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African-Native American Genealogy Forum


Greetings Alaina,

Your genealogy is very complex from the information I know in the sense that all of the surnames you mention have extensive and large family attachments.

I suspect with the names you mentioned especially those listed here you will have connections to a great deal of the Chickasaw Freedmen descendants who post and read this board, including me. So it may be necessary to really be precise and expansive in your query, (meaning full names, places of birth, residence and dates and most importantly Dawes Card numbers not the Dawes enrollment number.)

My name is Alaina Roberts. I am just beginning my search for information on my family. It seems that at least several of you are familiar with the Chickasaw/Choctaw Freedmen family ROBERTS, that is also connected to the clans: Pickens, Abram, Cohee, McGee, Anderson, Franklin, Brown, Jackson, Johnson, Taylor, Wates, Clay, Colbert, Stevenson, etc. My great grandfather is Willie Roberts, a Choctaw Freedmen roll # and my great grandmother Theresa Gatewood ...

These appear to be your major lines of ancestry but from what I know there are probably auxiliary lines missing but you would have to provide more information i.e., on the McGEE, TAYLOR, STEVENSON, FRANKLIN and ROBERTS lines I can think of several surnames that tie into them that may or may not have a direct line to you.

The ancestry that I currently have information on is:
My great great grandmother is on the Dawes Roll is on the Chickasaw Freedmen roll, and my family believes that it is she who was native, or if not, a relative a few generations back, by the name of Alice James (James was her married name). My grandfather is Loron Roberts Sr., born August 26, 1923 in Gene Autry, Oklahoma. Loron Roberts Sr. married Garnola Marie Wilson, born in Baley, Oklahoma.

Alaina, the fact that your ancestor is on the freedmen roll indicates she is of African descent. Despite that she/they could very well have Chickasaw or Choctaw ancestry and from the surnames you have provided there is a good chance you will discover that genealogy. If you look on the rear of the Dawes card you may see references to that fact. For example the surnames of McGee, Stevenson, & Roberts appear in your genealogy and have been known to have members who would be considered “African-Native.” Hopefully being “Indian” is not your goal but discovering your family’s genealogy should be your focus (I’m just sayin’.)

The father of Loron Roberts Sr. was Willie Roberts, born Feb 1, 1884 in Berwyn, Oklahoma (Indian Territory). He died May 31, 1986. He married Theresa Gatewood on December 22, 1904 in Berwyn, Oklahoma. Theresa Gatewood was born July 24, 1892 (?) and died September 12, 1957
The GATEWOOD surname is another example of your ancestry being associated with Chickasaw “blood.”
[[This is where I really need the research - the generations after Willie & Theresa. I need both of their sides looked into]]

Sounds like you haven’t done much in the way of census research? You should be able to follow the Gatewood/Roberts line from 1930 back to the Dawes roll. Most of the Freedmen remained in the rural area of Berwyn (Gene Autry), Newport, Milo, so the communities remained intact for at least 4 to 5 decades allowing you to locate them in the census records. Again if you will provide information on their Dawes Cards and head of household we can better assist you.

Willie Roberts' father was Jack Roberts who was born in 1858 in Indian Territory. He died in 1929. He married Alice James in 1875 in Tishomingo, Indian Territory, Oklahoma. Alice James was born April 22, 1863 in Indian Territory. Her father was Frank James. My family believes she was related to the infamous Jesse James.
Good Luck on that “infamous Jesse James connection”
Jack Roberts' father was Ned Roberts who was born in 1833 in Marshall County, Mississippi. He was married to Sarah, who was Native American, but we don't know what tribe.

For the record there is a great possibility that if Sarah was Native American none of the Roberts clan would be on the freedmen rolls, but don’t exclude it. From a quick glance at some info it appears you have ancestors on the Choctaw and Chickasaw Freedmen rolls. If I were you, I would try and gather all the information on my family before I began drawing conclusions on whether they were or were not Indian, if that is in the records it will emerge.
Your job right now is to take those family oral stories and locate the information available, not make the information fit the oral story.

The mother of Theresa Gatewood (wife of Willie Roberts) was Josephine (Josie) Jackson. I believe she was married to Frank Gatewood, but I'm not sure. Frank was either Theresa's father or grandfather. Josephine Jackson's mother was Lydia Jackson, who had been a slave to an Indian. We think Lydia Jackson's maiden name might have been Love, and therefore she might have been related to the Chickasaw Loves (of which there are a few), but we're not sure.

Alaina, as I recall and it’s been a long time since I looked at the Gatewood/Jackson records Frank was Theresa’s father, if you look on the rear of her card that information is there for you. The Dawes Cards can provide possibly three generations of information. The front of the card will list head of household and the relationship to head of household for everyone else listed. On the rear of the card information is provided on the parents of everyone on the front. That is why it is important you provide some detailed information on the card # so we can help you.

My main leads are:
- Ben Love (possibly husband of Lydia Love aka Lydia Jackson, mother of Josephine Jackson, mother of Theresa Gatewood?)
- Sarah. She was married to Ned Roberts around 1840s and Ned was the father of Jack Roberts, father of Willie Roberts (a Choctaw freedman)

Look, Colonel Benjamin Love was having babies (like all his other male relatives and associates) with enslaved women all over the Chickasaw Nation. You may want to give up the notion that this was a mutually agreed upon relationship but this in no way diminishes the value, legitimacy and morality of the woman or her children, it is more a statement on the men, the Indian nations and the institution of slavery. They devalued African woman and then denied their own children while allowing themselves to feel superior. This also does not devalue you as a descendant of an enslaved human so embrace your African heritage don’t think for a minute by saying your ancestor’s were “Indian” that you will somehow become ‘magically delicious,” ain’t gonna happen.

If you have any more information you have that you think might be useful to me, please respond. I am particularly interested in the Loves (I believe Ben Love was my great great great grandfather) and that his wife had Indian ancestry.

I’m certain we can help you but you are going to have to help us help you!

I just want to make sure that the stories I've been told my entire life about having Native ancestry are not just tales. I'm very involved in the Native community at my school, and I just want to make sure that I'm really in the right place.

Just a thought, you say you are “very involved in the Native Community” are they very involved with you? I ask because sometimes that is a one way street, how invested in the black community? Not judging just curious.
Thank you in advance for any help.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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