Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Weogufkee/Muddy Water Cemetery Survey

It has been almost a year since my last post, but I have not neglected my genealogy research, only my genealogy blog.

This month, I surveyed my first cemetery. I photographed every stone and marker and then indexed the information from them into an index. I could find very little online about the Weogufkee Cemetery near Hanna in McIntosh County, Oklahoma. My family believed that 4-5 of our family members were buried there. After surveying the cemetery and learning about it, I firmly believe this to be a falsity. I believe it was a story made up or possibly even genuinely believed by those that wanted to further perpetuate the myth that my family descended from Native Americans, but it is completely untrue. Nine DNA tests have now been done on descendants of the ancestress who was supposedly half-Cherokee; not one of the 9 descendants, including one great grandchild, showed one drop of Native DNA.

This ancestress was Mary Ann Francis Mooney, who married James Henry Waller. She was born in Lowndes County, Alabama and grew up in Leake County, Mississippi. She later moved to Arkansas. Family lore states that her father was full-blood Cherokee (and a Chief, no less). Supposedly a lock of long dark hair taped to a page of a family bible belonged to this supposedly Cherokee ancestor, Reuben Mooney of Leake County, Mississippi. It was believed that she followed her daughters Leona and Mary Waller who married brothers John and Thomas Vaughan, respectively, to Oklahoma in the area of modern-day Indianola and Hanna, Oklahoma. It was believed she and James died there, and were buried at Weogufkee Cemetery. This was passed down for generations, despite Mooney family records indicating both Mary and James were buried at other cemetery grounds back in Arkansas.

The family wanted so badly to tie our family to Native American heritage that they began to assert that the Wallers were buried at Weogufkee, along with Thomas Vaughan and a son of his and Mary's named Frank Vaughan. This was believed to have been supported by a single field-stone among two field-stones bearing the initials "F. V.". This was supposed to have been Frank Vaughan. And this was supposed to prove that our Mooneys were Cherokee Indian.

Well...it turns out all of the people buried in Weogufkee are Creek Indians. There are no Cherokees buried there. So there goes that portion of it. No doubt some cousins will say, "Well, we must be Creek then." But I'll point to the DNA, which conclusively shows that none of 9 descendants, 6 from Leona and 3 from Mary, have any Native American DNA.

The Mooneys were actually of German descent. Reuben Mooney's father was actually a captain of a North Carolina militia in the American Revolutionary War. He and his father were white. So was his wife, Matilda. That can also be backed up by the numerous census records from 1850 and beyond 1900 which show the race of the Mooney and Davis (Matilda Davis was the wife of Reuben Mooney) to be conclusively W. W for White. Not one single I for Indian. Not one aunt, uncle, cousin, or even 2nd cousin in this entirely family all the way through the 1940 Census (the most recent census we have access to) shows a single Davis or Mooney descendant to be Indian. So unless ALL of those people LIED and ALL of the dozens and dozens of census recorders who met these people and recorded this information were accessories to this LIE and all LIED on government documents for DECADES...the logical conclusion is that the Mooneys were not Indian. Nor were the Davises. Nor were the Wallers.

So any future descendants of the Mooney-Davis clan seeking proof of Native American heritage...you won't find it. Because it doesn't exist. Your grandmother having a dark complexion or your uncle having high cheek bones does not mean they were native. In the Mooneys case, you may be seeing remnants of Black Dutch heritage, or eastern European heritage. As I have not traced the lineage beyond Captain William Mooney, I do not know from where in Europe he came. But you'll also find there were no Native American Captains that commanded white troops in the Revolutionary War. Documentation proves we descend from William Mooney, a white man. This proves conclusively that Reuben Mooney, and therefore his daughter Mary was not Native. There is no argument against it. The lie is officially dead.

Back to Weogufkee Cemetery. Despite my ancestors not being buried there, it is still a very interesting cemetery with a lot of history. Since very little of that history has been shared online, I took it upon myself to share as much as I can. Find A Grave had less than 30 graves recorded from Weogufkee, also called Muddy Water Cemeter. Oklahoma Cemeteries (okcemeteries.net) had the same, and appears to have lifted what information it does have directly from Find A Grave. I know because I created one of the two memorials showing James and Mary Ann Waller to have been buried there, and my information had been indexed on OK Cemeteries. I have removed James Waller's memorial from Weogufkee, and have requested that Mary Ann's be removed as well.

I indexed the entire cemetery after photographing all that had names. There were many field stones that did not. I did come across one survey conducted in the late 90s or early 00s by a Melva Best, but it had not been archived on Find A Grave, and was incomplete. Mine was also incomplete, based on Mrs. Bests's survey. I had found several graves and markers she hadn't, and vice versa. Some of the ones she had were Funeral Home Markers that since she recorded them have been damaged or lost. I came across the remains of many funeral home markers where the information had been removed or was now illegible.

