|in the United States of America|
|by descendant Stanley J. Follis|
Indian's - Native American's in the FOLLIS Family History
Like all genealogy projects this is a work in progress and more information will be added over time. The word "Indian" is due to a misunderstanding by early arrivals to America who thought they had found a short cut to India, hence Indian's were the native people. Many histories state the peaceful Quaker and Church of the Brethren families rarely experienced problems with the native populations, although the LYBROOK's a KINGERY related family were massacred in Virginia, yet their survivors were Church of the Brethren in Indiana.
My ZEIGLER grandparents bought their last farm in 1944 Whitley County, Indiana. The original landowners were the Jeffries who bought something like 800 acres from the government. At one time a school and church had been built on the property. The remnant of the school had been converted into a garage and was torn down a number of years ago. A large cistern like structure was recently torn down by new owners after the farm was split into smaller plots after the death of my uncle. No one remembered what happened to the church which was across the road. The Pleasant Hill Church of the Brethren eventually became the Agape Church of the Brethren and moved a short distance to Allen County, Indiana.
Depending on who you talked to the Jeffries were either Black or Indian's. The Jeffries web site shows they were dark skin straight black hair Indian's who went to the Supreme Court in both Ohio and Indiana for the right to vote proving they were free Native American's and not freed slaves. A relic of bygone times recalled by some old timer's is that the area was known as "Nigger Hill". Strange how an otherwise non-descript word can take on such a negative meaning as "niger" in Latin means "black". When used in the scientific name of plants "niger" always indicates the plant part is black. As recent as a few years ago an article in the Columbia City Post and Mail newspaper about a Jeffries descendant from Detroit said the family was African-American. It would be safe to say the dark skinned Native American Jeffries married freed African slave descendants at one time or another.
Living in the state of Indiana "Land of the Indians" how could I not comment on Indian's in my FOLLIS family history. I was thinking about this web page when I saw a brief mention in an article in the morning paper about a request to change the name of North Side High School's mascot from the "Red Skins". Just as most people do not know the reason a dollar bill is called a "buck", because that was the worth of a deerskin in bygone days, neither do they know that the term "red skin" refers to a time when bounty hunters were paid to prove they had killed their Indian bounty.
The depressing "Trail of Death" forced the Native American's to walk from near Plymouth, Fulton County, Indiana to Kansas. None of the babies, nor most of the old and young surviived the brutal forced 660 mile march September 3, 1838. An account on the JamesWhitcombRiley.com web site states:
"Not all Hoosiers could say the same. Reuben Riley reached Hancock County, Indiana, within a few scant years of the departure of the last native Americans from Indiana. Many were wrenched away in a horrible episode in Indiana history. The last of the Potawatomi, those who had not accepted "white folks ways" or left before were rounded up and removed by the county militiamen of Indiana called up to state service for that purpose by the Governor in 1838.These native Americans were forced to take the infamous "Trail of Death" out of Indiana during September of that year. A militia officer, General Tipton, was placed in charge of the roundup of the Hoosier Indians. Many tried to escape into the woods but were arrested and made prisoners. Indian children were left in the woods by parents in the hope that they, at least, might be able to stay in the native lands if they could survive. Many stories exist of such children being adopted by "white European" families when they were discovered. No sad story stopped General Tipton. He was not cruel but he knew what the Hoosier Governor's orders were and that was to round up the remaining Indians and get them out of the state. Here is an excerpt of one of his written accounts, "Many of the Indian men were assembled near the chapel when we arrived, and were not permitted to leave camp or separate until matters were amicably settled and they had agreed to give peaceable possession of the land sold by them." If Indians had weapons, these were taken away. Squads of militia fanned out to collect the remnants of the tribes who had refused to move out of Indiana by that time. By September, Tipton had gathered the last 859 which contained many old people and young. One of the Catholic missionaries, Father Petit, who had lived with the tribes describes his final Christian worship service since he was not permitted to go on the Trail of Death. "At the moment of my departure I assembled all my children to speak to them for the last time. I wept, and my auditors sobbed aloud. It was indeed a heartrending sight, and over our dying mission we prayed for the success of those on their way to the new hunting grounds. We then with one accord say, `O Virgin, we place our confidence in thee.' It was often interrupted and but few could finish it. After the Indians were sequestered, the soldiers were under orders to burn and destroy the huts and cabins of the Indians