tracing Native American ancestors in Okaloosa
search the counties between Mobile, AL.
and the Apalachicola
River, FL. During the later part of the
century Creeks from
south Alabama and South Georgia migrated into West Florida,
adding to the small Indian population already present here. Those
removed and returned to their home
area (after ca. 1859) tried to stay as close as possible to their
ancestral tribal grounds. Florida Indians tended to live together in
small family groups, usually in remote areas to avoid undue
attention or trouble. This way they could also move quickly to
another area if necessary. Creek country was from the Alabama River
to the east coast of
and north to the Tennessee River. After
1815, Seminoles were generally from east
of the Apalachee
to St. Augustine and south into Florida, the Uchees favored
Valley, DeFuniak Springs and down near Boggy Bayou
The challenges of
Native American ancestry can
be legion and complex so pace yourself and take the long view. Tribal associations have been deeply affected by whether they
were ‘removed’ or ‘unremoved’
from their native lands; problems of suppression and records
affecting their tribal status with the
State and Federal governments.
Short List of Native American descendants associated with
Northwest Florida, particularly Okaloosa
clues for you
as you search for your ancestors.
- Chief Sam
was Chief of the Choctawhatchee Euchees
in the early 1800s. Some identify him also as Timpoochee
Kinnard. This is doubtful; there needs to be a great deal more study on
this question. You will find many reports of (his contemporaries)
Timpoochee Kinnard and Timpoochee Barnard in Georgia, as
well as in northwest Florida. It would be difficult for one
person to accomplish as many activities as are
ascribed to one man. This gives rise to speculation that
"Timpoochee" was a title used by two, perhaps as many as three, Native
American leaders in the southeast. And, by the way, Camp Timpoochee is
a modern day name assigned to a Four-H camp on the south west side of
Choctawhatchee Bay. Surnames and families associated
with Chief Sam Story and his people include: Campbell;
McKinnon; Crow; Potter; Garrett among others.
- Families of Okaloosa
and Walton Counties
document Native American decendancy. Detailed information
appears in the research library at the museum. Surnames
include: Cousins, McIntosh, Williams, Turner, Grierson, Griner
F. Atwell (1906-1996) OBIT states his ancestors are
buried in the area surrounding Turkey Hen Creek, and, were Seminole
Indians who are buried along the Yellow
River. The OBIT appeared in the Crestview
News Bulletin, December, 1996.
- Jesse C. Turner
signed an Affidavit regarding his Native American ancestry. He is also a descendant of Chief William McIntosh and Chief
William Cousins of the Eufaula Creeks. Surnames noted in the
document are: Turner, Cannon, Knight, and Ward. A copy of this Affidavit appears in the Native American
section of The Heritage of Okaloosa County, Florida
Nation of Florida
(formerly The Florida Tribe of Eastern Creek Indians) Surnames
include: Tucker, Crews, Walters, Denson,
Carn, McCauley, Denson, Ward, Stokes and Thomas.
- William "Red Eagle"
Weatherford, (1781 –
March 24, 1824), was a Creek (Muscogee) who led the Creek War offensive
against the United States. William Weatherford, like many of the
high-ranking members of the Creek nation, was a mixture of Scottish and
Creek Indian. His "war name" was Hopnicafutsahia,
or "Truth Teller," and was commonly referred to as Lamochattee,
or "Red Eagle," by other Creeks. He was a nephew of Alexander McGillivray
and by marriage, the nephew of Le Clerc Milfort. He was also a cousin of William McIntosh.
- "Trek of the Henderson’s"
by Jeanette Henderson. (Available in the museum's research library)
lists many, many surnames. To name only a few: Jackson,
McCarty, Dalton, Treadaway, and Henderson. Mrs. Jeanette Courtney Henderson is a member of the Lower
Muskogee Creek Tribe in Wigham, GA.
and her husband Charles Henderson is a member of Muskogee Florida Tribe
of Indians at Bruce, FL.
- Descendants of Tomas
Jackson and wife, Asenith Hammond. By
Jeanette Henderson. Baker Block Museum Binder.
- The works of William
Bell, Baker Block Museum Special Collections.
- Linda McCay Calhoun
of Pensacola, FL has an extensive history of her ancestors - in our
area - which includes the following surnames. Her full
article appears in the Heritage of Okaloosa County, Florida Volume II
(available in the museum book store)Surnames include: Cannon,
Gates, Southern, Atwell, Smith, Daughtery, McCay and others.
- Other known surnames
of descendants of Native Americans in our area include: Chessher,
Dannelly, Stokes, Steele, Carr, Helms, Snell, Kirkland, Devereux,
Tarvin, Elliott, Danley, Kennedy, Franklin,
Snowden, Cook, Booker and Posey - these
surnames are embedded within the many family history volumes in the
museum's research library. Happy hunting!
- Semoise, Dees,
Williams, Native American
Descendants (available at Baker Block Museum)
- Within the
Introduction to "Native American Heritage", page 90, The Heritage of
Okaloosa County, Florida Volume II. These surnames are associated with
the Catawba Indians (1828) - Brown, Bunch, Ayers, Jeffries,
Harmon, Jones, Stephens, Williams, Scott. Additional surnames associated with the various Creek bands
in our area include: Wm. Brown, McGilveray, Feagin,
Bryant, Perryman, Butcher, Hagan, Fennell, Stanley, Bartlett, Marine,
Burns, Bryant and Moniac.
