Chapter 6 “A Settlement or Town of their Own”
After 1850 at least six of the original fifteen Catawba households had resettled at the newly acquired land of Jacob Scott. Jacob owned and operated a ferry service and mill (just as the Catawba had done on the Catawba River), and became quite prosperous, even in comparison to his white neighbors. The movement of the Catawba into southern Calhoun can be tracked by the written history of the local Stone family. In the book “History of Jackson County” it is recounted that:
“Lackland M. Stone, whose father was Colonel Henry D. Stone, one of Jackson County’s first settlers, was also an Indian trader. His family settled on the upper Chipola, near the future town of Webbville. When the Indians were moved to Ocheesee, he followed them, as he did later to Iola.”
The Stone family had apparently continued to carry a family legacy of Indian trading, because as early as 1691 the Council of Colonial Virginia had recorded:
“Thomas Blunt is appointed interpreter to the Indians on the south side of the James River, David Whitley to the Indians at the head of Rapp’a River, and William Stone to the Indians on the head of Yorke River.”
And also in 1778, The North Carolina General Assembly enacted that,
“Be it enacted, that Willaim Williams, Thomas Pugh, Willie Jones, Simon Turner, and Zedekiah Stone, be, and they are hereby appointed commissioners for said Indians..”
The reference to the Indians being moved to Ocheesee, does not describe any documented Creek band, as they had never maintained a village on the Chipola, did not have a village at Ocheesee, and had emigrated to Texas or Indian Territory before the Stone family moved to southern Calhoun at Iola. Bird Attaway (first husband of Elizabeth Perkins) and Horace Ely were contracted by the Jackson County Commission to build the first bridge across the Chipola at a location described as “Near Webbville.” Combine all of the above with the fact that the 1840 census of Calhoun County records Joe Scott as a family of 17 free colored persons living next to John Chason and Henry D. Stone at Iola, and there can be no doubt as to this identification of the Cheraw-Catawba identity of the settlement.
The Scott’s Ferry settlement, who’s population would eventually be known as “the Dead Lakes People”, was located at Range 9 west, 2 south, section 21, adjoining the Chipola River. This was the route used to travel from any spot in eastern
In 1848, legislation was passed in Florida which required free Negroes to have white guardian appointed by the local Courts (no Catawba was assigned a guardian), free Negroes and mulattoes could not legally own land (Jacob Scott and Absalom Scott held clear title to their land), and in 1861, legislation passed which required free blacks to register with a probate judge or be classified as a slave and claimed by a white person. It is clear that none of these laws were ever applied to the Apalachicola Catawba. An 1840 perspective jury list included Robert and Joseph Blanchard (originally of Gates County, North Carolina), Joseph Montford, Jonathan Jones, and Robert Scott. John Chason and Jaspers Scott were called as witnesses in the Jackson County Court case, State V. James Butts in 1857 (Butts had been living with Mary Ann Jones since at least 1850), and Martha Hill Minton was reimbursed for traveling 24 miles in 1863 in order to testify for Sherrod Scott. Samuel Scott was even an eligible voter in Jackson County in 1869.
In 1860 the census reflects the Scott’s Ferry settlement as consisting of six households. Living there at that time was Jacob Scott and his nephew Joe living in one household along with Joe’s wife Sarah Brown Castelberry, and Sarah’s daughter Emiline Brown. Francis “Frank” Hill and his wife Elizabeth Perkins Attaway held one home, and William Stafford and his wife Polly Harmon Scott (former wife of Jacob Scott) held another. Jack Howard inhabited a household along with Lofty Bunch as his wife, along with his two sister-in-laws Betty Bunch and Molly Thompson (who later married Shurard Scott). Paschal Loftis and Olive Jones shared a home along with her granddaughter, Jane Scott. The last remaining household was that of Isham Scott and his wife Jane Manuel who shared their home with her father, Edmund Manuel (originally of Sampson County, North Carolina and a veteran of the Sampson County Regiment 4th Company in 1812).
