Starting Sept. 5, 2014, Genealogy.com will be making a big change. GenForum message boards, Family Tree Maker homepages, and the most popular articles will be preserved in a read-only format, while several other features will no longer be available, including member subscriptions and the Shop.
 
Learn more


Chat | Daily Search | My GenForum | Community Standards | Terms of Service
Jump to Forum
Home: Surnames: George Family Genealogy Forum

Post FollowupReturn to Message ListingsPrint Message

Winnifred (George) Gilliam Human
Posted by: Charles Ward Date: March 13, 2000 at 12:26:01
  of 6517

or the most part, nearly a generation older than the Human descendants. I would venture to say they would have been in a better position to know about their ancestry than the Humans. James M. Murphy, a grandson of Thomas and Winnifred Gilliam, knew his grandmother and he made no mention of her being a Cherokee in a sketch of the Gilliam family, compiled in 1891.

6. No contemporary written accounts of an Indian connection have been put forward
by the proponents of the Cherokee myth.

7. There is an incongruity in the fact that Thomas Gilliam and his son, James, were murdered by Indians and the myth that Winnifred was a "full-blooded Cherokee."
The attack was made as a reprisal to the white settlers. If the Indians wanted to make an impact on the white community, why then would they have murdered a man who had
married an Indian and their half-Indian son?        

8. All available evidence points to the fact that Winnifred was born in VA (probably Buckingham County) the daughter of colonists. She is known to have been a George prior to her marriage and was probably the daughter of
the widow, Winnifred George, found in the 1780s in Botetourt Co., VA. We know she was a sister of Solomon George, of Knox Co., TN. Furthermore, the name "Spencer," given to one of her sons, was commonly used in at least
one George family, which resided in Lancaster Co., VA. James George, another
early settler of Knox Co., TN, was possibly another brother of Solomon and Winnifred.

In contrast, other than a dubious "oral tradition," the proponents of the Indian myth regarding Winnifred can cite no documentation or facts which would affirm their myth. What's more, there is no indication that the oral tradition predates the twentieth century, to my knowledge. Certainly nothing exists from the lifetime of James G. Human.

It appears to me that the proponents of the myth have been largely unaware of many facts regarding Winnifred (George) Gilliam Human's life, especially her life in VA and in East TN. If they had been aware of them, perhaps they would have been less willing to blindly accept the myth of Cherokee Indian roots for Winnifred.

My intention in posting this information is to provide researchers with the complete facts. Genealogy is not a pursuit of fiction. It deals with facts and what can be documented or at the very least, reasonably inferred.

This posting may offend many adherents of the Winnifred myth. Not only have her Human descendants become faithful adherents of the myth, but the community of Humansville, Missouri has become involved. At a recent celebration of the founding of the town, members of the so-called "Northern Cherokee Nation" participated in the event, in honor of James G. Human's alleged Cherokee descent via his mother. Offense is not intended, but one should not sacrifice truth, accuracy, and adherence to good historical and genealogical research in order to spare someone from being offended by learning the complete facts regarding this matter.

I close by restating that Winnifred (George) Gilliam Human was not a "full-blooded Cherokee." The facts I have outlined illustrate she was not. The proponents of the "myth" have offered no proof or corroborating evidence with which to substantiate their claim. I would further state that the origins of any such claim regarding Winnifred were shrouded in confusion and error from the beginning and had no basis in fact.

Responses are welcome, but I ask that they be constructive and if any points I have made are disagreeable, I would ask anyone wishing to rebutt them to cite specific documentary proof to the contrary.
stified in `WPrding Winnif       

When asked to substantiate their claim or to provide some means of documentation, the proponents of this myth cite "oral family tradition." I was even informed by one Human descendant that she had joined the "Northern Cherokee Nation in Clinton, MO." I'm not familiar with this organization and do not know if it is affiliated in any way with the Eastern Band of Cherokees or the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. Upon inquiring, I was told that "previous researchers" had already shown that Winnifred was a "full-blooded Cherokee," but the descendant had never been informed as to how this had been proven. It was my understanding that the previous researchers based their claim for Winnifred upon "oral tradition." I can only state that "oral tradition" would gain admittance into none of the major hereditary societies in this nation.

Vociferous in their belief that Winnifred was an Indian, some have apparently attempted to embellish this myth. One lady went so far as to write that upon finding a spring at the site that would later become Humansville, James G. Human exclaimed, "Eureka!" which the descendant enthusiastically described as a Cherokee Indian phrase. Unfortunately, the lady was not familiar with Greek, nor was she familiar with the tale of Archimedes. If she had been, she would have known the phrase is Greek and means, "I have found it."

One lady, irrate at the thought that anyone would doubt the fact that Winnifred was an Indian, confronted a fellow researcher and told him to prove Winnifred was not an Indian. It must be understood that the onus would be on the proponents of an Indian descent to prove such a connection.

Oral tradition is something that we cannot utilize as a basis for documentation. Especially if it is the only source, with no significant corroborating evidence. Oral traditions have been proven many times to be wrong. A recent article in MISSING LINKS: Rootsweb's Genealogy Journal, v.5, no.2, entitled "Family Legends," by Ivan Berry (Arkensaw@webtv.net) discussed his own experience. Told from childhood that an ancestor was a full-blooded Indian, he spent a quarter of a century trying to document the fact, only to find out that she was German. It should be noted that he too had a photograph of the ancestor in question and had felt that it, like the tintype of James G. Human, showed evidence of Indian features.

