Monday, June 9, 2008

75th Family Reunion... Okie Style


Well, the time has almost arrived for the Big 75th Family Reunion. We leave Friday for OKC and the reunion is all day on Saturday, about 30 minutes outside of OKC. Needless to say, I Am Excited! Mr. Snooty is going with me for moral support, which I am greatly thankful for.


So, in preparation for this big reunion I haven't been to since I was 10 years old, I've been researching the family history online. I've found some interesting things regarding my family, which I'd like to share with you.


My mother, The Brown Recluse, never told me much of anything about our family and what she did tell me was mostly lies. How could a mother lie to her own children about family and why would she? We had no felons or jailbirds. No crazy looney toons. No serial killers or child molesters. So, what's to lie about? Perhaps this is a question I will never know the answer to, in this lifetime.

In 1838 and 1839, as part of Andrew Jackson's Indian removal policy, the Cherokee nation was forced to give up its lands east of the Mississippi River and to migrate to an area in present-day Oklahoma. The Cherokee people called this journey the "Trail of Tears," because of its devastating effects. The migrants faced hunger, disease, and exhaustion on the forced march. Over 4,000 out of 15,000 of the Cherokees died. This picture, The Trail of Tears, was painted by Robert Lindneux in 1942. It commemorates the suffering of the Cherokee people under forced removal. If any depictions of the "Trail of Tears" were created at the time of the march, they have not survived. Image Credit: The Granger Collection, New York

In 1802, Thomas Jefferson indicated his support for removal of Indians to western territories. Following President James Monroe's recommendation in his final address to Congress, President Andrew Jackson signed the 1830 Indian Removal Act. Opposition protests came from Senators Daniel Webster and Henry Clay and others. Reverend Samuel Worcester, a missionary to the Cherokees, challenged in court Georgia's attempt to abolish Indian claims to land titles. The Worcester vs. Georgia (1832) case went to the Supreme Court and argued the constitutionality of the Removal Act. Worcester won this court battle and Cherokee's rights of land ownership were upheld; however, Jackson and the US Government continued efforts for their removal.


In 1835 the Treaty of New Echota was signed by a "Treaty Party" of about 100 Cherokees. In this agreement, Cherokees gave up all claim to lands east of the Mississippi River in exchange for land in the Indian Territory and the future promise of money, livestock, tools, and other provisional support. This treaty signing and the subsequent removal led to bitter factionalism within the Cherokee Nation and the eventual deaths of many of the Treaty Party leaders. Regardless of the opposition and disagreements of the Cherokee, Georgia and the US Government's viewpoint prevailed and the New Echota treaty was used to justify their removal. In the summer of 1838, the US Army began enforcement of the Removal Act. Cherokees were rounded up and temporarily held in stockades. 3,000 Cherokees were loaded onto boats to travel the Tennessee, Ohio, Mississippi Rivers, and on to the Arkansas into Indian Territory. Over 14,000 other Cherokee remained in the prison camps until the winter of 1838-39. Then they were marched 1,200 miles through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas to their new home. The Cherokee endured torrential rains and other inclement weather conditions, inadequate food and water, and lacked proper clothing. It is estimated that at least 4,000 died of starvation, exposure, and disease. Cherokee Removal - The Trail Where They Cried (nu na hi du na tlo hi lu i)

My great-grandmother was 1/2 Cherokee Indian, which was a secret no one spoke about for many years. I'm proud of my Indian heritage, and I celebrate it. I am 1/16 Cherokee, which puts me on the Indian Rolls list. However, The Brown Recluse did not include me when registering our family, so I'm not actually on the list. Go figure. I was named after my great-grandmother, which I wasn't aware of until I started doing my geneology search. I'm proud that I was named after a woman of such great substance. She had 13 children and they lived out on their homestead outside Cushing, OK. Her life could not have been an easy one. I mean... 13 children? Jeezuz Pleazuz! She had a hard life but apparently loved every moment of it. Look at the smile on her face in the top picture. I think she looks like such a sweetheart. She raised a dozen children with no modern conveniences, had babies at home in her own bed, and somehow raised a family with no outside help. I am proud to bear her name. She came from a family of 10 children and she was one tough cookie. How else could she have survived? Frankly, I would have died giving birth to my first child. No C-Sections back then. Yup, I'd be dead.
Anyway, I am thrilled and excited to be going to meet all of my relatives... meaning the decendents of my maternal great-grandmother and her siblings. They've all stayed in touch over the years and had all the reunions, but The Brown Recluse took us out of that loop when we were kids. This weekend, I am returning to the loop and taking control and mending fences. I can hardly wait!

16 comments:

noble pig said...

OMGosh this sounds so fun. My family has never done this.

It should be fun even if you haven't seen anyone...you'll do well, you will!

Hottdog said...

That is so cool! Please take lots of pictures and post them!

Treasia said...

How neat you can trace your family tree like that. Have a wonderful reunion and take lots of pictures to share.

asthmagirl said...

What a wonderful post. Will the Brown Recluse be there? Hopefully not. I would hate if she marred your good time.

Mamahut said...

Have a blast and yes, yes take lots of pictures....My grandad, mom's side was an Okie and my dads side came from Arkansas. Maybe I will get to see some relatives.

Josie said...

Wow! What an amazing story. You know more about your family than I do about mine.

What an interesting history!

Have fun... by the way. Be sure to tell us all about it.

Janie said...

Wow, girl, you go. Have a great time, make new friends, and be blessed on your journey!

QueenofPlanetHotflash said...

Sending lots and lots of good Karma and moral support your way. I hope you have a wonderful time and are able to reclaim your rightful place within your family.

imbeingheldhostage said...

So so cool! I also had a great great grandmother who was Cherokee (of course I did NOT get the cheekbones-suck) but the problem we had was that somebody was ashamed of that fact and names were changed and ancestry lost. My great grandfather had the most beautiful black eyes form his mother-- something else I did NOT get. sigh.
I'm ready for reunion pictures, bring them on and have a great time!!!

Pam said...

This sounds way cool. Have a great time and enjoy reconnecting.

insane mama said...

This is going to be fun...
We have family reunions every year and every year it gets weirder and weirder. I am also of Cherokee descent and a big Mormon family on the other side... it's interesting

scargosun said...

Yea! I can't believe it is already here! Did you make up your birth certificate tee shirt? ;) Have an absolutely WONDERFUL time! Everyone is going to LOVE you!

Sorry I didn't post earlier this week. Somehow my new fangled blogger list didn't let me know you updated.

Nap Warden said...

Hey, I've sent you a couple emails...Haven't heard from you. I'm a bit worried, is all OK?

Holy Crappers said...

Can't wait to hear all about it

#1

Daryl said...

Waiting to hear how it went



:-Daryl

brneyedgal967 said...

God I love stories of the American Indians plight. It shames me to have "white" blood in me. I have a lot of Indian also... but boy, did they get sucker punched by the white man. I'll have a great Crazy Horse and Battle of Little Bighorn stories and pictures to post later.

Love the history lesson... I can read stuff like that for days. Thanks!

 

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