1860 CENSUS OF
“ “ , Sarah
“ “ , William
“ “ , Polly
“ “ , Ellen
“ “ , Jack
“ “ , Jacob
“ “ , Eliza
“ “ , Delila
“ “ , Ann
“ “ , Joe
“ “ , Quinn
“ “ , Bob
“ “ , Blunt
“ “ , Green
“ “ , Polly
“ “ , Jim
“ “ , Lofty
“ “ , Olive
“ “ , Jane
At the bottom of this special census page, John G. Smith, the census taker, added his own personal opinion of the racial make-up of this settlement. Either Smith had never personally traveled to the settlement and gathered his information from other citizens (as was sometimes the case when census takers were trying to list far out settlements), or Smith was given misleading information by the settlement citizens themselves, because almost all of the information other than the actual names of the community members was wrong.
The age and birthplace of almost every community member does not compare to that listed for the 1850 or 1870 census. The only justice performed by Smith with this document is held in the second sentence of his commentary where he bears witness that these Indians lived in a settlement separate from white or black persons:
“The Free Negroes in this county are mixed blooded almost white and have
intermarried with a low class of whites – Have no trade, occupation or
profession they live in a settlement or Town of their own their personal
property consists of Cattle & Hogs, They make no produce except corn &
peas & very little of that, They are a lazy Indolant & worthless race.”
Back on the Catawba reservation, the annual report of Catawba Agent J.R. Patton to the South Carolina Senate uses, strangely almost exactly, the same wording to describe the Indians still residing there:
“…they are a somewhat indolent & careless people living in small Log Houses
or cabins covered with boards & are not settled together in a Town or village
but scattered over a considerable portion of the land they occupy they own but
little furniture of any value a portion of them work small farms or patches of
corn but as a general thing do not make anything like a support they own some
Horses a few Cattle & some Hogs. This seems to sum up the amount of what
Oral history of the Apalachicola Cheraw-Catawba reflects that Eliza Scott Hill had been educated as a child in South Carolina, taught basic education to all the children of the Scott’s ferry community, and also traveled briefly back to “the reservation” to teach school but was not well received, and soon returned to Florida. The 1861 Annual Report of Catawba Agent J.R. Patton seems to verify this oral history as it reflects that “Eliza Scott (Indian)” was paid 20 for “Teaching” during that year.
Elsewhere in the southeast, Indian communities were being described in almost exactly the same words. In 1840, thirty-six white residence of Robeson County, North Carolina appealed to the Legislative Assembly to regulate the sale of ‘spirits’ to the Lumbee Indians (who are also of Cheraw ancestry):
migrated originally from the districts round the
They are generally indolent, roguish, improvident, and dissipated. Having
no regard for character, they are under no restraint but what the law imposes.”
The fact that Smith classified the Catawba in Florida as “free Negroes” with no trade or occupation, and in general being lazy and worthless, betrays his racist views. He could not have been completely blind to the fact that these people operated a mill and ferry, because even Smith took note that the colony’s total worth was over $4,000 (which in 1860 made it one of the wealthiest small towns in
Scott’s Ferry’s founder, Jacob Scott, passed away by 1862 and Joseph Scott held the property title. Penny Scott was taxed for 200 acres she supposedly owned across the river in what would become
Either due to the crisis level post-War economy, or legal harassment, it is clear that the Scott’s
1870 CENSUS OF
“ “ , Eliza
“ “ , John
“ “ , Martha
WILLIAMS, Thomas W.
“ “ , Jane
“ “ , Beady
“ “ , William
“ “ , Jack
“ “ , Emily
“ “ , Martha
“ “ , Delia
“ “ , William
By the time of the 1880 census, Scott’s Ferry appeared to be making a comeback. The settlement now contained eleven households and the compact town seemed to suffer some drift, as a few families were listed as living a few miles up the
Back at the original settlement, we find eleven homes starting with Benjamin Beauchamp and his wife Ellen Scott who had his stepdaughter, Sallie Washington living as his servant, and Richard Nixon as an orphan. George Green had settled here with his wife Dora Butts. Elizabeth Scott Hill shared a home with her stepdaughter, Nancy Quinn, her son Joseph Quinn, and her son Frank Hill. William Quinn and his wife, Rena were living here, as well as Henry Johnson (this is a repeat of the Henry Johnson household from Abe’s Springs). John “Jack” Jones and his wife Beady Mainer were still here in 1880 living next to Mary Scott, who was sharing a home with her daughter-in-law, Julian Scott and her grandson, William Scott. New resident Sam Washington held a home next to Olive Scott Jones who shared her home with her daughter, Martha Jones, a servant named Mary Linton, a boarder named T.C. Shelby, and another servant named Hester Brouchard. Ruben Blanchard and his wife Jane Stone were still living at Scott’s Ferry at this time, and the final home was held by David Martin (originally from Person County, North Carolina) along with his wife Amanda Scott. Living with David Martin was a servant, Polly Gibson, and David’s daughter Mary (who would later marry Barney Locklear).
