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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Re: Melissa Wiggins and her family

Thanks, Deloris. I'm leaning more and more toward the notion that Melissa Wiggins was part Cherokee. The Broadstreets had lived in Lawrence County Alabama from 1818 through 1840. Although that area of northwest Alabama was close to the western edge of the Cherokee, there seem to have been quite a few Cherokees there--at least, many of the early white settlers there had Cherokee wives. Even now, present-day Lawrence County has the highest percentage of Native-American population of any county in Alabama, 8.2 percent.

If Mr. Broadstreet's wife happened to have been Cherokee or part Cherokee, Melissa may have been her sister. In the 1840 census of Lawrence County, the Broadstreets are listed with 3 slaves, and 10 Free Persons of Color "age 10 and under". That is a lot of children! I'm only theorizing, but if one of those slaves was her husband, Melissa may have been inadvertently counted with him as one of the slaves. Is that even possible, or am I stretching things?

And since some of the young children in her household are listed as "black" and some "mulatto" and she herself is "mulatto", I'm supposing the father of her children was black. Her school-age children are shown in the 1850 census as able to read and write.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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