I have alphabetized all of the records I collected. I then noted which graves Mrs. Best had found that I did not during my visit in April, 2016. I also checked recent obituaries online and found a couple more that I did find markers for. Lastly, I checked indexed digitized newspaper records online, and found mention of a couple of other Weogufkee burials that I had not found during my survey. I am now putting them all together into one list in two parts. It is the most complete survey of Weogufkee I have found. I have uploaded all of the headstone photos I took to Find A Grave. I made memorials for the more than 100 people who were not already indexed there, and uploaded photos for the memorials that had already been recorded. Only two graves were photographed before I uploaded the pictures I took. Now there are pictures for about 80% of the recorded graves. The only missing ones are the ones Mrs. Best found that I did not, and the aforementioned others I have recorded.

Here is my Weogufkee Cemetery Survey. If you copy this information to another website, I request that my name be attached to it as a source. If I find the information indexed elsewhere with no proper credit being given, I will request its removal and be able to cite this dated blog post as well as the dated photos from Find A Grave as proof that the information was taken from me and improperly cited. 

Format: Name - Parentage if noted - Date or year of birth - Date or year of death. Inscriptions are in (parenthesis) and "quotations", additional notes are in [brackets].

Part One - Marked Graves:

Bearhead, Gretchen – 7 Nov 1946 – 6 Jan 1947
Boney, James – 1891 – 1936 (“Daddy”)
Bowen, Dr. Adoniram Van, M. D. – 1 Jul 1944 – 29 Dec 1984
Brooks, Mr. – No dates – “Father of John Brooks”
Brooks, Mrs. – No dates – “Mother of John Brooks”
Bruner, Luella H. – 7 Nov 1916 – 1 Mar 1991
Bullett, Leah – 10 Mar 1908 – 10 Jun 1909 (“From mothers arms to the arms of Jesus”)
Bullett, Millie – 1863 – 1936 (“I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith.”
Bullett, Soloman – 1872 – 30 Jun 1918 (“Aged 46 years – Gone Home”)
Bullett, Unknown – 31 Jan 1897 – 31 Jan 1914 (Stone damaged, first name illegible) (“Aged 17 Yrs.”)
Byrd, Annie Deere Smith – 10 Jul 1902 – 28 Oct 1975
Byrd, Rev. Coleman L. – 22 Oct 1895 – 7 Nov 1990
Byrd, Felix – 12 May 1879 – 12 Dec 1901 (“Aged 22 yrs., 7 mos.”)
Byrd, Joel A. – 3 May 1943 – 5 Nov 1997
Byrd, Judy – 1825 – 26 Jan 1930 (“Aged 105 Yrs.”) (“She was a kind mother and a Christian”)
Catch, Unknown – Stone has fallen over [Melva Best: Celia d. Nov 30, 1914; age 40 yrs]
Chisholm, Elizabeth – 25 Aug 1886 – 20 Jun 1952
Chisholm, George W. – 28 Jul 1880 – 24 Sep 1959
Chisholm, Jackson – 26 Jul 1884 – 6 Mar 1954
Chisholm, Mattie – (Beloved wife of Tom Chisholm) – 20 Jul 1862 – 23 Mar 1911
Chisholm, Ruby – 9 Jul 1907 – 27 Jun 1973
Chisholm, Tom – 22 Dec 1909 – 29 Oct 1975
Chisholm, Woxie – 24 Jul 1914 – 4 Aug 1942
Colbert, Mary Smith – 1923 – 1988
Davenport, Sammie L. – 9 Mar 1919 – 13 Mar 1919
Deo, Ada Simmons – 27 Jun 1906 – 17 Dec 1992
Deo, Amos – 17 Jun 1900 – 31 May 1991
Deo, George – 1913 – 1980
Deo, Samuel – 1908 – 1991
Depue, Ester Maree – Dates illegible [Find A Grave: 21 Apr 1905 – 6 May 1907]
Ditzler, Unknown – Name illegible – “Mother of Mary Viola Sims”
Dorsey, Emma – 1886 – 25 Jan 1904 (“Forever with the Lord”)
Fields, Estalene – 20 Jan 1941 – 7 Jun 1998 [Melva Best: Nee Chisholm]
Fisher, Bettie – Daughter of Willie and Lucy Fisher – 2 Jul 1902 – 26 Sep 1905 (“Gone so soon”)
Fisher, Susie – 28 Mar 1905 – 22 Sep 1969
Freeman, Betty Jane Smith – 3 Sep 1932 – 28 Nov 2009 (“Daughter – A Light Unto Our Pathway”)