Nearly 40 years later the name of T.C.Shelby would be brought up again in reference to Scott’s Ferry, but this time in his home state of Kentucky. An excerpt of the 1918
“In May, 1915, Miss Florrie Hood, a most eccentric and peculiar woman,
died intestate, childless,and unmarried, at her home in
she being about seventy years of age, and the owner by inheritance of several
houses and lots and some acreage property in the city of
an amount of personal property…There were no close relatives living so far
as known, however, that one Thomas C. Shelby, a nephew of Miss Hood, had
many years before left
After dispatching investigators throughout Florida and mailing 1,500 postcards to different post offices in search of Thomas Shelby or his descendants, the estate administrators located Shelby’s widow and two minor children—sole heirs to the Hood fortune. The problem was that
“was the daughter of William Scott, and William Scott was the son of Joe Scott, and Joe Scott was supposed to be a mulatto, so that the mother of the children of Thomas C. Shelby was not a pure-blooded white woman.”
This would make the parents’ marriage illegal and render the children bastards incapable of inheriting. Instead of trying to prove that the family of
“being unconscionable since the children could not be considered anything but White, their forefathers having not associated with negroes, but with Whites.”
In the end, the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled that regardless of the ancestry of the children, all witnesses agreed they could not possibly bear enough negro blood to be considered mulatto as described by Kentucky law.
By 1885 the timber industry had taken root along the Apalachicola and Chipola Rivers, and had assisted the Scott’s Ferry settlement to swell to seventeen households. Eight persons listed their occupation as “logman”, seven as “farmer”, and three as “laborer.” The drift present in 1880 is not noticed in 1885, and most of the families had returned to the original settlement site. The town still consisted of Scott, Quinn, Williams, Hill, Green, Johnson, and Martin households, but also now held the homes of Edmon Davis, Henry Mainer, and William Perkins (son of Elizabeth Perkins and half-brother of Mary Attaway Scott) who had been living in Jackson County. Some surviving court records from this time period provide an excellent example of the depth of interrelation and cooperation that existed in the settlement at this time. When Louvinia Martin Brown (wife of Tom) was charged in 1904 with “Assault With Intent to Murder” and “Carrying Winchester Rifle Without Permit,” her defense witnesses included Thomas Ash, Dave Martin and Linnie Davis. Henry Atkins was charged with “Murder” in 1907 and Wesley Williams, M. Mainer, Tom Scott and Jeff Scott were called as witnesses to the event. Reuben Blanchard, Bill Jones, Mary Blanchard, and Rosa Quinn were brought to court to answer charges of “Larceny of a Bateau”
After the death of Martha Jones, Thomas Butts was appointed administrator of her estate and most of her property was distributed between John Howard, Rueben G. Blanchard, and George Green. When John Howard was appointed guardian of Margaret Bunch in 1890, John Williams was appointed as surety. Thomas M. Scott was left parentless in 1893, George Green was appointed guardian of the 15 year-old boy, and Francis M. Williams and Joseph Quinn were sureties. In 1894 Beady Mainer Jones approached the Court to administer the estate of her deceased husband, Jack Jones. William Quinn was listed as her surety while J.W. Blanchard was appointed by the Court to appraise Jack Jones’ personal property. When David Martin was appointed legal guardian of his half-brother’s’s and sisters (after the death of his mother, Annie Scott Hunter), Sandy Davis was listed as surety. After 1910, some Indians began to make claims for pensions based on their Confederate service. Letters from other settlement members supported almost all of the Cheraw-Catawba in Calhoun County who filed their claims. Rueben G. Blanchard enlisted the support of W.M. Ayers, Elizabeth McDaniel Jones had help from Lawrence and Sarah Williams, and Charles E. Scott received support from Nathaniel