Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A Final Rejection and the Emergence of a Fake Tribe

In the last post, False Heirs: The Gardner Green Estate, the claim to a fortune made by the Green family of Boone County, Missouri was discussed. This Green family claimed they were the descendants of a Cherokee man named Gardner Green and that the United States was holding a fortune of his to be paid out to them if they could prove their claim. Instead of probating the claim, as anyone who was claiming heirship to a fortune would, the Green family filed Eastern Cherokee applications, the applications required for those who made claim to a share of the money the U.S. Court of Claims awarded the Cherokees (or their heirs) who remained in the eastern homelands until after the Treaty of New Echota. Those Cherokees were considered parties to that treaty and therefore entitled to a share of the funds. No single Cherokee was entitled to all the money and no single Cherokee family was entitled to it all despite the story repeatedly told by the Green family.

The Green family filed 241 Eastern Cherokee applications for 552 claims (children were paid a share if approved but were listed on their parents' applications.) ALL were rejected.

The Eastern Cherokee applications filed that claimed descent from "Gardner Green" are below. The two final claimants appear to have no connection to the Green family from Missouri. That indicates people were finding a name on the 1835 Cherokee Roll and claiming on it whether they were truly related to that person or not. After all, if the claims on Gardner Green were authentic claims, the family lineages should have matched. They didn't.

Remember, ALL the applications filed by the Green family were rejected. Guion Miller, the commissioner appointed by the United States to oversee the roll and payments, wrote an extensive report on why the applications were rejected. First, the testimony given by numerous claimants conflicted with testimony given by other claimants. Second, the Greens claimed Gardner Green, their ancestor, was very old. He would have had great grandchildren born before the Treaty of New Echota and none of his purported children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren had ever lived in the Cherokee domain. Third, Guion Miller did not believe the Gardner Green claimed by the Green family was the same Gardner Green found on the 1835 based on the family description, though he admitted it was only supposition that he believed the male listed as under 18 was the child of Gardner Green.

The full report of Guion Miller is below:

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Though Guion Miller had limited resources at the time he made his decision on the family's claim, today we have numerous documents available and can confirm this family was correctly rejected. The man listed as Gardner Green on the 1835 was Young Wolf, son of Mouse. He could not have been the progenitor of the Green family from Boone County, Missouri.

After multiple rejections, by both the Cherokee Nation officials and the agents of the U.S. government, the false claim by the Green family should have come to an end. Unfortunately, it didn't.

Today, approximately 110 years after being rejected by Guion Miller, the Green family descendants still claim to be Cherokee. They, along with others, created a fraudulent tribe that has splintered into additional fraudulent tribes. While the idea of fake tribes may sound funny, it isn't. Recently, one of the Green family "tribes" has caused a tremendous amount of harm. 

They have threatened to destroy Rocky Miller, a Missouri state legislator and citizen of the Cherokee Nation, for sponsoring a law to protect the consumers of Missouri from being tricked into purchasing fake Indian art. They have launched an online smear campaign against the Missouri Archaeological Society, Inc. for cancelling the speaking engagement of one of their members when the Society learned that person was not legitimately Cherokee. They have used their fake tribal cards to apply for and receive government contracts intended for minorities. Most recently, their group members threatened an Eastern Band Cherokee when he asked to speak at their event to explain that what was being presented as Cherokee culture was, in fact, not authentic Cherokee culture.

This farce must end!

It will end.

My next few posts will show the emergence of a fake tribe, through documents and other sources, while also sharing the accurate history of this fake tribe, the non-profit group that calls itself the "Northern Cherokee Nation", headquartered in Clinton, Missouri.  You don't want to miss this. Please stay tuned for more on this story, the legacy of Young Wolf, and what we can learn from it all.

Those are my thoughts for today.
Thanks for reading.

*Please click on images to enlarge.

*Video clip used with permission. Credit: Chris Penick

Previous posts in this series:

copyright 2018, Polly's Granddaughter - TCB

Monday, July 23, 2018

False Heirs: The Gardner Green Estate

In 1907, the town of Moberly, Missouri was abuzz with excitement over some of its citizens being heirs to a fortune. According to Jim Green, an heir and tonsorial artist at the Oak Barber Shop, the descendants of Gardner Green were gathering in order to try to settle an estate worth 4 1/2 million dollars that they had a claim on. He said the money was in the U.S. Treasury in Washington D.C. and they, the family, had spent several thousand dollars trying to take possession of it but had, thus far, been unsuccessful.

Moberly Weekly Democrat, Moberly, MO, July 26, 1907, p.3.
Other articles made it abundantly clear, this was the same Green family who had unsuccessfully tried to gain citizenship in the Cherokee Nation in 1896. They were trying to "take possession" of an estate they insisted belonged to their purported ancestor, a Cherokee named Gardner Green.

