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.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Who was Clogoittah? Was this the mother of Creat and Susannah Priber?

According to Wikitree and many many other Internet genealogy websites, Christian Gottlieb Priber married a woman named Clogoittah, daugher of Moytoy of Tellico. She is said to be the mother of two of his childen; Creat and Susannah Caroline. Is there any truth to this? Is there any proof? By proof I mean something, a document of some sort, which tells us, hopefully with direct evidence that Clogoittah not only married Priber, but was the mother of his children.

I'm going to cut to the chase here. I, as well as other excellent researchers have looked high and low for proof of the existence of Clogittah and her daughters and we cannot find anything. That's right nada, nothing, not a single shred of evidence. Not even a whiff of something. Now I'm talking about real bona fide evidence, not the crap found in Shawnee Heritage Books or other totally undocumented books or websites. I am speaking of legitimate sources.

Okay, I know you're disappointed but before you start calling me names let me tell you who Clogoittah was. Oh, yes therdee really was a Clogoittah. A real documented person. There is even a drawing of Clogoittah. So why am I so sure that Clogoittah did not marry Christian Priber.......Clogoittah was a man.

In 1730 Sir Alexander Cumming accompanied a delegation of seven Cherokee chiefs to London. These men were: Ouka Ulah (the King that is to be) head warrior of Tasseta, Scalilasken, second warrior of Tasseta, Tethtowe and Collannah from Tatsetche, and Clogoitta and Oukanaekaw from the Overhill town of Tannassie. At the last moment a warrior named Onaconoa joined the travelling party and accompanied the group to England. The name Clogoitta is often spelled with an h on the end. So here is our Clogoittah. [1]

Engraving of the seven Chiefs, Clogogittah is in the middle.

The Chiefs returned to their homes after a four month visit to England. No much is known about Clogoittah. In 1756 Attakullakulla told the Governor of South Carolina, "I am the only Cherokee now alive that went to England...."  So, Clogoittah must have died by that time.

There is no record of a female named Clogoittah. If you can produce such a document, I would love to see it. Note: an unsourced book or an unsourced ancestry tree does not count.


[1] Alden T. Vaughan, Transatlantic Encounters, American Indians in Britain, 1500-1776, (New York: Cambridge Univeristy Press, 2008) 141.

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 <>
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.

Thats it, just a statement.

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.  

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.

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.

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.

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.


[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: 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."

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Aaron Brock/ Red Bird (father of Jesse Brock) vs. the Genealogical Proof System

In this article I will apply the GPS to an 18th century man who is known on the Internet by a variety of names. He is always called Aaron Brock but other names associated with him are: Sizemore, Moytoy, Carpenter, Totsuwha, Atsilagolanv, Fire Raven and most frequently Red Bird. Many people make the claim that this man, Aaron Brock, was the father of Jesse Brock born in Cumberland County, VA in 1751. Jesse's existence is not in question, he is well documented, at least in his later life. This article attempts to answer two genealogical questions.

1. Who was the father of Jesse Brock b. 8 December 1751 in Cumberland County, VA?

2. Was there a man named Aaron Brock who went by the name Red Bird?

The majority of the research done in an attempt to answer these questions was done by Kathie Forbes, a most excellent genealogy researcher. And yes folks, we are talking about genealogy here. This is not the same as family history, written or oral. We are applying the GPS, genealogical proof standard, to our research. If you do not know what the GPS is, look it up. It is the basis of all genealogical work. At its heart, the GPS requires documented proof to support our claim. By documents, I mean a piece of paper in the form of a will, land deed, marriage license, etc. These are the building  blocks of a genealogical proof. So here we go.

Who was the father of Jesse Brock, b. 8 December 1751, in Cumberland County, VA?

