Saturday, June 23, 2012

Avery Vann


Avery the second son of James Vann II was born c 1770’s in Georgia, date of death is unknown, and he is buried in the Elm Grove Cemetery south of Rose, Oklahoma.  He married Margaret McSwain c 1790’s, probably in Georgia, she was born c 1775-80 in Virginia(?) and died in 1857 and is also buried in the Elm Grove Cemetery south of Rose, Oklahoma.  She was a daughter of Trader McSwain and Nannie Downing.  Avery and Margaret had fifteen children.

Joseph (Teaultle) Vann-Born February 11, 1798-Died May 3, 1877.  Buried in the Cavalier/Vann Cemetery south of Locust Grove, Oklahoma.  Married Catherine Rowe, after her death, he married her sister Elizabeth Rowe.  May have been sisters of David Rowe, who married his sister Elizabeth or (Betsy) Vann.

David Vann-Born January 1, 1800 and killed by the “Pin” Cherokees December 23, 1863 during the Civil War, he married Martha McNair.

Margaret Vann-Born 1802, death unknown, married David Webber.

Andrew M. Vann-Born 1804, died 1842, married to Margaret Lasley and Susie Alexander.

Nannie Vann-Born 1806, death unknown, married John Chambers.

Catherine Vann-Born 1808, death unknown, married John Rogers and William Williams.

Mary Vann-Born 1810, death unknown, married William Lasley.

Keziah Vann-Born 1812, death unknown, married Robert Webber, parents of Margaret Webber, who married Scott Tyler Cavalier.  After Scott was killed in 1861, she married Edward Crutchfield.

Charles Vann-Born 1814, death unknown, married Eliza West.

Clement Vann-Born 1816, death unknown, married Isadora Mackey.

Sallie Vann-Born June 1818, died May 28, 1882 in Rogers County, Oklahoma.  Married Robert Rogers, Jr. c 1835 Indian Territory.  Their son Clement Vann Rogers was father of world famous William Penn Rogers.

Elizabeth Vann-Born November 2, 1820, died December 11, 1896 she married George West and David Rowe.  She inherited her dad’s place on Rowes Prairie, Indian Territory.

Eliza Vann-Born 1822, death unknown, married John Martin

Clara Vann-Born 1824, death unknown

Jennie Vann-Born 1826, death unknown

Avery was very active in the affairs of the Cherokee Nation East; he kept a Stand “Store” at Beavers Pond, Georgia in Vann’s Valley (district three) where the road branched northwest to the Coosa River.  He and his family operated a plantation.  In 1829 he first enrolled for emigration with his half blood wife and younger children, all of his children were born in Georgia.  His improvements were valued and paid for by the government.  His son Charles took possession of the Stand until it was rented out by the state of Georgia in 1831.  Avery’s other land and buildings were valued in the sum of $2,519.25 at that time, this included two houses of hewn lumber, the Storehouse, 18’ square, with counter and shelves; two cribs, two stables, four “Negro houses”, a cookhouse 14’ square, a hen house 12’ square and a smokehouse.  Records show he enrolled September 14, 1829 along with his sons Joseph and Andrew to move west to Indian Territory; he had eleven members in his family and twenty-two blacks and lived at Beaver Pond, Georgia, Cherokee Nation East.  Joseph had five in his family and nine blacks and Andrew showed one in his family and no blacks, they all came from Beaver pond, Georgia.  Avery did not arrive in the Cherokee nation West until 1837; he may have lived in Tennessee for a while as many did after leaving Georgia.  When he arrived he only had four in his family.  Joseph and Andrew arrived here in 1829.  In 1837 Avery built a fine home in the Saline District of the Cherokee Nation south of what is now Rose, Oklahoma.  Since he was an extensive slave owner he established his own brick kiln on the place and his slaves made brick for the four large fireplaces in his large pine log house.  The logs were cut and hewn near the place by his slaves and each corner of the house was pinned together with wooden pins.  The house contained seven rooms, each 20’ square, five downstairs and two upstairs.  The lumber for the floors was cut and sawed on the place, tongued grooved and planed by hand.  The lower floor was laid on hewn logs, while the upper floor lay on joists 18” apart.

