By Phil Norfleet
The official membership rolls of the Cherokee Nation list many individuals with the Mayfield surname. If the entire genealogy of these Mayfields were known, I am certain that they would all be able to trace their ancestry back to an early Mayfield settler who took a Cherokee wife. I personally know of two Mayfield men who had Cherokee wives and whose descendents are cited among the current membership rolls of the modern-day Cherokee Nation. These men are:
1) Jesse Mayfield (1793-1857) of McMinn County TN and Rusk County TX. Jesse married a 1/4 Cherokee named Sarah (Sallie) Walker Starr in about 1821. Sallie Starr was a direct descendant of Nancy Ward.
2) Isaac Hill Mayfield (1826-1907) of Greenville County Sc, Monroe County TN and Indian Territory. Isaac married a 1/8 Cherokee named Mary Hilderbrand in 1848 in Monroe County TN. Mary Hildebrand was also a direct descendant of Nancy Ward.
There are two other Mayfield men whose Cherokee connection has never been officially recognized by the United States Government nor the Cherokee Nation. These men are:
1) A Mayfield man who was probably part Cherokee: he was William Campbell Mayfield (1783-1857) of Pickens District SC and Hall County GA.
2) A Mayfield man who purportedly married a Cherokee woman, although the connection has not been officially recognized by the Cherokee Nation: he was Stephen Mayfield (died 1834) of Pendleton County SC and Overton County TN. Family tradition indicates that Stephen married a Cherokee woman named "Jack" or "Jock" in about 1785, probably in Pendleton County SC. A descendent of Stephen's daughter, Rachel Mayfield, applied for membership in the Cherokee Nation in 1908, but the claim was rejected. The following information concerning this claim has been taken Journal of the Upper Cumberland Genealogical Association, Volume Six, November 1981, Issue Number Four, pages 16-17:
On 30 June 1906 Congress appropriated more than $1,000,000 to be used in payment of claims arising out of treaties of 1835-36 and 1845 between the United States and the Eastern Cherokee. Claims were payable to all Eastern and Western Cherokee Indians who were alive on 28 May 1906 who could establish the fact that they were members of the Eastern Cherokee Tribe of Indians or were descendants of such persons. There were several applications from the Upper Cumberland area, but most of these were rejected since the proof submitted amounted mostly to family tradition. The Tennessee State Library and Archives has microfilms covering portions of these applications, and the following has been extracted from these microfilmed records. ...
... #40490 - ELVIE ADELLA CHRISTIAN, Livingston, Tenn., 29 June 1908. States she was born 22 May 1881 in Overton County, and is married to Edwin Forest Christian. Her parents were Lex Ogletree, father, born in Overton County, and Maggie Rose, mother, born in Illinois. Lex Ogletreeís father was Reason Ogletree, and the father of Reason Ogletree was Pleasant Ogletree.Pleasant Ogletree was married to Rachel Mayfield, who was the daughter of a Cherokee Indian woman named Jack by Stephen Mayfield. She knows no more about Rachel Mayfield except that Rachelís father, Stephen Mayfield, stole her away from her mother, the Indian woman Jack, and raised her here in Overton County. As proof of Indian descent of Rachel Ogletree, she refers to Milton Ogletree, Sr., James Savage, Sr., and Henderson Savage, all of Livingston, Tenn., who knew her. She states that her husband, Ed F. Christian, is also applying for enrollment through his mother, Sallie Gilpatrick. His father was Arkley F. Christian and his grandfather was George Christian. Action rejected.
Descent of Sallie Starr (1804-1893) and Mary Hilderbrand (1829-1906 ) from Nancy Ward
Perhaps the most famous woman in Cherokee history is the noted Cherokee Ghigau, Nan-ye-he, better known to white historians as Nancy Ward (1738-1822). Both Sarah (Sallie) Walker Starr, who married Jesse Mayfield (1793-1857) in about 1821, and Mary Hildebrand, who married Isaac Hill Mayfield in 1848, were 4th generation descendants of Nancy Ward.
Since the Cherokees were a matrilineal society, many Cherokee genealogical studies have been conducted along the female lines. The genealogical descent lines from Nancy Ward to both Sallie Starr and Mary Hilderbrand are presented below. Much of the detailed information for each Cherokee family member has been taken from the Descendants of Nancy Ward website.
Descendant Tree - Nancy Ward to Sallie Starr
Descent Tree - Nancy Ward to Mary Hilderbrand