Cherokee Connection Chapter 1 page 9
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A Talk With William's Granddaughter

Mary Titchenal and Susie from a later meeting
We went back to Porum to talk to William's granddaughter. We found her working in a small family owned used auto parts store on the main street. Her name was Susan Stewart. She and her husband, Tate, owned this store and had both been born and lived in Porum all their lives.

I am sure she thought we were three crazy dudes from the city, when I tried to explain my mission. For a while she might have thought we came to try to claim some Indian land. The Cherokee nation had owned all the nation's land in common. In 1902, when Oklahoma became a state the land was divided, and some land was given each Indian. Her grandfather and his children had been assigned land at that time.

She looked at me, astounded and angry that I could even think such a thing about her grandfather. After collecting herself, she said. "No way would "Big Daddy" (her grandfather) do anything like that, and even if he had, he would have told me about it. I was his favorite granddaughter. I knew him very well."

Amazingly she didn't ask her husband to throw us out, instead she let us talk. After we talked for a while, she agreed that the information I had about my grandfather did fit the description of her grandfather also. That is, he was 1/16th. Indian, had two brothers and a sister, and had been run out of his home in Georgia. In fact she proudly showed us her card proclaiming she was 1/64th. Cherokee.

Whatever she thought at the time, she became more friendly, and said she would go back to her house and get a picture album. She had pictures of Big Daddy she could show us. When she got back she showed us some old pictures of him and the family working on their farm.

Every thing she said indicted she had liked her grandfather, was proud of him and considered him a caring person. This was a dichotomy at least to me. If he was a caring person, why did he let his sister-in -law, Annie, and their child leave without him trying to help support her and at least keep in touch with his daughter and her mother?

Later Susie became warmed up to us and the subject. As we were leaving she said, "Maybe there is something to your story, you look something like uncle Frank." If you want to try to find out more about this, my cousin, Frank's son, Vernon Keith, who lives in California, has the family Bible and might be able to tell you more.

We left Susan with our heads swimming. I took pictures of Porum and William's grave stone, but I was wondering what I could (or should) tell my 77 year old mother about her presumed father when we got to San Diego.


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