This is a good place to bring in the house of Joseph Vann; Avery’s son who settled near Spring Creek, south of Locust Grove on what is now the John T. Cavalier home place.  Joseph Vann moved here in 1829 and built a home of which I have no knowledge, however, it was probably built of logs as most construction was at that time in I.T, and it burned during or right after the Civil War.  He rebuilt it, which is the front two rooms of our present house and may have been like his home that burned.  Some of the similarities of his dad’s home are the wood pinning in the attic and the hewn logs for floor joists.  The walls have slave made brick up to about six feet.  The studs are hand hewn timbers about four to five inches square.  The first Vann buried here was in 1833, there are two graves surrounded by a brick wall about four feet high, these brick and those in the house most likely came from his dad’s brick kiln south of Rose.

Avery operated his plantation with his slaves until the Civil War; he joined the Union Army along with his son-in-law David Rowe.  His two sons Joseph and Andrew chose to join the Confederacy and fight under Stand Watie, we have always heard brother against brother and father against son.  I find records where Avery taught school in the Saline District at Lynch’s Prairie, I also have one document where he signed with an X so I don’t know what his level of education was.

Avery being recognized, as a white man could not hold office among the Cherokees, but four of his five sons held many office of trust from 1839 to 1875.  Joseph Vann served eight years in the Cherokee Senate and was sent to Washington three times to represent his people.  He was elected one time as Assistant Chief of the Cherokee Nation, but resigned and his brother Andrew M. Vann was elected to take his place.  While holding this position he served as acting Chief and on one occasion signed the papers that established the National Capital at Tahlequah.  Clement Vann went to Washington one time to represent the Cherokee Nation, served as clerk of the Council and was in the Senate one term.  David Vann served as Treasurer of the Cherokee Nation from 1831 to 1839.  Margaret died in 1857 and Avery must have died at the beginning or right after the Civil War, because David Rowe and Avery’s daughter Betsy lived in his house during the Civil War.

At the death of Avery, Betsy became owner of the old place, she had married David Rowe and they lived there for forty years.  Dave Rowe was a very prominent Cherokee and served in on the Cherokee Council, he too was an extensive slave owner and raised many hogs and cattle.  He lived within eight miles “as the crow flies” of the Cherokee Orphan Asylum at Salina, in the Saline District.  At one time he had the contract to furnish the orphanage with beef and pork.  He was elected Assistant Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation in 1875, was judge of the Saline District 1855 to 1859, Circuit judge, Northwestern Circuit 1867-1871.  He bought a full set of equipment for the third series of the Cherokee Advocate in St. Louis, Missouri.  Dave had a hideout on a high hill about 100 yards from his house, the hill was so high and the brush so thick that he could see anyone approach his home, but they could not see him.  He had a little log hut up there he called the “hideout”, he would watch the Confederate soldiers come and search his place for him.

