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Pleasant Rogers, Arkansas Cherokee
Posted by: Patrick Pynes (ID *****3267) Date: December 14, 2010 at 20:44:02
In Reply to: Re: pleasant rogers probate and/or guardianship papers by Joyce Atchley of 18239

Hello, Pleasant Rogers researchers

I came across your ongoing conversation (and controversy) about Pleasant Rogers while researching the Jeptha West/Millie Gentry family and their relatives.

For several years I have been exploring stories of Cherokee ancestry among the Gentrys (Tyre, David, Nathaniel) of Spartanburg/Greenville/Pendleton Districts, South Carolina, circa 1790-1800.

Of course, David Gentry is a documented Hiwassee/Arkansas Cherokee who had close connections with the mixedblood Cherokee Rogers clan, who were also Hiwassee/Arkansas Cherokees. David Gentry, John Jolly, John Rogers, Sr., and other Cherokees and whites left Hiwassee for the Cherokee Reservation in Arkansas circa 1817-1818, following the Treaty of 1817. By "Hiwassee" I mean the mouth of that river where it meets the Tennessee River, in southeast Tennessee.

David Gentry's father-in-law was John Rogers, Sr., a white trader who had several Cherokee wives. (As I'm sure you know). After David was killed by the Osage in Arkansas circa 1828, his mixedblood Cherokee wife (Diana Rogers Gentry) married Sam Houston. Houston had spent several years living with the Rogers/Jolly/Gentry group at Hiwassee before the War of 1812, while he was a boy/teenager. Years later, when he separated from his first wife and abruptly resigned as Governor of Tennessee in 1828 (?), he headed west to re-join his Cherokee friends in Arkansas. These Arkansas Cherokees were in the process of moving west into the Indian Territory, following the Treaty of 1828. It is a little known fact of history that Sam Houston was a citizen by adoption and marriage of the Cherokee Nation, West. That means that he was a Cherokee, but not by blood.

Was the Pleasant Rogers who was the father of Edith Caroline Rogers Prather a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, by blood? That is, of course, an extremely controversial question, but it is a fact that Edith Caroline Rogers Prather was enrolled by the Dawes Commission as a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, by blood. Or at least I have read that as a fact. Of course, getting on to the Dawes Roll just meant that your tribal nation and your tribal citizenship were about to be dissolved unilaterally by the United States of America. But I digress....

I have found your controversies over the Pleasant Rogers/Edith Caroline Rogers Prather relationship quite fascinating and thought- provoking. There were other people living in Hickman/Humphreys County, Tennessee, between 1820 and 1840 who also later claimed to have Cherokee heritage.

For example, the sons of William West and Isham West also applied several times for citizenship in the Cherokee Nation prior to the Dawes Roll era. Unlike the Prathers, they were denied citizenship every time. Like John Prather, father of Robert Prather, who was the husband of Edith Caroline Rogers, you will find the West brothers on the 1830 census of Hickman County, Tennessee. On this census, John Prather is living two doors down from Kincheon Perry. Perry was the father-in-law of the West brothers. On the 1840 census of Humphreys County, Tennessee, Kincheon Perry and John Prather are next door neighbors.

The West brothers' sons (one of whom was named Kincheon Perry West) claimed that William and Isham West's mother was a Cherokee woman named Millie Gentry; she married Jeptha West. According to Watt Christie and other Cherokees who testified on their behalf, Millie Gentry West's Cherokee name was Sewache, and she lived on the Hiwassee River along the Tennessee/North Carolina border. In fact, the name Sewache appears in that geographic location on the 1835 Henderson Roll, a roll that the federal government of the United States of America took prior to the forced removal of the remaining Cherokees from what was left of their ancestral homelands, following the Treaty of New Echota (1835). The documents pertaining to the Gentry/West family's unsuccessful attempts to be recognized as Cherokee citizens are 100 pages long.

Pleasant Rogers--the one who was the son of John Rogers, Sr.'s son Charles Rogers--David Gentry, Charles Rogers himself, et. al., and many other Hiwassee Cherokees emigrated to Arkansas twenty years prior to the Trail of Tears. I have not yet been able to determine what happened to Millie Gentry (Sewache)....

I found the names of Pleasant Rogers and many of his relatives in federal documents that pertain to the removal of the Arkansas Cherokees to Indian Territory. Pleasant is shown as the head of household with two other family members. This document dates from about 1830; the precise date is unclear. Pleasant Rogers is shown as part of a geographic cluster of interrelated people, including W.B. Grubbs (husband of John Rogers, Sr.'s daughter Nannie Rogers), John Rogers (Sr. or Jr?), William Rogers, Peter May (married to Nannie Rogers' daughter Alzira), Nicholas Miller (married to Susannah Rogers, sister of Diana Rogers Gentry), Little Terrapin, Young Spring Frog, John W. Flowers (husband of Diana Rogers Gentry's sister Anna), and then Pleasant. This is the actual order of names in this document. The order is clearly geographical, not alphabetical.

Obviously Pleasant Rogers, Arkansas Cherokee, was living in a kinship cluster with other Rogers family members and their spouses on the Arkansas Cherokee Reservation at this point in time.

Charles Rogers, father of Pleasant, also appears in this document, living next door to John Drew and Richard Drew, prominent mixedblood Cherokee merchants who were business associates of Sam Houston.

The "Widow Gentry" (Diana Rogers) also appears in this document, living next door to John Jolly, mixedblood, slave-holding Chief of the Arkansas Cherokees. She has not yet married Sam Houston, but he is on his way west--eventually to Texas.

These federal documents pertaining to the Arkansas Cherokees and the federal census documents for Hickman/Humphreys County, Tennessee, do not prove that "Arkansas Cherokee" Pleasant Rogers was the father of Edith Caroline Rogers Prather. However, they do suggest that E. Starr was correct with much of his historical and genealogical research. Primary historical documents like this one prove that much of Starr's research (but not all) was accurate. There can be no doubt that Pleasant Rogers was a Cherokee, and little doubt that his father was Charles Rogers, who was also a Cherokee.

It is interesting to me that the sons of Millie Gentry and their father-in-law Kincheon Perry and their other relatives by marriage (Willie Sanders, brother of Kincheon's wife) were living among the Rogers/Prathers in Hickman/Humphreys County, Tennessee, between 1830 and 1840. They must have all known one another, at least through Kincheon Perry, who also appears on the Hickman County census in 1820.

Given these and several other documents that I have not mentioned in this message, I think it is quite possible that Millie Gentry--whose sons married Kincheon Perry's daughters--was related in some way to David Gentry, an Hiwassee/Arkansas Cherokee who surely knew Charles Rogers, his wife's half-brother, and Pleasant Rogers, his wife's half-nephew.

My own direct ancestor is Tyre Gentry of South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Many of his descendants also claim to be of Cherokee descent; others deny it vehemently. Tyre's son William and Tyre's daughter Mildred Gentry Ward moved from Tennessee to Arkansas in 1817.

It is true--according to census documents and other written records--that Tyre's granddaughter Angeline Little attended missionary Sophia Sawyer's school for Cherokee girls in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in 1850, and that his grandsons Samuel Gentry Heffington, James Rector Little, and James Heffington served in the Second Cherokee Mounted Volunteers during the Civil War.

But that's another story.
I hope that I haven't muddied your waters too much.
Thanks for considering my own view of the mystery of Pleasant Rogers, Cherokee....


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