Moberly Weekly Democrat, Moberly, MO, August 6, 1907, p.6.

It's unclear why the Green family claimed they were heirs to such a large fortune, but their story evolved over time and changed into something more shocking and nefarious. They no longer claimed to simply be heirs to a fortune, but instead, claimed to be a tribe called the "Eastern Cherokees" and that they, the descendants of Gardner Green, alone formed what was called the "Eastern Cherokees." They also claimed Congress appropriated four and half million dollars to them for their shares of the Cherokee land taken in the east.

Moberly Weekly Monitor, Moberly, MO, August 25, 1908, p.3.

We know, for certain, that the Green family were not heirs to the money the U.S. Court of Claims awarded the "Eastern Cherokees" in 1906. That money was owed to the Cherokees for unpaid funds due them from the forced removal. Those funds were to be paid out per capita to Cherokees and/or their descendants who were entitled to them.  

To make this point perfectly clear, the money the United States paid was for the entire citizenry of the Cherokee tribe who remained in the eastern homelands until after the Treaty of New Echota. 

The term "Eastern Cherokee" did not strictly apply to the modern day Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, though it did include them. "Eastern Cherokee" certainly did not indicate descent from the Cherokee scholar named Gardner Green by the Moravians. Even if it would have, the Green family from Missouri were not his descendants.

From the first post in this series, we already know that the Gardner Green listed on the 1835 Census of the Cherokee Nation was actually Young Wolf, son of Mouse. We also know that Young Wolf died in 1837, leaving only two heirs, his wife, Aley, and young son, Ooahhusky. His estate, valued at $383.50, was divided between his two heirs in 1838. The Gardner Green Estate claimed by the Green family of Missouri was fictitious. Therefore they were false heirs.

From the second post in the series, we know that the Green family from Missouri who claimed descent from the Cherokee Gardner Green could not have descended from Young Wolf. Even though they failed in their attempt to gain citizenship in the Cherokee Nation in 1896, eleven years later, the same family again tried to claim Young Wolf as their ancestor in order to try to get money.

The next post will explore the documents filed by the Green family in their attempt to obtain their mythological fortune. Stay tuned for more on Young Wolf, his legacy, and what we can learn from it all.

Those are my thoughts for today.
Thanks for reading.

copyright 2018, Polly's Granddaughter - TCB

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Identity Fraud: Ghosting Gardiner Green

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, ghosting is "pretending to be a deceased individual for monetary gain." Fifty-nine years after his death, Young Wolf, also known as Gardiner Green, was figuratively stolen from his grave, propped up in a family tree, and ghosted, but in a different way than we see today. Instead of stealing his identity for themselves, a family stole his identity and exchanged it for the identity of their long dead grandfather in a way that might bring them personal gain.

In 1896, a Congressional Act made it possible for people not recognized as citizens of the Cherokee Nation (and the other four "Civilized Tribes") to apply to the Dawes Commission for citizenship in the Nation. The Commission then began receiving letters from all over the United States asking how people could "get on the rolls" and "get Indian land." A letter, dated July 8, 1896, with the instructions on how to apply for citizenship was published in newspapers all over the U.S.

Muskogee Phoenix, July 16, 1896

According to Kent Carter's The Dawes Commission and the Allotment of the Five Civilized Tribes, 1893 - 1914, applications poured into the Commission and "...there were thousands of people who were very interested in the citizenship process; the July 8 circular produced a tidal wave of paper that overwhelmed the commission's three clerks. Many local lawyers had application blanks printed and charged their clients whatever they could to present them to the commission. In a classic understatement, [one commissioner] reported that the amount of "work has exceeded all expectations" and required "an immense amount of clerical work in correspondence, filing papers, numbering and indexing cases, and putting in form for permanent record and preservation all the proceedings pertaining to each case.""

In simple terms, there were a lot of people trying to gain citizenship in the Five Civilized Tribes, many more than anyone expected, and it was nearly impossible to process all of the applications by the deadlines set by Congress. 

One of the cases, Squire Green et al, was for the Green family of Missouri with most of the applicants living in Boone County. Their case included no evidence other than notarized statements by family members who swore their ancestor, Gardner Green, was on the 1835 Census of the Cherokee Nation.

One testimony, the first in the long file, claimed Gardner Green was the son of Benjamin Green and brother of James Green, the ancestor of all the claimants. It is unclear how this witness, TBH Green, is connected to the Green family of Missouri, but he insists they are his relation and that he knew Benjamin Shadrick Green, who was a Cherokee Indian. His testimony has the characteristics of those given by professional witnesses (paid witnesses who testified to whatever one wanted in a citizenship case.)

Squire Green et al, 1896 Citizenship application
Squire Green et al, 1896 Citizenship application

If this testimony were true (it's not), the Greens would not have been eligible because one had to be a direct descendant of a Cherokee.

