Grandma's Family History

The Cherokee Maneys

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by Ken Schoonmaker


The Maney family of western North Carolina has presented many problems, to the genealogist.  Because of widespread illiteracy in the family and in the areas in which they settled, especially in the late 1800s, spellings of names and accuracy of dates have been random.  It is not uncommon for the age of an individual to vary widely from census to census, from Cherokee roll to roll.  Even while still living with their parents, the ages and even the order of birth of the children differ from report to report.


Concerning names, spelling variations are generally able to be surmounted, but it seems there was a common practice for a person to be given a name and a middle name, then to be known by the middle name while using the formal one for documents.


Sylvester Bettis Maney [B-25] provides an example:


1850 census: Silvester, 8

1860 census: Silvester B., 17

Swetland Roll (1869): Sylvester B., 24

1870 census: Silvester B., 25

1880 census: S.B., 39

Hester Roll (1883): Sylvester B., 40

1900 Census: Sylvester B., b. May 1840, 60

Cherokee Application (Sep., 1906):

Betis Sylvester, b. Dec. 1845

Cherokee Appl. Supplement (May, 1907):

Bettis S., b. 1844


Known to his family and friends as Bettis, his date of birth is obviously a conjecture.


This volume will use as a basis of birth and age occasional similarities, assuming that the earliest reports are probably more accurate.  Variances will also be presented. Underlined names are those by which the individuals appear to have been generally known.




MARTIN MANEY B. Ireland,[1] ca. 1748, d. April 15, 1830. Married near Jonesboro, East Tennessee, Sep., 1781,[2] KEZIAH VANN (b. ca. 1763, d. Yancey County, NC, Dec. 20, 1849), daughter of JOHN VANN and AGNES WETHERFORD." [3]  Children:[4]

A-l Nancy, 1783

A-2 John, 1785

A-3 Martin, Jr., b. Oct. 28, 1787, d. pre 1819

A-4 William, 1797

A-5 Elizabeth, b. Mar. 22, 1798, d. pre 1810.

A-6 James, ca.1804                    


Martin was supposedly born in Dublin, Ireland.[5]   When, and under what circumstances he came to this country is not recorded.


Records in the National Archives show that he served 13 days between May 25, 1776, and Apr. 30, 1777, in Capt. James Knox's Co. of the 8th Va. Regt., for which he drew 17 shillings, 4 pence.  On that company's payroll is the remark that he deserted June 7.  By Jan. 1, 1778, he had enlisted for three years in the 9th Va. Regt. of Foot, commanded by Lt. Col. Surges Ball.  Pay and muster rolls show his service as a private through May 1778.


In affidavits, Martin said that about Dec. 4, 1775, he enlisted at the Long Island of the Holston River in Washington Co., NC (now Tenn.), for two years in the 8th Va. Regt. under Capt. James Knox and General Muhlenburg.  He spent the two years in service, including participating in the battles of Monmouth, Germantown and White Plains, before being discharged at Valley Forge.  He enlisted again, for three years, in the fall of 1779, in Capt. Barry's Co. of the 9th Va. Regt., commanded by Col. George Mathews.  After the three years of duty, again at Valley Forge, he was discharged.[6]


Just prior to his discharge he married.  An affidavit of his wife, dated Oct. II, 1843, states that at the time they were married he was one of a company of Cavalry that was stationed at Campbell's Station on the waters, of Big Limestone Creek.  He left service soon after his marriage.[7]


On the basis of his Revolutionary service, Martin was a pensioner receiving $90 a year under the Act of 1818.  His widow, Keziah, received $80 a year beginning on Mar. 4, 1843.


Keziah was the daughter of Agnes Weatherford, a white woman who lived in cohabitation with John Vann, a part Cherokee and interpreter for the Cherokee nation.  Two children were the result of this union: Keziah and a son, also named John Vann.  It is said that following the desertion of her by Vann, Agnes married a white man named Burrilson by whom she had numerous children.[8] Agnes still lived in 1819, and possibly in the 1840s, aged “about 100 years.”[9]


Martin returned to US service in 1782 when he was drafted for about a three-month tour of duty under Capt. James Wilson and Col. Sevier.  This group was active against the Tories and their Indian allies in the area of the Tennessee River.  Keziah stayed with her mother near Jonesville, Tenn., while he was gone.[10] (This tour was probably the basis of the family tradition, which arose that Martin decapitated one of the Indians in battle.)

