MY INDIAN BLOOD*
I am, as best I can now tell, 1/16 Indian 1/32 Cherokee and 1/32 Choctaw. My Indian blood is from my fathers side of the family. One of his great-grandfathers, John Cloud, married a Cherokee Indian named Elizabeth Lacy. Another of his great-grandfathers, Nathaniel Folsom, married a Choctaw Indian named Ai-Ne-Chi-Hoyo. Elizabeth Lacy was the mother of his grandfather, Noah Cloud, Sr., while Ai-Ne-Chi-Hoyo was the mother of his grandmother, Delitia Delilah Folsom, after whom his mother was named.
This means that two of his mothers four grandparents were ½ Indian (Cherokee and Choctaw), making his grandfather, Noah Cloud, Sr. also ½ Indian. Therefore his mother, Delilah Cloud, was 1/4 Indian, making my father, John Owen Evans, 1/8 Indian.
Finally then, I, having ½ of my fathers genes and ½ of my mothers genes, am consequently 1/16 Indiana mixture of Cherokee and Choctaw, along with other known English, Irish, & Welsh blood (plus who knows what all else?).
Elizabeth "Betsy" Lacy
I know little about my Cherokee great-great grandmother, except that John Cloud married Betsy Lacy, according to family tradition, "by the Cumberland River in Kentucky," sometimes after he returned from serving in the Revolutionary War. Their first child, William, was born about 1798, followed by my great-grandfather, Noah Cloud, Sr., born April 28, 1800. They apparently had 2 more children in Kentucky, Reuben and Minerva, before leaving around 1815.
My grandmother, Delilah Cloud (Johns great-granddaughter) wrote: they "lived on the Cumberland Mts., came by river to Vixburg, (Vicksburg) did not like there, came on to Natches (Natchez), from there to Alexandria, La., did not like there, on to Texas, did not like there, on to Ark (Arkansas) did not like, down to Monroe, La., lived there a no. of years."
It was also said that the Clouds, along with members of his wifes family (Lacys) and a Folsom family (His son, Noah, ½ Cherokee, later married Delilah Folsom, who was ½ Choctaw), followed a nephew of Edward M. Breckinridge (after whom Breckinridge Park in San Antonio, Texas, was named) on their trek which ended in the northwest part of what is now Winn Parish. My grandmother also wrote, "there were 4 boys and 4 girls of the Clouds, vast heards of cattle all over the woods; made a cheese each day. The Negro Cris would hitch a wagon and go to Alexandria to sell cheese, hides, etc."
Whatever their path, the Cloud family eventually settled in Ward Ten above the Drake Salt Licks, then in Natchitoches Parish, but later carved into Winn Parish in 1852.
Since the 1830 Louisiana Census of Natchitoches Parish only lists John Cloud, Betsy must have died near the birth of their 8th child, Jeremiah Cloud, in early 1830.
More data is available on my Choctaw great-great grandmother, who in other references was named Ar-Chi-Hoyo or Aiahnichih. She was a niece of Choctaw Chief, Miko Puskush, who was the father of Amosholihubib. Other sources say she was the daughter of Minko Poos-Coos, who was brother of Mo-sho-la-tubbee. They were descended from "a long and ancient line of Chiefs and belonged to the ancient Iksa Hattakiholihta (or Hayoh-pa-tuk-lo clan), one of the two great families." The other great family was Tashapookia, meaning Part of the People. Laws of these families forbade any person, male or female to marry any one of the same Iksa. Choctaw custom did, however, permit two sisters to marry one husband. This practice was effected when Ai-Ne-Chi-Hoyo and her sister I-Ah-Ne-Cha were married to Nathaniel Folsom around 1776.
Nathaniel Folsom, whose parents were apparently English and had been in New England (Connecticut and New Jersey) for 3 or 4 generations, came with his parents from North Carolina to Georgia around 1774. There he was sent to school for 6 months while also being taught to read and spell by his mother who was from New Jersey.
There had been a migration of about 400 families from New Jersey to North Carolina between 1743 and 1755, taking land in Rowan County. This was where Nathaniel was born in May, 1756. His father decided to move to Mississippi in the early 1770's, in hopes of getting rich in the Choctaw Nation. Nathaniel, named after his father, later reported: "My father had a great desire to go to Mississippi to get money; they said money grew on bushes!" They hired an Indian pilot who led them through the Nation to Pearl River, Mississippi Territory. After a fight with his father when Nathaniel was 19, his parents and brothers moved to the Chickasaw Nation, but Nathaniel remained with the Choctaws.
It was here, when he was around 20 years old, that he married the two Indian sisters. Nathaniel wrote in his memoirs some 50 years later: "I traded a long time in the Choctaw Nation, sometimes taking up three or four thousand dollars worth of goods. I followed trading about thirty years. I lived principally at Bok Tuklo. There was a great town of about four hundred Indians. The French King lived there (probably Bienville)."
