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?

As noted in the first post in this series, Pharo’s name changes spelling in the census records over time. Neither Pharo or her husband can read or write in the early census records, so it is clear there is a challenge in spelling her name by the “American” census takers.

Here is a quick rundown of the spelling in the census records we have:

  • Fay (1850) [cannot read/write]
  • Pherozine NA (1860) [can read/write – doubt this is accurate]
  • Pharo (1870) [claims she can read, but cannot write]
  • Phars (1880) [can read and write]

Pharo ages from 25 to 55 over this period so it is no surprise she learns to read and write over time.

As also noted in the first post, the “NA” designation in the 1860 census may be a method of identifying Naturalized Americans during this period. 1860 was the first census year to enumerate Indians – especially those exempt from taxes.  Here is a good resource on the era:

Most genealogy guides that address Native Americans in the census incorrectly state that the first federal decennial census in which at least a portion of the Indian population is enumerated is 1870. Although the 1870 census schedule is the first to list “Indian” as a choice in the column heading for “Color,” Native Americans were enumerated earlier. Even though the 1860 census schedule does not include “Indian” as a choice in the column heading for “Color,” enumerators nevertheless followed the instructions cited in the previous paragraph and recorded more than 40,000 Indians.

The count of taxed Indians in each census includes a number of persons of mixed Indian/white heritage. A close review of the census returns for Washington Territory identified many instances of mixed heritage, the majority of whom were the children of Indian women and white men.8 For the most part, persons of mixed heritage were identified in the column for color as “HB” (half-breed) or “½ I.” A report of the 1870 census describes how persons identified as “half-breed” were counted:

Where persons reported as “Half-breeds” are found residing with whites, adopting their habits of life and methods of industry, such persons are to be treated as belonging to the white population. Where, on the other hand, they are found in communities composed wholly, or mainly of Indians, the opposite construction is taken.9

The Washington Territory example above is from the 1860 census and seems to follow for “Pherozine” in 1860, though we have no definitive proof outside the struggle to spell the name.

“NA” may have been used to denote a “Naturalized American”, which for Indian women occurred if they married into a white family. The identifier “NA” shows up on the 1870 census form, so there could have been discussion on how to denote Indians beyond “HB”. But again we are left with hints, not conclusive evidence.

I have been researching many Indian words from various tribes and it is clear when these are translated into English the native sounds get corrupted.

For example, in Muskogee tribes (Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek) words like Fa-lah (can mean “long”) are twisted into “Fara” by translation. The way the Muskogee tribes pronounce “L” many times turns into an “R” in English.

Another example is “Sewayaih Creek” (near Mantee, MS, where Pharo lived during these census years). Some believe the “Se” has been shortened from “Issi” (Chickasaw for deer) or “Isi” (Choctaw for deer). The second half of the name could be “waiyah” (Choctaw to bend or bend down) or “waya” (Chickasaw to stoop down).

The loss of subtle Indian sounds in translation to European spelling is found everywhere, from the earliest records forward.

I find the constant use of “Ph” instead of “F” (except in the truly shortened “Fay” of the 1850 census) to indicate possibly some extra (Indian?) sound leading to the selection of “Ph”.

What also amazes me about the 1860 entry is the way the name is spelled.  The use of “z” (or zee) is odd. why not “s”? And the use of ‘zine’ instead of ‘zeen’ makes me think the “ne” at then end is meant to be pronounced like “zeenah” (the “nah” being a sound you hear in many Indian languages). Of course it could be pronounced zy-na.

In the second post of this series I noted someone else had independently connected Pharo to the Hastins family in Spartanburg, SC.  This genealogist (Georgia Hornbuckle Hendrix) must have come across some record of Pharo and her relation to William Wade Hasting and Jane R Vaughn. I made the connection by working backwards from these census records from Choctaw/Sumner/Webster County Mississippi.  I connected neighbors of Pharo back to the Hastins.

