JS Boatright in Arkansas, Allie Parsley Murry’s Grandfather, Indian Heritage

A comment about the family’s Chickasaw and Cherokee heritage. As you read below, you will see that Jesse Boatright, Robie’s GGG-grandfather, applied to be on the rolls of the Eastern Cherokee tribe (the Dawe’s act ensured that each member would receive a land allotment from the government; this was actually a ploy to take away additional Indian lands and distribute it to eager white settlers, and served to further diminish the Indian culture by separating them and assigning them random plots along with the white settlers. Jesse claimed his heritage through his (great?) grandfather Jesse Blackburn (whose mother was said to be half Cherokee) which would make him either 1/4 or 1/8 Cherokee. His wife Mollie was also part Cherokee, perhaps as much as one quarter, (her mother was said to be the daughter of a Cherokee chief by one source). Daughter Mattie married William P. Parsley, an Indian agent who also was of (Eastern Cherokee) Indian descent. Sherman Murry (Allie’s husband) was born in Tishomingo, OK, of the Chickasaw tribe.

Jesse S Boatright of Van Buren writes: I was born in Graves County, Kentucky the 11th day of December 1830, and lived there until October, 1852. I was married to Evalina Miller, who was raised in Platte County, Missouri. My wife was born March 1, 1837, she now being in her 53rd year, and I in my 59th year, and both of us are in good health for people of our ages. My parents were raised in Virginia and my wife in Tennessee. We are citizens of Crawford County, Arkansas, in the town of Van Buren, where we have lived for 25 years. This my statement will be authenicated by the clerk of our county and many citizes if desires. The names, births and ages of the children are as follows:

Martha Ann Boatright, born October 4, 1853 and married December 22, 1868. Susan Alice, born March 8, 1955 and was married August 8, 1871. Mary Ellen, born August 2, 1856 and was married AUgust 8, 1872 . Willian N born October 7, 1857 and married January 17, 1873. Theodosh born November 21, 1858 and married September 20, 1874. Ada born March 25, 1861 and married March 4, 1880. Eva Belle born February 1, 1863 and married October 15, 1881. John Lee born May 26, 1865 and died October 14, 1880. George M born February 20, 1867 married 24 May, 1877. Julia born August 30, 1869 and died April 9 1889. Eva born February 5, 1872. Jesse ‘Jipe’ born July 21 1874, James born April 21, 1876, Cathrine born April 27, 1878, Medora (Pearl) born May 25, 1880, Myrtle born Jan 26, 1883.

Jesse Stinson Boatright was born 11 Dec 1830 in Graves County, Kentucky, and died 09 Nov 1905 in Wagoner, Wagoner County, Oklahoma. He married Mary Evaline ‘Mollie’ Miller 22 Oct 1852 in Platte County, Missouri, daughter of Isaac Miller and Elizabeth Martin. She was born 01 Mar 1837 in Cooper County, Missouri, and died 23 Jan 1910 in Wagoner, Wagoner County, Oklahoma. Wagoner was the first incorporated city in Indian Territory, Oklahoma (1896).

Jesse Stinson and Mary Evaline had sixteen children, all of whom lived to be married except John Lee who died in his teens. Jesse Stinson and his family left Platte County, Missouri about 1857, and went to Arkansas. About 1862, he moved to Texas, however, he returned to Van Buren, Arkansas about 1866. Later he moved to Wagoner, then Indian Territory, Oklahoma. Jesse taught school in his younger years, was also a merchant and an insurance salesman. In the 1890’s he was secretary of the Watt’s Association. It was here that he spent considerable time and money, as well as others of the family, in trying to prove the family had some Cherokee Indian blood which came through the Blackburn family of Virginia. However, being unable to establish proof, he was unable to be enrolled on the rolls of the Five Civilized Tribes which was then being revised. It was at Wagoner, Oklahoma that Jesse died November 9, 1905, and where he is buried. His wife, Mary Evaline, also died at Wagoner. (Source: Family History: Southern Genealogies #1, 1600s-1800s, Historical Southern Families, Vol XI, Boat(w)right of Virginia, Page 214)

Jesse S. Boatright was installed (mason) as Steward of Van Buren Lodge, No. 6, of F. & A.M. on Friday afternoon the 27th December at the Presbyterian Church.

Jesse Stinson Boatright moved from Missouri to Texas about 1860. In 1865 or early 1866, soon after the end of the War for Southern Independence, he moved to Van Buren, Arkansas, where he first went into the hotel business and later opened a general merchandise store on Log Town Hill, which is now part of Van Buren.

