an actual Shawnee Chief! Well, he isn't really an Indian Chief, at least not in any official sense. There are only three federally recognized Shawnee tribes in the United States and his is not one of them. If you Google the Appalachian Tribe today you will find them on Facebook. The page is managed by Larry Buffalo Spirit Warstler who resides in Goshen, Indiana, a long way from Appalachia.

The Appalachian Shawnee Tribe is one of over 30 fake Shawnee Tribes, and by 'fake' I mean not recognized by the Federal Government.  While seemingly harmless on the surface (just grown ups indulging in their Indian fantasies) these 'fake' tribes are actually highly detrimental to the legitimate Shawnee Tribes. These 'pretendians,' as they are known, spread misinformation about the Shawnee, they appropriate and distort the culture and customs of the legitimate Shawnee, and they lobby for recognition and benefits to which they are not entitled.

conversation with a real chief
During my research for this article I had the pleasure of talking with a real Indian Chief; 2nd Chief Ben Barnes of the Shawnee Tribe, headquartered in Miami, Oklahoma.  He is actively involved with both cultural and language preservation for his tribe. Chief Barnes said that the word Sowega/Sowege not only does not mean Gilding Swan it is not even a Shawnee word.

Chief Barnes did not deny the possibility that there may have been Shawnee Indians living near Philadelphia in 1740 and that it is not out of the realm of reason to suggest that Jacob had a Native American wife, just not a woman named Sowega. However, since we do not know where or when Jacob married, we cannot say who he married.

Many of these Castle/Sowega bios state that Jacob Castle made a legal marriage with Sowega. Chief Barnes states that there is no such thing as a legal Shawnee marriage. Barnes said, you know you're married to a Shawnee woman when you come home and her stuff is in your house, and you know you're divorced when you come home and your stuff is in the yard. This is not to say that there were no legitimate marriages between Whites and Indians because there were. But to state that somehow we know that Jacob 'legally' married his Indian wife is not the truth.

other women
According to the Wikitree bio Jacob had as many as 7 or 8 wives. The ultimate source for these women is the Shawnee Heritage. They are said to be:

1. Sowege of the Pekowi Shawnee (the clan in charge of warfare-this is wrong) whom he legally married in 1736, he had nine known children. (Valentine, Rachel, Elijah, Catherine, Benjamin, Jacob Jr., Littleton, Joseph, and others)

2. Wapehti, a Kishpoko Shawnee, by whom he had six known children, married in 1759. Bazel, Mary, Henry, John and another Rachel)

3. Waupahathee, a Kishpoko Shawnee Cherokee Metis woman, by whom he had four known children, married 1772. (Abraham, another Joseph, George)

4. Chalakatha-Kishpoko-Cherokee Metis woman whose name is unknown by whom he had one known child, married in 1785.(David)

5. Other unknown Indian women who had unknown children. (if the women are unknown and the children are unknown, how do we know about them? How can anyone possibly know what tribe they were from?)

possible children/Grandchildren or otherwise related 
1. Benjamin Cassel; listed on the New River tithables in 1773, administration of his estate by Robert Sayer on 5 August 1779.
2. Bazel/Bazle Castle; lived in Kentucky, in 1832 claimed a pension for serving during the American Revolution, stated his father Jacob Castle fought at King's Mountain. Based on his various stated  ages he was born between 1751 and 1761.  He had one living son, John, when he died.
3. Jacob (Jr.) lived in Russell County and is found in the census records up to 1840 when he was enumerated as being over 100 years of age giving him a birth year of 1740.
4. Joseph, died in Russell County in 1789, Jacob Castle was for a time admin of his estate, relationship unknown.

jacob in print
Jacob Castle was undeniably a real man, but as one writer warns, the sum is greater than the whole.
The first real article I can find on him was published on January 29, 1965 and printed in The Bristol Herald Courier, a local newspaper in Bristol Virginia, authored by Gordon Aronhime. Aronhime was a writer and historian who specialized in the Holston-Clinch river area from 1770-1795. In his article on Jacob Castle he states that "no claim is made for it's historical accuracy." He says that Jacob was probably born around 1715, his place of birth and ancestry are unknown, but he admits that he might have been born in Germany and come to America as a young boy. He notes all the usual findings about Jacob as listed in my timetable above and says that the last mention of him in Augusta County was in 1764 when he basically falls off the grid, living in the wilderness off the fat of the land. Aronhime, himself, goes off the grid at this point. He muses that perhaps Jacob encountered Daniel Boone out in the wilderness and told him about the land named for him, Castle Woods. For this tip he might have been given a gun or a horse for his 'rights to the land. He does state that Jacob never owned any of the land along the Clinch River, including Castle Woods. He notes that many years later there was a man named Jacob Castle who lived on Copper Creek and was possibly the father of Bazle Castle. He wonders if this could possibly be the same Jacob. Clearly there is no proof and no one who could confirm these details. [36]

Two years later another article was written about Castle Woods, by James W. Hagy. It was published in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. Hagy states outright that "fact and fiction make Jacob an interesting man." According to tradition, he says, Castle was an albino who spent a lot of time off on his own. He says that Castle bought the land from the Indians for a rusty rifle and a butcher knife. He repeats an old story about the naming of the Clinch River,  in which Adam Harman was attempting to arrest Jacob for stealing his furs and a man named Clinch fell into the river. He says that the story could be true but there is no proof. Hagy also wonders if the Jacob Castle who received a land warrant in 1782 and claimed in 1798, was the same man. Again, no proof exists to confirm or deny.  [37] Note: Jacob bought the land from John Donoho who was the owner of the land which he bought on 16 September 1782. Treasury warrant 14292 belonged to him, not Jacob Castle.

These two stories are entertaining, but both authors admit that it is impossible to tell where the facts end and the fiction begins. The problem is that readers have taken it all for fact. One author which had kept her bio of Jacob to the bare facts is noted researcher Mary Kegley. She gives us the same documented information as other sources including his leaving Augusta County in 1764. She then says that he is not mentioned in any of the New River tithable lists, but there was a Jacob Castle in Russell County in 1782 (this would be a reference to the land warrant which belonged to John Donoho). She says that Russell County history contends that Jacob had at least two sons, Jacob Jr. and Joseph. If he indeed had a namesake son then it is impossible to distinguish which man the records reflect; the father or the son. [38]


1. From an historical standpoint there is quite a bit of information on Jacob Castle. He lived a tough frontier life at the edge of the 'white world.' There is no doubt that he would have encountered Native Americans during his hunting trips. But, there is no proof that he married an Indian woman. Some DNA results from possible descendants show no NA DNA. While this does not rule out native ancestry, it doesn't help either.

One big problem with the historical record is that it is unclear if the information after 1764 belongs to Jacob Castle or a son Jacob (Jr). For instance, who was it that fought at the Battle of King's Mountain, Jacob or a son. Jacob would have been almost 65 years old at the time, a bit long in the tooth for a forced march through the mountains. Who was the Jacob who bought land from John Donoho and his land warrant  in 1782? This is most likely the man who is enumerated in the census' of 1830 and 1840 and not the elder Jacob.

A Jacob Castle was recorded as paying taxes in Rowan County, North Carolina in 1768. Was this our Jacob Castle? Whoever he was he had established a homestead there. The name Jacob Castle was not rare, searching ancestry show quite a few men of that name.

In 1779 a Jacob Cassell paid £240 for 600 acres of land, Treasury Warrant 945, on Pottinger Creek in what is now Nelson County, Kentucky. A year later he turned it over to his son Henry. Henry Cassell is found in subsequent census' in Kentucky. There was also a Henry Castle in West Virginia. There is nothing that ties these men together.

2. From a genealogical standpoint we know very little about Jacob Castle. There is no source for parents, wife or children. Maybe somewhere in some yet to be digitized archive there will be some document which will reveal some information that can help us identify his family.