It is interesting to note that only the Human descendants of Winnifred have the tradition of an Indian descent for her. It is possible the Human family has an Indian connection,but it does not come into their family through Winnifred (George) Gilliam Human. So, if there is an Indian connection, it might come through Basil Human himself, but I must question the liklihood of this being the case. Winnifred's first husband and a son were murdered by Indians and to think she would then turn around and marry an Indian, or someone of partial Indian ancestry, seems unlikely.

The term "Black Dutch" has been used to describe the Humans, a catch-all phrase that has come to have a multitiude of meanings. Basil Human's family was probably of German origin and "Black Dutch" is sometimes used as a term to describe some settlers of German origin, "Dutch" being derived from "Deutch."

I can cite factors which call into question the claim Winnifred was a Cherokee Indian.

1. She was probably born in or near Buckingham Co., VA as that is where her husband's parents resided about the time they were married. To my knowledge, the Cherokees did not reside in this part of VA.

2. Winnifred served as administrator of the estate of Thomas Gilliam in 1793 in what in now TN. Would a "full-blooded Cherokee" have been allowed to undertake such a task?

3. Winnifred was involved in litigation regarding the estate of Thomas Gilliam in which she sued a gentleman from whom Gilliam had purchased land. Would a "full-blooded
Cherokee" have been allowed to sue a white settler?

4. Descendants of Solomon George and the Gilliam descendants of Winnifred have light features; blonde hair, blue eyes, etc. I refer to physical descriptions and pictures of grandchildren of Solomon George, Gilliam descendants, etc.

5. Descendants of Solomon George and the Gilliam descendants of Winnifred have no tradition of an Indian descent. The George and Gilliam families remained in the area where the family first settled and were, for the most part, nearly a generation older than the Human descendants. I would venture to say they would have been in a better position to know about their ancestry than the Humans. James M. Murphy, a grandson of Thomas and Winnifred Gilliam, knew his grandmother and he made no mention of her being a Cherokee in a sketch of the Gilliam family, compiled in 1891.

6. No contemporary written accounts of an Indian connection have been put forward
by the proponents of the Cherokee myth.

7. There is an incongruity in the fact that Thomas Gilliam and his son, James, were murdered by Indians and the myth that Winnifred was a "full-blooded Cherokee."
The attack was made as a reprisal to the white settlers. If the Indians wanted to make an impact on the white community, why then would they have murdered a man who had
married an Indian and their half-Indian son?        

8. All available evidence points to the fact that Winnifred was born in VA (probably Buckingham County) the daughter of colonists. She is known to have been a George prior to her marriage and was probably the daughter of
the widow, Winnifred George, found in the 1780s in Botetourt Co., VA. We know she was a sister of Solomon George, of Knox Co., TN. Furthermore, the name "Spencer," given to one of her sons, was commonly used in at least
one George family, which resided in Lancaster Co., VA. James George, another
early settler of Knox Co., TN, was possibly another brother of Solomon and Winnifred.

In contrast, other than a dubious "oral tradition," the proponents of the Indian myth regarding Winnifred can cite no documentation or facts which would affirm their myth. What's more, there is no indication that the oral tradition predates the twentieth century, to my knowledge. Certainly nothing exists from the lifetime of James G. Human.

It appears to me that the proponents of the myth have been largely unaware of many facts regarding Winnifred (George) Gilliam Human's life, especially her life in VA and in East TN. If they had been aware of them, perhaps they would have been less willing to blindly accept the myth of Cherokee Indian roots for Winnifred.

My intention in posting this information is to provide researchers with the complete facts. Genealogy is not a pursuit of fiction. It deals with facts and what can be documented or at the very least, reasonably inferred.

This posting may offend many adherents of the Winnifred myth. Not only have her Human descendants become faithful adherents of the myth, but the community of Humansville, Missouri has become involved. At a recent celebration of the founding of the town, members of the so-called "Northern Cherokee Nation" participated in the event, in honor of James G. Human's alleged Cherokee descent via his mother. Offense is not intended, but one should not sacrifice truth, accuracy, and adherence to good historical and genealogical research in order to spare someone from being offended by learning the complete facts regarding this matter.

I close by restating that Winnifred (George) Gilliam Human was not a "full-blooded Cherokee." The facts I have outlined illustrate she was not. The proponents of the "myth" have offered no proof or corroborating evidence with which to substantiate their claim. I would further state that the origins of any such claim regarding Winnifred were shrouded in confusion and error from the beginning and had no basis in fact.

Responses are welcome, but I ask that they be constructive and if any points I have made are disagreeable, I would ask anyone wishing to rebutt them to cite specific documentary proof to the contrary.


Followups:

Post FollowupReturn to Message ListingsPrint Message

http://genforum.genealogy.com/george/messages/1777.html
Search this forum:

Search all of GenForum:

Proximity matching
Add this forum to My GenForum Agreement of Use
Link to GenForum
Add Forum
Home |  Help |  About Us |  Site Index |  Jobs |  PRIVACY |  Affiliate
© 2007 The Generations Network