About 1880-1882 he moved to Siloam Springs, Arkansas, where he lived for several years before returning to Van Buren about 1891. About 1895 he bought a farm two miles east of Wagoner, Oklahoma, and remained there until his death in 1905. The old home place is now under Fort Gibson Lake.

Jesse was a teacher, farmer, and businessman. He taught in several schools in and near Van Buren, including the old Broadway School which was located at the intersection of Broadway and East Main Street. Many of the Boatright children and grandchildren attended the old Broadway before it was demolished and replaced with the building now (1997) used as city hall.

He was especially proficient in penmanship and at times taught this art to adults in night classes. In the latter part of his life he was connected to the Watts Association, which was organized for the purpose of enrolling all persons of Cherokee blood who could be located. His wife, Mollie, was 1/32 Cherokee.

James Allen Boatright, who is living in Gassville, Arkansas, in 1997, has stated that he believes Jesse enlisted in the Confederate Army with his brother, Francis Alexander, but deserted shortly thereafter and “went to Texas”, where he stayed until the end of the war. Some documentation indicates that this may be true, but it has not been confirmed as yet.

(Transcribed from original by Dennis G. Boatright)

Mr. Chester Howe, Atty. Eastern Cherokee Claims, Washington, D.C.

I am mailing to you an abstract of claims acted on and decided by the 4th Board of Comm. and accepted as Cherokees by Blood on the Rolls of 1835 as Eastern Cherokees…was furnished to me by ex-chief John Ross from his Father’s Roll of 1835.

I also send you 8 true copies of affidavits of recognized Cherokee Indians in our case, the James Blackburn, Rhoda Blackburn (nee Baugh) and Polly Carter, their daughter who is on Roll of 1835. You will find on the Roll, Richard and Martha Blackburn who we suppose were James and Rhoda Blackburn’s grandson and daughter, the true copies of affidavits under seal of office was filed with the Dawes Comm. Sept. 10th 1896 with the case, as it was rejected, the case was appealed to the U.S. Court of the Western District of I.T., Muskogee, Judge Spri9nger, J. S. Boatright, being authorized agent of the Cherokee Indian Citizenship association & Atty…he laid the case before the Masters, they passed on the case a briefed it, the Judge would not sign it, saying we were non-residents, ignoring the decision of the Supreme Court of the U.S. that said the were Cherokee Indians let them reside where they may, so in the bounds of the U.S. and had indefeasable?? Rights to land & money of the Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory.

As Boatright had appointed me as his legal authorized agent, he wrote me he would appeal our case to the court of claims, he had about 1200 other claims he said he was not able to appeal all. Would make a test case of ours and asked my consent. I told him go ahead, it was some two year, he wrote me the Court had given a decision in our favor and had ordered the case filed with the Secretary of the Interior, he then wrote me as he was getting old and afflicted, he thought it best to turn over his claims to some other atty. and he spoke of M. M. Edmiston then of Viniti, IT, and did so, and recommended me to him as his authorized agent and he died not long after, as he had said the Court was behind two years or more, he did not expect to live to see it to an end. When the decision of Supreme (court) was given in favor of the Eastern and Western Cherokee 1905, and approved by Congress and appropriation made 1906, Edmiston wrote me sent me Power of Atty. for him and you with contract, doing away with all former contracts as I had got about 125 claims for Boatright – the letters commenced coming to me to take their claims at the 50% as they had agreed to give Boatright. I wrote Edmiston of their proposal to take their claims, he wrote me the 50% was too much…the government would kick he thought. Best for me and all to go ahead And get all the claims for him and you and you and him would allow me 10 percent of yours and his 25 percent which I agreed to. Is that right with you, that is for all that is allowed on any app. I got in 190 apps.

It does seem to me as this Blackburn, Baugh and Polly Carter Case has been passed on by the Masters, and Court of Claims, and as it was ordered filed with the Secretary of Interior. It probably was the Case carried to the Supreme Court of the U.S., that there should be any controversy about it.

I have a Brief of our Case giving each family claimant, giving their relationship to James Blackburn, Rhoda Blackburn, nee, Baugh & Polly Carter which might be of benefit to you.

(deleted by myself)

If any time I can give you any information, I will do so with pleasure. Address me at Elmira, Ray Co., Missouri.