Scott, J.M. Atkins, and Cornelius Stephens. The 1917 Civilian Draft Registrations provide as much, if not more, valuable information as the earlier Civil War records. At least nine individuals within Calhoun County were listed as “White-Indian Citizen.” These included members of the Whitfield family (descendants of George Whitfield who married a Scott woman), Herbert Boone (son of Henry Boone and Anna Scott), Lemuel Moses, and John Moses (relatives of Elizabeth Moses Conyers). Another individual, Willie Porter (son of Mathias Porter of Scott Town) was recorded as being “Indian Creole” and described as having blue eyes and light colored hair. General Quinn of Scott’s Ferry was listed as self-employed in farming, having a dependent mother, and also described as having blue eyes and light colored hair. No race was listed for Quinn, however his death certificate issued in
The year 1917 also marked a series of yearly floods on the Chipola and Apalachicola Rivers, which caused the abandonment of the original settlement site. Later census records show that community members had established home sites due northwest of the Scott’s Ferry site, at an area now known as Marysville. Land titles to the original settlement were maintained, however, as was the old cemetery. In October of 1920, Samuel F. Scott and Elizabeth Scott were both recorded as “C.I.” in the race category on the Shiloh District voter’s registry book for
Samuel Frank Scott was the son of Samuel Scott and Jane Ayers of Scott Town settlement in Jackson County. Samuel Scott senior was the son of Absolom Scott and Gilly Stephens, the founders of Scott Town. In 11929, Samuel F. Scott was appointed as executor of the estate of his cousin, John Williams, in
Education for their children would also force the Catawba out of their self-imposed isolation, and provide for the only documents pertaining to them during this time period. In 1938 David Martin, trustee for the Marysville school, had a letter written to Calhoun County Clerk of Court J.A. Peacock which stated:
“There are men who would knife us out of having our own school, saying that we are negroe. You know our character that we are of white and Indian blood…”
In reference to a 1944 investigation by the Jackson County School Board, the Board members made inquiry regarding “Sweetie Blanchard from Scott’s Ferry”, whose sons were the students whose ancestry had been called into question. The Board members solved the dispute by suggesting that the two Johnson boys should attend school in Calhoun County.
Some more recent documents continue to identify a community of persons living within Calhoun County who had a strong Indian identity.
In the 1948 annual report of the Smithsonian Institution, William Harlen Gilbert Jr. published a compilation entitled “Surviving Indian Groups of the
“Aside from the Seminoles there are other small mixed groups of possible Indian descent in Florida. Around Pensacola are to be found the Creole mixed people of Escambia County and in the same area are certain groups of Creeks from across the border in Alabama. Some 100 miles to the east near Blountstown in Calhoun County there is said to be a colony of Melungeons from Tennessee.”
The “Melungeons from Tennessee” of whom Gilbert speaks are an ethnic group of mixed-blood persons in the area of eastern Tennessee whose main family surnames were Gibson, Collins, Goins, and Bunch. These persons also descended from Siouan Indian ancestors who had spread westward from the Virginia/North Carolina border. Since none of the Apalachicola River area Cheraw-Catawba reported Tennessee as their birthplace, and they were not locally known as ‘melungeon’, Gilbert either relied on a second hand opinion, or maybe even made his own personal judgment based on the Bunch and Goins ancestors of some of the Florida Catawba. Gilbert did do justice, however, by identifying the fact that the Apalachicola River Cheraw-Catawba lived in a colony, separate from their white and black neighbors, well into the mid-twentieth Century. The identification of a separate Indian community in the area of Calhoun and Jackson County of northwest Florida was repeated by Brewton Berry in his book “Almost White” published in 1963.