Dave died April 13, 1891 and Betsy died in 1896, he was seventy-one and she was seventy-six, both are buried in the Elm Grove Cemetery south of Rose as were most of their children.  The prairie land around his home was called Rowe’s Prairie, but through the years it was changed to Rose.  At the death of Betsy, their sons Pole and Cul sold the place to J. E. “Red Cloud” Duncan, the last High Sheriff of the Cherokee Nation, in 1900 when the Cherokee Government was abolished.  Red Cloud released all the prisoners in the National Prison and moved his family to the old Avery Vann place.  A place or plantation at this time consisted of the improvements on the land, the land belonged to the Cherokees in common, and in 1904 the Dawes commission allotted the land to the Cherokees.  All persons born that year and before who could prove their Cherokee blood were allotted approximately 160 acres of land, J. E. Red Cloud Duncan and his wife had enough children to get 1200 acres.  They took their allotments on and adjoining the old place, they lived there forty years until a fire on December 23, 1940 destroyed it.  The old house was historic in association, social and political, with the events of the Cherokee Nation since the days of the first tribal government.  As a center of social occasions it was known throughout the Saline district and from Vinita to Tahlequah, it’s hospitable assemblages of relatives and friends, parties, dances, and dinners are unforgotten and no festive occasion was complete without Red Cloud to play the fiddle, which was brought from Georgia by his grandfather.  Aunt Alice (Rogers) Cavalier’s family was raised on Rowe’s Prairie and she would tell of attending dances along with her brothers and sisters and the Cavalier boys, Cicero, Ted, whom she married and Scott.  Red Cloud was eighty years old when the house burned.  The fire of unknown origin occurred in the temporary absence of Mr. and Mrs. Duncan, destroying the entire contents of the house with the exception of a gold watch.  Hundreds of old books, pictures, letters, records and documents of inestimable interest relating to affairs of the Cherokee Nation throughout it’s history, were lost.  Two men at work saw the fire from a distance, but reached the house too late to save anything but the old watch, which one, knowing how much it was prized by it’s owner, rescued it as they ran through the smoke filled room.  The following is an article written by Will Drew when interviewing Red Cloud:  I have seen many watches, but the one placed in my hand seemed different, and with closer inspection, more different.  Made of ultra pure shining gold, it was heavy and thick, as watches were made in a passed era.  It had a beautifully engraved case of hunting style and a very heavy link chain.  About it was an air of substance and durability implanted by the old hand work artisans who made it. The chain was long, designed to hang across the vest front in the style of other years.  No ticking was audible, but on holding to my ear, as directed by Mr. Duncan, there came a low click, click, click of beautiful slow rhythm and precision unlike the nervous tick-tick-ticking of ordinary watches.  To me it seemed whispering the words of the arched inscription above the door of old Worchester Academy in Vinita-“Tempus Fuget” (time passes)-at which we old-timers gazed with perplexity when we were little boys and girls.  Gold of which the watch was mined in Georgia in 1827 by Mr. Duncan’s father and sent to England by sail ship, where the watch was made.  It contains an unusually large number of diamond jewels, some so small as to be almost invisible.  Inside the case is the clear engraving “Sheffield-James Stoddard, 4504 Red Lyon Street, London, England.  The old watch saw the evacuation of Cherokees from the old nation East: birth of the Indian Territory; rise and passing of the Cherokee Government with it’s institutions and it’s Chiefs—Ross, Downing, Bushyhead, Joel Mayes, Sam Mayes, Harris, Buffington and Rogers.  It saw established the first post office in the Indian Territory 185 years ago (now 2002); saw the Cherokee Nation become Indian Territory in 1873 (?); measured time of four wars, Civil War, Spanish War, World War I and present World War II.  End of interview.  The gold discovered in Georgia is the reason the Cherokees and other tribes were removed from that area.

Red Cloud and my grandfather john T. Cavalier were very close friends for many years and their sons grew up together, our families treated each other like family.  Dewitt told me he used to go with his dad to the Cavaliers and they would visit for hours on the front porch or under a large pecan tree at the barn.  The sire of “Lucky Boy”, the golden palomino stallion that Uncle Scott had, was owned by John Duncan, I can remember when he was born in 1947, the year Grandma Cavalier died, I told dad the new foal was wrapped in cellophane.  Red Cloud and granddad both could speak the Cherokee language very fluently.  One of Red Cloud’s sons carved western scenes on cattle horns; there were two large horns that I think Uncle Walter Cavalier had.  There was a smaller wolf hunting horn with a cowboy roping a goat, I gave it to Red Cloud’s great grandson, Binks Wilkerson, who is our neighbor.  Below is the old Avery Vann house built in 1837, the siding was probably added by Red Cloud Duncan.

NOTE:  Written by Jon Charles Cavalier

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