Cherokee Connection Chapter 1 page 11
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The Impossible Search

I thought it would be impossible at this late date to find anyone that could (or would) confirm William was actually Dora's father. In fact I didn't know where to start. I had heard my mother joke with my uncle Ralston (her sister's husband) about the fact they never found their birth certificate. They said, "maybe they weren't born" Now; maybe, I found the reason there was no birth certificate for my mother.

The Oklahoma Indian historical sent more information on William Keith. This information showed William's mother's name was Susan Ann McClure, she was 1/4 Cherokee Indian. His father's name was Joel M. Keith, white and non Indian. If William was actually my grandfa ther, now at least, I knew my great grandfather and great grandmother names, and where my mother got her Indian blood.

I decided to concentrate on checking information on the Keith, Arnett and the McClure families and their Indian and Georgian ancestry first. The Oklahoma Historical Society helped search the Cherokee Indian Nation (West) records in Oklahoma. A few years later, when I visited the Cherokee Nation (East) records in North Carolina, I found other records that tied into the Oklahoma records.

I also searched the Oklahoma, Arkansas, Georgia, and South Carolina census records for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1900. to look for Keith, Arnett and the McClure families. The 1880 Oklahoma census records are missing, although the Cherokee census records were available. I could find information on Keith and McClure families. but nothing to tie Arnett to Porum.

A few months later, I finally wrote to Susan Stewart's cousin, Vernon Keith (William Ruben Freeman Keith's grandson.) I didn't hear from him right away and more or less gave up.

Much to my surprise, Several years later he called me from California one evening to tell me that he remembered something that he overheard as a child that might be of interest to me:

"When he was a small boy he overheard his Aunt Pearlie tell his father, Frank, that their father (William) had fathered a child by his wife's sister who came to stay with them and work in the house shortly after they were married".

Oliver, Vernon Keith and Donald

That was an exciting and unexpected piece of information. It encouraged me to work harder to find more information. If I could find proof of this story, it would explain many things, but bring up many new questions.

More than ever, I needed to know what kind of a man my grandfather, Ruben William Freeman Keith was. I met with Vernon Keith in California a few years later and recorded the following conversation.

His two grandchildren remembered him differently. His granddaughter, Susie thought he was a very kind and thoughtful man. His grandson Vernon also thought he was a good man, but he was very much a Southerner, macho, strict with his children, resentful of the white man, and maybe the American government. He was a believer in obeying the law, in fact a deputy sheriff, but at the same time, he had sympathy for the outlaws. Quite a contradiction.

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