3. DNA can help unravel the claims of descent from Jacob Castle. Familytree DNA has a Castle project. Two kits claim Yelles Cassell, grandfather of Peter Cassell, as their ancestor but these kits do not match. Nor do these match the kit who claims descent from Jacob Castle 1749-1849 who I believe is the man claimed to be the son of Jacob Castle. None of the DNA results match the kit which claims Elijah Castle of Russell County either. More men need to take the yDNA test to sort out potential relationships.

4. The Shawnee Heritage Books should be viewed as fiction. Chief Ben Barnes, to put it mildly, has a very low opinion of these books. If you believe that you have a Shawnee ancestor call the tribe headquarters in Miami, OK and they will help you if they can with your research.

5. Sowega "Gliding Swan" is an internet/Don Greene myth. If you are committed to a proven, well documented, well sourced genealogy, then she has no place in your tree.

Serious Questions, Comments Welcome 
No claims without sources will be published 


[1] Brian Ward and Jennifer Allison, 'Jacob Castle", Wikitree ( : accessed 20 November 2016) profile Castle-331.

[2] Private User, "Jacob 'the hunter' Castle," Geni (http:// : accessed 21 November 2016)

[3] Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 22 November 2016), memorial page for Jacob Castle  (1717-1803), Find A Grave Memorial no. 139043975, citing Castle Indian Cemetery, Russell County, Virginia.

[4] "Orange County Tithe Lists," William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 27, No. 1 (July 1918) p. 19-20, digital images, Archive ( : accessed 22 November 2016).

[5] Orange County, VA Deed Book 4, p. 47-48

[6] Lyman Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia, Vol. 3, (Rosslyn, Virginia : Mary S. Lockwood, 1912) 304.

[7] Orange County, VA Deed Book 4, p. 52-54.

[8] Orange County, VA Will Book 1, 202-206.

[9] John Houston Harrison, Settlers by the Long Grey Trail, Some Pioneers to Old Augusta County, (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1935-2007). Originally found in the Orange Court Order Book, 1741-1743, p. 109.

[10] Orange County, VA Will Book 2, 154-155.

[11] Joseph Kellogg, "Court Records of Augusta County, Virginia," National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 29, (March 1941) 31, digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 25 November 2016).

[12] Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish, Vol 3, 302.

[13] Mary B. Kegley and F. B. Kegley, Early Adventurers on the Western Waters: pts. 1-2. The New River of Virginia in pioneer days, 1745-1805,Vol. 3 (Green Publishers, Inc., 1995).

[14] Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish, Vol. 1, 23.

[15] Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish, Vol. 1, 434.

[16] Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish, Vol. 1, 433.

[17] Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish, Vol. 1, 38.

[18] Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish, Vol. 1, 434.

[19] "The Diary of Dr. Thomas Walker: Surveyor for the Loyal Company Virginia (1715-1794)," [diary] (March 1749-July 1750), transcription, The Land of our Ancestors ( : accessed 7 December 2016).

[20] Mary B. Kegley and F. B. Kegley, Early Adventurers on the Western Waters: pts. 1-2. The New River of Virginia in pioneer days, 1745-1805, (Green Publishers, Inc., 2004) 50.

[21] "Draper Manuscripts: William Preston Papers, 1731-1791," index, Wisconsin Historical Society
(;cc=wiarchives;view=text;rgn=main;didno=uw-whs-draper0qq : accessed 8 December 2016); entry for Jacob Castle.

[22] "Draper Manuscripts: William Preston Papers, 1731-1791," index, Wisconsin Historical Society
(;cc=wiarchives;view=text;rgn=main;didno=uw-whs-draper0qq : accessed 8 December 2016); entry for Jacob Castle.

[23] Mary B. Kegley and F. B. Kegley, Early Adventurers on the Western Waters: pts. 1-2. The New River of Virginia in pioneer days, 1745-1805,Vol. 3 (Green Publishers, Inc., 1995) 225.

[24] John Newton Harmon, Annals of Tazewell County, Virginia 1800-1922 Vol. 1, (Richmond, Virginia : W. C. Hill Printing, 1922) 31.

[25] Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish, Vol. 1, 114.

[26] Mary B. Kegley and F. B. Kegley, Early Adventurers on the Western Waters: pts. 1-2. The New River of Virginia in pioneer days, 1745-1805,Vol. 3 (Green Publishers, Inc., 1995) 361.

[27] James William Hagy, "Castle's Woods and Early Russell County," (Lebanon, Virginia : Russell County Historical Society, 1979) 14.

[28] "Russell County, Virginia Law Order Book 1, 1786-1791," database of abstracted records, Rootsweb ( : accessed 10 December 2016).

[28] "Virginia Treasury Warrants," searchable database, ( : accessed 10 December 2016) entry for John Donoho, warrant 14292.

[29]"Russell County, Virginia Surveyor's Book 1," digital image, transcription, Rootsweb ( : accessed 10 December 2016). entry for Jacob Castle, transcribed by Rhonda Russell

[30]William D. Bennett, "Early Settlement Along the New River," National Park Service ( : accessed 29 November 2016). This article was written for a New River Symposium in 1984.

[31] Daniel Kolb Cassel, A Genealogical History of the Cassel Family, (Norristown, Pennsylvania : Morgan R. Mills, 1896) 29-30; digital images, Archive ( : accessed 29 November 2016).

[32] Samuel Abbott Green, Groton historical series. A collection of papers relating to the history of the town of Groton, Massachusetts, Vol. 3, (Cambridge: University Press, 1887), digital  images, Archive ( : accessed 29 November 2016).

[33] Ezra S. Stearns, William Frederick Whitcher, Edward Everett Parker, Genealogical and Family History of the State of New Hampshire: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Founding of a Nation, Volume 2, (New Hampshire: Lewis Publishing Co., 1908) 862, digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 29 November 2016).

[34]  Brenda Keck Reed, "Sowega 'Gliding Swan' Pekowi Shawnee," database, Rootsweb ( : accessed 8 December 2016), ID: I9203.

[35] Gordon Aronhime, "Jacob Castle: Clinch Father?," Bristol (Virginia) Herald Courier, January 29, 1965. print copy.

[36] James W. Hagy, "The Frontier at Castle's Woods, 1769-1786," The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 75, No. 4 (Oct., 1967), pp. 410-428; digital images, JSTOR ( : accessed 9 December 2016).

[37] Mary B. Kegley and F. B. Kegley, Early Adventurers on the Western Waters: pts. 1-2. The New River of Virginia in pioneer days, 1745-1805,Vol. 3 (Green Publishers, Inc., 1995).

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Big "Jake" Jacob Troxell and his wife Princess Cornblossom and the Genealogical Proof Standard

"Big Jake" and the Corn Blossom
found on findagrave
Oh boy, where to start with this one. This pair, Jake and Corn Blossom, AKA Pawalin, recently came to my attention on wikitree when a member questioned the validity of their story, in fact they questioned the existence of Corn Blossom, the reputed wife of Big Jake.  George Jacob Troxell is said to be the son of David Troxel and his wife Anna Elizabeth (Elizabeth) Saenger. (Not sure why she has two middle names, both Elizabeth, this is most likely an error). Jacob's wife is, according to this wiki profile, a woman named Pawalin (Corn Blossom) Doublehead. There seems to be no doubt concerning the existence of Jacob Troxel, but the identity of his wife Corn Blossom, said to be a Cherokee woman, the daughter of a Chief named Doublehead, seems to be disputed by some.

As with similar posts I have written, I would like to apply the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) to Corn Blossom and Jacob and see where it leads.  If you haven't heard of the GPS, and you are interested in genealogy, you should look it up. The GPS is the standard, approved by the Board for Certification of Genealogist, that lays out the methodology for proving a genealogical question. I won't go into all the details, as there are whole books written on the subject, but will apply the standard to this genealogy quest. I call it a quest because genealogy is all about answering questions, who was my grandfather, where was my grandmother born, etc.

This first part of the standard requires thorough (reasonably exhaustive) research which will hopefully provide documentation that will help answer our question. [1] I need to find two or more independent, original sources, which will help prove my question. If I cannot find two original sources, I am going to need a lot of secondary sources to use as proof. Once I find my sources, I will analyze the evidence, write citations for them, come to a conclusion and then write a genealogical proof. That is the proof standard in a nutshell.

