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John H. Southerland's Deposition

Court of Claims, Eastern Cherokee Indians

Cherokee County Courthouse, Murphy, NC, July 15, 1908

Witness relative, App. No. 222

John H. Southerland, being first duly sworn, deposes and says:

I am a white man and make no claim to Indian blood. I am 71 years old, and live in Murphy, NC. I have lived in this county some twenty years. I was born in Spartanburg, SC, and lived there until 1859, and then moved to Madison County, NC.

I know James L. McDonald, and I have known him since coming to this county. I did not know him or any of his family prior to that time. All I know about Annie or Nancy Blythe's Indian blood is what I heard my mother tell a neighbor woman one day. My mother's name was Martha Southerland. My mother said that when she was first married there came to their home near Greeneville, SC, a very fine looking Cherokee Indian, the finest she had ever seen, and they had a lady there by the name of Annie Barnes who was a quadroon or half blood Cherokee Indian and the prettiest woman she ever saw. That big Indian fell in love with Annie Blythe and there was a man there by the name of Jonathan Blythe who was a little man but a swift runner, and this Annie Blythe was an interpreter. The Chief of the Indians was a man by the name of Oo-sta-alle, and Annie Barnes acted as his interpreter, and he adopted Annie Barnes. A big Indian wanted to marry Annie Barnes, as did Jonathan Blythe and the Indian wanted to fight for her but the chief said it would not be fair, but that if he could outrun Jonathan Blythe he could have her, and they had a race and Jonathan beat and so married Annie Barnes.

This happened after my mother was married. My mother died in 1880 and she was then about 80 years of age.

My mother said that this chief Oo-sta-alle was a Cherokee Indian. My mother said that the Indians left Greeneville after Annie Barnes' marriage and moved to Toxoway and then to the Little Tennessee River.

John H. Southerland (signature)

Subscribed and sworn to before me this fifteenth day of July, 1908.
Special Commissioner

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