Let me start by saying that there were multiple men named Jesse Brock who were contemporaries, living in Virginia and North Carolina between the years 1775 and 1800. There was a Jesse Brock who lived in Duplin County, North Carolina and is found in multiple census beginning in 1790. [1] This man has been confused with Jesse Brock, the subject of this article. So, if your ancestor was a Jesse Brock from Duplin County, this is not your man. There was also a Jesse Brock who lived in Henry County, VA, very close to Jesse Brock of Guilford County, also a different man.

What do we know about our Jesse Brock? Most of  the early information we have on Jesse, including his birth date and place of birth comes from his American Revolutionary War pension files. [2] In his application he was asked when and where he was born  and he gave the above answer. He served three stints in the Revolutionary Army; he was drafted twice and volunteered once. His home at that time was in Guilford, North Carolina some 165 miles to the southwest of his birthplace. We do not know when he left Virginia but there are no records of him as an adult in Cumberland County.

The first record in which this Jesse can be found is the church membership records of the Matrimony Creek Baptist Church in Guilford County, NC; it was a short distance from the Virginia border and Henry County. In a list dated the 17th of September 1776 he and two women, Judey Brock and Hester Brock, were named in the list of parishioners. At that time there were less than 75 members of the church. No other male Brocks were listed as members of this church. Jesse would have been 25 years old at the time. [3] I have to believe that these three Brocks must somehow be related.

Jesse said in his pension application that the first two times he enlisted he lived in Guilford, and the third time he lived in Surrey, North Carolina. After his last discharge he returned to Guilford. In the years after the war he moved back and forth from Guilford, NC to Franklin County, VA. Eventually he moved west to Russell County, VA, and finally to Knox County, KY which later became Harlan County, KY where he died in 1843. [4]

In each county in which he says he lived, in Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky there were other men with the Brock surname. Were any of these men his father or brothers?    The most intriguing man was George Brock who lived in Cumberland County, VA at the same time that Jesse says he was born. [5] Jesse named his first son George. [6] (see the DNA section for more)

Pre-internet, the name Reuben Brock was suggested as the father of Jesse. He seems to have been dropped as a contender. Reuben's wife was supposedly Christian Place. This pair has been converted into mythical Native Americans by the magic of the internet. The forerunner today is Aaron Brock. However there is a roadblock to this claim. Genealogists over the years have combed through court records, church records, land deeds, probate records and military records. There is no document, not a single one, that would even suggest who the father of Jesse Brock might have been.

The single clue that, let's call him Mr. Brock, has left us is his DNA, specifically the YDNA that has been passed down to his male descendants, father to son. Family Tree DNA has a great Brock surname project. The participants include  many documented descendants of Mr. Brock . What their DNA tells us is that Mr. Brock, whose haplogroup is J,  was of European descent. He did not have a direct male ancestor who was Native American. [7] Why is this information important? The reason is found in our second genealogical question concerning Aaron Brock / Redbird. Additionally, Mary/Polly Brock, wife of Ephraim Osborne, has female descendants whose MtDNA is haplogroup H, also European. This means that Jesse's mother, if he shared a mother with Mary, was also of European, not Native American ancestry.

Before we go on the second question, I need to answer the first. Who was the father of Jesse Brock? The answer simply put is, we do not know. There is no evidence whatsoever that gives us his name. The father of Jesse Brock is unknown.

Was there a man who went by the names Aaron Brock and Redbird?

As I explained in the first genealogical question, “Who was the father of Jesse Brock?,” there is not a single document that would identify this man. The only thing that can be said for certain about him is that he was of European descent, he was not descended from a Native American male. Despite any evidence, the internet abounds with claims that Aaron Brock was his father. And, Aaron Brock was not just any old English colonist. He was also a Cherokee Indian Chief named Red Bird. Jesse's mother is frequently said to be Susan Caroline Prieber, daughter of German utopian Christian Prieber and a Cherokee woman. How did we get from an unnamed man to Aaron Brock Indian Chief?

