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Hearing Summation in Blythe Case

Court of Claims, Eastern Cherokee Indians

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


This family seems to have lived chiefly in NC and in GA. The first information that is disclosed from the applications is that Isaac Shoop and his wife, Nancy Shoop, were the parents of Nancy Blythe. Nancy Blythe married Jonathan Blythe and to them were born seven children, whose names were

1. James Blythe
2. Sallie McDonald
3. Betsy Welch
4. Rebecca Walls
5. Mary Ann Hampton
6. Stacy DeArmond
7. Oma Parker.

There is a Nancy Blythe whose name appears on the roll of 1835, but there is considerable doubt whether this is the Nancy Blythe who forms the basis of these cases. This Nancy Blythe, as is shown in the original roll, was enrolled in 1835 with one minor child, which fact is extremely significant as some of the evidence tends to show that Nancy Blythe was a very old woman in 1835 and it would seem to be impossible for her to have had any minor children living in 1835.

There are no applicants claiming through James Blythe, the son of Nancy Blythe, so far as I am now able to determine.

There are a great number of applicants who claim through Sallie McDonald, a daughter of Nancy Blythe; these applicants have been subdivided into groups according as they claim through the sons and daughters of Sallie McDonald. The first of these groups begins with App. No. 222, James Lewis McDonald, who is the son of Sallie McDonald, who is the daughter of Nancy Blythe. James Lewis McDonald is the only living son of SallieMcDonald, is 87 years old, and resides in Murphy, NC. The name of Benjamin Posey, of Murphy, NC, appears on the application of James Lewis McDonald as his attorney.

James Blythe and Betsy Welch, the aunt and uncle of James Lewis McDonald, are both on the roll of 1851. They probably got on that roll by being adopted whites. There are no applicants claiming directly through Betsy Welch, the daughter of Annie Blythe. There are comparatively few applicants claiming through Rebecca Wall, who was another daughter of Annie Blythe and who married WM. Wall. There is quite a large group claiming through Mary Ann Hampton, a daughter of Nancy Blythe. There are no applicants claiming through Stacy DeArmond. The largest group claim through Oma Parker, another daughter of Nancy Blythe.

Mrs. Belva A. Lockwood, who is the attorney for a large number of these claimants who base their right to participate on Annie Blythe, especially requests that the testimony of the three following witnesses, each of whom is very old, be taken in this case:

1. James Lewis McDonald, Murphy, NC, age 87
2. John H. Southerland, 77 years old, white
3. Catharine McDonald, nee Panther [sic], age 85, Ogreeta, NC.

This brief summary indicates the character of testimony that is desired in this case.
F. S. T. (handwritten initials)

There are a great many applicants who base their claim solely upon the Indian blood derived from one Annie or Nancy Blythe, and these claims are given color by the fact that there is a Nancy Blythe on page 28 of the Eastern Cherokee census roll of 1835. On this roll Nancy Blythe appears as residing on Shooting Creek, NC, and one minor child, female, over 16 years of age, is enrolled with her.

These claims are given further color by the fact that James Blythe and Betsey Welch, two of the children of Nancy Blythe, were enrolled with the Eastern Cherokees in 1851.

The facts as set forth in the various applications and as developed by the testimony (see Miscellaneous Testimony, pages 1633 to 1644) are inconsistent with the idea that Nancy Blythe, wife of Jonathan Blythe, was the Nancy Blythe whose name appears on the Eastern Cherokee roll of 1835.

The testimony of James Lewis McDonald (Misc. Testimony pages 1639-1640), who is 87 years of age and a grandson of Nancy Blythe, shows conclusively that Nancy Blythe must have been an old woman in 1835.

It appears that Nancy Blythe had seven adult children living in 1835, and no minor children. None of her children was enrolled in 1835. The testimony fails to disclose just where this Nancy Blythe was living in 1835, although it very clearly establishes the fact that she and several of her children were born in South Carolina, and Edmond A. Deweese (Misc. Testimony, page 1633), a white man 87 years old, testifying on behalf of the claimants, states that he first knew Annie Blythe in Macon County, NC, in 1836 or 1837, and that she was living somewhere near Franklin, on the Tennessee River.

Other witnesses testified that she was living in 1835 and 1836 in Macon or Jackson Counties, but it does not appear anywhere that this Nancy Blythe ever lived at Shooting Creek, at which point the Nancy Blythe enrolled in 1835 was living.

The testimony further discloses the fact that James Blythe and Betsy Welch, the two children of Nancy Blythe who were enrolled in 1851, had married Eastern Cherokee Indians prior to the Treaty of 1835.

Joseph G. Hester, Special Agent, who made a roll of Eastern Cherokees in 1884, enrolled this James Blythe as No. 1177, and under the names of ancestors on previous rolls writes, "white", and under remarks adds, "white on Mullay Roll -- adopted before the Treaty."

Agent Hester also enrolled Betsey or Elizabeth Welch as No. 1421. Likewise inserting in a column of names of ancestors on previous rolls, "white," and adding under remarks, "married to a Cherokee before Treaty."

These circumstances would seem to be conclusive and the testimony of Martha Ann Meroney (Misc. Testimony, page 1641), 73 years of age, an intelligent and apparently thoroughly honest witness, seems to completely destroy all claims on behalf of these applicants. She testifies that she is the granddaughter of this Nancy Blythe in question, she being a daughter of Elizabeth or Betsey Welch above referred to.

This testimony fully accounts for the fact that none of the children of this Nancy Blythe were enrolled with the Eastern Cherokees in 1835, and for the further fact that none of her children or grandchildren, except James Blythe and Betsey Welch, were enrolled in 1851.

The testimony is conclusive that Nancy Blythe, the ancestor of these claimants, was a white woman and as they make no claim through any other source their applications must all be rejected.

At the request of Mrs. Belva A. Lockwood, attorney for most of these claimants, John H. Southerland, a white man 71 years of age, was examined. (See Testimony, page 1635).

His pretty little romance is, of course, not testimony; but if it is true, it is perfectly evident that the Annie Barnes who was there married to Jonathan Blythe could not have been the ancestor of these claimants, as their ancestor was certainly a grandmother at the time of the alleged contest for the hand of the said Annie Barnes.

Case rejected.

Exceptions case is rejected.
Total number of exceptions filed in this group is 221. Original recommendation is renewed. Exceptions disclose no clerical error and set forth no additional material facts. Some 221 exceptions have been filed by claimants tracing descent from Annie Blythe. The original report fully covers these claims so far as it applies to those who trace descent through Jonathan and Annie or Nancy Blythe. It would appear, however, uncertain from the exceptions filed whether all of these 221 cases claim through Jonathan and Nancy, but there is entire lack of satisfactory proof that the Nancy Blythe to whom relationship is traced by any of these claimants was in fact the Nancy Blythe that was enrolled with the Eastern Cherokees in 1835. No one of the immediate ancestors of any of these claimants was enrolled either in 1835, 1851, or 1882. They fail utterly to establish the fact that they or their immediate ancestors were recognized members of the Eastern Cherokee Tribe in 1845 or 1846.

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