Stephen W. Moore

May 23, 2009

Cherokee Heritage

Filed under: Uncategorized — Moors @ 1:46 am

My family has Cherokee ancestry by decent from Polly Ann Rogers, the daughter of Captain John “Hellfire” Rogers and Alsey Vann, the sister of the Great Cherokee Chief James Vann. We have gathered all of the genealogical evidence required for proof of direct Cherokee decent. My sister even bears resemblance to Polly Ann Rogers:


The locket that Polly Ann Rogers is wearing in the portrait was passed down through the generations, and my sister is the current heir. My family traveled to Georgia to visit the original homestead of Chief Vann, which still features a portrait of Polly Ann Rogers on display to this day.

The problem is, Polly Ann Rogers, nor all but one of her seven children, did not sign the U.S. government-commissioned Dawes Roll that closed in 1907. This is the genealogical document accepted by the Cherokee to determine tribal membership (I find it ironic that the same government who subjected the Cherokee to the Trail of Tears is also responsible for the document that determines Cherokee citizenship). Polly Ann’s fifth child, Robert Dawson, proved in 1883 that he was Cherokee to the Tehee Court by way of linage to Polly Ann Rogers (he later provided the same proof to the Department of Interior in 1902). Between 1883 and 1972, at least 190 subsequent citizenship applications of descendants of Robert Dawson were admitted on the strength of the this ancestral proof.

Application for Citizenship

My lineage is through Edna Belle Dawson, Polly Ann’s second child. I believe if Robert Dawson’s ancestors can prove Cherokee lineage through Polly Ann, then Edna Belle’s ancestors should also be afforded the same rights. I have Cherokee descendancy proof for my family, evidenced by birth, death, marriage, and baptism certificates, supported by tombstones,  newspaper citations, and other geneological records.

Polly Ann, and her husband Samuel Riley Dawson, traveled from Georgia to Texas, living in Tennessee and Arkansas along the way. Samuel Riley fought in the war of 1812. In 1824, Samuel obtained a land grant in Tennessee under a military warrant. He was in Berryville, Arkansas by 1840, and moved to Texas by 1850, where he settled on Bounty Land from the war with Mexico. He tried to obtain more nearby land, but it was still occupied by Mexico. By following Polly Ann’s path from Georgia to Texas, we have been able to collect the necessary geneological evidence required for ancestral proof.

My family is now considering a citizenship bid based on similar arguments and the precendent of how Robert Dawson did it.  Because of the Cherokee’s matrilineal society, my sister’s legal knowledge, and her resemblance to Polly Ann Rogers, she is the natural choice to present our family’s history to the Cherokee.


  1. […] Cherokee Heritage […]

    Pingback by Mesothelioma Law professional operating in Berryville, Georgia — July 6, 2009 @ 6:20 am | Reply

  2. Hello Stephen,

    Your website was just brought to my attention by another Dawson descendant and I want to say I enjoyed reading your posting about Polly Ann Rogers Dawson. I, too, am a Dawson descendant through Robert Dawson’s younger brother, James Dawson. I, however, believe Robert Dawson was the fourth, not the fifth child, as you stated above. I was wondering if you could post the “portrait of Polly Ann Rogers on display to this day” in the “Chief Vann homestead,” if you should have a picture. I, and many others, have a portrait style print of a woman who has been identified as Polly Ann Rogers Dawson, Edna Bell Dawson Magee, and Nancy McMurray Dawson, Robert’s second wife. We all would like to know, if possible, who the woman in this print was. There’s much to still learn about this family and we’d all be grateful for your input.

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Comment by Pam — June 9, 2010 @ 3:26 pm | Reply

  3. I am a descendant of Chief James Vann. He is my Great, Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather on my Grandpa’s side of the family. My Grandpa is a Spain. I love learning about my ancestors!

    Comment by Ashley — January 23, 2011 @ 7:46 am | Reply

  4. Hello, I just saw you website. I to am a descendant of Polly Ann Rogers through Samuel Riley Dawson and Margaret Queen. Their daughter Elizabeth Paralee and Stephen S. Lewis. This is such an interesting family history! I would like to know how the Cherokee lineage process is going.

    Thank you for your posting!


    Comment by Jeff Simpson — February 23, 2011 @ 2:47 am | Reply

  5. Thank you for this wonderful post! Polly would be one of my aunts 🙂

    Comment by melanineva — April 21, 2011 @ 12:57 am | Reply

  6. I am also a descendant of Polly Ann Rogers thru Edna Dawson,and her son Elbert Magee. I have been thinking along the same line as you are, about getting proof of ancestors back to the Dawsons and the Tehe court. It seems if we could proof descendantcy, we should be allowed the same rights as the ones who went to court and signed up on the tribal roll. I live about 40 miles from Elbert and Nancy’s grave at Quanah, Texas.

    Comment by Mickie Taylor — June 7, 2011 @ 2:39 pm | Reply

    • Mickie – I am a descendant through Elbert Magee > Annie Ida Magee > Lenora Moore. How am I related to you?

      Comment by Jennifer (Davis) Daniel — December 9, 2012 @ 1:01 am | Reply

  7. Hi my name is Mechele and I come from polly ann rogers threw son john f dawson who married temperance queen they had child temperance amber dawson. Tempy married sam williams and had child ed/edwin williams who married willie bishop they had child wille sue. Willie sue is my grandmother.