Part indian
In 1941 a man named Elijah Brock was interviewed by a woman named Annie Walker Burns. In this interview he said, "Jesse Brock was the first white settler on Wallins Creek  Kentucky. He was about a three-quarter Indian."  That is all the information he had about his great grandfather Jesse. And he seems to make two opposing claims in one sentence. First that Jesse was a 'white man' and second that he was almost a full blooded Indian. If he knew the name of Jesse's father, he didn't mention it nor that he was an  Indian chief. The interview was done almost 200 years after Jesse's birth when Elijah was ninety years old. Two hundred years in which information can be lost, altered or fabricated.  

Elijah goes on to say that Jesse had, "had so much Indian blood in him, that he had no trouble in living among the Indians who were thickly settled in the mountains when he first came, raised his family among them, hunted along with them, with no trouble whatever."  [8] In this sentence he makes two claims;  first, that the area of Wallins Creek was thickly settled with Indians and second, that Jesse raised his family among them with 'no trouble'. Can this be true?

For the first 50 or so years of his life, Jesse lived as a white man. He was born in Cumberland County, Virginia which was not home to the Cherokees. In 1751 they were living in Tennessee, Georgia, and the mountains of North Carolina. . See this map for the boundaries.  Jesse lived in white towns and settlements in North Carolina. He attended a Baptist church.  He was drafted and enlisted as a soldier in the American Revolution, relatively uncommon for a Cherokee. The majority of Cherokee sided with the British.  Following the war Jesse followed traditional white settlers routes into Kentucky, possibly going through the Cumberland Gap from Virginia into Eastern Kentucky. When he arrived there  around 1798, his children were mostly grown. Clearly he did not 'raise his family among them.'

Were there Cherokee living in Wallins Creek and would relations between them and the settlers have been peaceful?  A series of treaties beginning in 1770 negotiated ever shrinking Cherokee tribal lands. The boundary of Cherokee territory at the close of the revolution was south of the towns of Williamsburg, Barboursville and Pineville, Kentucky all along the Cumberland River. From Pineville the border dove down towards the Cumberland Gap. Wallin's Creek was not in Cherokee territory when the Brocks arrived. The 1798 Treaty of Tellico pushed the Cherokee south of the Cumberland River into Tennessee. Jesse was deeded his land on Wallins Creek in 1802.

Jesse and his sons are listed in the census from the year 1810 and on. They are always reported to be free white males.

Brocks in writing
A Brock sketch  in a 1961 book on early families of Kentucky stated “None of the records that have been examined reveals whom, when, or where he married.” The sketch is totally silent on who Jesse’s parents might be, and makes no mention whatsoever of any Indian connection. [9]

An article on the Brock family written in 1972 says [referring to the 1794 Cherokee attack led by Bob Benge on the Livingston family]: “This was the last known Indian raid in Southwest Virginia. Being a newcomer to the area the event made a deep impression on Jesse Brock, for, according to a descendant, James Brock of Leslie Co., Ky, the old man told and retold the story.”  This seems to be very odd behavior for a man whose purported father actively attacked and killed white settlers. [10]

The assumed relationship between Aaron Brock  and Jesse Brock was first put into print in 1958 in an unsourced family booklet written about the Strong family of Kentucky. The author wrote, "The Strong family of Breathitt and Owsley Cos., KY, was established by William, who was born about the year 1768 in VA and died about the year 1848. He was married about the year 1790 to Jennie Callahan (commonly called Jane), who was born about the year 1779 and died about the year 1815. She was a daughter of Edward and Mahalah Brock Callahan. Mahalah was a daughter of Aaron Brock  and a sister of Jesse Brock, who lived in Harlan County. The Brocks were part Indian."[11] This book is not sourced.

In another book published in 1979, author Francis Dunham writes, "Jesse Brock may have been a son of Aaron Brock, b 1721. Mahala Brock, who married Edward (Ned) Callahan, may have been Jesse's sister (Davidson, 1961). [12] This book is not sourced.