Ms Hendrix had not made any connections outside South Carolina. She was unaware of the marriage to George W Smith, their move to Mississippi, and Oklahoma. Her records end in Spartanburg, SC. Therefore, Ms. Hendrix must have run across some distinct documentation leading to the connection – and her spelling of the name!

Ms. Hendrix used “Pharosima” (thus the title of these posts) in her data. “Pharosima” is very close to Pherozine (if you use the “zee-nah” pronunciation at the end), and it conforms to the shortened version “Pharo” used in the later years and on the tombstone. The work of Ms. Hendrix not only represents an independent confirmation of the connection to the Hastins of Spartanburg, but it is another bit of  evidence to Pharo’s possible Indian name.

There is more evidence of the pronunciation of Pharo’s name.

Pharo’s granddaughter is named “Phara” in the 1880 census records (unlike Pharo who uses the “o” at the end). It is “Faro” in 1910, “Pharo” in 1920, “Phora” in 1930.  I have no record for 1900, and I would wager they were living in The Indian Territory at that time so none is to be found. Is the spelling “P-h-a-r-a” a hint the first part of the name ends more in an ‘ah’ sound instead of an ‘oh’?

Finally, Pharo’s youngest daughter’s death certificate (Sally A (Smith) Gould) –  has Pharo written as “Farrell”, not “Pharo”.

I am very certain Pharo’s own children could pronounce her name precisely, which means  all these other variations are likely due to English speaking Americans trying to translate it. This is a good indication this is not a name of European roots, but Indian.

Here comes the rub for all those who have been told the ancestor in question was a Cherokee. I have heard this from many branches of the family who have collaborated on this link. And it was where I spent years of my research, until I began to research the tribal languages themselves. Unfortunately, there is no “F” sound in Cherokee. The Cherokee speak an Iroquoian language. Pharo clearly has the “F” sound in her name, so she was probably not named by a Cherokee.

There are numerous tribes in South Carolina, but one tribe does have an interesting relationship with South Carolina, Mississippi and Oklahoma – the Chickasaws. And as with all Muskogee tribes, they have the “F” sound in their language. (More on the Chickasaws in South Carolina, Mississippi and Oklahoma in the next section).

All of which leads me to think the “Pharo” part of the name is really something akin to Fa-lah in Chickasaw. The fact her daughter’s family pronounced and wrote it “Farrell”, and her granddaughter’s name was spelled “Phara”, looks to be a strong indication as well. “Farrell” sounds much more like “fa-lah” than Pharo.

The next element of her name could be “issi” or “izee“, ending with the “nah”. We have two sources of this part of the name (Ms Hendrix and the 1860 census). I have no idea of course since I don’t speak the language. But I do sometimes wonder if Pharosima/Pherozine was really Fa-lah-issi-nah (long deer?).

Indian Origins in South Carolina

Pharo’s journey in life begins in Spartanburg County, SC – which has complex ties to the major Indian tribes of the 1700’s and early 1800’s.  I don’t have the desire to go into a detailed history of the 5 civilized tribes of the south (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole) accept to note South Carolina was a nexus point of contact with all of them.

In the 1700’s prior to the Revolutionary war, Spartanburg County was on the edge of the European settlements.  During this period it was the northwestern part of the Ninety-Six District:

This map shows how the districts were broken into counties in 1785. Prior to the end of the revolutionary war (when the Cherokee ceded their lands in SC to the new United States of America) Spartanburg County was the frontier with the Cherokee (denoted as “Indian Lands” in the map above ). This direct connection to the lower Cherokee lands and Spartanburg lends credence to the a possibility Pharo was part Cherokee. But there are other nearby Indian enclaves.

Enoree, Spartanburg County – where William Wade Hastin had a school and raised his family –  is actually on the southern border of Spartanburg County and Laurens County. This all we know about the Hastin School:

One of the early schools was a private academy conducted by William Hastings near Van Patten’s shoals on Enoree river. He erected a school building in 1825 and conducted the academy for exactly 15 years. He specialized in preparing young men for medical colleges, and among the graduates were three Westmorelands, who later practiced medicine in this county.

