Green Family in Arkansas and the Cherokee Indians

From various branches of our Green family from Conway Co., AR, has been handed down the tradition that Great-great-grandpa Green was part Indian -- most likely Cherokee, since Conway County was once a Cherokee reserve. My grandmother Mary Ann Green Ross (daughter of John Marion Green) was rather tall and had high cheekbones, but was very fair, blonde, blue-eyed, with blonde eyelashes. Her niece, Verla Mae Green Owen (granddaughter of John Marion's brother William Green) said her father always told her he had a little Indian in him -- and as a child she pictured a small Indian man living inside her father. Truman Green (1907-1990), my dad's first cousin, told his son William Louis "Bill" Green (1926-2005) that they were part Indian. Truman was the son of Uncle William Green (1875-1939) and grandson of John Marion Green and Sarah Kitchell.



From "The Texas Cherokee" by Ira Kennedy, in Enchanted Rock Magazine, Vol. 2 (22), Feb 1996, pp. 10-13, 23.

Efforts to identify "what part" was Indian, or any proof of Indian blood, have been fruitless. I've learned a lot about the migration of the Cherokee from East to West, and about the various Rolls taken of them. And also about the thousands of fraudulent claims to Indian blood after a landmark lawsuit at the turn of the 19th-20th century aspiring to participate in a large federal settlement with the Cherokee. These claims, both accepted and rejected, are well documented in a 10-volume book series, CHEROKEE BY BLOOD, available in many libraries. The Cherokee Nation headquarters, research center, and web site in Indian Territory (Oklahoma) has no Greens on its Old Settlers Roll (those who arrived before the Trail of Tears, often from Arkansas). Since our Greens were listed in the 1830 and 1840 censuses in Arkansas and on tax rolls, they were considered white.


Click image for other Cherokee maps, images

 To quote from Ken Martin's excellent website on History of the Cherokee, "Cherokees who had been moving west since before 1800 were joined by an ongoing migration from the original Nation in the East. A large number of Cherokees had moved into the Arkansas Territory and settled on either side of the Arkansas River between present Ft. Smith and Russellville, AR. Most of the Cherokees already living around the "bootheel" of Missouri had moved to this area also. The boundaries were established by treaty with the US in 1817."

There were WILLIAMS settlers in that era where the Cherokee were in Arkansas.

Cherokee had assimilated with whites since the earliest days of European settlement in the east and they were very caucasian in features. I believe that my great-great-grandfather James Green and his siblings may have had a part-Cherokee mother, but their parents have proven elusive. Only census records of Conway Co. families with children of the right ages suggest who their parents were. All we know for certain is that their oldest son, William who settled in Gonzales Co., TX, was born in Mississippi in 1818 and his siblings Elizabeth, James, and Mary Ann, were born in Arkansas 1820-.

According to a history of Conway County, Cherokee Indians owned land temporarily in north central Arkansas between 1817 and 1828 which included most of Conway County. The Southeast corner of the Western Cherokee Nation was located on Point Remove Creek, not far from Morrilton. Sequoyah, father of the Cherokee Alphabet, came to Arkansas in 1818 to bring his Alphabet. The Cherokee were eventually pressured into signing a treaty to give up their Arkansas lands.

There is a marker on the corner of Jackson and S. Cherokee in Morrilton that reads as follows:

Conway County Cherokee Indian Boundary

On the north bank of the Arkansas River at the mouth of Point Remove Creek a line was run in a Northeasterly direction to Batesville on White River. This line crosses the highway here and was designated as the Eastern Boundary of the lands ceded by treaty in 1817 to the Western Cherokee Indians in exchange for lands given up by them in the states of Georgia and Tennessee.

1836 Arkansas Centennial Commission * Arkansas History Commission 1936.'  

Conway County was formed in 1825 out of Pulaski County and is named for the Conway family. At one time, Conway County covered an area of about 2,500 square miles and included most of Faulkner, Van Buren, Pope, Perry and part of Yell County. The county seat was moved numerous times as the county kept reforming and it was the intention to keep the county seat housed in a central location in the county. . . The county seat was moved to Morrilton in 1883-1884.