So to start I have a question, and since this concerns Corn Blossom my question is:
Who was the wife of George Jacob Troxell b. 18 January 1758 in Frederick County, Maryland? 

who was big jake?
Since I don't know much about these folks, I am going to start my search by finding out what I can about Big Jake. According to his profile on wikitree he was born on 18 Jan 1758, a very specific date which I assume can only have come from a baptismal record or some other record that would include this information. Since this started on wikitree I will begin with their profile of him and then look at what other folks think they know about Jacob. Internet genealogy is full errors and it is a mistake to accept what others have written without checking their sources and verifying their evidence and sources.

1. wikitree info for George Jacob Troxel [2] as of 29 Oct 2016
Parents: David Troxel and Anna Elizabeth Elizabeth Saenger.
Born: 18 Jan 1748 Frederick, MD
Father:David was b. 27 July 1734 in Egypt, Bucks County PA the son of Peter Troxel and his wife Juliana Caterina Trauthanger. However the profile for Peter also says that he was married to a Juliana Caterina Deshler. Peter's father was born in Switzerland. Jacob's parents are said to have married in 1758, which is doubtful as their son is said to have been born on the 18th of January of that year.
wife: Corn Blossom, married in 1780 in Wayne County, Kentucky. she was born in 1770 in Tellico Plains in what is now Tennessee, the daughter of Doublehead and his unknown Delaware wife.
death: Jacob;10 October 1810 Yahoo Falls, Alabama. Corn Blossom; 13 October 1810 Sandy Cliffs, McCreary, Kentucky.
found on findagrave
children : Peter, Catherine, Mary, Sarah, Margaret, Elizabeth and William

There are no documented sources listed for any of this information. Also, this profile says that Corn Blossom was 10 years old at the time of her marriage to Jacob, which I find impossible to believe. And Yahoo Falls is in Kentucky, not Alabama. I also see nothing that links George Jacob to David Troxel.

2. findagrave [3]
This memorial page is a bit of mixed bag, and seems to include information on his son as well as him.
birth: 18 Jan 1758 Frederick County, MD
death: 1 July 1843 DeKalb County, AL
burial: Yahoo Falls in Kentucky
wife: Corn Blossom b. 1759 d. 1810 and Elizabeth Blevins b. 1785 d. 1860.
children: same, save no William

No documented sources. Different death date and place, but body transported to Kentucky for burial, a distance of 233 miles, sounds dubious to me. The findagrave memorial also contains two pictures it claims is Cornblossom, one a young woman and one a much older one, included above. These photos are obviously not of Cornblossom as she was dead long before the advent of commercial photography, some people fall for this stuff though.

birth: same 18 Jan 1758, but no source, also why is he called George Jacob, I cannot find anywhere where he is called George Jacob.
death; either 1810 or 1843, depending on the profile.

Some sources are found here, the US census, and his pension records. There is no source for his birth and there are no sources which would prove the relationship between George Jacob and David Troxell.

4. profile for George Jacob Troxell
This bio has the same info, birthday of 18 Jan 1758 and the death date of 1 July. No sources given for any information. This site does mix up the Jacob Troxell of Pennsylvania with the our Jacob from Maryland, especially the military service records.

5. website called The People of the Hunting Ground
This is a very entertaining website and gives a rousing version of Jacob Troxel. According to this version "Big Jake" was a half-breed Delaware Indian from Pennsylvania who was sent by General George Washington to treat with the Cherokee. He meet the lovely Corn Blossom and the rest was history. Both were killed in 1810 at the Massacre of Yahoo Falls.I think we can totally disregard this bio.

6. Rootsweb bio
This bio does two thing right off the bat, repeats the same information about Jacob, that he was born in Frederick in 1758. Below the "facts" the  writer states that the oft told 'legend' of Big Jake and Corn Blossom is romantic and "perhaps spurious." It also says that this family is from Pennsylvania but can trace it's Hebrew roots to Asia Minor. There's an interesting factoid,\; the Troxells were originally Jewish. Anyway, the bio then proceeds right down the line with the marriage of Jake and Corn Blossom, but no sources for any information are given. The author also places Jacob at Valley Forge with George Washington during the winter of 1777, but that is not true. According to his  own court testimony, Jacob was with George Washington's troops at Yorktown during the surrender of Cornwallis which occurred on 19 October 1781. [4]

What I notice right away about the internet genealogies of George Jacob is that there are no sources given for any of the information written about him. Time to go record hunting!

Jacob Toxell in the U.S. census and other records
Note: When I started this research I was unaware of traditional Pennsylvania naming traditions. Fellow researcher, Kathie Forbes, supplied the following very useful information. Pennsylvania German naming tradition was to give most boys a 'first' name of either Johann or George, which was actually their 'saints' name. What we, today,  think of as their 'middle' name, was the name they that were actually called. This leads to a lot of confusion and errors with names and is an explanation for the name George Jacob Troxell, who only appears in print as Jacob Troxell. 

1780 Loudoun County, VA List of Tithables: this is a list of taxable men over the age of 16 that reside in Loudoun County and includes: Christian Troxal, Geo: Jacob, Daniel, David, Frederick and a second Jacob Troxel. At the time these lists were drawn up, Loudoun was divided into two parishes; Cameron and Shelburne. George Jacob was recorded as residing in Cameron Parish for the years 79-80 and 82-85. David Troxell resided in Shelburne Parish during those years. Christian Troxell lived in Cameron in 75, 79-80 and in Shelburne in 82. Was Christian Troxell the father of George Jacob?

1790 US census:  There a quite a few men with the surname Troxell in the 1790 census living in Frederick, Maryland. There are no men by the name George or George Jacob, there are two men named Jacob Troxell. One has a family of 4 and one a family of 8. The Jacob with the family of 4 is said on the census to be "of  Peter," i.e. Peter's son. [5] If Jacob is the other Jacob Troxell his household size is 8. There are 3 males under 16, one over, and 4 females, undifferentiated. Everyone in this household is a free white personThe combination of the 1780 list of tithables, the 1790 census and the marriage records of Troxell children, make the family of 8 the most likely to be our Jacob. 

1810 US census:  Jacob is listed in the census for Wayne County, KY. His family has 5 members. There is one male over 45, we can assume this is Jacob. There is one male child under age 10. There is one female over the age 26 but not yet 45, possibly Jacob's wife aged between 24 and 45, but could also be a daughter, niece, or sister. There is one female under the age of 10 and one female over the age of 10 but not yet 15. So, two males and three females. All household members are listed as white. [6]

1830 US census:  Jacob is listed in the census for Marion County, Tennessee. He lives in a household of 6. He along with a female over 30 but not 39, live with 2 males under 14 and 2 females under 9. [7] (Clearly he did not die in 1810) The older female cannot be the same female as in the 1810 census.

1840 US census:  Jacob is then living in DeKalb County, Alabama. His name is misspelled (if this is him). He lives in a household of 4. One male over 80, 2 girls under 19 and one female age 40-49. [8]
The older female could be the same woman enumerated in the 1830 census.

Kentucky Land Records
1828 (5-27-1828)  Jacob Troxell  bought 50 acres of land along the Big South Fork, in Wayne County, Kentucky.  This must be a son? Because Jacob was already living in Tennessee at that time.
Kentucky Land Records 1832 100 acres
Kentucky Land Records 1833 50 acres on Rock Creek and Little South Fork [9]
also getting land grants at the same time and place was George W. Troxell - who was he?
See this page in the Kentucky Land Grants

Below is a timeline for Jacob based on his court testimony and documented US and other records. It is clear that he was a little off in some of his reckoning about how long he lived in each place but that does not impact this query.

