by Ralph Clark
It seems that nearly every Arrowood descendant has some family tradition of descent from a Cherokee ancestor. Alas, however, an actual documented Cherokee Arrowood, or spouse of an Arrowood, seems as elusive as Bigfoot. I've undertaken here to list some facts, traditions, stories, and rumors about the subject.
Apart from Cherokee Arrowoods, there is a tradition of a couple of Anderson spouses who were said to be "full Cherokee." I've included them in the discussion where information has been discovered.
There are some real, documented Cherokee Arrowoods, though not of the generation to which most descendants attribute their presumed ancestry.
- In 1870 in Cherokee County, NC, James A. Arrowood married Cornelia Cherokee Powell. Cornelia and her five Arrowood children appear on a list of North Carolina Cherokees who removed to the Cherokee Nation 22 October 1881.(1) James is listed on a related document as one who settled on the Indian Nation land by right of wife.
Indicative of the frustration confronting Cherokee searchers, in the 1880 census of Cherokee County, all members of James's family are listed as white. However, the four year old son, Fred, was enumerated a second time in the home of his maternal grandmother, where everyone in the household, including Fred, was listed as Indian race.
Stories and rumors of Cherokee ancestry abound.
- Elizabeth Anderson who married William Arrowood whose family settled in Coryell County, Texas, was said to be "full Cherokee."
- The mother of Nathan Lewis Arrowood is said to be Cherokee.
- The wife of Benjamin Arrowood was rumored to be Cherokee.
- As a boy, the author heard that his great grandfather, Sterling Barrett. was 1/8 Cherokee (making the author proud of every 64th drop of blood). More recently some family member claimed that Sterling's mother, Malinda Arrowood, was very dark complected, a full Cherokee. But this seems given the lie by her father's army enlistment record, in which he's described as blue-eyed. So the author favors the original version, which would mean that the first wife of James Arrowood would have been half Cherokee. This story is given credence by the 1817-19 tax lists of White County, Tennessee, where some of the people among whom James was listed had traditional Indian sounding names.
There are various rolls and lists of members of the Cherokee tribe.
- An official US census of the Cherokee Nation conducted in 1835 in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee(2) showed nobody named Arrowood, Anderson, or Powell.
Contributions of information appropriate to this page will be gratefully received.
Notes and References
1. Boyce D. Timmons and Alice Tyner Timmons, eds., Supplement to the 1880 Authenticated Rolls of the Cherokee Nation
(Chi-Ga-U, Inc., 1980).
2. James W. Tyner, ed., Those Who Cried - The 16,000 - A record of the individual Cherokees listed in the United States official census of the Cherokee Nation conducted in 1835 (Chi-Ga-U, Inc., 1974).