His marriage to the two Indian sisters was fruitful. In his 1828 memories he noted: "I have been the father of twenty-four children, fourteen of whom are living. I have lived to see six of them join the church and three others sit on the anxious seat."
Records indicate that Nathaniel had seven children by I-Ah-Ne-Cha (6 boys and 1 girl), and 17 by Ai-Ne-Chi-Hoyo (10 boys and 7 girls). Delitia Delilah, who later married Noah Cloud, my great-great-grandfather, was born in 1808 after Nathaniel had been married some 35 years. Birth orders have not been clarified, but she was no doubt among his younger children.
Delitia Delilah Folsom was born December 31, 1808, at Grand Ecore, in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. Sometimes later she went to Hot Springs, Arkansas, where she met and married James Campbell. Before they were divorced she had a daughter named Margaret (Peggy), who later married Robert Nail.
She then returned to Natchitoches Parish, LA, where she married Noah Cloud around 1838. They had four children: Mary, in 1839; a son who died as a small child; Noah, Jr. in 1842 (from whom I am descended); and Nancy Ann, born 5 April, 1847 (married Samuel George Brewton on June 21, 1866).
John Cloud, Delilahs father-in-law, "always called her Delitia. He was fond of her because she was so kind and good to him. He died at her home in 1840."
Delitia Delilah Folsom Campbell Cloud, ½ English, ½ Choctaw, died at Cloud Crossing on Black Lake "in August or 1st part of Sept., 1883. Dr. Pitts attended her. She died at Aunt Ann (Cloud) Brewton's. I (Mollie Elkins, his granddaughter--see letter of Manie, July 22, l938), helped wash and dress her for burial. Our mother (Mary Izora Smith Cloud) made a pretty bobinet lace trimmed cap for her to be buried in."
CHIEF DAVID FOLSOM
Among Delilahs 23 brothers and sisters, many were notable both in and out of the Indian Nations. Col. David Folsom, an older brother born in 1791 at Pigeon Roost, MS, commanded one of the emigration parties to the west, and was elected National Chief under the ballot system, the first to enjoy that distinction. He was noted as "more zealous and successful than any other public man of his race in advocating and advancing the cause of education and Christianity. He is considered the most outstanding figure among the Indian Folsoms."
The inscription on his headstone in the old Fort Towson Cemetery reads: "To the memory of Colonel David Folsom, the first Republican Chief of the Choctaw Nation. The promoter of industry, education, religion and morality, was born January 25, 1791, and departed this life September 24, 1847. Aged 56 years and 8 months. He being dead yet speaketh."
Among Davids 13 children were one medical doctor, a Circuit Judge for 20 yrs, and a Colonel in the Civil War in the 2nd Choctaw Regiment Calvary.
Rhoda Folsom, a sister of Delilah, married Peter Perkins Pitchlynn, another Choctaw who later was elected Principal Chief of the Choctaw Nation in 1860. Peters Indian name was Ha-tchoc-tuck-nee ("Snapping Turtle"). He went to school in Tennessee, first to Columbia Academy, and then to Nashville University. He returned to manage a plantation "on the outskirts of a beautiful prairie to which his name was given The Pitchlynn Prairies, consisting of 600 acres of land which he farmed with 100 slaves."
"His career as a Choctaw citizen was truly remarkable, and but few men in the history of America were so universally loved as he was." Charles Dickens met Pitchlynn on a steamboat in the Ohio River in 1842, and gives an account of the interview in his American Notes. He describes him as a handsome man, with black hair, aquiline nose, broad cheek-bones, sunburnt complexion, and bright, keen, dark, piercing eyes.
After Peters election as Principal Chief, he went to Washington many times "to protect the interests of his tribesmen. During the Civil War his sympathies were with the North, but three of his sons served the Confederacy. In 1865 he returned to Washington where he remained as the agent of his people until his death in 1881." He is buried in the Congressional Cemetery, Washington, D.C.
I have in my possession (thanks to Sandra Ramirez) a copy of a letter written by Peter Pitchlynn from Eagle Town, Choctaw Nation, Jan. 12, 1835. In this letter, written when he was 29 years old, already married to Rhoda (Delilahs sister) and with "four pretty little children," he describes what he had been told about his grandfather, Ebenezer Folsom, "by my father who had been companion in the woods, in war, in frolic and mischief. I was also told that I was just like him in principle and temperamentwild, frolicsome, and fond of women, but yet strictly just and honorable and very liberal and too good to his friends, in all these, they told me I was up and down ole Ebenezer."