Poarch Creek Families 0f Cheraw Ancestry
During the resurgence of the Creek identity in the southeast that intensified with the Creek Indian Land Claims cases in the 1950’s and peaked in the 1980’s, there were many thousands of people doing genealogical work on hundreds of ancestral family lines, many in hopes of finding a Creek ancestors and being part of the settlement. For others it was due to actual interest in their own Indian heritage. As a part of the process leading to the federal acknowledgement of the Poarch Band of Creeks, there was a substantial amount research conducted by various academics as well as countless lay researchers. The Bureau of Acknowledgement and Research within the B.I.A. also delved into the area. In the course of this researching into the roots of the Poarch Creek community, many ancestors of Poarch Creek Indians were found to have Carolina Cheraw Indian origins. As Poarch Creek Indian researchers, Lou Vickery and Steve Travis state in their book released in 2009 entitled; Rise of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians ,
“It is noteworthy that the Sizemores, Gibsons, Hollingers, Durant, and Marlows, were all mixed-blood lines that came to southwest Alabama from South Carolina. Most were mixed-bloods from the Catawba or Lumbee tribes.”-pg.144
“The McGhee and Rolin families, along with the Moniacs, Gibsons, and Ehlerts, were the genetic founders of the contemporary Poarch Band of Creek Indians.”-pg.147
“Along with the Dees family, the Hathcocks migrated from South Carolina to the Poarch area where they intermarried with the Poarch Creeks.”-pg.154
“ the Hathcocks were originally not Creek Indians. Like the Dees and Gibson familes, the Hathcocks came from the south Carolina area, they were a mixture of Portuguese and Native American, who intermarried with Lumbee Indians”-pg.161
“William David Bart Gibson was born about 1823 in South Carolina, arriving in Alabama in the early 1840’s.”-pg.154
“Listed as a half Creek Indian, (Arthur) Sizemore probably had some Catawba/Lumbee bloodlines”-pg. 155
Cheraw Indians of North Florida on the 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870 Census from the Scott Town and Scott’s Ferry Community Census Records
Below are some references to various census documents that record shifts in the populations of the 2 core communities at Scott Town and Scotts Ferry over the decades since their arrival in Florida.
Bottom of Form
Arrived in late 1828...Joe Scott appears on 1840 census of Calhoun County as free colored persons (5 males 12 females) in "Iola" (present day Scott's Ferry area) living next to John Chason and Indian trader Henry D. Stone....a few households over were Jackson J. Wood and Moses Manning (who appeared on Richards' Co. of Friendly Indians--most likely had Cheraw wives)
1850 Census of Calhoun County... the name John Williams (this should be household #52) (note: John Williams was born 1790 in Mecklenburg NC where he appears in 1820 and 1830 then moved to Robeson Co. where he appears in 1840, then on to Florida by 1850) it begins a three page section which was the core of the Cheraw Indian community living on the plantation of Capt. Stephen Richards (these include Ishmael Ayers, Jacob Scott (his wife Appa "Polly" Harmon), Isham Scott, Olive Jones, Absalom Scott, Alexander Stephens, Elizabeth Perkins Hill, and Sarah Brown Castleberry...(also James Butts who was brought up to court in Jackson County for "Adultery & fornication with free Mulattoe" in 1857 but case was dropped by the state after hearing testimony from John Chason)....in this county also see household #50 John Williamsthe last household of interest is #88 headed by Abigail Brickhouse..her daughter Elizabeth Brickhouse married Ellis F. Davis (of Scott Church)..also in this household is Sarah "Sabrey" J. Register who married John M. Scott...just across the river in Liberty County observe household #618 William Stafford, #619 Henry Maner (sic Mainer ..note that his son was born 1847 in Texas) #620 Thomas Scott (and wife Sarah Larkins) #621 Frances Larkins and #622 William Scott.
(note: the names of Jacob Scott, Joseph Scott, and William Scott all appear on 1825 petition of Catawba Indians regarding leases of Catawba Resrevation land in my possession)
1850 Census of Jackson County...observe household #522 Samuel H. Ireland (married Elizabeth Perkins -i believe first cousin of Betty Perkins - in Gates Co. NC) next is #523 Betsy Hills (this is a repeat of Calhoun household #68) and #524 Polly Bedie
In 1860 Calhoun County...please observe special census page beginning with household #165 Joe Scott (his wife Sarah Beasley-a descendant of the Chowan Beasley family from Gates County NC) this was the begining of the Scott's Ferry settlement including Jacob Scott, Frank Hill (his wife Elizabeth Perkins), William Stafford, Jack Howard (his wife Lofty Bunch), Pachal Loftis (his wife Olive Jones - living with them was Olive's grandaughter, Jane Scott, who married Rueben Blanchard) Isham Scott (his wife Jane Emanuel) and Edmund Manuel (note: Edmund Emanuel was from Sampson Co. NC and had enlisted there in wAR OF1812)
In 1860 Jackson County....please observe two pages begining with household #106 Ellis Davis (his wife Elizabeth Brickhouse) #107 Absalom Scott #108 John Williams #109 Daniel Bunch #139 Emiline Davis #140 Joseph Davis (his wife Susan Emanuel) #141 Joseph D. Smith #142 Samuel Ireland (his wife Elila Perkins) #143 Alexander Stephens (his wife Mary Matilda Scott...Alexander died of disease during the Civil War and Mary Matilda remarried to James William Perkins the son of Elizabeth Perkins Attaway) ...this was the beginning of the Scott CHurch settlement.
