A Native American Question

Does anybody have any idea which native american tribe a baby who was found on the trail somewhere between Boston and Missouri ( probably in Kentucky or Missouri ) in the late 19th century would most likely have belonged to?

I ask because said foundling was my wife’s paternal great grandmother and by a weird fluke of gentics my daughter looks like her, ( we have a photograph ) especially round the eyes. Its a distinctive look for a little girl growing up in Yorkshire, UK …

It’s one of those bits of family history about which people know very little because older generations “didn’t speak of it” but it’s a part of my two girls heritage and I feel they ought to know something about it.

Most of Kentucky was inhabited by the Shawnee tribe. The areas bordering southwestern Virginia were Cherokee (to the north) and Yuchi (to the south), and the area west of the lower Cumberland (land between the lakes and further west) was Chickasaw.

By the late 19th century, though, these would all have removed (or been removed) to Oklahoma or been driven into extinction. (The Southern Cherokee maintain a small national existence at Henderson KY.)

I would tell her and let her explore it for herself. There is a connection to the past that her heart should know and be able to guide her. Telling her otherwise may skew that, as you are a authority to her, and make it harder, if not impossible for her to discover the truth.

Just to add, I’d let her know that this is something she must do on her own, you are not able to guide her, only God.

Google on american indian tribes map and you’ll find maps like this and this (note each map has some tribes that the other omits). Of course it would take some further study to see which tribes still had a presence at the relevant time, but this might get you started.

I found this at the website listed below:
"My grandmother was Crystal Terwilliger
Her mother was Martha Lucille Wambolt
Her father was Forest Dale Terwilliger

The father of Forest Dale Terwilliger was William Henry Terwilliger
The mother of Forest Dale Terwilliger name unknown

The father of Martha Lucille Wambolt was Henry Wambolt. He came from Germany.
The mother of Martha Lucille Wambolt was Caroline. She came to Centralia in a covered wagon.

The father and mother of Martha Lucille Wambolt are her adopted parents.

The birth mother of Martha Lucille Wambolt was a full blooded Cherokee Indian.
(Indian name unknown)
The birth father of Martha Lucille Wambolt was a Scotch-Irishman. They were married.

Martha Lucille Wambolt, who became Martha Terwilliger, had an Indian name until she was adopted by a white family (The Wambolts). She would be half-Cherokee Indian and half-Scotch-Irish.

There is a family story about my grandmother’s mother and how there was a cabin fire and a there was a little Cherokee Indian girl whose parents died in a cabin fire in Oklahoma and she was left an orphan. The Cherokee nation headquarters are in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. I’ve heard variations of “Martha’s story” during my growing up years. I heard she was found out in the woods and they picked her up on the way. I heard they saved her from the fire. I heard they found a baby near a burned out cabin in the woods. However the story goes, a Cherokee baby was found/saved/rescued or adopted. I would guess the Wambolt’s must have lived or passed through Oklahoma and must have known or knew of the parents if Cherokee names were floating around the family stories and also heritage/ background information.

I assume that Caroline and Henry Wambolt headed “out West” together in a covered wagon since women rarely (if ever) took these journeys alone. This would be somewhere in the 1800s–the Cherokee baby (Martha) must have been with them on this journey. The Wambolt’s lived in Centralia, Washington."

Not to impugn anyone’s ancestors, but it occurs to me that these “Indian baby found along the trail” stories might be cover stories to explain a not-fully-white baby born out of wedlock, or from adulterous unions. Just a thought.

Check into some of the work of Megan Smolenyak on using gene study as a part of genealogy. If you want to pursue it further and have trouble getting a response from her, I can give you my name to drop via PM -------- she’s a cousin of mine.