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Re: Eastern Blackfoot
Posted by: Linda Date: April 16, 2001 at 06:53:22
In Reply to: Eastern Blackfoot by Mike Nassau of 28065

I've heard the Chief Blackfoot story, too. Someone on the Mingo e-list thought he'd seen an historical reference to a chief Blackfoot somewhere but couldn't remember the reference. The point was raised that it was common for whites to name a band after a chief, but not common for a band to call itself after a chief.

The conversation was part of one that started with a report on a roadside marker that had stood in Elkins, WV concerning the "Blackfoot of the Seneca."

I since found historical reference to Tutelo/Saponi people who were adopted by the Cayuga, I believe around 1740. Some Todericherones, as they were called by the Iriquois, moved into Six Nations, where unfortunately they were all but destroyed by an epidemic in the late 1800's. Some moved with the Cayuga west and are known to have been in Ohio on the Sandusky. *There are descendants of them living among the Cayuga in Oklahoma today.) In Ohio, the entire community was known by the whites as the "Seneca of the Sandusky" although it was noted by whites who visited there that there 'wasn't nary a Seneca to be found.' It seems to have been a collection of refugee groups allied to the Five Nations, overseen by the Seneca.

I have also heard it reported on a documentary researched by archeologists at the George Washington National Forest above Roanoke, VA (who were excavating an ancient Tutelo site) that Shickelamy had a Tutelo wife. I have not yet found the original source for this, it seems she would not have been his only wife, since there also are reports of him having a wife of another nation. At any rate, he lived at Paxton, where Tutelo/Saponi/Blackfoot/Todericherones (lots of aliases, eh?) are documented as being a presence. These piedmont people had been anglicized very early on. They had an "Indian school" in 1720. As such, they spoke English, and some were literate during the Paxton period, and were therefore often brought in for diplomatic functions. (This supports the report of a union between Shickelamy and a Tutelo lady.)

Shileckamy was the father of Logan, the "Mingo" famous in WV for his "Jeremiah Johnson" like rampage against the people who murdered his family. There's a monument to him in Mingo County, I believe, with a speech he made.

I've connected with three separate individuals from three different states, none of whom know each other, who have carried in their families for generations the understanding that they were Blackfoot, and that that was synonomous with Saponi.

At any rate, since we have Tutelo/Saponi people tied in with Seneca-allied people in Paxton, we know of Paxton NDN's moving into WV (Logan and his community), and we have testimony from family tradition of Blackfoot equaling Saponi/Tutelo, then I'm satisfied that the "Blackfoot of the Seneca" reported in Elkins, WV were Saponi-descended people. My friend, Thomas McElwain of Mingo-EGADS ( me that there's a small town directly above Elkins in which virtually everyone has stories of "Blackfoot" blood.

I know in my own family, the report of "Blackfoot" lineage was derived from people living along the Tuscarora Path, which is documented to be used by Saponi people moving northward. Not only was that ancestor's surname, Harris, common among Saponi people documented near there at that time, his given name, Thomas, was common. Richard Haithcock reports finding a document in DC listing Saponi people on a Cayuga reservation in 1810, I believe, with about a half a dozen Thomas Harrises listed.

We have a website called where we are trying to amass whatever evidence we can about the migration patterns of the Saponi. There's also a forum. We have a genealogist who has been piecing together evidence of migrations from North Carolina/Virginia into Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky so far. We hope to get some of that data up in the next few weeks. There's also a gentleman posting there who's traced his family, along with 20 other families in a many-generation long migration from North Carolina into Tennessee, Ohio, Oklahoma and finally Texas. This line originates with a documented Saponi.


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