Cherokee Connection Chapter 3 page 18
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[1893] Annie's first child, El Dora, is born

However it happened, Annie became pregnant about August, 1892. Remember it was still Indian Territory, governed by Indian custom and law. Annie's pregnancy would not have been a surprising or unusual event in the frontier and/or the Cherokee tribal living conditions and morals of the time. Previous generations of the Cherokee Nation accepted premarital sex as normal.

In the old days, Cherokee fathers were proud to have young braves call on the family. The braves would stay overnight to meet the popular daughters and sleep with them before marriage. If they didn't marry, but had children as a result, the children were accepted as part of the girl's family.

Annie's father and mother were both sick. Her father, John, died a few months before his granddaughter, El Dora was born on MarCh 34, 1893. Annie's mother may have been worrying about her husband, John, and may not have paid much attention to Annie during her pregnancy. Annie's mother died a few months after Dora's birth. Annie may not have had any support in Porum after her parent's death. She left the community a few months later.

Actually, Annie never really said she was married to William. In the 1890s, the Cherokees were still governed by Cherokee law, but had converted to Christianity several generations ago. Annie may have felt she was in a dilemma, she couldn't hide the fact she was pregnant. She decided she should talk it over with her parents, William and her sister Alma.

Several generations back, before the conversion of the Cherokee Tribe to Christianity, this would not have been a problem. An unwed daughter's child would have been accepted by her parents and raised as part of the family. But now her parents were either dead or dying

Men were allowed to have multiple wives, usually sisters or maternal cousins, if they could afford them. This practice was no longer acceptable by Cherokee law. They could move to the Choctaw Nation (only ten miles away) where it would not be frowned upon. But William could not afford two wives, and Alma wouldn't think of it. Alma was mad and wanted Annie to go home.

Annie wanted to keep the baby and raise it herself. In addition she wanted it baptized in the Indian ceremony she had seen as a girl. She also wanted William to be at the baptism, even if she never saw him again.

Rather than tell her daughter that she was born out of wedlock, Annie would say that William was the father and that he died shortly after her birth. Annie agreed to leave the area and raise her child alone. William would drop all contact with her. Annie had a sister, Emma, who lived in the Creek Nation, about 40 miles north in Checotah. She would live with her until the baby was born.

The last Annie saw of William was the day they all (Annie, Alma, William and Annie's mother, Mattie, went to Dora's baptism. Annie's older sister, Emma, was also there. They all said good-by and wished Annie well, as she rode away with Emma and her husband. Emma was married and without children, they wanted to help and in fact were willing to take Dora as their own child.


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