The Enoree River forms the border between Spartanburg and Laurens county. This not far from the Savannah River where the Creek Indians were to be found in Georgia. [Note: there are some theories the Lower Cherokee in South Carolina were Creek Indians who merged with the Cherokee]

Also, around 1726-1729 a group of Chickasaw Indian warriors and their families settled on South Carolina side of the Savannah River, just opposite Augusta, Georgia. They were led by a Fanni Mingo, or Squirrel King. A Fanni Mingo is a unique tribal leader in that he leads a colony in alliance with some other group – in this case the settlers of South Carolina.

These settlements are clearly indicated on this map from 1780 (click image to enlarge):

The Chickasaw Camp is denoted north of Augusta. The Chickasaw also at times lived in New Savannah on the Georgia side of  the river.

The dead town of New Savannah, Georgia began about 1740 as a Chickasaw village on the Savannah River, at the mouth of Butler Creek below Augusta. Stories as to the circumstances vary, but in any case some portion of the Horse Creek Chickasaws under Squirrel King moved across the river and founded the town from which they farmed, hunted and scouted until the Revolutionary War. In 1757, CPT Daniel Pepper estimated the population there as “seventy Gun Men” (Milling 1940:196).

Horse Creek Valley, SC is where the Squirrel King and his Chickasaw warriors were first invited to protect the SC frontier in 1729:

In 1723 the South Carolina Assembly invited the Chickasaw to occupy the area. Located in northern Mississippi, the Chickasaw relied on South Carolina as a source of guns, and agreed to send a colony under the so-called Squirrel King. In 1737 they were allocated a 21,774-acre (8,812 ha) tract along the northern/western bank of Horse Creek, extending from the Savannah River up to Vaucluse. These Chickasaws actively collaborated with the English in the defense of this area, especially during the Cherokee War in 1760. The Chickasaw returned to their homeland shortly before the American Revolutionary War (Cashin 2009: 11-36, 107-123).

There is more here on the Chickasaw of South Carolina:

Another Chickasaw settlement was made at a very early date near New Windsor on the South Carolina side of Savannah River. This was not later than the third decade of the eighteenth century, for in 1737, when they moved over to the newly established post of Augusta, Georgia, it is said that they had been located at the former place “for some time past.’” A Chickasaw band continued near Augusta probably down to the period of the American Revolution. The chief of the band in 1737 was named the “Squirrel King.”17

I point this out to simply note Chickasaw (and Creek) Indians inhabited the western region of South Carolina along what is now the Georgia border. These Indians did mix with the settlers, especially for purposes of trade. The Fanni Mingo was protecting the Chickasaw Indian trade and alliances with the British colonists, especially since their neighbors the Choctaw were aligned with the French. He did so from 1730 up to the Revolutionary War (when they departed instead of being forced to pick sides). More on the Squirrel King (Fanni Mingo) can be found in Guardians of the Valley.

It is clear Pharo had plenty of opportunity to be a Native American Indian. Even her neighbors in Spartanburg represented Indian Traders who co-mingled with the natives as part of their trade contract.

The question still stands as to whether she was an adopted Indian girl, the daughter of an Indian concubine, or whether Jane R Vaughn (William Wade Hastings’ wife of record) was also Indian. The Vaughn/Vann name comes up in Cherokee families and early Chickasaw Indian Traders.

Onward to Choctaw County Mississippi

It is evident from census records that many of the Hastins clan moved from Spartanburg to Mississippi (and Georgia and Tennessee) in the 1840’s. This was probably due to the estate funds coming available from Absalom and Patsy Hastins deaths. George Smith purchased his lands in “Fame” Mississippi just off the Natchez trace in 1848. Jeremiah Wofford (Pharo’s uncle by marriage to Martha Hastings) purchased his lands in Mississippi a few years earlier.  These are the two families who are on record buying Choctaw Indian land made available by the migration of those Indians in the decade prior.

