I would like to add an addendum, just for the record, on Barb Lentz's post outlining the reasons why Sevilla was probably not a Cherokee, and that this piece was probably added to the family lore to make it more colorful. While "circumstances" may not support the likelihood that Sevilla was Cherokee, the documentation seems to.
The Diary of Henry Jackson Lentz, grandson of Henry and Sevilla Lentz, which was written between 1847 - 1869, and mostly covers the history of two Alabama counties, states that Sevilla was full blooded Cherokee. The Diary was previously transcribed by hand, and microfilmed. Dr. Conwill proofed his abstract on the microfilm, and published it in 1981. Note that 1981 is a far distance from the inventive trends of the 1930s that Barb speculates are the motives for Sevilla's Cherokee origins. In 1847, Henry Jackson, grandson of Sevilla, would have had little reason to invent his grandmother's Cherokee heritage. Indeed, it should have gone the other way, as Indian mixes with whites were about as popular in the 1840s as interracial marriages were in the 1950s. Henry Jackson should have left it out of the Diary due to stigma.
"The Diary of Henry Jackson Lentz (1819-1869)" was published in the Northeast Mississippi historical & Genealogical Society, Vol XVII, #4, June 1997, ISSN #1060-5568. You can request a copy by mailing them at P.O. Box 434, Tipelo, MS 38802-0434. It clearly states that John Henry, "married a full-blood Cherokee Indian, first name Sevilla (ca. 1760- 6 May 1847)".
It was also published by Dr. Conwill in 1981. "Diary of Henry Jackson Lentz" Originally abstracted in August, 1980 by David E. Conwill, M.D. and Gloria Ann Kennedy Conwill, San Diego, California, from a hand-written copy compiled a few years previously by Mr. Robert Lentz, Decatur, Alabama; proofed against the original manuscript on microfilm, with necessary corrections and additions by David E. Conwill, M.D., August, 1981. Full name of book: The Diary Of Henry Jackson Lentz (1819-1869) Of Limestone County Alabama & Itawambe County, Mississippi Covering the Years 1847-1869.
The other piece of documentation we have is Sevilla's war pension testimony, when she applies for Henry's war pension. This documentation is a littler harder to dismiss, as it is testimony by Sevilla herself in a legal document that she is "full blooded Cherokee." Sevilla applied for John Henry's Revolutionary War Pension in 1836, about a year after John Henry died. John Henry first enrolled for the pension, Jun 14, 1833.
Yes, Henry participated in several armed conflicts against the Cherokees as part of the militia, but it is not beyond reason to think that a white man could have taken a helpless woman under his protection, nor developed romantic interests in her. During America's wars, soldiers have always brought home the women from countries they were occupying.
Henry, actual name was John Henry Lentz, but went by the name Henry, enlisted four times in the North Carolina militia. The pension application only notes that the campaign of 1775 was against the Cherokee Indians. The campaign of 1778 was against the Cherokees at Hiawassee Town. His last two enlistments were to fight in the Revolutionary war. He was in battle only during his last enlistment.
The Ebenezer church records, showing several variations of the name Sevilla, and attesting to their german heritage, is probably where the confusion is over the marriage of John Henry Lentz and Sevilla. The Lentz surname, with variations Lenz, Lentz, Lance, Lanz, coupled with the extremely overused given names of "John" and "Henry," almost assuredly has created much confusion in these lines.
Many German immigrants, and many Lentz's, settled into the western portions of the Carolinas during the 1750s - 1770s, and it would be very hard to follow one from the other. Indeed, central North Carolina, then a Province of Carolina, was the preferred destination for the many Palatines arriving through the Pennsylvania port at Philadelphia.
A Henry Lentz, or a John Lentz, or a John Henry Lentz could have easily married a non-Cherokee Savilla Helsey Lentz. I do not know where the Helsey maiden name came from, and have not researched that, but while she may be German and not Cherokee, the Savilla that married John Henry Lentz, who was born in South Carolina around 1753 to Peter and Chloe, from Germany, who later settles in Madison and Limestone county, Alabama, is indeed, by court testimony and her grandson's diary, Cherokee.
As a footnote, the Bastian and Dewalt that Barbs refers to are not related to this particular John "Henry" Lentz line. John Paul who published, "The Lentz Heritage," originally thought them to be the brothers of Henry's father, Peter, but DNA testing has since disproved that. John Paul had some reservations about that in his book, published 1986.
The Bastian and Dewalt Lentz that were thought to perhaps be brothers of Johann Peter (John Henry's father) and Peter's older brother, also named John Henry Lentz, settled into the central North Carolinas between 1753 - 1754.
Gregg Bonner has collected the DNA data relevant to this
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