The Cherokee Nation followed the TRAIL OF TEARS through Conway County. It is estimated that the forced emigration claimed over 4,000 lives by the time the last Cherokee reached Oklahoma in 1839. At times, the line formed by the Indians on their trek was about eighty-five miles long.

Some Williams were involved in the Cherokee-Osage wars of the early 1800s. Three Forks, the area where the confluence of the Verdigris and Neosho Rivers flow into the Arkansas about three miles apart, is now in Oklahoma in the Ft. Gibson area.

 "The Cherokee-Osage wars of the early nineteenth century are a matter of record and I have not falsified the record. The historical events happened as related, and all letters and documents and speeches quoted are from the archives . . . At Three Forks, in 1821, this is the way it was.

"It was not, however, until 1816, when the western Cherokees, augmented by their relatives in the east and recruits from the Koasati, Tonkawa and Comanche tribes, and eleven white men, to the number of six hundred warriors, marched into Osage country and fell upon Claymore's village in a raid which turned into a massacre, that the government acted. Almost the first duty Major Bradford found facing him was that of making a study of this raid and trying to excerpt from the various stories about it the truth. Eventually he could write to Governor Clark: 'The friendly letter they wrote to the Osages when they got near their town, inviting them to come to the lick (to make a treaty assuring them only ten or fifteen of them had come to make a treaty of peace) was most dastardly. After getting an Osage chief to come down and smoke with them in friendship, to fall on him a lone man, and murder him is a species of barbarity and treachery unknown among Indians of the most uncivilized kind; this also under the eye of their chiefs Tulentuskey and Tuckatochee, The Black Fox and The Bowls -- the latter gave him the first stroke, immediately aided by several whites, Isaacs, the Chissoms and Williams. Isaacs and King, the whites among them, is more savage than the Cherokees themselves. The Choctaws and Chickasaws that is incorporated with the Cherokees together with the whites that live among them is a set of the most abandoned characters ever disgraced a gallows.' "

"Major Bradford was the commanding officer at Ft. Smith (now Arkansas) who was charged with keeping the peace between the Cherokee and the Osage (whom the Cherokee had displaced when the Cherokee were asked to move from northeast Arkansas and southeast Missouri by the United States Government) . . ."

A Missionary described his experience with Arkansas Cherokee:

 As we came up the Arkansas last year we stopped by the Cherokee towns at Dardanelle. Some of the Cherokees, you know, live quite as well as white people do . . . There were several very nice homes. They have taken up agriculture and are succeeding in becoming farmers. They have cattle and pigs and chickens, and one of their chiefs, a Mr. Scammon, who I understand is part white, seemed to be quite wealthy. He had several negro slaves. Our men stayed with him and they reported that he entertained them lavishly. They were most impressed, also, by the skill of the Cherokee women at weaving. They have been well taught and they do very pretty work. The Cherokees, Mr. Fowler, seem to be well on the road to becoming civilized.

Joseph Williams and John Apling settled on the Arkansas River with the Cherokee. Joseph's granddaughter (GeorgeAnn Williams Carroll) married a Bowles in Indian Territory after her husband, Matthew L. L. Carroll, died in Arkansas near the Arkansas River. Some of Joseph's family married into the King family, and two of James Green's siblings married children of Nathaniel King.

Chief Bowl (The Bowl) and his followers went to Texas, however, settling on a Spanish land grant ca 1820, to which they never received clear title, despite promises from Stephen F. Austin.

No roll of the Arkansas Cherokee was ever taken. There were rolls taken in NC, an Old Settlers roll in Indian Territory of those who came there from AR, and then after the forced exodus of most Cherokee from the Eastern states in the Trail of Tears (which passed down the main street in Morillton, seat of Conway Co.), rolls were taken in Indian Territory (now OK). Thus, if Joseph Williams' wife or the mother of James, William, Elizabeth, and Mary Ann Green were truly part-Indian or part-Cherokee, they were never on any roll.

GREEN-YARBROUGH (two daughters of William Green & Eliza Amanda Alford md. Yarbroughs)

Doris Johnston's Brock Family website for Cherokee of S.E. Kentucky & Chief Red Bird