Peters father was John Pitchlynn, a white man "who at an early date cast his lot among the Choctaws. He was commissioned by George Washington as U.S. Interpreter for the Choctaws in 1786, in which capacity he served them long and faithfully. He secured and held to the day of his death not only the respect, esteem and confidence of the Choctaws as a moral and good citizen, but also that of the missionaries who regarded him as one among their best friends and assistants in the arduous labors for the moral and religious elevation of the people of his adoption."
In the letter his son goes on to describe his 6 living brothers and sisters, who are all 1/4 Choctaw like himself, as "all white, except myself and Kiziawe show the Choctaw in our black eyes and hair." He relates that his mother (also a daughter of Nathaniel Folsom, and sister of Delilah): "would never speak English, yet she understood it well, but her children she encouraged to learn the English language, and never allowed them to speak a word of Choctaw, consequently none but myself have learned the Choctaw language perfectly."
He becomes apologetic in the letter, telling so much about himself and his family: "as you are a stranger to me and probably may care but little to know about Indian relations I have thought it prudent to say no more on the subject. But this much however you fill find in me and every one of my familyan Independent Spirit, but yet extremely kind and affectionate to our friends and relations. We are proud of our Indian blood. And when any exceptions are taken to it, our blood boils and fight is our glory..."
In an interesting note near the end of the letter he replies: "In your letter to Israel Folsom (another of Delilahs brothers), you say you wish to purchase some Negroes. We have none among us that we could share. Probably your best chance would be to write on to... (part missing)...but Negroes are...very high in Mississippi from the last account I had from there. If you think proper to write to her, you can direct your letter to Plymouth, Mississippi. If there is chance of buying cattle and sheep cheap in your section of the country I.....(end missing)"
Another of Delilas brothers, Israel, 6 years her senior, went to a mission school in Cornwall, Conn. He became a Presbyterian minister who "in strength of faith, ardor of hope, and zealous devotion to the cause of mans Redeemer, and unwearied labor for the salvation of souls, had few equals in any age...He always gave one tenth of his annual income to the church, and in his will left on tenth of his property to the church to which he was attached. His 13 children included a medical doctor and a Captain in the Civil War."
ISAAC, JERRY, GEORGE, AND JOHN FOLSOM
Her brother, Isaac, was a Colonel for the Confederacy in the Civil War. Brother Jerry also attended the mission school in Cornwall, Conn., along with Israel. Brother George was a "Cumberland Presbyterian Preacher, and was the only Indian black-smith by trade the Indians have any record of." Her brother John also became a Cumberland Presbyterian Preacher.
One of her first cousins, Joseph Pitchlynn, graduated from Dartmouth in 1854 and became a teacher among his people. He wrote to the Rev. Jacob Chapman, of Exeter, N.H. that he was 1/4 white, 3/4 Choctaw, and generally passed for full blood. He married a Seneca Indian. Another first cousin, Peter Folsom, also had two wives, "but after being converted to religion he remarried. He was the first Choctaw who united with a Baptist Church, in 1829. He became a Baptist minister; established a number of churches, and developed and trained excellent pastors for them all. He was a prominent man in the councils and national affairs, and was often a delegate to Washington."
Cousin Alfred Folsom, educated at Armstrong Academy, served as First Lieutenant in the Chickasaw Battalion during the Civil War, and was later elected representative in Oklahoma. Cousin Julius Folsom was educated in Glastonbury Seminary, Conn. In 1861 he "joined Green Thompsons Command of Choctaws and Chickasaws, and rendered valiant service during the war throughout Indian Territory, Missouri and Texas." After the war he "was Representative of Blue County, and appointed by the Council to act as secretary for the commission sent out to negotiate a treaty of peace with the wild Indian tribes. In 1886 he was one of six delegates from the Choctaw nation to confer with the Five Civilized Tribes as to advisability of selling Oklahoma to the government. In that same year he was elected Judge of Atoka County, and evinced great executive ability as leader and statesman."
* Much of the data included here is from pages copied by Sandra Ramirez, a great-great-granddaughter of Delilah Folsom, from a large book on the Folsom family she found in a Los Angeles Library (name not available). Information was also obtained from letters written by 4 of Delilah's granddaughters, Mary Lenora, Delitia Delilah (her namesake and my grandmother), Izora, and Manie Cloud. Other sources included: A History of the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Natchez Indians, by H.B. Cushman, 1899; LDS Ancestral Records; Mississippi as a Province, Territory, and State, J.F.H. Claiborn, 1884 (Reprint Co., Publishers, 1978); Peter Pitchlynn: Chief of the Choctaws; Baird, W. David; 1972; and K. Harrison Folsom, Jr., web master of the Folsom Family Page (http://www.flash.net/~miamibig/folsom/). I am deeply indebted to these and others who have supplied data for my summary. Any corrections or additions from a reader will also be appreciated.