Time line for Jacob Troxell 

1758/1759 born; as best as he could recollect, in Fredrick County, Maryland
1766 Peter Troxell dies in Frederick, MD, names wife Julianah Catherinath, children; Peter, Daniel David, John, Christian, Frederick, Julianah, and Margaritha. [10]
1771 age 13 moved to Loudoun, Virginia, lived there 19 years until age 32.
1777 age 18 drafted as a soldier from Loudoun, VA. served for about 1 month, he was with a company that and escort British prisoners to the lower part of Virginia.
1778 age 19 winter time, volunteered in a horse company at Red Stone (possibly Virginia) commanded by Captain Ford and Col. Crawford who was burned by the Indians. Marched to Ft. McIntosh, there they joined the regulars commanded by Col. Campbell and General McIntosh. Marched against the Shawnee and the Delaware to Ft. (cannot remember), he served for six months returning home to Loudoun about harvest time in 1779.
1780 Jacob is taxed in Loudoun County, VA. This means he has come of age and lives in his own household. This would confirm a birth year of 58/59  [11]
1781 age 22 drafted again from Loudoun, his commanders were Captain Lewis and Col. West, his company joined up with General Washington who was marching to Yorktown and was there for Cornwallis surrender. He served about 6 months and was again discharged. this was the last of his service, which ended in 1782.
1788 George Jacob appears on the list of tithables in Loudoun County as head of household, but owns no property. [12]
1790 US census, Jacob is listed in Frederick, MD
1790 testimony: age 32  moved back to Maryland, lived there for 4 years until age 36.
1794 testimony: age 36 moved to Sullivan County, TN, lived there for 4 years until age 40.
1798 testimony: age 40 moved to Sevier County, TN lived there for 3 years until age 43.
1801 testimony: age 43 moved to Pulaski, KY, lived there for 2 years until age 45.
1803 Katy Troxell married Jonathan Blevins in Wayne County Kentucky [13]
1803 testimony: age 45 moved to Wayne County, KY lived there for 20 years until age 65.
1810 US census listed in a household of 5 in Wayne, Kentucky.
1824 testimony: age 65 moved to Jackson County, AL lived there for 4 years until age 69.
1828 testimony: age 69 moved to Marion County, TN lived there for 4 years until age 73
1830 US census Jacob is listed in Marion County, TN
1832 testimony: age 73 said he had lived in Marion for 4 years so he was a bit off on his estimates.
1840 US census Jacob is in DeKalb County, Alabama
1843 Jacob died on 1 July 1843 in DeKalb County, Alabama

Jacob's military history
Jacob's military service is key to  this query as he is said to have married Corn Blossom in 1780, during the time of the American Revolution. In the winter of 1777, eighteen year old Jacob was drafted into service for a period of about one month. He said that his company escorted British prisoners of war to the lower part of Virginia. He did not recall the name of his commander or which company he was in.

General Lachlan McIntosh
The following year, again in winter, Jacob enlisted, as he recalls in a place called Red Stone, possibly in Virginia. Red Stone was actually a fort built by Virginia's militia in 1759, it was in what is now Fayette County, Pennsylvania, south and a bit east of Pittsburgh. His commanding officers were Capt. Ford and Col. Crawford. He distinctly remembered Col. Crawford as he said he was the same man who was burned by the Indians. In fact Col. William Crawford was tortured and burned to death in 1782 in what is now Wyandot County, Ohio. In 1778, Jacob marched from Red Stone Old Fort to Fort McIntosh, which was located on the banks of the Ohio River near modern day Beaver, Pennsylvania. There he joined the regulars under the command of Col. Crawford and General McIntosh for whom the fort was named. On November 19, 1778 the General and his troops, including 800 Virginia militiamen, left the fort and headed west into Indian territory. Their objective was  the destruction of Detroit, a British outpost that was the source of munitions and supplies for the British army. The British were also allies with the Shawnee, the Miami and the Mingo.

Prior to leaving, the Americans  signed a peace treaty with Chief White Eyes of the Delaware Nation. 60 Delaware Indians as well as their chief accompanied Gen. McIntosh as guides for his troops. Unfortunately, a Virginia Militiaman murdered the Chief, resulting in the desertion of the Delaware braves. This left McIntosh and his men in Indian territory with no allies or guides. He was forced to stop the expedition for Detroit, but he did build a second fort, named Fort Laurens, which was in modern day Ohio. Jacob was with Col. Crawford and General McIntosh for about 6 months before he returned home to Virginia. [14] See this well written article for more details of this expedition.

In July of 1781 General George Washington and his French allies made the fateful decision to leave the Hudson Heights in New York and head south to engage General Cornwallis, the British Commander at Yorktown, Virginia. On 19 September 1781 Washington's forces, who had sailed south, came ashore in Virginia at Archers Hope near the city of Williamsburg. [15] Lord Cornwallis surrendered to Washington and Rochambeau on 21 October 1781. Jacob testified that he joined up with the Washington's forces and was under the command of a Captain Lewis and a Colonel West and that he was at Yorktown  during and after the surrender. He said he was in service for about 6 months, after which he returned home. That was the extent of his military service.

Sometime during this period Jacob supposedly met and married a Cherokee woman in Kentucky. So who was Corn Blossom the daughter of Doublehead. Let's start with Doublehead.

Doublehead is said to have been born around 1744, why 1744 and not 1745, I have no clue. His father is believed to be Great Eagle, but this is a guess and by no means proven. His parents, his date and  place of birth are actually unknown. One author, noted archaeologist and Tennessee historian, Charles H. Faulkner, states that claim by Grace Woodward  that Doublehead and Pumkin Boy were brothers of Old Tassel are doubtful, and says that no ethnohistorians have made that connection. [16] He came to prominence in the 1790's as a leader of the Chickamauga Cherokee. In 1791 he was among a group of Cherokee leaders who signed the Treaty of Holston which was meant to  end the hostility between the US and the Cherokee nation.[17] 

Inspired by the Cherokee chief know as Dragging Canoe, Doublehead participated in the seventeen year guerrilla resistance against white colonial expansion into their territory. There are two shocking stories about Doublehead that give credence to his reputation as a vicious killer. Both incidents occurred in 1793, after the death of his brother Pumpkin Boy. In the first he and others killed two white men in Kentucky. What happened next sickened some of the participants, they stripped the flesh from the dead men, roasted it, and ate it. Supposedly this was in imitation of Mohawks warriors who were said to treat their enemy with the same gruesome end.

The second incident occurred the same year. Doublehead was with several other Cherokee leaders including his nephew John Watts and James Vann. [18] The men were leading a force of warriors against Knoxville, Tennessee. They came up to a place called Cavett's Station, the fortified home of Alexander Cavett. Cavett and his family were holed up in his house, vastly outnumbered. They negotiated a surrender and came out with their hands up. Doublehead disregarded the surrender and swiftly killed Cavett and his family. Angered James Vann picked up a little boy trying to protect him. Doublehead dashed the boy's brains out with a tomahawk. Ever after Vann called Doublehead "babykiller." [19] These stories, and other like them, are what are know as "biomyths." Biomyths are the combination of myth, biography, history and often what we want their history to be. Still, author Tiya Miles, says, "In the absence of traditional historical documentation, these bio myths illuminated the texture, if not the verifiable facts." In other words, even if the stores are not true, Doublehead was certainly capable of such acts, if not guilty these and of other similar actions. One further undocumented action, which is said to have greatly angered James Vann, was the beating death, by Doublehead, of his pregnant wife, the sister of one of  James Vann's wives. [20] 

Doublehead's power continued to grow. Upon the death of his nephew, John Watts in 1802, he became leader of the Chickamauga Cherokee, or lower Cherokee.[21] He moved his base of operation to his new settlement called Coldwater located at the head of Muscle Shoals in what is now the state of Alabama. Note: according to another author Doublehead made the move to Coldwater Creek near Tuscumbria, Alabama in 1769 -1770.[22] This area was home to the Chickasaw, but Doublehead supposedly married two of his daughters to their chief, George Colbert. Here he became a rich man, selling off Cherokee lands to the whites.

Doublehead was assassinated by his fellow Cherokee in revenge for the sale of their land. Ironically, James Vann was one of the men chosen to carry out the orders. [23] After his death, several men came and carried away all his goods, cattle, slaves and other belongings, leaving his children without their inheritance.