I find it interesting that Pharo and her husband – along with a pair of Aunt’s and Uncles from the Hasting clan, her widowed sister and other family members – all moved to what were just recently Choctaw lands. This in itself is not out of the norm – lots of people were picking up recently vacated Indian Lands. What is interesting is that the Chickasaws were some of the last Indians to be removed from Mississippi to Oklahoma:

Unlike the Choctaw who had exchanged their lands for a large tract in southeast Oklahoma, the Chickasaw sold theirs for money with which they were to purchase suitable land in the Indian Territory. Until they purchase this, the government was to provide them with temporary allotments on four million acres of their homeland. At the signing, it was anticipated that the Chickasaw would be able to purchase land from the Choctaw. Unfortunately, the Choctaw proved unwilling to part with any land that the Chickasaw wanted. Negotiations broke down putting the Chickasaw departure from Mississippi on indefinite hold. A second treaty signed in 1834 clarified some provisions of the original Pontotoc agreement. The federal government also agreed to protect the Chickasaw and their property from whites who, unwilling to wait for them to leave, were just moving in and taking what they wanted. It took the government five years to get the Choctaw and Chickasaw to agree, but the treaty signed at Doaksville (Oklahoma) in January, 1837 pleased no one except a government desperate to get the Chickasaw to leave Mississippi.

Although not complete until 1850 because of stragglers, the Chickasaw removal was accomplished in only two years (1837-38).

Even worse, the government was proving extremely slow in selling their Mississippi lands, and the Chickasaw were saddled with paying for a bureaucracy of incompetent land agents which included just about every political hack in need of a job.

Because of this, the Chickasaw did not receive the first annuities from the sale of their lands until 1844. By the start of the American Civil War (1861-65), the government, despite an additional treaty signed in 1852 promising to sell the remaining Chickasaw land as fast as possible, was still almost $3,000,000 in arrears. Meanwhile, troops from Fort Gibson were sent into south-central Oklahoma during 1839 to expel the Kickapoo living on Wild Horse Creek and the Blue River. The Kickapoo left as the troops approached and crossed the Red River into Texas. When the soldiers left, the Kickapoo returned. Texans also used the border to their advantage and crossed the Red River to steal livestock from tribes in the Indian Territory. Before the Chickasaw could safely settle in south-central Oklahoma, a permanent military garrison was needed. Fort Washita was built during 1842 and followed by Fort Arbuckle in 1851. With military protection, the Chickasaw began to move west. By 1855, 90% had resettled on their own land.

The Indians resisted removal for years, and it is likely many became absorbed in American Society instead of being “removed“. Here is an example of Choctaw who decided to blend:

Much of what transpired between the Choctaw nation and the United States government from 1795 until Choctaw Removal in 1830 was heavily affected by this group of white countryman and their Choctaw speaking children. The Chickasaw, Cherokee, and Creek experience was similar.

And here:

Over the space of several generations the mixed-blood families of the traders and countrymen began to move more and more towards the culture of their white kinsmen, especially if the white progenitor had stayed in one area and recognized the paternity of his offspring. As time passed many of these mixed bloods were assumed to be whites by travelers and new comers into the region who did not know of their Indian heritage. The mixed bloods also married into white society on occasion and the resulting family lines blended smoothly into whiteness with little other than family tradition to trace their origins.

In the area of what would become Mantee, MS – where Pharo and George Smith moved – we find many landowners with Chickasaw or Choctaw names. They are sprinkled throughout the Township. It seems the resistance to removal succeeded in many cases, especially for those who melted into American society.

And it seems once again, those who came from a diverse area of Spartanburg decided to establish their lives in an area of Mississippi also filled with a mix of Native and European descended Americans.

Of all the Lands of Oklahoma

The final hint to Pharo’s native background comes from her final resting place.  My wife’s direct ancestor to Pharo is through her eldest daughter Nancy Jane.  Nancy Jane (as noted in the second post) married George Hamilton in MS, but then followed her mother to Oklahoma. Also recall (from the third post) that one of their children was buried with Pharo in the family cemetery.

