Cherokee Connection Chapter 4 page 1
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The Cherokee Connection
Chapter 4

Who were my ancestors and when and why did they, the Arnetts, Keiths and McClures live in Indian Territory?

Tracing Annie Arnett's father and mother was very difficult. I found many Arnetts in Georgia, Arkansas, Texas and other southern states about that time, but few in Indian Territory. No one knew my grandparents first names, so I couldn't find an Arnett that I could tie to Annie or Alma.

Susan Stewart also gave me David Bruce Arnett's name and address, whom she said was doing extensive research on the Arnett family. I contacted David who lives in Texas. One of the grave markers we copied in the Porum cemetery said, "son of Will Samuel Arnett" David believes his great grandfather was Will Samuel Arnett and was born in Arkansas in 1855/57. Furthermore, David believes Samuel Arnett was a brother of Alma Arnett and my grandmother Annie Arnett. If this is true it means the Arnetts we were are looking for came west before the Civil war.

David also found the death record of Alma. It showed Alma's father's name as Lee. None of William's grandchildren could confirm this or remember another name. In addition, Susie, said that, Alma, was senile for years before she died and couldn't remember much of what happened. I understand Alma, Annie's sister had a bad case of dementia for many years before she died. Susie Arnett, her granddaughter also said that she never learned to read or write, in fact could not even sign her name. William Freeman Keith her husband, did not read or write well either, but he could sign his name. Alma may not have been able to remember her father's name but did remember her brothers name and confused the two. None of the Keiths (I met) seemed much interested in their factual history before I got to talking with them in 1970, so they didn't know much detail about their grandparent's ancestry.

My grandmother left out the fact she was not married to William Freeman Keith, but everything else she told about her early life has turned out to be true. She must have picked up learning somewhere, because she could read and write. I don't know how well she could read or write, but she was very sharp right up until the time she died in 1954 She could sure beat me in Gin Rummy. One can understand her discretion and reluctance in not wanting to tell the truth about her first child being born out of wedlock.


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