Searching for Alexander Brown                                      revised 3/4/07

If you found this web page and you are looking for the Alexander Brown listed on the Cherokee census of 1835, this may save you some time. Emmett Starr made a few small errors in his genealogy of 38 prominent Cherokee Families that were published in his 1921 history book. The Alexander Brown mistake was first published in Dawes Commission Ap#20199 in 1908, which claimed thru "Alexander's" cousin James Hair so the "Alexander" reference went unchallenged.

The FCT 'Dawes' Commission questioned the following extensively about Alexander & James Brown and who the father of John Lucien Brown was: John Lucien Brown's children Julia Chaney and Louis Brown; John Lucien Brown's grandchildren Sadie Farbro and Jennie Morris; his nephew's George Brown and Perry Ross; his cousin JR Price and friend Robert Webber. All knew of Jim or James Brown as father or uncle to John, none knew anything about an Alexander Brown. The Court of Claims concluded that the primary source of John Lucien Brown's Cherokee Blood was Judge James Brown of Talaquah, #45 on the Skin Bayou district Drennen Roll of 1851. They determined that the Alexander Brown as mentioned in Starr's genealogy was not John Lucien Brown's father. See Aps#35, 4520, 6242 & 19194.

(Note: It was unusual for the Commission to question an applicant about their grandparents. The standard of proof was whether the applicant or the parent was listed on the Drennen or Chapman Roll. But the Commission had Emmet Star's story of the parents of John Lucien Brown and numerous claims that cited John Lucien's father as their source for 'Eastern Cherokee Blood' thru John's purported siblings. The answer to this question was the basis for some of the 'Special Case 35' decisions. See Ap #35. The question was further complicated by the appearance that John's father had a number of children with his slaves. This may have been embarrassing to some members of the family, making him the black sheep uncle rather than acknowledged patriarch of the family.) 

Now to Alexander Brown:

I have found references to two Alexander Browns who could have been living on the Oostanollah river in 1835 in the region now Georgia.  The first was likely the  cousin of the John Brown of Creek Path (see below).  This Alexander Brown was registered on the Emigration and Reservation Rolls of 1817 (11) and acted as interpreter and witness to the 1833 Treaties of the US government with the Creeks and Cherokees.  This Alexander Brown was identified by Starr (18) in one of his early notes as the father of Judge James Brown who was born c1779. He was also identified as the father of Judge James Brown, and living in the Cherokee Nation East in 1835, by his great granddaughter Jennie Morris in an affidavit in 1906.(24) 

The second Alexander Brown was one of the last son's of John Brown of Creek Path who died about 1826 and who's son John Brown Jr died about 1822 according to another son David Brown in his memoir for his sister Catharine Brown.  The younger John Brown was in the company of his nephew John Brown, son of Col Richard Brown and successor to Chief John Jolly, between 1828 and the 1840's when they led the Treaty Party first to Oklahoma Territory and then to Texas after the Removal brought the rest of the Cherokee Nation to the west.

James Brown was identified as brother-in-law to Chief John Ross in Moulton's Biography.  Quatie Brown Ross was born in Paint Town in 1791 per Moulton.  James was probably born about the same time and in the same location although Starr put's his birth in 1779 without a location.  Starr was collecting his info in the 1890's.  James was listed on the 1852 Drennen Roll. Hopefully there is an age list there.

Alexander left for Virginia shortly after Quatie was born.  He started a new life, marrying Violet Barton b c1776  on 2/20/1797 at Bedford Co., VA. He and Violet raised 10 children. In 1817 he decided to reclaim his Cherokee heritage and applied for the land being allocated by the government.  About 1820 he moved his family to a plantation on the Oostanolah river in north Georgia where they lived until gold was found in the area. In 1835 he accepted a government offer to vacate his land and moved again, this time to Missouri.  In 1835, when the census was taken his family, including six of his children who had families of their own, were living as white people.  When he moved to MO, they all went together.

According to the descendents of his second family, Alexander Brown was born between 1765 and 1767.  His father was named Alexander Brown, b c1737.  His mother was Sarah, daughter of Chief Dragging Canoe. If that is true, and there is likely no way to prove it, Alexander would have been a second cousin to John Brown of Creek Path b c1761 who has been identified as a son of Chief Oconostota (brother of Dragging Canoe).

