Contributed By: Tanya Sweet
Please Contact Tanya if you have information on this family/
Sally was my dad’s favorite of the family. He was so proud of her Cherokee heritage. He even referred to my mother by her nickname of “Sally” that he had adorned her with because of his grandmother. He also referred to mom as his “squaw”, something that I am sure his elders would not likely approve of. The story that had been handed down through the family for so long was that Richard had met Sally in upper Tennessee . Richard traveled with his father Stephen (one of the MANY Stephens in the family) and made several trips to Tennessee . Sally was the member of a prominent Cherokee tribe in the area. After moving to Ky, Richard went back to Tennessee and bargained for the hand of Sally. It reportedly cost him a wagonload of furs and other items to be able to take her away from the tribe. At that time it was illegal to marry an Indian, but it was acceptable to purchase one. In fact, there was a $5000 fine at that time for marrying a squaw. So she took his name and they were married in Casey County . I have been looking for years for any method of documenting any of this, but so far all I have been able to find is their marriage records in Casey County .
What area of the world are you in? I am in Elizabethtown , Hardin County , so I have been able to visit Casey County on several occasions to research. I hope to do more there soon. They are in the process of digitizing their records. That will make finding things go so much quicker. From what I have been able to find so far Richard was quite a busy guy locally. There were several weddings he ld at his home. One reason I am sure is his attachment to the local church. His father, Stephan, was a traveling Baptist minister. Stephan had been a founding member of the St. Clairs Bottom Primitive Baptist Church in Virginia . The governing body of the church changed the rules of acceptance and dismissal from the church. This did not set well with the members of St. Clair’s, so many of them left to start their own church(s). Along with the Wheelers were some of the Coles and Jacobs. Many went to Johnson and Lawrence Counties in Ky and others moved on to Casey County .
This is a confusing bunch to track. There were no less than five Stephens, several Thomas’s, a few Williams, and other replications that make it a tough bunch to decipher. You also have many cousins marrying, making separating the lines that much more difficult. I will be happy to share anything I have. To me, it is pointless to find all this stuff and then squirrel it away like it was currency or something. SO many researchers are like that. They think because it was so hard for them to find these tidbits that they are somehow supposed to make everybody else dig as hard as they did. This is a huge puzzle and we all have a piece or two. The only way we will ever get a complete picture of the family is if we share. Welcome to the fray!!!