There is clearly much more to the Doublehead story, and he was a complex and fascinating character, but this is not about Doublehead, it's about a said daughter of his.  Of note, there is nothing that would indicated that he was born or lived in Kentucky. Some of his wives are known, James Vann's sister and another woman named Nancy Drumgoole.  It is likely that he lived with his people in the Overhill towns along the Little Tennessee River.   In the early internet messages and bio's about Doublehead, his wife and the mother of Corn Blossom was said to be a woman named Creat Priber, the daughter of a German man named Christian Priber. Creat seems to have been replaced rather recently by the unknown Delaware woman. So, the next question is who was Creat Priber and was she the mother of Corn Blossom or was it some unknown Delaware Indian woman?

Creat Priber
I have to start by saying that the name Creat Priber appears nowhere in the historical records available today, meaning there is no evidence that she existed. She is said to be the daughter of a German man named Christian Priber who lived with the Cherokee Indians from 1736 to 1742. The wikitree profile for Priber has a excellent, sourced bio, written by researcher Kathie Forbes, who is helping me with this article.

Christian abandoned his German family and created a new life with the Cherokee in Tellico, one of the Cherokee Overhill Towns in Tennessee. At that time their leader was Moytoy and Tellico, where he lived is said to have been the "defacto capitol" of the Cherokee. According to Ludovic Grant, an Indian Trader, who wrote about the Cherokee, Christian Priber "married into the Cherokee."[24] Priber began to educated the Cherokee in the ways of the Europeans, and showed them that the British were not trading fairly, he apparently cautioned against the selling of their lands. This of, course, made the British unhappy and he was captured and sent to prison in 1744, where he died sometime before 1750.

The names of his wife or wives and children, if there were any, were not recorded.

Delaware woman
In 1770 the Cherokee Nation was located  in the area where North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama come together. In the 1600's and early 1770's, the Delaware Indians, who were not as organized as the Cherokee, lived in the Delaware River Valley. White settlers pushed them westward and by 1770 they live in Pennsylvania and Ohio. How would a Cherokee man marry a Delaware woman in 1770? I cannot answer that question. They lived about 500 miles apart, I think it's pretty far fetched.

corn blossom
So, this brings us to Corn Blossom. What can I say? There is not a single document anywhere that contains the name Corn Blossom or Pawalin, as relates to Jacob Troxell or Doublehead. She simple does not exist on paper. According to author Rickey Butch Walker who has written a book on Doublehead, she was born in 1770. How he knows this I do not know, and he doesn't share as his book does not give citations for his statements. Wikitree and a host of other Corn Blossom fans say that she married Jacob Troxell in 1780. This would make her a 10 year old child, living with her Cherokee family in Tennessee, who somehow met and married a man who lived on a farm in Loudoun County, Virginia. And here in lies the crux of the problem. In order to prove a marriage using the genealogical proof standard we have to have some documentation.

Now, I have seen many people throw out the "well I'm here, I'm proof." Your existence is only proof that a sperm met an egg and a child was concieved, that's it.

our conclusion
As I said, this was a joint effort to discover any documentation that would lend credence to the claim that Jacob Troxell married a woman named Pawalin/Cornblossom in about 1780. We can find nothing that would indicate that this woman existed, never mind married Jacob. Doublehead lived in Tennessee and as the Cherokee Nation was pushed south, he moved into Northern Alabama. Noted Cherokee Historian, the late Jerri Chastain, did not believe that Cornblossom existed. She was certified by the Oklahoma Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court as an expert on Cherokee history. It's hard to argue with a myth, you cannot disprove the unprovable. But we are talking about genealogy here, and in genealogy you don't exist without proof.

just a word about books
Anyone can write a book these days, and almost anyone can get one published.  Heck, I am writing a book, and if I ever finish it, I'll figure out how to publish it! But not all books are created equal, and their content should not be weighted the same. What make a great history book or a great biography; a book that can teach us about our past, our ancestors and their lives? The key to a great history book is the objectivity of its author.

An article written by Wendie E. Schneider and  published in the Yale Law Journal, related to a court case which involved a 'history' book, laid out seven points which described what is meant by an objective historian:

     1. The historian must treat sources with appropriate reservations
     2. The historian must not dismiss counter-evidence without scholarly consideration
     3. This historian must be even-handed in treatment of evidence and eschew "cherry-picking"
     4. The historian must clearly indicate any speculation
     5. The historian must not mis-translate documents or mislead by omitting parts of documents
     6. The historian must weight the authenticity of all accounts, not merely those that contradict a
         a favored view.
     7. The historian must take the motives of historical actors into consideration.

There are some books out there about the Cherokee, about Doublehead, etc. Some people use them as sources, but ask yourself, what is the author's source? Is it documented? Can I duplicate their research? Do they have a motive or a bias? Many people write genealogy/history books about their own ancestors and are not objective in their writing. They may slant the facts or ignore them altogether to fit their desired ancestor into the story. A good historian always cites the sources for their claims. 

thank you
A big thank you to my fellow researcher Kathie Forbes for all her hard work on this article. I certainly appreciate your help and your willingness to go to the library to search sources not available online.

[1] Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof, (Arlington, Virginia : National Genealogical Society, 2013) 3.

[2] Sandra Evans, Teresa Langford, Keith Price, Melissa Wise,  "George Jacob "Big Jake" Troxel formerly Troxell aka Trachsel," profile no. Troxell-17, database with images, Wikitree ( : accessed 29 October 2016).

[3] Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 29 October 2016 ),memorial page for George Jacob "Big Jake" Troxell  (1758-1843), Find A Grave Memorial no. 130755940, citing Yahoo Falls Cemetery, Whitley City, McCreary County, Kentucky; this memorial is a mixed bag, but has no sources.

[4] Donald Yates, "Cooper-Yates-Choctaw-Cherokee and Sephardic in GA-Tenn-Ala," Rootsweb ( : accessed 30 October 2016) database, bio #I04027, George Jacob Troxell, last revised 2010.

[5] 1790 U.S. census, Fredrick County, Maryland, p. 214 (penned) col. 1, line 1, Jacob Troxell, image ( : accessed 29 October 2016) citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M637, roll 3.; there are 3 Jacob Troxells in the 1790 census for Frederick, Maryland, this Jacob is said, on the census, to be the son of Peter, making it likely that he is our Jacob.

[6] 1810 U.S. census, Wayne County, Kentucky, p. 362 (penned) col. 2, line 25, Jacob Troxell, image, ( : accessed 29 October 2016) citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M252, roll 8. Also on this census is Peter Troxell, most likely his son.

[7] 1830 U.S. census, Marion County, Tennessee, p. 65 (penned) line 16, Jacob Troxell, image, ( : accessed 29 October 2016) citing National Archives and Record Administration microfilm M19, roll 175.

[8] 1840 U.S. census, DeKalb County, Alabama, p. 3 (penned) line 9, J. Froxil [sic], image, ( : accessed 29 October 2016) citing National Archives and Record Administration microfilm M704, roll 4. appears to say J. Froxil but has been stated that thisis Jacob Troxell.  

[9] W. Rouse Jillson, The Kentucky land grants: a systematic index to all of the land grants recorded in the state Land office at Frankfort, Kentucky, 1782-1924, ( Louisville, Ky.: The Standard printing company, incorporated, 1925) 749.

[10] Frederick County Wills, 1748-1766 Liber A1 Folio 1-278 (CR 49, 159) Abstracted by Leslie and Neil Keddie The Family Tree Bookshop

[11] Ruth Sparacio, Sam Sparacio, Tithables, Loudoun County, Virginia 1775-1781, (McLean, Virginia :  Antient  Press, 1991).

[12] Augusta B. Fothergill and John Mark Naugle, "Virginia Taxpayers 1782-1787, other than those published by the United States Census Bureau," 1940, ExLibrisRosetta ( : accessed 5 November 2016).

