Searching for James Bain and George E. Williamson
I have few leads on these "Western Catawba Association" based out of Fort Smith. i have just 2 names that appear on many of their doucments -- James Bain/Bane and George E. Williamson, and they appeared in the late 1880s and 1890s.
There is a James Bane in thie following family --
1860 census, Bolivar County, Mississippi [note:Bolivar County borders the Mississippi River, across the river from both Desha County, Arkansas, and the mouth of the Arkansas River.]
?S. or E.? Bane 30, m, Mississippi
Elizabeth Bane, 20, f, Arkansas,
James W. Bane, 5, m, Arkansas
George Wallace Bane, 3 , m, Arkansas
Victoria Ann Bane, f, Illinois
David Greer, m, Tennessee,
Mary Greer, f, Mississippi
Randolph Bunch, 6, m, Arkansas
James Campbell, 13, m, Mississippi
Notice a child named Randolph Bunch with this family. James W. Bane is 5 years old in 1860, making him about 35 years of age in 1895 when this Western Catawba Association was making news on the Oklahoma/Arkansas line. But are these two the same person? Also --
1920 Sebastian Co,. Ark
James Bain, head, m, w, 71, Ms, Ms, Ms
Orral Bain, wife, f, w, 28, Ark, Ms, Ark
There is a James Bain in Sebastian County, Arkansas in 1920 -- Fort Smith is the seat of Sebastian County. He says he was born in Mississippi in 1920 and when he was 5 years old he was living in Mississippi. The 1860 census puts his plac of birth as Arkansas. The date of birth in 1860 appears to be 1855, and the 1920 census puts his date of birth as closer to 1849. These two james Bane/Bain's "could be" the same person. The James Bain in 1920 in Sebastian County, Arkansas is most likely the one mentioned as President of this Catawba organization.
How does "Randolph Bunch" fit in with this family? Who are the Greers living with them in 1860? Who is James Campbell? Who were the parents of these children (apparently orphaned)? Looking online, I fould little else about this person (THIS James Bain -- there are others with this name), but I have just begun to search for them. They are NOT well documented.
James Minor Bain
Oh, www.ancestry.com has several Arkansas families with a "James Minor Bain" who would have been too young to have been president of the Western Catawba Indian Association. The middle name "Minor" caught my attention.
Now for George E. Williamson. He is also mostly an undocumented man.
Williamson, George E. 1865 - 1936
Williamson, Nancy K. 1872 - 1946
This is the cemetery where George E. Williamson and wife were buried. He appears to have been fom Greenwood, Arkansas and that is one of the towns in Western Arkansas where members of this Western Catawba Association was from.
There is a second George E Williamson from Fort Smith, Arkansas
Birth: Dec. 10, 1918
Death: Apr. 12, 1998
George E Williamson
Birth Year: abt 1919
Residence: Fort Smith, Arkansas
Spouse's Name: Opal Minard
Spouse's Age: 28
Spouse's Residence: Arkoma, Oklahoma
Marriage Date: 19 May 1946
Marriage License Date: 16 May 1946
Marriage County: Sebastian
Event Type: Marriage
George E. Williamson
Last Residence: 72902 Fort Smith, Sebastian, Arkansas, United States of America
Born: 10 Dec 1918
Died: 12 Apr 1998
Opal May Williamson (____ - 2010)
Woodlawn Memorial Park
This is all I have found so far -- nothing else -- just this. Perhaps this is the son or grandson of the first George E Williamson, the one involved with the Western Catawba Association. It seems the only way to discover more about this organisations to find descendants of Bain/Bane and Williamson. If anyone is interested, or has other ideas as to how to find more about them -- please try. :) Or you can email me email@example.com
So these people did exist and they did apparently talk to Congress -- but just exactly who were they?
Records of the Moravians among the Cherokees, Early Contact and the Establishment of the First Mission, 1752-1802 Vol. 1, edited by C. Daniel Crews and Richard W. Starbuck
[A-8-1: Transcribes by Grace S. Robinson. Addressed to: Mr. Frederick Marshall. Received Nov. 19, 1786; answered Dec, 1, 1786. Handwriting is that of John Ettwein.]
P 64 --
. . . Fifty years ago a Mission was begun among the Creek Indians in Georgia. There was a fine prospect, but the Spanish War in 1739 put an end to it.
[end of quote] [note: This “Spanish War” was in the late 1730s early 1740s. This war occurred just after Oglethorpe was founding the colony of Georgia. In the original they mention Tomochichi (chief of a small band of Indians who had a village near the Moravian settlement at Ebenezer, near Savannah.) but do not say the Indians are Creek, and even make a reference to the “Uchee”. All of these early Indians disappear from history, and afterwards we hear of the Creek. Since today the Euchee/Yuchi live with the Creek it is very possible that these Uchee near Savannah also merged with them. Early records talk of an Indian town/tribe in Northern Florida before this war with Spain, called “Tomatly” and after this war it is not there, but there is a village in the Cherokee Nation called “Tomatly”. This war is little known or discussed in any history books. It does seem to displace many Indian peoples in the region.].
[ . . . 1793]
Nov. 28 -- . . . For now we cannot go among the Catawba below Salisbury or among the Cherokee either because of their continuing enmity against whites.
End of quote. [note: The last Cherokee War ended in 1794 and in 1795 the last of the Chickamauga Cherokee returned home. But the Catawba were never at war with the Whites (except for a short period during the Yamassee War) so I don’t believe that this information is correct – unless an unknown band of the Catawba from below Salisbury ALSO allied themselves with the Chickamauga. I have never heard any of them did, and so I doubt it. So this is an interesting statement. It also mentions the Catawba who live “below Salisbury”. Salisbury appears to be about 30 miles south of Winston-Salem (where the Moravians were), and maybe 40 or 50 miles North of where the Catawba reservation is located today.]
