Williams Family Ancestor’s “Near-Neighbor“: Pocahontas

It is always exciting when your genealogy research brings your family in (near) contact to major historical events and individuals. This post is about such a discovery!

Note: throughout this post are links to Wikipedia pages which are worth exploring in their entirety.  I only capture here the elements required to provide context. I would review these in detail after reading this post.

The end of this post has links to two documents that were used to trace the family back to the origins of Virginia.

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Our Williams’ Family Lineage: Part 1

Spirit Mound Historic Park

Part 2 of this series can be found here

One of the challenges with genealogy on my wife’s side of the family is the over abundance of common names like White, Smith, Jones, etc. Her maiden name is no exception of course, being “Williams”.

This post is to capture what I have been able to find in terms of the lineage of her family name. I suspect it will have some errors since the post is a birthday surprise for her father, who would be the one best in a position to find and fix my errors.  So expect a major update in the not too distant future once he gets his eyes on it.

Update 6/17/15: I have changed the path forward and will be releasing this in stages as I complete a generation. So there will not be a major update, but a series of updates and corrections.

My wife is from the San Francisco Bay Area originally. Her father Dell Peyton Williams III  was born in Spokane Washington, where I will begin the march back in time, with his father.

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Our Williams’ Family Lineage: Part 2

The above image represents the Indian Tribes of Indiana:

The treaties concluded between 1821 and 1832 at Chicago, Mississinewa, Carey Mission, and Tippecanoe focused on the lands in northern Indiana. In the 1826 negotiations of the Mississinewa agreements, the Miamis and Potawatomies were further isolated on reservations in the north-central part of the state and provided with hunting rights on their ceded lands.

It is during this time the Williams family migrate to Tippecanoe. Much more about these times can be found at this site, representing the Native American perspective.

Part 1 of this series can be found here.

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Gerard Hubert Roers (1850 – 1896)

Devils Lake Map_1

Updated 12/12/14: Added section on the meaning of Minnewauken and Devils Lake

[Map Reference: “Encounter on the Great Plains: Scandinavian Settlers and the Dispossession of Dakota Indians, 1890-1930“, by Karen V. Hansen, Oxford University Press, Sep 18, 2013]

This post presents one of my wife’s ancestors through her father’s lineage: Gerard Hubert Roers

He is one of the first ancestors I traced back to Europe, but his lineage was difficult to establish since he (as many in her her family did) lived just beyond the boundaries of the United States along side Native Americans. In this case, along side the Sioux of North Dakota. Specifically, near the Spirit Lake Reservation along Devils Lake, ND. The map above shows the area this enterprising young man from Holland settled, before dying suddenly of appendicitis. The above referenced book outlines the migration of Dutch and Norwegian immigrants into Minnesota and the Dakotas during the last half of the 1800’s.

Update: interesting note: Devils Lake and Minnewauken, SD originate from the same source:

The Sioux called the lake mni wak’áŋ chante, which separately translate as mni (water), wak’áŋ (spirit), and chante (bad). Early European-American settlers thought this meant “Bad Spirit Lake”, or “Devils Lake.” The “bad” referred to the high salinity of the lake, making it unfit to drink, and “spirit” meant the mirages often seen across the water. The Christian concept of the devil was not present in the Sioux religion.

mni wak’áŋ = Sioux for Minnewauken, SD – end update

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Pharosima Hastings Smith: Part 1

Pharo Smith

The family ancestor who really hooked me on genealogy was from my wife’s maternal line. This person was believed by many relatives doing genealogy research to be the source behind the family lore concerning a Native American ancestor. The rumor was she was Cherokee, and those who passed the story from one generation to the next knew which generation she was since they all could quote their own percentage of Native American blood (each generation dividing the previous generation’s % by half).

When I picked up the puzzle, “Pharo” Smith had been identified as being the mother of Nancy Jane [Smith] Hamilton. Nancy Hamilton had raised her family and lived out her life in Tishomingo, Oklahoma – not far from the part of Oklahoma my wife’s family hailed from. The connection from my wife to Nancy Hamilton is well documented. So it was from Nancy to Pharo and then Pharo’s roots I was  investigating.

These 4 posts (Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4) review the results of research and exploration by myself and distant cousins who descended from Pharo Hastings. They cover how we sifted records to discover family connections, how we were able to find the lost grave site of Pharo and her family in Oklahoma, and my continued research on which Indian tribe Pharo might have hailed from. They represent years of effort by many people, who have been able to recreate the life of Pharo and her family.

Part 1: What Census Records Uncovered

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Pharosima Hastings Smith: Part 2

Pharo Smith

Update 12/21/14 to add graph of family tree and members living in Choctaw/Sumner/Webster County MS with Pharosima

In the previous post I covered where I began my investigation of “Pharo” Smith. In this post I will review how I connected her to the Hastin/Hasting family of Mecklenberg County, VA and later Spartanburg, SC.

It has been many years since I tripped over the revolutionary war pension filings related to one Absalom Hastings. The first time was before the genealogy site Fold3 really took off. I know this because the first time I read the scanned images of this incredible source (70 pages of written records from the early 1800s) I found them on Ancestry.com. It was completely from curiosity that I began to peruse the images. They are a really interesting historical artifact of that time.

By the time I realized there could be a connection to the Hasting pension filings, the records were moved to Fold3 (and thus the impetus behind my Fold3 account). What is so wonderful about the Hasting pension filings is the detailed record of his life, marriage and children.

Part 2: Pharo’s Family In South Carolina

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Pharosima Hastings Smith: Part 3

Pharo Smith

In the previous two posts (Part 1 and Part 2) I laid out the back story of my wife’s 4th Great Grandmother – Pharo (Hastings) Smith. In this post I will review the search for Pharo Smith’s grave and how Ellen Herriman (a distant cousin) was able to physically locate and document the site.

Part 3: Pharo’s Final Resting Place Discovered

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Pharosima Hastings Smith: Part 4

Pharo Smith

This is the final post in a series of 4 highlighting the story of Pharo (Hastings) Smith, my wife’s 4th great-grandmother and likely source of Native American heritage in her family line. It is more speculative than fact-based. It attempts to take individual facts and build a conclusion on the native roots of one Pharo (Hastings) Smith.

In the prior posts I covered:

  • Where this journey all began (Part 1)
  • How I connected Pharo Smith in Mississippi to the Hastins family of Spartanburg SC and Mecklenberg, VA. (Part 2)
  • Discovering Pharo’s final resting place in Carter County, OK (Part 3).

In this final segment I want to review the strong evidence of Pharo’s Native American heritage and which tribe I believe she could be from.

Part 4: Pharo’s Native American Roots

What’s in a name?

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