The source of the name Aaron Brock in unknown and no document is given as a source for this claim. So, we have the name of a potential father, Aaron, but there is no Aaron Brock found in any of the places where we find Jesse. There is no Aaron Brock in Cumberland County, Virginia in 1750. Why not? Some would have us believe that it was because he was actually a Native American man - Redbird.

Red Bird
Who then was Redbird? Let's start with the Internet genealogy sites, Wikitree in particular as there are five different versions of Aaron Brock/ Redbird. These profile are found as of 8 June 2017.

1. Brock-1660: This profile is all but empty. It gives a birthdate of 8 December 1721 in Tennessee and death date of 10 Feb 1797 in Clay County, KY.  No sources are given. He is attached to a profile for a mother who is called Crisian Place Brock. Her profile is also empty and unsourced. Note that the date 8 December is the birthday of Jesse Brock, this should raise a big red flag. 🚩

2. Brock-3534: This is the profile for Aaron Totsuwha "Chief Red Bird" Brock. b. 8 December 1721, 🚩 Cumberland County, VA. d. 10 Feb 1797 in Kentucky. This profile is almost empty with no sources. It does say that he had a daughter Morning Dawn Brock Teaders.{See this website for Princess Morning Dawn} His bio contains only the question/statement that he was murdered over fur. Nothing else. There are no parents.

3.Moytoy-159: Chief Red Bird Red "Aaron Brock" Brock I formerly Moytoy. This profile states that this man was b. 1734 in Cumberland County, VA. His parents were: father Wilenawa "Great Eagle" Moytoy and mother Wurteh Woman of Ani'-Wadi Moytoy. Date of death is 1797 in Taluegue, Clay County, Kentucky. This profile is long on Indian names and short on sources. The ancestors of Moytoy-159 stretch back to the 9th century to a man named Hucbold "Count of Ostrevant" Ostrevant aka von Ostrevant from Normandy, France. Quite impressive, I must say. Of course I don't believe a word of it, but that is a story for another day. The place, Taluegue, cannot be found on a map. A google search results in websites about Red Bird and the Princess Morning Dawn Teaders story. A search of Google Books brings up the discredited Don Greene Shawnee Heritage books. This profile has three wives, Rebecca Howard, 🚩Susan Prieber and Rhoda Sizemore. Rebecca Howard is believed to be the wife of Jesse Brock.

4. Sizemore-204: Aaron Brock formerly Sizemore. b. 8 Dec 1721 Cumberland, VA d. 1820 Kentucky. wife was Rhoda Sizemore. This Rhoda has six husbands, three are variations of Aaron Brock and three others, whew. 🚩There are no sources and no explanation for the Sizemore name.

5. Redbird-5:  I just adopted this profile, he too is married to Rhoda Sizemore. b. 31 August 1758 and d. 20 July 1865. I do know quite where he fits in but I threw him into the mix anyway.

What do all these profiles have in common: a complete lack of sources. The Moytoy profile gives the illusion of being well sourced and has lots of information. But is any of it true?  I don't think so. What possible reason is there to think that the father of Jesse Brock was an Indian named Redbird? And was there really a man named Redbird? Let's see.

Red Bird(s)
There is a historical marker in Clay County Kentucky, #908. [13] The marker is for Chief Red Bird and says as follows (emphasis mine) “ Was a legendary Cherokee Indian for whom this fork of the Kentucky River is named. He and another Indian, Jack, whose name was given creek to the south, were friendly with early settlers and permitted to hunt in area. Allegedly they were killed in battle protecting their furs and the bodies thrown into river here. The ledges bear markings attributed to Red Bird.”  Although the marker does not say it, the date of his death is said to be 10 February 1797. This is the date most frequently given for the death of Aaron Brock. The murder of these two men was written about by Louis Philippe, future King of France, in his diary which has been published as a book. [14] The murder was also the subject of letters to and from John Sevier, Governor of Tennessee and James McHenry at the War Department,  they  are also found here. Sevier wrote about the two Indians calling one "the red bird"  and the other Will, which is different from the historical marker. Clearly this incident did occur and that there was a Cherokee called Red Bird. [15]

There was also a man named Red Bird who lived in Chilhowie, a Cherokee Indian town in Tennessee. In 1788 he and a fellow Chief, Slim Tom, killed the family of John Kirk at his home on Little River, 12 miles from present day Knoxville, Tennessee.  He may or may not have been the Red Bird who is said to have been from Chota another Cherokee town in Tennessee.