[13] "Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797-1954," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 October 2016), Jonathan Blevins and Katy Troxall, 07 Apr 1803; citing Wayne, Kentucky, United States, Madison County Courthouse, Richmond; FHL microfilm 591,550.

[14] Bruce T. Hancock, "McIntosh's Military Expedition and Command 1778-1779," ( : accessed 30 October 2016).

[15] Robert Selig, Washington, Rochambeau and the Yorktown Campaign of 1781.

[16] Charles H. Faulkner, Massacre at Cavett's Station: Frontier Tennessee during the Cherokee Wars, (Knoxville, Tennessee : University of Tennessee Press, 2013) 61.

[17] "Treaty of Holston, 1791," Cherokee Nation ( : accessed 31 October 2016).

[18] Charles H. Faulkner, Massacre at Cavett's Station: Frontier Tennessee during the Cherokee Wars, (Knoxville, Tennessee : University of Tennessee Press, 2013) 61.

[19] Tiya Miles, The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010).

[20] Miles, The House on Diamond Hill.

[21] Charles H. Faulkner, Massacre at Cavett's Station: Frontier Tennessee during the Cherokee Wars, (Knoxville, Tennessee : University of Tennessee Press, 2013) 61.

[22] William R. Reynolds, The Cherokee Struggle to Maintain Identity in the 17th and 18th Centuries(Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2015).

[23] Ojibwa, "Doublehead a Cherokee Traitor," Native American Netroots ( : accessed 31 October 2016).

[24] Ludovic Grant, “Historical Relation of Facts.” Charleston Probate Court Book 1754-1758, p. 30, reprinted in the Journal of Cherokee Studies, Voll XXVI pp. 8-9

Friday, September 2, 2016

English Ancestry of Richard Thomas Bryant (husband of Keziah Arroyah) of Staffordshire, Virginia

I have written quite a bit about the "Indian" ancestry of the Bryant family of Staffordshire, Virginia. This post concerns the ancestry of Richard Thomas Bryant who supposedly married Keziah Arroyah in Virginia about 1650. The Bryan(t) ancestry is tough because many descendants of early Virginia Bryants claim the same ancestors, which is not always possible. Before I tackle Richard Thomas himself, I want to talk about his ancestry, where was he born,who were his parents? I trolled through the internet to see what everyone was saying and here is what I found.

#1.WIKITREE( as of 28 August 2016):

Dr. Richard Thomas Bryan b. 1630 in Bitton, Gleneaster (sp)  (should be Gloucester), d. 14 Feb 1680, Isle of Wight, VA was the son of:

Father: Edward Bryan (2) b. 1600 in Denbigh, Wales, d. 1660 in Elizabeth City, Virginia. He was the son of Sir Edward Bryan (1) and Unknown Mother. Sir Edward (1) was born 1 June 1565 in Gloucestershire. He was the son of Sir Francis Bryan and his wife Joan Fitzgerald. His wife and mother of Edward (1) b. 1600 in Denbigh is Unknown.

Mother: Anne Butler Bryan was born 1 June 1592 in Hertfordshire, England. She was the daughter of William Boteler and Anne (Wilson) Boteler. She died 1 June 1670, Elizabeth City, VA.
William Boteler was born 1455 in Woodhall, Hertfordshire, England.
Anne Wilson was born 1572 in William, Bertford (sp) should be Hertfordshire, England, died in Watton on Stone, Hertfortshire.

Marriage of Edward (2) and Anne Butler in 1609 in Gloucestershire.

This ancestry looks like this:
 Sir Francis Bryan + Joan Fitzgerald
Sir Edward Bryan + Unknown
      Edward Bryan + Ann Butler Bryan
            Richard Thomas Bryan

Red Flag: Sir Francis Bryan, well known Tudor figure, died 2 Feb 1550 in Ireland. [1]
Red Flag: Joan Fitzgerald died 2 Jan 1565 in Limerick, Ireland and was buried in Askeaton Friary. [2] [3] Note: the book: Our Cup Runneth Over by Herbert Krause incorrectly gives her  birth as 1529 it should be c. 1509 and she did not die in Buckinghamshire, she died in Ireland.
Red Flag: William Boteler was born 137 years before the birth of his daughter.
Red Flag:  Two red flags here; 1. Edward was only nine years old when he married, other sites give his year of birth as 1600. 2.He was born in Denbigh, she was born in Hertfordshire, they married in Gloucestershire. Either Edward was born much earlier or the marriage took place later.

Children of Edward and Anne Butler Bryan:
1. Ann b. 1 June 1610, Bitton, Gloucester, d. 1 June 1680, Bitton, Gleneaster
2. Benjamin b. 1 June 1612, Glneeaster, d. 1 June 1672, Bitton, Glouc.
3. Hugh b. 1 June 1614 Bitton, d. 1 June 1676, Bitton, Glouc.
4. John b. 1615 Bitton, Gleneaster, d. 1680, Isle of Wight, VA
5. Jospeh b. 1 June 1616, Bitton, d. 1 June 1677, Bitton, Glouc.
6. Martha b. 1 June 1617, Bitton, Gleneaster, d. 1 June 1680, Bitton, Gleneaster
7. Lewis, b. 1 June 1619, Bitton, d. 22 Dec. 1662, Bitton Gleneaster
8. Richard Thomas, b. 1630 Bitton, d. 14 Feb. 1680, Isle of Wight, VA
9. Thomas James, b. 1635, Elizabeth City, VA, died 1680, Elizabeth City, VA
10. Roger, b. 1640, Elizabeth City. d. unknown.

Red Flag:  Clearly the dates of births and deaths are made up, (1 June).
Red Flag:  Middle names were virtually unheard of until the time of the American Revolution. To see two boys with middle names usually indicated that the real name is possibly one or the other, but not both.
Red Flag: Edward and Anne are said to have immigrated to Virginia where they both died. Their first eight children were born and died in Bitton. Did Edward and Anne just abandon them there?
Red Flag: Bitton St. Marys parish records for baptism begin in 1572, none of these baptisms are found in their records, although their are numerous other Bryant baptisms.

Conclusion: Sir Francis Bryan and Joan Fitzgerald cannot be the parents of Edward and therefore are not the ancestors of Richard Thomas Bryan.(1). William Boteler cannot be the father of Anne Butler; therefore we do not really have a clear idea of who she was. 
The children are highly questionable, the birth and death dates are not real, possible estimated,  but do not seemed to be based on an documents. 
*No source is given for any of the above information.

#2. Morris Family Tree ( as of 28 August 2016

Richard Thomas Bryant b. 1 June 1615 Bitton, Gloucestershire, England, d. 14 Feb, Isle of Wight, Virginia was the son of:

Father: Edward b. 1590, Denbigh, Wales

Mother:Anne Butler b. 21 Jan 1593 Woodhall, Watton. (correct name is Watton Woodhall)

Red Flag: Mother's birthdate is very specific but  I can find no such DOB or baptism. The Boteler family of Watton Woodhall were well known and I can find no such daughter.

Conclusion: Copy and paste stuff. This tree has moved Richard's  birth to 1615, fifteen years before #1. and Edward b. in 1590. 
*No Source is given for any of this information

#3. tree of Kathy B Aristy Durham as of 28 August 2016; tree of Dennis M. Frye 

This tree does not include Richard Thomas but does have Edward and Anne Butler, his parents from example #1. 

Edward Bryant 01 Jun 1592, Walton On Stone, Hertfordshire, England and d. 1 June 1670 in Elizabeth City. The same connection to Sir Francis and Joan Fitz Gerald is also made. The correct name of the town is Watton at Stone.

Anne Butler b. 1 June 1592 and d. 1 June 1670. 

Red Flag:  Once again the 1 June dates, the attempt to make a connection to Sir Francis.
The tree of Kathy B includes a son named Thomas who m. Tabitha Wright.....we'll see more of this later.
conclusion: this is copy and paste genealogy, this version leaves out Richard Bryant and inserts another Bryant who immigrated to Virginia, Thomas, most likely the Thomas James from site #1.
*No Source is given for any of the above information

#4. as of 28 August 2016

Richard Thomas Bryant was b. 1630 Elizabeth City, VA d. 12 Feb 1680 Elizabeth City, VA he was the son of:

Father: Lord Edward Bryant b. 1595 Denbigh, d. 1650 Elizabeth City, VA. He was the s/o Lord Edward Bryant b. 1565 in Gloucestershire, d. 1 June 1630.