A cemetery located in Carter County, Oklahoma. Carter County is in the Chickasaw District of Oklahoma – as can be seen in this map highlighting modern counties overlaid by the Indian Territory Tribal regions [click to enlarge]:

The yellow area indicates the Chickasaw Nation, and you can see Carter County is in the heart of the region. Also note where Tishomingo is in nearby (just east) Johnston County:

Tishomingo was named after the Chickasaw chief who died of smallpox on the Trail of Tears near Little Rock, after the Chickasaws had been removed from their original homelands, located in and around Tishomingo, Mississippi.[5]

Before the founding of Tishomingo in 1852, the area was known as Good Springs, named for the presence of several springs that made the place a suitable camp site along the road between Fort Washita and Fort Arbuckle. The small town had replaced the old campsites with permanent structures and renamed Tishomingo by 1856. It was designated as the Chickasaw capital in 1856. A post office was established in 1857.[5]

The Chickasaw capitol building was built in 1897 from local red granite and officially dedicated in 1898. It housed the tribal governor, the bicameral legislature and other government officials and clerks. The territorial court also met there from time to time. The territorial government was dissolved at statehood.

Nancy and George Hamilton resurface in the census records in 1900 in Township 1, Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory.  In 1910, 1920 and 1930 they are in Garrett, Johnston, OK. They are buried in Tishomingo, OK.


If Pharo was Cherokee, would she not move to Tennesee or Alabama instead of Mississippi to be close to the remnants of her tribe? If I am correct that the funding for the initial move from South Carolin was funded by the estate of her Grandfather Absalom Hastin, then it would seem Pharo would have a say in where to go.

Moreover, if she were Cherokee wouldn’t the widow Smith move her family to the Cherokee Nation in the Oklahoma Indian Territory and not to the Chickasaw Nation?

Pharo’s life pattern demonstrates that when given a chance or choice, she gravitated towards Muskogee Indian lands.

Even then, when given the option to move her family into the Indian Territory (which was not open to the Oklahoma land rush), she did not go to the Choctaw or Creek tribal regions, she went to the Chickasaw region. This speaks volumes.

I do not think any single one of these facts in isolation point to any one conclusion. But when you put them all together it seems more likely than not Pharo Hasting was from the Chickasaw tribe – or at least had some bond with it.


4 thoughts on “Pharosima Hastings Smith: Part 4

  • March 5, 2017 at 12:50 am

    Thank you for such detailed research. My husband located your blog when attempting to research the specific location of my great (3) grandmother Pherozine Smith’s burial site. My grandmother, Georgia Gentry is the daughter of George Gentry and Alma J. Hamilton, whose parents are Thomas Hamilton & Margret Smith.
    To my knowledge my grandmother always clamed to be Irish, however my mother has recently taken the task of untangling our family tree. We are finding that we were missing most of the story.
    Through complete circumstance I have lived in Ardmore, Ok. for the past two years. Once I learned that I have family here I felt it was imperative that I maintain the burial site, I will attempt to find it and see what I can do.
    Thank you again, and please give your wife my best. I will send my mother the link to your blog, I am sure she will enjoy it.

    • March 11, 2017 at 12:41 pm


      I will reach out to you directly via email and rope in your cousin (my wife). Sorry for the delay in responsding

    • April 23, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      My name is Ellen Stinnett Keiner. The family plot where Pharo is buried is in the middle of the woods and somewhat difficult to find. My dad, his twin sister, my cousin, and I first found the cemetery in 2014. It is kind of difficult to find. I live in Seminole County, OK, about 2 hours away from Ardmore. If we could coordinate a date, it is possible that a few of us who have been there could meet you and show you where it is. We try to go out once a year at least to clean up around it.

  • December 7, 2017 at 12:53 pm


    I regret that my husband, Alan, passed away in May 2017. It looks like you two were in contact in the weeks before he died. He loved untangling the genealogy of our two families.
    I hope I can one day make the trip to meet you and see the hidden cemetery.

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