The remainder of the applications, if any written testimony was given, suggested Gardner Green was the father of Benjamin Green who was the father of James Green, the ancestor of all the claimants.

Squire Green et al, 1896 Citizenship application

Every applicant claimed they were "Cherokee Indian by blood deriving the same from" Gardner Green who lived on Rockey Creek, Murray County, in the state of Georgia.

Squire Green et al, 1896 Citizenship application

There were 29 applications for approximately one hundred people. Those applications were filed by:

Names in red are the purported great grandchildren of Young Wolf, aka Gardiner Green

Their family tree from Gardner Green to the five living children of James Green that filed applications in 1896 (there were others living who did not file) would look like this:
There was only one Gardner Green listed on the 1835 Census of the Cherokee Nation. That man was Young Wolf, son of Mouse. As explained in this post, he was born in 1809 and was, at most, 28 years old when he died in 1837. He only had two heirs when he died, his wife, Aley, and his son, Ooahhusky who was born c. 1831.

In order for the Green family claimants to have been descendants of the "Gardner Green" on the 1835 roll, they would have had to descend through Young Wolf's only child, Ooahhusky. If the claim the Greens made was factual, then Ooahhusky would have been the father of James and the grandfather of Nancy, Squire, Louisa, Eli, and Margret. As you can see by the dates, the claim cannot be true. 

Ooahhusky was born two years AFTER Nancy Green, his purported granddaughter, and one year before Squire Green, his purported grandson.  He was born 42 years AFTER his purported son, James Green, was born. It is physically impossible for Ooahhusky to have been the father of James or grandfather of Nancy, Squire, Eli, Louisa, and Margret. None of these Green claimants descended from Ooahhusky or Young Wolf, aka Gardiner Green. 

So how did the Green claimants know "Gardner Green" was on the 1835 roll if they did not descend from him? It's simple. They, or someone they knew, looked at the roll and noticed  there was a Green on it. There were copies of the 1835 roll available for people to review. Thomas Skaggs, the notary public on nearly all of the 1896 claims the Green family filed, was also a claimant for citizenship in 1896, but through a different Cherokee. In a letter he wrote to Guion Miller years later, Skaggs said he was the one who found out about the "...Gardner Green decendants being entitled."

Eastern Cherokee Application, Thomas M. Skaggs, 36571

Also, on an Eastern Cherokee application filed years later by Green claimant, Martha Rosana Brown, the applicant wrote "gardner greens name is on page 188th of the roll 1835 taken in the state of georgia" in a response to Guion Miller when he needed additional information to process her claim.

Eastern Cherokee application, Martha Rosana Brown, 2033

If those pieces of evidence are not enough to convince you they looked at the roll and picked a name, there are also the 1896 claims themselves. Remember in school when kids would get caught copying each other? They never got caught if they got the answers right. It was copying a wrong answer that doomed them. That is what dooms the Green claimants as well.

There are a couple of things on the 1835 roll concerning Gardiner Green that they did not know. First, his name is spelled incorrectly. The census taker left out the letter "I". After his name change to Gardiner Green, Young Wolf's name was always spelled with an "I" by the Moravians. Not one self proclaimed descendant spelled his name with an "I". Instead they spelled it exactly as it was recorded on the 1835 roll.

The other thing the claimants didn't realize is that Young Wolf lived on ROCK Creek, not Rocky Creek. The only record that lists him as living on Rocky Creek is the 1835 roll. The other records of him made during his lifetime list him as living on ROCK Creek. Again, it appears the self proclaimed descendants copied where he lived as it was recorded on the 1835 roll rather than actually knowing where he lived.

Clearly this Green family claim was not a legitimate claim.

The Cherokee Nation attorneys correctly responded to the Green applicants' file with the following:

"Respondent not waiving his aforesaid demurrer, but insisting upon the same for answer to said application, says that Gardner Green through whom the petitioner claims to derive his right to citizenship in the Cherokee Nation, is not now, and has not been a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, since the removal of the said Nation, west to the Indian Territory as at present located and defined; that his name does not appear on any of the authenticated rolls of said Nation; that he nor any of his ancestors now reside, or ever have resided in the Cherokee Nation and Indian Territory, as citizens thereof."

Squire Green et al, 1896 Citizenship application

The Greens did not obtain their desired citizenship.

One might hope that would have been the end of it and Young Wolf could have been left alone to rest in peace. Sadly that is not the case. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned for the next post about Young Wolf, his legacy, and what we can learn from it all.
Those are my thoughts for today.
Thanks for reading.

Click on images to enlarge.

For additional information on Young Wolf, Son of Mouse, please click here.

copyright 2018, Polly's Granddaughter - TCB