Mother: Lady Anne Butler b. ? Gloucestershire, England, d. 1 June 1670 Elizabeth City, VA
Edward and Ann m. 1609 Gloucestershire.
Red Flag: 1 June dates
Red Flag: If Edward and his wife Anne were Lord and Lady Bryan, how did they go unrecorded in class conscious Colonial Virginia. Why are there no land grants, no court records, etc.
conclusion: This is more copy and paste stuff, using the same 1 June dates. Again the attempt to connect to Sir Francis Bryan is made. 
*No source is given for any of the above information

#5. Geni ( as of 28 August 2016

Richard Bryant b. 1630 Westmoreland, Westmoreland, VA, d. 15 May 1704 Virginia. He was the son of:

Father: William Smith Bryan b. 1599 County Clare, Ireland, d. 1 June 1667, Gloucester County, VA. William Smith was the son of Sir Francis Bryan II, Justiciar of Ireland and Anne Smith. Sir Francis was the son of Sir Francis and Joan Fitzgerald. He was born (you guessed it) 1 June 1549 and died on 1 June 1640 in Ireland. Anne, mother of William Smith Bryan,  was the daughter of William Smith of Stratford on Avon. She was born 1 June 1560 and died on 1 June 1635.

Mother: Catherine Morgan

The ancestry looks like this:
       Sir Francis Bryan + Joan Fitzgerald
   Sir Francis Bryan II + Anne Smith
 William Smith Bryan + Catherine Morgan
                         Richard Bryant

Children of Francis II and Anne:
1. Francis Bryan b. 1 June 1580 in DeKalb County, Illinois, d. 1 June 1650 (is this an auto fill error?)
2. Whanganoche Bryan b. 1 June 1590
3. Richard b. 1598
4. William Smith  b. June 1599 County Clare, d. 1 June 1667 Gloucester County, VA
5. James b. 1603

Red Flags: Sir Francis Bryan was known to have had one illegitimate son who was old enough to travel to London on his father's business in 1548. [4][5][6] If he had a son named Francis, he was not recorded anywhere. There is no record of his being knighted. He was never the Justiciar of Ireland.
Red Flags: Again with the June dates.
Red Flags: Whanganoche was a Powhatan Indian, how and why does Francis Bryan have a son by this name?
Conclusion: copy and paste work, Indian names thrown into the mix, and false information. This tree also has Richard Thomas born in Westmorland, Virginia instead of England. Westmorland was not established until 1653, so this information is not correct. 

#8. Find A Grave: This is a virtual cemetery by Angela Rivers who has the following to say about Edward Bryant: These are the decendents (sp) of Edward Bryan, son of Edward John Bryan and Annie Bignold. Edward was born 1590 in Denbigh Wales and died 1660 in Elizabeth City, Va. He married Anne Boteler abt. 1609. Anne was born Jan 1593 in Walton on Stone, Hertfordshire, England. She died 1670 in Elizabeth City, Va. She was the daughter of William Boteler and Anne Wilson. Edward arrived at Jamestown, Virginia in 1618 aboard the "Marygould" from London/South Hampton and established the Bryant name here in America. [7]

this ancestry looks like this:
Edward John Bryan + Annie Bignold
Edward Bryant + Anne Boteler (Butler)

Red Flag: this bio has some very similar elements, but introduces a new name, Annie Bignold.
conclusion: This information is a mish mash of other trees with the Bignold family throw in for good measure. 
*No sources given for this information.

#8. Geni ( as of 31 August 2016

This family tree does not have Richard Bryant in it but it does have the same Edward who was supposed by others to be his father. Edward was born in 1590 in Denbigh, Wales. He was the son of:

Father : Edward John Bryan, Lord of Upper Ossory. Edward John's parents were Sir Francis Bryan d. 1550 and his first wife Phillipa Spicer. Edward was born 1565 in Bitton, Gloucester and died 1 June 1630.

Mother: Anne Brayne Bignold, born 1569 in Bitton, Gloucester and died 1590 in Denbigh, Wales. No other info available for her on this site.

Red Flag: both Sir Francis and Phillip were dead in 1565 and cannot be the parents of Edward John.
Red Flag: The use of middle names was not in practice in Tudor England.
Red Flag:  The 5th Lord of Upper Ossory was not Edward John Bryan. This title belonged to the FitzPatrick family. The 5th Lord of Upper Ossory was Barnaby (Bryan) Fitzpatrick. This confusion likely comes from an 1891 book on american families descended from nobility. The author totally mangles the Fitzpatrick information. [8]
Red Flag: This tree also includes the name Anne Bignold as the mother of Edward. This may also come from the book mentioned above. Anne Butler Brayne was the daughter of Richard Brayne and Anne Bignold of Westminster, London. In 1724 she married Alexander Spotswood, the Governor of Virginia. Poor thing, I can't imagine how she got dragged into this tree. [9] I suspect that the name of Anne Butler Brayne is the source of the Anne Butler who is said to have married Edward Bryan.

Conclusion: this tree is a bunch of junk. Richard was not a descendant of the Lords of Upper Ossary, they were the Fitzpatricks. He is not related to the Bignold/Braynes, different time.

__________________________________________ So, I think this gives a pretty good overview of what is out there on the internet. What we seem to have are two candidates for the father of Richard; Edward Bryan and William Smith Bryan. What can actual records tell us about these two men, their wives and children. Let's see what I can find.

Edward Bryan
Edward is consistently said to be born 1590/1600 in Denbigh, Wales. I searched the published Denbighshire baptisms with no results. The only Edward I could find was an Edward Brian born in 1616 in Ruthin, Denbighshire. Where this information came from is anybody's guess. Nothing is known about the English/Welsh origins of Edward Bryan and I believe that none of what is written is correct.

What is known about Edward Bryan in Virginia? In 1623 a list of 'Living and Dead' was drawn up to include all the colonist known to have come to or currently living in the Virginia Colony. The list was meant to represent all those who survived the Indian attack of 1622. On that list was Edward Bryan, living in Elizabeth City. Some ancestry's have tried to place him on the ship Mary Gould, but no passenger lists exists, other put him on the Bona Nova, again there is not passenger list. No other Bryan, Brian or Bryant was on the 1623 list of living and dead. [10] A second muster was taken the following year in 1624/25. Notably, Edward Bryan was not on that list. Was he dead, did he leave? No land grant was made to Edward Bryan. His name is not found in any colonial record. No wife or children can be identified. All we know about him is that he was in Elizabeth City,Virginia in 1623.

William Smith Bryan
William Smith Bryan is an interesting character. He is first written about in a book published in 1876 called The Pioneer Families of Missouri, written by William Smith Bryan, his descendant. [11] Mr. Bryan wrote that his ancestor landed in Virginia by way of Ireland in 1615, saying he "arouse the hostility of the British Government by a too ardent Irish patriotism and was deported as a rebellious subject." He also claims that William Smith Bryan was the only living lineal descendant of Brian Boru, a high king of Ireland from the 10th century. Mr. Bryan goes on to say that William Smith Bryan had eleven children but the name of only one was known; Francis, who returned to Ireland to reclaim the family lands.