Rushing Cook Family. Henry was born 4/25/1869 in
the Escambia Farms area. Son of Matthew Malicah Cook and
Eliza Ann Steele. His mother, Eliza,
served as a midwife and used her knowledge of herbs and Native American
medicines to help people in the area. She was a descendant of the
Muscogee Nation, who were called Creek Indians by the English traders.
Family ancestors were prominent traders in the Creek nation. In order
to secure the trade in a village, these traders always married
prominent women within the tribe. Eliza's grandmother was
such a woman.
Henry Rushing Cook raised his
family in the
Shockley Springs community. He and his daughter Susie (Susie
Cook Helms) are pictured in the "Cultural Heritage
Section of this site. They are on their way to the
coast (Gulf of Mexico) to find shells which would be used as Native
American ceremonial objects - particularly to adorn gravesides. This family kept the old Indian customs and belonged to the Church
of Christ at Union Hill. A member of the Florida Tribe of Eastern Creek Indians, now
known as the Muscogee nation of Florida, the following is quoted from a
written statement she made and is on file with the Bureau of Indian
Affairs in Washington, D.C. Susie Cook Helms is the Mother
of Linda Sue Helms Chessher, wife of
sick for two weeks. When he first got sick, the Spirit of Elizabeth
(Eliza Steele Cook) his dead mother came to visit him. He said
she had a crown hanging from her arm and Medicine from her
other arm. She told him to drink the medicine and he did. His
wife, Nannie, heard him talking to her and went in to see who he was
talking to. This is when he told her his Mother (Eliza) had just
visited him and told her this story. He died just two weeks
later." (I believe) these Christian Creek Indians were much
more in touch with the spiritual world than we are today, says Nathan Chessher, the
author of this article printed in The Heritage of Okaloosa
County, Florida Volume I. See our
history section on Native Americans to learn more about burial customs.
- Thomas Elijah Chesher. The
1826 Congressional Records indicate that 18 men, including Thomas E.
Chesher, signed a petition with James Innerarity
requesting a Land Office be established in Pensacola,
The men in this group included five ancestors of the Chessher family.
James Innerarity was the agent for the Panton Leslie Trading Company
and he employed many men in the Southeastern United States in the
Indian trade. Most of the men who signed this petition worked
for Innerarity. They coexisted with the Creek Indians and
some married Creek women. After the trade ceased they
acquired cattle and ranged them back and forth across the
Florida/Alabama state line. Surnames include:
Barrow, Steele, Chesher/Chessher,
- Hathcock Family. Baldwin
County, AL. Creek Heritage. Surnames include: Gibson,
Lofton, Hollinger, Bailey Dusong, Ehlert/Elliot, Colbert, McGhee
and many more. Google or go to their website,
- The "Border
Hopping Browns." The accounts vary and finding
documentation is difficult. Family lore says that William Brown sailed
into the Choctawhatchee River and took an Indian wife. Several researchers trace their ancestry to William Brown's children:
Charles, Laborn, Henry, Allen, and John Brown. They believe
that the Browns were active in both Native American and U.S.
politics. They became known to the local Creek Indians as the "Border
Hopping Browns" because, at one time, the family was on the run from
bounty hunters. They moved back and forth across state lines
- Georgia, Alabama, Florida - to avoid detection and there are no
records of their exact locations before 1850. There are several
articles on these particular Brown families in the Florida county
heritage books found in our local libraries, and the museum's research
McGhee. The first formal leader in the
sense of a single leader with a definite title and a clearly defined role was
Calvin McGhee, who was chosen in 1950. A charismatic leader, McGhee led the
Poarch community until his death in 1970. He also led a wider land claims
movement among Eastern Creek descendants, resulting from the illegal tactics of
the Treaty of Fort Jackson. He traveled the area collecting family names and
data of people known to be Native American. A copy of the handwritten volume is
available in the Genealogy Section of the Pensacola Florida Public Library, as
well as, other locations. It is an extraordinary work with many, many names.
Andrew Ramsay . Andrew Ramsay: A Creek Native American,
Andrew Ramsey was born in 1923 and grew up in Blountstown, Florida. His family
ancestors settled Calhoun County in 1815. Andrew’s Indian name is Vntolv Harjo
and under this name he was chief of the Miccosukee band of the Apalachicola
One of Andrew’s earlier jobs entailed keeping
the free roaming cows and hogs out of his father’s grocery store. After
attending college at FSU and receiving his Ph.D., Andrew returned to Blountstown
to train elementary schoolteachers and remained a lifelong educator. He is now
the state historian for Apalachicola Creek Indians and runs the grocery business
started by his father. Dr. Ramsey’s paternal grandmother advised her son to
start a “rolling store” with some dry goods and a mule—a store that in 2005 is
the Blountstown Piggly Wiggly.
Services. Baker Block Museum. Corner Hwy 189 & Rt. 4. Baker,