Following Martin's service against the Indians, he was frequently out as a scout, but not on any regular tour of service.


Martin settled down with his growing family in western North Carolina.  In the census of 1810, he is shown living in Buncombe Co. (p. 77) with, apparently, his wife (26-45), and sons William (10-16) and James (under 10).


One of his neighbors at that time must have been Nehemiah Blackstock, who was living in 1858 when he told Charles Mix, a representative of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, how Martin temporarily settled in Tennessee after the treaty of 1817 granted land to the Cherokees.  Mr. Blackstock said,


that after the treaty was made, he jestingly remarked to Martin, who lived very near him, that he ought to go to Sweet Water in Tennessee and lay claim to some of the fine lands there, in right of his Indian connection.   This term was used as a reproach, and was the cause of frequent broils between the young men of the family and their associates.  He replied that he despised the Cherokees so much, that he never wanted to have anything to do with them.  He, however, left the neighborhood very soon and did not return for several years.  He had then, four children, John, William, James and Nancy, now Nancy Metcalf who all alive [sic.].   It appears that when they left what was then Buncombe County, as spoken of by Mr. Blackstock, they did go to Sweet Water in Monroe County, Tennessee, at least, all except Mrs. Metcalf; and that the father, John and William, laid

claim to and succeeded in obtaining reservations. James did not as he was not the head of a family, being very young....[11]


The Maneys were not on a list of people entitled to receive reservations, and evidently had trouble procuring them.  After two or three years, in common with many others, they

left Sweetwater, evidently forced out by encroachments by, and compulsions of, whites.  Martin claimed he left because of the difficulty of establishing his wife's rights.  Others claimed that he departed because of a murder.


William Maney, son of Martin, was accused of killing Andrew Miller, a Cherokee by marriage and adoption.  They apparently fought over boundary lines.


William was arraigned for this offense before the Federal Court at Knoxville, and convicted; but was granted a new trial and before the taking place of which he made his escape by breaking jail.[12]


On July 31, 1818, Martin was living in Blount Co., Tenn.[13]  Soon thereafter he and his family moved to Buncombe (now Madison) Co., NC, where they settled on the Paint Fork of the Little Ivy River.  When he applied for a pension in 1821, Martin stated that his family consisted of his wife, aged 56, his son (James), 17, and himself, 69. "I have no occupation but that of farmer and am rendered incapable of pursuing that through weakness of eyesight."  He further stated that he was not owed any debts, and that his property consisted of:


Two Small Horse [?] Beasts                             $80.00

6 Pewter Plates                                                    3.00

I Do [Ditto] Dish                                                  1.00

3  - 1/2  Gallon  Pewter Basins                 1.00

I Gallon Do                                                          1.00

5 Knives & Six Forks                                            .50

1 small [?] spoon                                                  1.00

                                                                        $87.50 [14]


Nine years later Martin died and was buried in the Maney family cemetery at Paint Fork.  His wife joined him nineteen years later. The DAR have erected a monument at his grave.




A-1      NANCY MANEY, b. Oct. 24, 1783.  Married ABSALOM METCALF (b. VA., ca 1775), son of JAMES METCALF. Children:

B-1  Keziah, b. ca 1805/07

B-2  Hiram, b. ca 1809

B-3  Elizabeth, b. ca 1812

Absalom is said to have been a soldier in the war of 1812. In 1800 and 1810 censuses, Absalom Metcalf and his family were living in Buncombe Co. NC.  Since Absalom was 26-45, as was the female in his household in 1800, Nancy was possibly his second wife.  1840 and 1850 censuses show them living in Yancey County, NC.


In the Terrell index of Cherokees (1860), Nancy was listed, age 70, living in Cherokee Co., NC.


 A-2     JOHN MANEY, b. Feb. 11, 1785, d. ca 1876/77.  Married MARY (POLLY) METCALF (b. Buncombe CO., NC, ca 1793, d. 1882), daughter of  JAMES METCALF. Children:

B-4      Martin Burlison, 1812

B-5      John Jackson, 1814

B-6      Mary (Polly) Caroline, ca. 1816

B-7      Sarah (Sally) Elizabeth, ca. 1819

B-8      Lucinda, ca. 1822

B-9      Sally Keziah, ca. 1824

B-10    James Harrison, ca. 1825

B-11    William D., ca. 1827

B-12    Nancy, ca. 1828

B-13    Barnett L., ca. 1830

B-14    Madison G., ca. 1833

8-15     George Washington, ca. 1835

B-16    Lorenzo M., 1837

(Birthrates and the order of birth of his children are confused and will be discussed under their individual listings.)                                            