(note: in 1851 there was a large migration of the Red Bones out of the Rapides Parish area of LA following the "Raw Hyde and Bloody Fight" that took place at Walnut Hill, LA...many went to east Texas, but I believe the Larimore and Davis families came down into Florida at that time)
In 1870 Calhoun County...please observe a closely grouped settlement beginning with household #256 Ruben Blanchard (his wife Jane Scott Stone the granddaughter of Olive Jones) and ending 8 households later with #265 Jane Williams....this was the core of the Scott's Ferry settlement.
In 1870 Franklin County...please observe household #21 John Bunch (John Bunch was taxed as a "free person of color" in Calhoun Co. in 1852) and #22 John Scott (this is John M. Scott who married Sabra J. Register...they continued to live in Frankiln County after she was charged with "Attempting to Marry a Mulattoe" in Calhoun Co...most likely due to John's service for the Union in the War...investigation was held and charges dropped, but they did not live in Calhoun after that)
In 1870 Jackson County...please observe a closely grouped settlement beginning with household #37 William Perkins (James William Perkins...living with Mary Matilda Scott widow of Alexander Stephens...William was charged with "Lewd & Lascivious Cohabitation" in Jackson Court in 1872 and thereafter moved down to Scott's Ferry) #40 Samuel Scott ( Samuel was charged with "Adultery" in Jackson Co. Court in 1868 and his 1st wife, Susan Ireland, filed for divorce that same year...he remarried to Jane Ayers) #Louis Scott (Lewis Scott and wife Isabella Davis) #42 Henry Scott (his wife Sarah Ayers) #43 Absalom Scott (his second wife Julia A. Bell) #45 Mary L. Chason (daughter of John Chason who had been killed in the War) #46 Abraham Colwell (taxed as a "free person of color" in Jackson Co. in 1845, 1846, and again as a "free person of color" in Calhoun Co. in 1852.) #47 Wright Colwell (son of Abraham...Wright's wife Margaret Miller) #48 Pollie Whitehead #49 Laboring Goodson (his wife Nancy Calwell, daughter of Abraham) Rebecca Duffin (this is Rebecca Goins, she had two daughters by a white man named 'Duffin') #51 Nancy A. Maddox
#52 Mary Scott (this is Mary Attaway..she had married John T. Scott, son of Absalom, but he had died in the War...she had two daughters by him, William Anne & Bell, then she had an illegitimate son, Mathias, by Jacob Porter...also living with her here is her mother Elizabeth "Betsy" Perkins) this was the core of the Scott Church settlement.
The Cheraw IndianResearch Project was forwarded a very useful document...it is a report by Melinda Maynor on a community of Lumbees who settled in southeast Georgia (Bulloch County) to work in the timber industry (Maynor, Melinda M. “People and Place: Croatan Indians in Jim Crow Georgia 1890-1920” Thesis, UofF @ Chapel Hill, 2002 43 pgs.)..she details the types of work, the economic impact, etc. she also mentions the time period that the industry moved from Georgia to Florida...the most exciting detail is when she notes the Lumbees living here she mentions Beasley Bullard, a Lumbee born in Robeson who subsequently lived at Scott Church in 1920 (where he is censused as "Mulatto")..he married Loula Scott then moved back to Robeson by 1930 (where he is censused as "Indian") apparently Bealsey was living in the Lumbee community in Bulloch Co. Ga. in 1910, but had followed the timber industry down to Scott Church and Scott's Ferry by 1920