Application No. 7297
Jesse T. Roberts

PS: Write me & let me know if you get all right. I send in two covers. M. M. Edmiston of Miami, Oklahoma requested me to send these papers.


Case No. 7053:

There are a large number of applicants who claim the right to share in the distribution of this fund through one James Blackburn, who originally resided in the state of Virginia, and through his two daughters, Elizabeth Boatright and Rhoda Patterson. It is claimed that James Blackburn was one-half or more Cherokee Indian by blood. It is alleged that James Blackburn came from Virginia to Kentucky about the year eighteen hundred and that he brought his family with him. After living in Kentucky a few years, he died. He was not enrolled in 1835 and probably was not alive as late as that, and of course was not enrolled in 1851, nor do any of his descendants appear to have been enrolled either in 1835 or 1851. Neither he nor is children were living within the Cherokee domain in 1835 or 1851. In fact, it does not appear that he ever lived within the Cherokee domain. On the contrary, his children and their children always lived with the white people and never had anything whatever to do with the Eastern Cherokee tribe of which they were probably never members. These persons seem to have no shadow of a claim as none of their ancestors were ever enrolled, or were parties to the treaties of 1835-6 or 1846. It does not appear that any ancestor ever lived within the Cherokee domain, and these applicants show no connection whatsoever with the Eastern Cherokee. Some members of this family applied for enrollment by the Dawes Commission and were rejected. For the reasons above, the applications of these parties are rejected.

Source: David C. Rains

Notes by R. G. Boatright:

Catherine Elizabeth Ruble (#41), daughter of Jesse, gave me the record of Jesse’s children in 1928. She stated in her letter that she was the 14th child of a family of 16 children. She stated that her father moved to Arkansas from Platte County, Missouri in 1857. About 1862 he moved to Texas and then to Van Buren, Arkansas about 1866. He then moved to Wagoner, Indian Territory (Oklahoma), where he died in November 9, 1905.

Jesse taught school in his younger years before becoming a merchant and insurance salesman. In the 1890’s he was secretary of the Watt’s Association. It was during this period that he spent considerable time and money (his as well as that of other members of the family) trying to prove his Cherokee Indian blood which came through the Blackburn family of Virginia.

Jesse S. Boatright filed a claim to Cherokee Heritage with the Dawes Commission in 1896. It was apparently based on belief that James Blackburn’s daughter, Elizabeth, had a half-sister, Polly Carter, enrolled on Rolls of Five Civilized tribes. The claim was rejected. I (RGB) well remember, when I was a small boy, my father, John W. Boatwright (#27), discussing this matter with the family many times. At one time he made a trip to Wagoner, which was then in Indian Territory to investigate the matter with his cousin, Jesse (#16), as well as others who were interested in the matter.

It should be noted that all sixteen of the children were by same parents and all lived to be married except John Lee who died in his teens.

From Malinda Fairall, Lansing, TN…”My gg-grandfather, Jesse Stinson, married my gggrandmother twice. He felt like the first marriage just wasn’t right, so one day, he came into the kitchen where Evaline was washing dishes…Jesse had brought a preacher home and they got married again”.

Jesse’s birthdate shown as 11 Dec 1829 in ‘Boatwright Family Bible’ records.

Author: Adams, Helen (Boatwright)
Title: Boatwright Family Bible Record
Note: Copied by J. Todd, 1982 from Bible in possession of Mrs. Adams, Paint Lick, KY – 40461.
Copy provided by Denny Boatright, Springfield, MO.

Obituary: J. S. Boatright (Friday’s Daily):

The funeral of J. S. Boatright was held at 3 o’clock this afternoon at the family residence. Rev. J. N. Edwards, pastor of the Baptist church, conducted the service. The Masonic lodge took charge and conducted the burial services after the beautiful rites of that splendid and ancient order, of which the deceased was an honored member. The services were very largely attended, as Mr. Boatright was one of those men who attain a high place in the esteem of their community. His 76 years were well spent and he leaves an honored name and a life record without a flaw. Mr. Boatright was a icon of the pioneer stock whose sturdy manhood subdued a continent wilderness; whose inflexible moral fibre laid deep and broad the foundations of a great empire, and whose indefatigable energy built a society which has never had an equal in this world. The deceased leaves a family to perpetuate his name, and it is hoped to transmit his virtues, for his was a life well worth the living. His grave has a CSA Veterans marker (1861-1865).