Neither John or Alexander ever learned to write. Alexander's son James was the first Judge of the Supreme Court of the Cherokee Nation when it was formed c1822. John's son Col. Richard Brown served with distinction in the Creek War of 1814 and his children Catharine and David served with distinction as Christian missionaries. James sent at least one of his children to the same missionary school that Catharine and David attended.  John  named his youngest son  Alexander. Alexander named his youngest son John. 

Alexander Brown was claimed as the ancestor of numerous undocumented Eastern Cherokee's whose surname was Brown. The Eastern part was important in 1908 as it was the ticket to free money the government was giving out. The 'Eastern' here refers to those Cherokee who were 'Removed' to Indian Territory in 1838. The modern Eastern Band of Cherokee in NC weren't recognized as existing in 1910. 

 In 1835 he was living with 2 boys, all listed as half breeds on the Oostanollah river in the region now Georgia. The rest of his family were living as whites and thus weren't listed on the census.  By 1900 he could well have had several dozen descendents who reasonably thought they should share in the compensation being issued by the Dawes Commission. Under the law though, they would only qualify if they could show that they or their ancestor were removed during 1838/39 and had lived in IT, now Oklahoma. Thus the rejection of claims before the Dawes Commission has no significance to genealogists.

9/12/2005: I went through all 9 vols. of "Cherokee by bood", the transcribed 1906-1909 "Miller" applications to the US Court of Claims. I looked at every instance in the index where Alexander Brown was claimed as the source of the applicants Cherokee blood. None were accepted. Most referred to special case #35 which determined that the Alexander Brown of the 1817 rolls and 1835 census had no surviving descendents that were Cherokee and living in Indian Territory after 1835. I also looked at every instance where Emmett Starr was listed in the index. There was no ap from Mr Starr listed in the index. He helped many applicants by filling out their apps for them, providing the names of ancestors in some cases and providing written testimony in some cases. The court didn't accept Mr Starr's endorsement in all cases, but did use him as it's source occasionally. There well may have been aps that claimed through Alexander which were approved and the reference just didn't get into the index.

The one exception was that of my cousin George Hammer Brown #557 which wasn't accepted until he disavowed any knowledge of Alexander Brown. His 1906 statement reads like the other 271 claims: 'MY GRANDFATHER ALEXANDER BROWN LIVED ON OOSTANOLLAH RIVER IN GEORGIA IN 1835'. On 2/29/1908, replying to a letter from the commission he said "I CANNOT REMEMBER ALEXANDER BROWN FOR THAT WAS BEFORE I WAS BORN." When his case came up for final review by the court, he said in a sworn statement on 8/21/1908 "I don't know Alexander Brown. I don't remember anything about Alexander Brown."

Dr Emmett Starr, the noted historian of the Cherokee Nation and a descendent of Nancy Ward, was a cousin of the Wolf and Hair families and knew of their relationship to John Lucien Brown. Starr was 14 when John died. Starr began his interest in genealogy in 1894, at age 24 and was a principle source for many of the claimants to the cash payments made through the US Court of Claims based on the Dawes Roll that was compiled from 1898 to 1910. He was also a principle source to the court of claims because his genealogy research was the most comprehensive available. It is curious that he didn't correct his error in his notes and history book. It probably was just not significant enough to bother with. He knew from his sources that John Lucien Brown was a cousin of the Hair and Wolf clans through Quatie Conrad and the actual name of John's father didn't affect the conclusions of the book with respect to Cherokee genealogy which was his interest.

If Starr was the source for George H Brown and Perry Ross's grandfather's name(14), it puts in question who Rachel's father actually was. By 1850 when she was passing on the family info, Alexander was long gone and John Lucien was a prominent politician. She would know her brother and he'd be easy for the children to remember. The reference to Judge James Brown as uncle could just be tying up loose ends by George and Perry using Starr's testimony or what she told them to save him embarrassment. Were they socializing with their Brown cousins enough to know the family history? Probably not since they were being raised by the families of their former slave fathers.

Perhaps there's a bible or stash of letters that will someday provide illumination. If you find it please let me know.

Judge James Brown is definitely John Lucien's father (not Alexander or Archibald):

He was also definitely Quatie Conrad's first husband: 2/12/2007