In 1805 a man named Red Bird, Tochuwar, signed a treaty in Tellico in Tennessee. This cannot be the same man who was murdered in 1797, but it does prove that there were multiple men who went by the name Red Bird.

In the 1835 Cherokee Rolls, there are eight men named Red Bird. Clearly, it was not an unusual name. There are no Brocks on the Rolls. In 1851-52 there was only one Cherokee family, named Coleman, recorded as living in Kentucky.

Someone posted this query on
Looking for any information anyone may have on Chief Red Bird of the NC Cherokee. He was my GGGrandfather. He married Nancy Spurlock b.~1854 of Clay Co. KY and they had a child named Susan Spurlock. The story is that Chief Red Bird was killed and thrown into the River that was from then on called Red Bird River in Clay Co. The entire area is called Red Bird. I would appreciate any book info or anything at all on him or his Cherokee family . Thank you.

What do we really know then about Red Bird?  One, a man named Red Bird was killed in Kentucky in 1797 and two, a man (men) named Red Bird signed a treaty in 1805 and 1806. That's it. We don't know where or when he was born or who his parents were or who he was married to.

Can we connect one of them with Jesse Brock?  No. Can we prove that a man named Aaron Brock was the father of Jesse and his sister Susan?  No. Can we prove Aaron Brock was Red Bird? No.

Desperate lengths
Some people just really-really-really want this story to be true. One person turned to forgery to make it true.  Around 2005 the Brock message board was buzzing about a will that seems to solidify all the unsolved connections between Brock, Moytoy, and Prieber as well as the Yawhoo Falls Massacre myth. The will is supposed to be that of John Atsilagolanv Carpenter, who in the will states that he was the son of Aaron Tuchowor, son of Willenawah Ehgwa'wehali....and so on and so on. The will is dated 7 December 1844; written in Adrian, Missouri. It was entered into probate on 11 December 1844 in Van Buren County, Missouri. John left land to various men whom he said raised his brothers and sisters, who he says are now dead. John apparently had land in Missouri, Virginia and Kentucky. He then goes on to describe a murder and names the victims and their killers. He lists his dead relatives as well. It is a genealogist dream document. But it's not real, it is chock full of glaring errors.

The town of Adrian, Missouri was platted and named in 1880 after the railroad came through. There was no Adrian, Missouri in 1844. The land which is  now Adrian is in Bates County which was formed in 1841. According to the will, it was probated in Van Buren (now Cass) County, why? A quick check of the Van Buren probate records show that no will was probated for a John Brock or John Carpenter. The will says that it was entered into probate by Clerk Robert Tucker. The clerk of the probate court for Van Buren County at that time was James Jackson. [16]

Not only are the mechanics of the will false, but the whole verbiage is wrong. Who writes a list of their ancestors in their will? Who names a bunch of dead people in their will? His will says he has no heirs but the witnesses are Brocks. He claims to own land in Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri. How can he own land in Virginia? Where are the deeds? Where are the tax records? He claims to have written the will himself, where did he learn to read and write? Who writes about murders in their will? Clearly this is just a fake document  crammed with as much information as possible. Other less discerning people have taken this false info and run wild with it.