1850 Census:
Name: J Boatwright
Date: August 12, 1850
Age: 19
Estimated birth year: abt 1831
Birth place: Kentucky
Gender: Male
Home in 1850
(City,County,State): District 1, Graves County, Kentucky
Page: 433
Roll: M432_201

1860 Census:
Name: J S Boatright
Date: August 25, 1860
Age in 1860: 30
Birthplace: Kentucky
Home in 1860: Pigeon Roost, Prairie County, Arkansas
Occupation: Merchant
Gender: Male
Value of real estate: $600
Post Office: Hickory Plains
Roll: M653_48
Page: 968
Year: 1860
Head of Household: J S Boatright

1870 Census:
Name: J S Boatright
Date: July 24, 1870
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1830
Age in 1870: 40
Birthplace: Kentucky
Home in 1870: Cedar Creek, Crawford, Arkansas
Occupation: Farmer
Race: White
Gender: Male
Value of real estate: $2,000
Post Office: Van Buren
Roll: M593_51
Page: 176
Image: 125
Year: 1870

1880 Census:
Date: June 19, 1880
Age: 50
Estimated birth year: <1830>
Birthplace: Kentucky
Occupation: Farmer
Relationship to head-of-household: Self
Home in 1880: Van Buren, Crawford, Arkansas
Race: White
Gender: Male
Spouse’s name: Evaline BOATWRIGHT
Father’s birthplace: —
Mother’s birthplace: —
Census Place: Van Buren, Crawford, Arkansas;
Roll: T9_42; Family History Film: 1254042; Page: 602B;
Enumeration District: 50; Image: 0146.
Burial: Elmwood Cemetery, Wagoner, Wagoner County, Oklahoma


Mary Evaline Miller Boatright
Notes by Malinda Fairall…

My gg-grandmother, Mary Evaline Miller, was one of four children of Isaac Newton Miller and Elizabeth Jane Martin. Isaac Newton died as a young man on the Santa Fe Trail. He was a wagoner. Elizabeth left her four girls in the care of her parents after Isaac died. One year after he died, she married a Mr. Jones. She had 5 or 6 children by this man. Mr. Jones died after a few years and then she died a year later. This left the kids to be raised by other family members. Isaac’s girls were all married by the time they were 14 or 15 years old. One of the girls was married 3 times by the age of 21. She died soon after turning 21.

Mary Evaline applied for the Cherokee Rolls in 1906. In her statement, she mentioned that her father, Isaac, was part Cherokee. One source says that the Cherokee bloodline came through his father, Andrew Miller. Another source says that it came through Isaac’s Mother, Nancy. In one source, it is said that Nancy was very beautiful and the daughter of a chief. Mary Evaline stated that Andrew, Peggy, Sarah and another sister, were enrolled. I have not been able to prove this, yet.

A picture provided by Malinda Fairall who states that Evaline was 1/4 Cherokee Indian. Application for DAWES Commission listing is on file in Archives in Fort Worth


Obituary: “Wagoner Weekly” – Wagoner, Oklahoma newspaper:

Mrs. Eveline Boatright, Grandma Boatright,” as she was affectionately known, passed peacefully away about 11 o’clock last night at her home, the home of her son, James Boatright, on East Cherokee street. Mrs. Boatright was born March, 1837, and had consequently passed the allotted three score and ten years — a ripe age. Her life was full of usefulness and honor. She leaves a number of children, all grown. She was the widow of the late J. S. Boatright,who passed on ahead of her several years ago. The funeral was solemnized at 3 o’clock this afternoon, Rev. J. H. Gunn of Alva officiating. There were in attendance many relations and a host of friends.


Letter from Ruby McMaster – The Parsley Family Record to the best of my knowledge.

The Parsley family was of “Irish” origin. William Porter Parsley was born in Tennessee in 1948. He married Mattie Eilene Boatwright who was a Cherokee Indian. They were married in Arkansas in 1871. Mattie’s father was J.S. Boatwright. J. S. was an Indian agent for the District of Wagner for a number of years. The District of Wagner was a part of the Indian Territory, which became the state of Oklahoma. Mattie was supposedly 13 years old when she married, so that would mean she was born in 1858 (note, she was born in 1856). William and Mattie had 14 children that grew to be adults. We don’t know for sure how many children they had that may have died in infancy, but one of the 14 children Uncle Frank said there were 21 children in all. But there is some question as to the accuracy of that statement. Mattie Ilene died July 4 1895 and is buried in Poolville, Texas in a cemetery known as the “Lone Star Cemetery.”