to erase temptation to return to Indiana. When the Indian march order was given on the early morning of September 4th. The weather was very hot and dry. The ordinary sources of water were dried up by then and malaria started infecting the Indians because water supplies were stagnant. The native Americans were marched single file on foot to cross Indiana, Illinois and the Mississippi. Few made it. Even by the time they reached the pioneer settlement at Logansport many died. Their camp there was described as "a scene of desolation; on all sides were the sick and dying." The militiamen too were getting sick and many were permitted to return to their homes. The few Indians with Indian ponies were compelled to give them up for these departing militiamen to return to their families. On the way through the Wabash Valley, the suffering increased so much that General Tipton relented and allowed the Indians to call for Father Petit to come to them. Despite his own delicate health the good father went and says, "On Sunday, September 16, I came in sight of my poor Christians, marching in a line, and guarded on both sides by soldiers who hastened their steps. A burning sun poured its beams upon them, and they were enveloped in a thick cloud of dust. After them came the baggage wagons into which were crowded the many sick, the women and children who were too feeble to walk... Almost all the babies, exhausted by the heat, were dead or dying. I baptized several newly-born happy little ones, whose first step was from the land of exile to heaven." Soon the militiamen tired of walking and chose to ride in the baggage wagons forcing the Indian women and children out to walk and die all the quicker. Many stories remain. There is one of a hundred year old Indian woman, the mother of a Chieftain, who pleaded with her tribe to put her to death in Indiana. She knew she had no hopes of surviving a long trek and wished to be buried in the land of her ancestry. The tribe refused the old woman's wish to kill her. She was buried along the trail four days later. Not a single baby made the trip. The Hoosier people live with the memories of their history."
I then read an email from my cousin on duty in Kuwait about his friend Chief Bill FOLLIS of the Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma, in Miami, Oklahoma. The Miami Indian's were uprooted from Indiana some in the 1820's to Kansas other sources say in the 1830-1840's and sent on canal boats, river boats and by foot to Kansas and Oklahoma.
My first FOLLIS family to Indiana arrived by 1841 when they were married in Union County, Indiana. The grandparent KINGERY's had bought land in 1809 Indiana territory as Indiana did not become a state until 1816. Eventually the FOLLIS' moved to Miami County, then Wabash County by the 1850's after the Miami Indian's were forced to move to Oklahoma. Not all of the Indian's left as evidenced by Indian's of the Meshingomesia's band buried in the Mississinewa Memorial Cemetery where eleven cemeteries were moved in the 1960's as part of the Mississinewa Reservoir flood control project. The white Quaker girl Frances Slocum was kidnapped by Indian's from Pennsylvania and removed to Indiana. She is remembered with a memorial cemetery, bank, parks, road and historic signs. She was found in Indiana late in her life and refused to return to her family preferring to live out the remainder of her life with the Miami Indian's.
I know of one relative in the TIMMONS family line that has an Indian tribe name inscribed on his tombstone. There is a family photograph that shows the mother who family believe was Indian, tribe unknown.
An unfortunate reality of genealogy is uncovering unpleasant stories. Often difficult to prove as documentation may not exist, stories abound and are often repeated without sources of family massacres by Indian's. There may be a grain of truth in most of the stories somewhere.
My ESSIG families have a story about the immigrant Wendel ESSIG family massacred except for son Simon who was away from home. One researcher disputes the story saying another related family is mentioned in deeds and histories as the massacred family. Without seeing the sources I wonder whether both families suffered a massacre yet only one has documentation. This remains unconfirmed.
My FOREMAN family story is Nancy "Polly" (PARKE) wife of Benjamin FOREMAN who was killed by Indian's. I have found no confirming information. Benjamin born in Virginia moved to Kentucky, then Ohio where he died in 1828. Benjamin is buried in Clark County, Ohio on his pioneer farm on land purchased from the government in the 1810's. I have found no information on Polly so far.
Benjamin's brother Captain William FORMAN was massacred along with his son's Hamilton and Nathan in 1777 Frederick County now Hampshire County, West Virginia. A marker is located about 3 miles north of Romney, West Virginia on Route 28. In Mary Catherine Butt Stevens story she tells the story of Captain William and wife Catherine who accidently suffocated an infant when trying to keep the infant quiet while hiding from Indian's in a brush pile.
Their nephew William FORMAN was apparently killed in 1764 by Indian's near Jersey Mountain in Hampshire County, West Virginia, son of their brother James FORMAN.
A Frantz family massacre occurred prior to my ZEIGLER family moving to Berks County, Pennsylvania. Someday I might find time to look into this.
|Last Modified Monday, 13-Oct-2008 18:01:56 MDT You are Visitor Copyright © 1994 - 2008 Stanley J Follis|