John was described as "of dark complexion" in 1858.[15]  In 1907, Rev. Wesley Sutton saying he knew John Maney, said, "His hair, skin, shape of head, cheek bones and actions

all showed to be strongly marked as an Eastern Cherokee Indian.”[16]


He is said to have served in the War of 1812.   (The only family name in the National Archives listing of soldiers from NC in the War of 1812 was a James Manny who served as a private in the I Regt. [McDonald's] of the MC Militia, and his papers are filed under the name of Manning.)  A grandson stated that John received a land warrant for land in western Tennessee as a result of 3that service, but that by undue means, the land was lost.[17]   Perhaps the land John G. Maney was referring to was on the Cherokee reservation near Sweetwater, Tenn.


With his father and brother, John laid claim to, and obtained land in, Sweetwater about 1817-19.  He had left the lands by 1823 due to problems.  The board of commissioners, under the treaty of 1835, did not grant him an allowance because he had sold his reservation[18] to William Dillard.[19]


Censuses of 1820 (p. 98) and 1830 (p. 287) show him living with his family in Buncombe Co., NC.  In the 1830s, Yancey Co. was formed from Buncombe, and it is in Yancey Co. that he is located in 1840 (p. 270) and 1850 (p. 449(.  He lived in Paint Fork of Little Ivy.   In the 1850s, Yancey Co. was split, with Madison Co. being created from it.   In 1870, John and his wife were living in Township #4 of Madison Co. with their son, George (p. 17).                                


He is said by this son, George H., to have died in 1876.[20] However, an affidavit by another son, Martin Burlison, in 1896, said John died in 1877.[21]


Polly (Metcalf) Maney has her maiden name given, at times, as Polly Madcap.   Various applications to the Eastern Cherokees in 1906-7, state that both Polly and John were born in either Buncombe or Yancey Co., MC.  The censuses of 1850, 1870 and 1880 show that she was born in either 1793 or 1794.  Various Cherokee rolls indicate she was between seven and nine years younger than John.  Son George's 1906 Cherokee application

says she died in 1882, though the Hester Roll (Jan. 1, 1883) says she was 91 and living in Democrat, NC, then.                   


A-2      JOHN MANEY m. Mary Metcalf



There have been a number of questions concerning the children of John and Mary (Polly) Maney.  Most lists appear incomplete.  Our list is a compilation with its basis in the 1851 letter- of David Siler, of the Indian Bureau, which names the 13 children of John Maney.[22]   The thirteen are again (but with Same varieties) in "Names to be added to the Siler Roll," dated Oct. 28, 1851.[23] -  Finally, the application of John Jackson Maney to the Churchill Cherokee Roll in 1906,[24] omitting his own name, names six of the son~, then adds, "six more no room for."  His brother, George W., in his application, names all thirteen, giving death dates for almost all who had died by then.  However, at least one of the death dates commonly given was incorrect, thus throwing the other dates into doubt, for all give Lorenzo's death date as Aug. 20, 1864, while he died in Aug., 1862.


[1] Letter of 1858 by Chas. Mix, Acting Comm. of Indian Affairs, to Sec. of Interior.

[2] National Archives, pension papers of Martin Maney.

[3] Mix letter, op. cit.

[4] A family list of births of five children submitted with his pension papers, National Archives.

[5] Application #14425 to Enrollment of Eastern Cherokees of John Jackson Maney [B-5], Jan. 17, 1907.

[6] Affidavit of Martin Maney, July 31, 1818, in pension papers.

[7] Affidavit of Keziah Maney, Oct. II, 1843, in pension papers.

[8] Mix letter, op. cit.

[9] National Archives Trust: Special Maney Papers, Office of Indian Affairs, 1807-1904.

[10] Keziah Maney affidavit, op. cit.

[11] Mix letter, op. cit.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Affidavit of Martin Maney, Apr. 5, 1821, in pension papers.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Mix letter, op. cit.

[16] Affidavit with East. Cherokee appl. #14866.

[17] Letter of John G. Maney with East. Cherokee appl. #14426.

[18] Mix letter, op. cit.

[19] Nat. Archives Trust, op. cit.

[20] East. Cherokee appl. #7970.

[21] Affidavit with East. Cherokee appl. #4344.

[22] National Archives.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Application #14425, National Archives.

Grandma's Family History