    Comment by mechele — December 27, 2011 @ 5:08 pm | Reply

  8. Stephen, My name is Paul Wofford,I am also a desendent of Polly Ann Rogers, thru Betty Elizabeth Dawson, the Petty family,then wofford. I am intrigued as to what if any headway that has been achieved in trying to get our birthright back. Also, I don’t whether you are aware of a homecoming each year held at Pettytown Cemetery in Caldwell County Texas. Most of the people are also desendents of PollyAnn Numbering near two hundred plus.There are also some cousins that come from Oklahoma that are on the rolls and are given citizenship in the Cherokee Nation. I hope ,that this finds you and your family in good health. Best Regards,Paul Wofford

    Comment by Paul Wofford — January 27, 2012 @ 4:40 pm | Reply

  9. I am also related to Polly Ann and Samuel Dawson. They had a daughter, Betty Dawson who married John Petty and had Johane Petty. Johane Petty married Isaac Jones Barber and had Ailcy (Alcy, Alcey, Alsie) Barber, who married Bryce Smart. They had Emma Smart, who married Albert Murphey who had my grandmother, Emma Leora Murphey. Emma married Joseph Hooper and had my father, Everett E Hooper. I would love to be able to honor our Cherokee rights. Is their a way to still do this? Any help is so greatly appreciated!!!

    On another note. I found information that states that Polly Ann Rogers mother was

    Comment by Christy Hooper — December 27, 2012 @ 5:53 pm | Reply

  10. Hello Mechele, My name is Greg Robbins My great grand Mother name is Elsie (some genealogies have her name as Alsey,Elsy, Elize Elly May) Williams she had 10 siblings of those 10 her sisters were named Fannie and Ollie. I believe her Father was Sam Williams and her Mother was Tempy Williams, we have been tracing our Cherokee ancestry for some time now. My Dad having a oral history of the family stated that Tempy’s first husband died in the Civil War and then married Samuel Williams. The Williams family owned a bordering house in the late 1880-90’s in which many Cherokee cousins would come and visit a life long friend of Elsie, that of Bell Starr would come and stay.

    Comment by Gregory Robbins — January 7, 2013 @ 6:16 am | Reply

  11. The Pettytown Cemetery Homecoming Picnic is held each year on the first Sunday in May at the cemetery. John and Elizabeth Dawson Petty are two of the oldest gravesites. Many of their children and grandchildren are buried there along with many other pioneer families of the area. Please write to me if you would like to receive more information and an invitation to our password-protected website……PETTYTOWN~A HERITAGE REMEMBERED. write to

    Comment by Margie Petty — April 9, 2013 @ 1:49 am | Reply

  12. Awesome things here. I am very happy to peer your post. Thanks a
    lot and I’m having a look forward to contact you. Will you please drop me a e-mail?

    Comment by Justin Sather — June 4, 2013 @ 2:31 am | Reply

  13. Greetings family. I am a descendant also. I am Elizabeth “Milly/ Millie” Dawson’s great granddaughter. She is the daughter of Richard Dawson, sister to Francis Marion Dawson “Frank” not uncle Bud or his son cousin Marion. He references her and all of us in his case. It is listed in the Fold3. It is 400 pages.

    Also I have been checking into things and the Cherokee Roll to continue our ancestors roll numbers are still active ( In North Carolina and Oklahoma). I am Cherokee by a few ancestors. Milly married Annanias Tinsley in Amherst Co., VA from my research, several Dawson women and Tinsley men were married. I am actually compiling a book at some of my relatives request 2 summers ago. I have some documentation if you need it.

    I am a Dawson, via Samuel Dawson and Polly Rogers also, I am a Harrison/Hairston, Sanders who married one of Polly’s sisters. I have 300 first cousins alone. 26 brothers, 87 nieces and nephews, 17 greats, and 3 great greats so far. We are truly blesses. I can be reached at (412) 660 -3406, or Carla L. Mitchell on LinkedIn.

    Comment by Carla L. Tinsley Mitchell — February 22, 2014 @ 12:29 am | Reply

  14. Stephen, I have communicated with David Vann, who is up to date on the Vanns and their ancestors. We are connected through Wa-Li Otterlifter. I am part of the Ann Catherine Petty clan through Cyrus Williams. If anybody is interested I can forward Davids info.

    Comment by Ed Szkody — March 14, 2014 @ 2:42 pm | Reply

    • I would like to have the information you spoke of (from David Vann). Myself, my mother and other close family members have been looking into this for years.

      Thank you,


      Comment by Jeff — August 4, 2014 @ 11:30 pm | Reply

  15. Thank you for sharing your history. I’m also a descendant of Polly Ann through Ann Catherine Petty (her granddaughter Ella Mae Williams was my mother’s grandmother). We have a photo of Ann Catherine in her later years. She looks like quite a character!

    Comment by Barbara Olds — September 6, 2014 @ 5:17 am | Reply

  16. My tree has vann rodgers ross downing etc. What famous cherokee captured a auburn haired girl and killed the 30 man army escort contact me old broesamle

    Comment by douglas downing wisman edwards broesamle — November 9, 2014 @ 10:10 pm | Reply

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