It has been quite some time now since the Crane Eater fiasco yet I have not heard back from John E. Worth, The Coosawattee Foundation. Since it has been publicly pointed out that "a representative of the Foundation and a noted archaeologist says the relationship (between Crane Eater and the Keith family) is real. The Cherokee researcher says it was not", I contacted Dr. Worth for more information on February 10, 2011.
I have decided to contact you personally since this claim of Cherokee ancestry by the Keith family seems to not fit the evidence my fellow Cherokee historian and genealogist, David Cornsilk, and I have uncovered. XXXXX, a researcher of the Keith family, asked David to look at something for her and he asked me to do some research since he had other more pressing issues. XXXXX is basing her claim on something you wrote.
What we found was first, the Guion Miller application filed by William Loranzo Dow Keith was rejected. That is usually a good sign the family could provide no evidence they actually descended from the person they claimed to descend from. Lawyers were traveling all over the country telling people the Cherokees were going to get money and that they had no records, so for a small fee, the lawyer could get a family some of the money. Of course, the Cherokees had very good records and nearly all of the fraudulent applications were rejected. It is very unusual to find a real Cherokee who had a lawyer file their claim for them, but very common to see a white who was eventually rejected use one. William LD Keith did have a lawyer. He also wrote letters to Guion Miller and it was clear he was in need of money. These things make his application very suspect and not a good source to use for claims of Cherokee ancestry.
Also, the births of the children the family claims were those of Crane Eater were not born in Cherokee Nation, but instead, on land ceded to the United States by the Creek Indians. The evidence we have seen says the family didn't move into Cherokee Nation until 1839, after the Cherokees were rounded up and forced to leave.
The Crane Eater I researched had 11 full bloods in his family. William LD Keith claimed his grandfather was full blood, but that his grandmother was white. This would make all the children mixed bloods and the grandmother an intermarried white. This family does not fit the description of the Crane Eater family. Also, the Crane Eater family was living in Cherokee Nation in 1835 while the James Keith family was living in Meriwether, GA at that time, so this appears to be two completely different families who have no connection at all.
We have not found the names of the Keiths on any of the rolls taken of the Cherokees who stayed in the east, but we have learned that one Keith researcher says this James Keith who fathered and grandfathered this family received land in the land lottery. I am in the process of trying to find that information myself since I have not seen it.
Do you have anything other than the claim filed by William L.D. Keith that says James Keith and Crane Eater are the same man? If so, I would be interested in it if you would be willing to share it.
Thank you for your time.
Those are my thoughts for today.
Thanks for reading.
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