We returned to speaking about the Indians and Negroes, among whom perhaps a small door has opened for the congregations here. Besides the Catawbas, the Cherokee and Creeks would be the next object for Wachovia. However the report has further confirmed that there is by no means peace with them. The Negroes, who are regarded for the most part as heathens, and who live without any education, would be closer to us, but great obstacles stand in the way of working with them partly on the side of their masters, and partly on their own side. We have seen many examples among the Negroes who live in our communities how difficult it is for the Gospel to find an entry among them. We think we can find a reason for this in the nature of their connection and dealings with the Whites, since we have observed the same things among the Indians who live among the Whites.
End of quote [note: It is interesting to see that as late as the 1790s the Moravians considered the local Negroes to be “heathen”. When did they convert to Christianity? Can we see a little bit of a prejudice by the Moravians ? I think it is closer to a clash of culture – culture shock on everyone’s side. Also he mentions the “Indians who live among the Whites.”
. . . 1794
Nov. 5 –
We thought of the Catawba Indians who live in our area, but whose land is more and more being bought up by the white people so that already many white families live among them. As much as we wanted to receive them and make the gospel known to them, the possibility of that continues to lessen.
End of quote. [note: they mention “the Catawba Indians who live in our area.” The Moravian towns were in what is Winston-Salem, North Carolina, today. So there must have been some Catawba Indians who lived near Winston-Salem, in the 1790s when this was written. It says more and more Whites are living amongst the Catawba. I don’t understand why Whites living near the Catawba would prevent the Moravians from trying to preach to them – I’d think that might make them easier to talk to, not harder.]
P. 71 –
. . . 1795 –
Oct. 28 – In dealing with the History of Indian Missions book, we turned our thoughts to the Catawba living in our area, but to whom it appears to be harder and harder to go.
End of direct quote [note: again mention is made of the Catawba who live near the Moravians. Again, why are the Catawba “harder to go to”, especially if they are “living in our area”? That makes no sense to me. What am I missing?]
In the 1790s there were Catawba and Blacks who had not converted to Christianity. The Melungeons in SW Virginia had recently moved there, were part White, part Black, and part Indian, they were Christian, and didn’t even know their own language. The Moravians spoke of Indians – calling them by name “Catawba” -- who lived near them, but for some reason they were unable to talk to them about “religion”. Why? These Melungeons were obviously not Cherokee (as I have been saying from the beginning), but it seems they were not Catawba, either. The only way they could have been Catawba is if they had lived amongst the Whites from an early time, had completely rejected the Catawba ways and were Christianized in a way the Moravians were not aware. This seems to point towards the Virginia Indians, the Saponi. Since Upper and Lower Sauri Town were near where the Melungeons settled, I have been researching them as a possible source of the Melungeon families. However the Sauri/Cheraw – seem to have kept closer ties with the Catawba than the Saponi, meaning they were probably a little more traditional, a little less likely to Christianized and they probably lost their language at a little later date as well. I also suspect those Indians that King Haigler called “Pedee Indians” in his letter to Governor Glen of South Carolina. We also know from a previous reference these Pedee Indians even owned slaves, and since they were called Pedee Indians, perhaps they had forgotten their origins.
This transcription of these Moravians records was paid for by the Cherokee and it was edited in such a way as the Cherokee references were highlighted. Maybe more records exist that are not a part of this transcription that mentions the Catawba who lived in the region. Maybe some of these questions will be answered in records that still exist. There is an earlier transcription – I just hate to spend all that money for a paragraph or two, here or there, that I might or might not -- be interested in. I’m not a rich man.
American State Papers
I do not know if that link I posted on that Uchee post will work or not. That link to the Uchee is found on the same link. I am about to describe an alternate path there.
Go to above link. Go to left side about the middle of the page and click on "search". click on "match all of these words", otherwise keep all the default settings. Use the words "Catawba Indians" and perform a search. You should get 54 hits. Click on the 18th. Scroll down to where it talks about the Virginia, North and South Carolina Indians.
It speaks as though there are very few Indians in North Carolina. This was an interesting revelation. The Eastern Siouan peoples perhaps were divided into two, with one bunch in Virginia (made up of several bands)and another in South Carolina (another, larger group also made up of several bands). Much of North Carolina perhaps filled the same function as much of Kentucky as a hunting gorunds -- tribal herds of wildlife were contained between the two large bands, the southern one headed by the Catawba and the northern perhaps by the Saponi. It seemed to me as though the Eastern Siouan peoples were scattered randomly about their entire range making them different from just about every other tribe on the continent. I have wondered about this for some time as it didn't make sense. Perhaps this was not the case.
Perhaps central North Carolina was largely uninhabited as it was their primary hunting grounds. All Indian tribes had a place where they lived, and a place for their tribal hunting grounds where few if any lived. Thinking of it like this seems more like the people lived.
This article also speaks of the slave trade in early America where Indians were enslaved, especially in South Carolina. It appears the slave trade, with the Europeans squeezing them on one side, and the Seneca and other tribes attacking them on the other, coupled with several small pox outbreaks, and a lack of unity amongst the Eastern Siouan people brought about their end. When settlers moved into central North Carolina, they lost their hunting grounds, and had a harder and harder time feeding themselves. All these factors combined to squeeze the Eastern Siouan traditions out of existence for most of the surviving people. They felt they had to assimilate or become extinct. Of all the eastern Siouan peoples, only a handful of the Catawba clung onto the traditions, the rest dissapearing first into small communities, then these breaking up as well, for the most part, completing the assimilation.