This Francis was unsuccessful in his attempt to regain the old family land and for whatever reason is said to have fled to Denmark. In Denmark two sons were born; Morgan and William. Morgan inexpicably became the Standard Bearer for William of Orange and was present at the battle of the Boyne in 1690. He then left Europe and immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1695, where he married Martha Stroud. [12]

On page 132 of the Pioneers of Missouri, a second William Bryan is introduced. He is said to have come from Wales with Lord Baltimore in 1650 and settled in Maryland. His wife was Irish and they had three children; William, Morgan and Daniel. A descendant of this William, another William, settled in Roan County, NC and married a woman named Sally Bringer. The had eleven children, one of whom, a daughter named Rebecca, married Daniel Boone. [13]

By 1915 the story had changed quite a bit. In the book The Shearer and Akers Family, by J. W. Shearer, William Smith ? Bryan, his question mark, was a descendant of Sir Francis Bryan. No wife is identified. William Smith Bryan is said to be a landowner in Ireland, probably County Clare. In 1650 he and his family were deported by Cromwell for being a rebellious subject. Accompanying him were eleven sons, but only two are given in this book, Morgan and Francis. [14] This newer version sets the action forward by 35 years into the Cromwell era.

Again, Francis is said to have returned to Ireland to reclaim the family land but was persecuted by the English and fled to Denmark. Morgan is identified only as a possible son and is said to have been in Norfolk, Virginia in 1663. His son Morgan married a woman named Martha Stroud and ended up in Davie County, North Carolina. [15]

In a 1917 publication William is described as an Irish land owner with eleven children who was deported by Cromwell's forces in 1650 for being a rebellious subject. Francis returned to Ireland in 1677 and fled for Denmark where his sons William and Morgan were born. William married a Margaret and they lived in Ballyrooney, County Down, Ireland. William and Margaret and their son John left Ireland after John was arrested for poaching. [16]

In 1622  a book called Notable Southern Families was published. [17] William Smith Bryan is also discussed in this book, in which he is said to be the son of Sir Francis Bryan. He was deported in 1650 for being an undesirable citizen. He arrived in Virginia in 1615 with his family and a boatload of household goods. This book makes the amazing claim that William Smith Bryan was the ancestor of the O'Briens who were the Lords of Inchquin. The book repeats the story of Francis' return to England and the troubles that led him to Denmark, his marriage to Sarah Brinker. This version of the story says that Francis eventually returned to live in Ireland. It also supposes that Morgan Bryan was a son of William Smith Bryan.  Morgan, this time, left Ireland for Pennsylvania. [18]

Another book published in 1922 was a history of the Boone Family. This book gives two versions of the story of Morgan Bryan. In the first, Morgan grew to manhood in Ireland and then left for America, settling in Pennsylvania where he married Martha Stroud. [19] The second version is the William Smith deported version but has Francis returning for his land in 1650. Again Francis goes to Denmark where son Morgan is born. Morgan of the battle of the Boyne comes to Pennsylvania in 1695. Francis died in Belfast in 1694. The author says that he does not know which if either were the correct story.

A 1962 article in the Virginia Magazine perpetuates the story of Francis Bryan returning to Ireland to reclaim the family estates. His son Morgan, then living in poverty, sailed, possible under indenture to Pennsylvania. [20]

In 1965, in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volume 53, it is Francis that is the standard bearer for William of Orange in 1690.

Skip forward a few decades to the age of the internet. In 2011 this was posted on a message board:

Sir William Smith BRYAN, 8th Great-Grandfather. PMC" Prince William of Ireland", Deported in 1650, to Gloucester Beach, Virginia as a "Rebellious Subject." Marriage 1: Countess Of Ormond Catherine MORGAN, b: 1594 in , Claire, Ireland.
Married: 1620, in , Claire, Ireland.

Note: In 1650, William Smith Bryan, the Grandson of Sir Francis Bryan, declared himself Heir-to-the-Throne Of Ireland, and fought against Cromwell, from the back of a White horse. Defeated by sheer numbers of the Puritan army, Bryan was deported to the Colony of Virginia in America, together with "twenty-one sons and grandsons." Declares himself Heir to the Throne of Ireland. 
What an interesting evolution this story took. From Irish rebel of 1615 to pretender to the 'Irish Throne.' In a few years we might even know the name of his white horse. In fact, if you can keep a secret, I'll let you know that the horse was called 'Snowball." The one thing that each of these stories has in common, is that there are no sources, none at all. As interesting as it is, it is clear that William Smith Bryan and our Richard Thomas Bryant are not related.

Richard Thomas Bryant
Where does this leave Richard Thomas Bryant? Well there is no record of a Richard Thomas Bryant in Virginia. There is nothing that would lead me to believe he was a doctor. He has no land grants, he is not in any colonial record. If he were a doctor you would think he would have a prominent role in Virginia society, but nada, nilch, is out ther. All there is is a loose group of  men and women with the surname Bryant who could possibly be siblings and some of these are highly questionable themselves.

Who was the father of Richard Bryant born about 1650? There is nothing in the records which would answer this question. It is entirely possible that he was the immigrant himself.


[1] Great Britain Public Record Office, Calendar of the State Papers Relating to Ireland, of the Reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary and Elizabeth, Vol. 3, (London: Longman and Co., 1877) 118, digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 28 August 2016).

[2] James Graves, "The Earls of Desmond," Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquities of Ireland, Vol 1, Series 3, 1868-1869, (1873) p. 484, digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 28 August 2016).

[3] Askeaton Franciscan Friary, Monastic Ireland, ( : accessed 28 August 2016)

[4] "Sir Francis Bryan, 1492-1550" The History of Parliament, The House of Commons 1509-1558, database, The History of Parliament Online ( : accessed 30 August 2016).

[5] Correspondence Politique de Odet de Selve, Ambassedeur de France en Angleterra 1546-1549, (Paris: F. Alcan, 1888) 446; digital images, Archive ( : accessed 30 August 2016). This is a letter dated 16 September 1548 detailing a dispatch that was delivered by the son of Sir Francis Bryan to the French Ambassador.

[6] Daniel Mac Carthy, "Appendix," The Journal of the Historical and Archealogical Association of Ireland, Volume 1, (January 1869) 505-506, digital images, Archive ( : accessed 30 August 2016). This article says that Joan Fitzgerald and Francis Bryan did not have any children. Francis on his deathbed asks Johan Desmond, Ormand and Ossory.

[7] Angela Rivers, Bryant Family in America, Virtual Cemetery, database, Find A Grave  ( : accessed 30 August 2016).

[8] Charles H. Browning, Americans of Royal Descent, A Collection of Genealogies of American Families Whose Lineage is Traced to the Legitimate Issue of Kings, (Philadelphia: Porter & Coles, 1891) 429; digital images, Archive ( : accessed 30 August 2016).

[9] Randall Shrock, "Alexander Spotswood, 1676-1740", Encyclopedia Virginia, ( accessed 1 September 2016).

[10] Virginia General Assembly, Colonial Records of Virginia, (Richmond, VA : Clemment and Jones, 1874) 52; digital images, Archive ( : accessed 1 September 2016).

[11] William Smith Bryan, Pioneer Families of Missouri, (St. Louis, MO : Bryan Brand & Co., 1876) viii; digital images, Archive ( : accessed 2 September 2016).

[12] Bryan, Pioneer Families, viv.

[13] Bryan, Pioneer Families, 132.

[14] J. W. Shearer, The Shearer Akers Family, (Sommerville, N.J : Press of the Somerset Register, 1915) 11; digital images, Archive ( : accessed 2 September 2016).

[15] J. W. Shearer, The Shearer Akers Family, 11.

[16] George Norbury Mackenzie, Colonial Families of the United States, (Grafton Press, 1917) digital images, Google Books.

[17] Zella Armstrong, Notable Southern Families, (Chattanooga, Tennessee; The Lookout Publishing Co., 1922) 33, digital images, Google Books, ( : accessed 2 September 2016).

[18] Zella Armstrong, Notable Southern Families, 33.

[19] Jesse Procter Crump, The Boone family: a genealogical history of the descendants of George and Mary Boone, who came to America in 1717 : containing many unpublished bits of early Kentucky history : also a biographical sketch of Daniel Boone, the pioneer, by one of his descendants
(Buffalo, New York: Tuttle Co., 1922) 505-506, digital images, Google Books, (

[20] Charles W. Bryan, "Morgan Bryan; Pioneer of the Opequon and Yadkin," The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 70. no. 2 (April 1962) 154-164, digital images, JSTOR ( : accessed 2 September 2016).