Thursday, May 1, 2008

Using the Dawes Rolls to find your Cherokee ancestor - 4 -

Blood quanta was not a major concern among Cherokees before this time. If a person had a Cherokee mother or if the person was living like a Cherokee, then they were considered Full Blood. If they had a white mother, or were living like whites within the Cherokee Nation, they were considered ‘mixed blood’. When the Dawes Roll was taken in 1900, the US government stressed Blood Quanta and asked each applicant to state how much Cherokee blood they had. Most Cherokees either did not know or did not care, but they found out quickly that if they put down ½ blood or more, the government agents treated them like idiots, incapable of handling their own affairs.

The government assigned a white ‘overseer’ to manage all legal and financial arrangements of Cherokees who were ½ to Full Blood. In many cases, these Cherokee families became virtual slaves to the white overseer, who rapidly ran their farms and bank accounts into ‘false bankruptcy’, so the overseer and his friends could buy-back the fake papers for pennies on the dollar, and claim the land for themselves.

Before the Dawes Roll was finalized in 1917, the government adopted a rule that stated a Cherokee descendant could not claim more blood quanta than what was claimed by their ancestor on the Dawes Roll, divided by 2 for each following generation. Fortunately, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma has not yet adopted a minimum blood quanta requirement for Tribal membership.

Census Card #5630 belonged to a married daughter Maude Rogers –

Lane Cap L 35 1865 M IW 5630 NR CHELSEA

Lane Maud 31 1869 F 1/16 5630 13515

Lane Estella 8 1892 F 1/32 5630 13516

Lane Ethel L 6 1894 F 1/32 5630 13517

Lane James G 3 1897 M 1/32 5630 13518

The parents of Cap Lane were R.A. & Mattie Lane

Maude Rogers, born ~1869, a resident of Chelsea, OK, married a white man named Cap Lane. They had three children listed above, born between 1892 and 1897. Since Maude and Cap were married after 1875, Cap Lane was not issued a Dawes Roll Number. Cap's name, age and birth date will not appear on the Final Dawes Roll. A listing for his 'numeric position' will simply say "Stricken". Mattie could have claimed ¼ blood but probably not absolutely sure of her parents blood quanta, she just put
down 1/16th, just like her sister who was living near by in the same town.

Now I could follow this family back to the Cherokee National Census of 1880, then to the Old Settlers Roll of 1850 or the Drennen Roll of 1851, and track down Mary America Schrimsher’s family line as well. Since Clement Vann Rogers was born in 1839, his name will not appear on the Trail of Tears Roll of 1835, but his father will be on this Roll.