How to answer our genealogical question. There is no documentary evidence for a man named Aaron Brock who also went by the name Red Bird. There were multiple men named Red Bird. There is no reason to believe that Aaron Brock/Red Bird was the father of Jesse Brock. Let's just stop and think a moment about what it would mean if Red Bird, a Cherokee Indian was the father of Jesse Brock. Why would Jesse be living the life of a white settler if his father was a Cherokee Chief hell bent on driving white men out of the south? Jesse was drafted as a soldier twice during the Revolution and volunteered once. Did the states have the ability to draft Indians? Why would Jesse turn his back on his people and fight for a cause that would be to his own detriment? See this article on Indians during the Revolution.

Back to the DNA
So let's go back to the DNA. The Brock FTDNA website has dozens of Brock males who have done their YDNA. Based on these results,  the descendants of Jesse Brock share identical DNA with George Brock b. about 1680. His son George Jr. lived in Cumberland County, Virginia, the same place where Jesse was born. There was also a son named Joshua who lived in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. This is just across the border from Guilford County, North Carolina. It seems likely that Jesse's father was one or the other of these men.

Where does this leave us?  Jesse Brock was the son of a Brock. If he or his children have any Indian ancestry, it is not through the male line. The story of Red Bird is a 21st century one. In 1908 a Brock descendant, Savannah Miller, was applying for a share of the Eastern Cherokee payment (commonly called the Guion Miller Roll). She claimed her native ancestry through Susan Brock purported sister of Jesse Brock. She stated she knew nothing of Susan other than that she lived in Kentucky and died there.  She did not claim Aaron/Red Bird as the source of her native blood, provided no evidence of any Cherokee connection, and unsurprisingly, her application was denied.  

See this article on Christian Gottlieb Priber


[1] "United States Census, 1790," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 6 June 2017), Jesse Brock, Duplin, North Carolina, United States; citing p. 37, NARA microfilm publication M637, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 7; FHL microfilm 568,147.

[2] U.S., Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900, database with images, Ancestry ( : accessed 6 June 2017), Jesse Brock, Kentucky, citing p. 124, NARA microfilm publication M804, roll 347.

[3] Matrimony Creek Baptist Church Records, 1776-18, digital images; University of North Carolina ( : accessed 6 June 2017) folder 1, scan 56.

[4] U.S., Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900, database with images, Ancestry ( : accessed 6 June 2017), Jesse Brock, Kentucky, citing p. 124, NARA microfilm publication M804, roll 347.

[5] Abstracts of the Cumberland County, Virginia, Court Order Books from June 1749 to May 1756, by Sheila Fretwell, 1987, pp. 48, 61, 74, 80, 118, and 205. (can be purchased on

[8] Elijah interview

[9]William Kozee, Early Families of Eastern and Southeastern Kentucky and their Descendants. (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1973) pp. 91-93. Originally published in 1961

[10] Luther F. Addington, The Brocks Ephraim and Aggie Caldwell of  Eastern Kentucky and Southwest Virginia and their descendants, (Wise, VA : The Historical Society of Southwest Virginia, 1972). digital images, Ex Libris Rosetta.  Click here for link to this book.

[11] Mrs. J. C. Hurst, The Strong Family of Kentucky, (Lexington, KY, 1958). This is a 19 page manuscript.

[12] Francis Yeager Dunham, The Howards of Southeastern Kentucky, (University of West Florida, published by Kathleen White, Panama City, FL (1979, reprinted 1985).

[13] Historical Marker Program, searchable database, Kentucky Historical Society
( : accessed 8 June 2017) marker #908.

[14] Louis Philippe, King of the French, 1773-1850. Diary of My Travels In America. New York: Delacorte Press, 1977.

[15] Papers of the War Department, database with transcriptions and images, ( : accessed 8 June 2017) letter from James McHenry to John Sevier, 20 April 1797.

[16] Cass County Probate Records, 1836-1859, Vol A-D, Missouri Probate Files, 1750-1998, digital images, Family Search ( : accessed 9 June 2017).

Additional reading/sources:

[1] Great article explaining DNA results and Native American ancestry : Are You Native?