Gaino, Harriott – 1831 – 17 Apr 1899 (“Aged 68 Yrs.”) (“Mother of S. W. Bullett”) (“Resting in hope of a glorious resurrection”)
Gambler, Wash. – Son of M. L. Gambler – 5 Dec 1924 – 28 Feb 1925 (“At Rest”)
Gatlin, Unknown (Stone has fallen over) [Melva Best: GATLIN, Lucile b. May 21, 1881; d. May 13, 1912]
George, Billey – No dates (“Aged 5 Years”)
Green, Cinda – 1869 – Aug 1896 (“Age 27 Yrs.”) (“She believed and sleeps in Jesus.”)
Green, Willie - 1873 – 19 Aug 1891
Hammontree, Freeland Dan – 6 Jul 1945 – 8 Nov 1992 (“In Loving Memory”)
Hammontree, Lorine – 11 Aug 1920 – 30 May 2008 (“Loving Mother and Grandmother”)
Hammontree, Marvin – 28 Sep 1917 – 2 Jul 1983
Harjo, Albert – 1881 – 1 Feb 1926 (Stone damaged – first name is guess) (“Age 45 Years – At Rest”)
Harjo, Jack – 1918 – 1982 – (“Pvt. U. S. Army – World War II”)
Harjo, Wanda Faye – 1938 – 2012 (Dates illegible) [Obit: Nee Lewis]
Harley, Helen – 4 Aug 1934 (McIntosh County, OK) – 14 Feb 2006 (Norman, OK)
Harley, Stella – 13 Jun 1901 – 14 Jan 1962 [Obit: Died in Talihina]
Herrod, Wilson E. – 7 Dec 1924 – 2 Apr 1989 (“U.S. Marine Corps – World War II”)
Hill, Hattie – 15 Jul 1891 – 30 Apr 1936
Hill, Houston – 16 May 1893 – 25 May 1935
James, Billie – 23 May 1892 – 5 Jun 1947 (“Oklahoma – Pvt. – 111 Ammo TN, 36 Div. – World War I”)
Jones, Solomon – 14 Aug 1915 – 21 Aug 1915 (“Budded on earth to bloom in heaven”)
Kelly, Rosa “Rose” M. – 18 Jan 1938 – 20 Feb 2005
Lasley, Jennie – Wife of Dick Lasley – 1866 – 16 Apr 1916 (“Age 50 Years”)
Lasley, Monroe – 3 Oct 1941 – 9 Mar 2015 (“A2C – U. S. Air Force – Vietnam”)
Lasley, Senora – 1914 – 21 Apr 1958 (“Aged 45 years, 7 months, 1 day”)
Lasley, Wisey – 1862 – 27 Dec 1930
Lewis, Tildy – Wife of Jackson Lewis – 1884 – Jan. 1911 (“Age 27 Years – My trust is in God”)
Lindsey, Alex Lewis – 1941 - 1992
Lindsey, Buddy – 1910 – 29 May 1957 (“Aged 47”)
McCombs, Rev. Dave – 22 Jul 1907 – 7 Feb 1996
McCombs, Sarah Ann – 18 Apr 1908 – 19 Mar 2005 (“Beloved Mother and Grandmother”) [Death Announcement: Nee Thomas]
McQueen, Jeannetta – 1883 – 6 Apr 1912 (Stone damaged)
McQueen, Kogee – 4 Jul 1893 – 6 Aug 1915 (Stone fallen over) 
Parkhill, Lu – Wife of C. W. Parkhill – 11 Mar 1867 – 6 Feb 1911
Pendley, Dollie J. – Wife of M. S. Pendley – 18 Feb 1873 – 5 Jan 1907
Pendley, Esther Tennessee Roland – No dates
Pendley, Laura E. – Wife of Larkin Pendley – 1881 – 1910
Pendley, Ruby – Inf. Son of Larkin and Laura Pendley – 1905 – 1905 (Two stones)
Pendley, Soloman (Two Headstones) – 21 Jan 1844 – 15 Dec 1905 (Serg., Co. H, 12 KY Cav., Civil War)
Pendley, Unnamed – Son of M. S. and Dollie J. Pendley – 8 Dec 1906 – 26 Feb 1907
Pendley, Unnamed – Son of M. S. and Dollie J. Pendley – 5 Aug 1905 – 12 Aug 1905
Proctor, Andy – 1910 - 1965
Proctor, Billy Gene – 26 Jul 1937 – 11 Nov 1990
Proctor, Judy Lasley – 19 Jul 1918 – 11 Nov 1993
Proctor, Luster I. – 31 May 1951 – 23 Sep 1997
Proctor, Snow – 1 Feb 1918 – 11 Apr 1945 (Oklahoma – PFC – 184 Infantry, 7 Infantry Division - World War II)
Ritterhoff, Abbie J. – 8 Mar 1910 – 18 Oct 1981 [Melva Best: Nee Chisholm]
Ritterhoff, Carney – 6 Jan 1909 – 22 Oct 1979 (“In Loving Memory”) (Two stones) (Second: Pvt. U.S. Army – World War II)
Rolland, Ella – No Dates – Wife of Everett
Scott, Frank – 15 Jul 1895 – 8 Oct 1918 (“[Illegible], Co. E, 142nd Infantry.”) (“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.”)
Simmons, Dorsey – 1885 – 25 Feb 1909
Simmons, Emma – 4 Jun 1904 – 29 Aug 1907 (“Budded on earth to bloom in heaven”)
Simmons, George – 22 Nov 1907 – 12 Jul 1908
Simmons, Harley – 1912 – 24 Feb 1964
Simmons, Jacob – 2 May 1913 – 10 Oct 1914
Simmons, Lelar – Daughter of Walter Simmons – 5 Apr 1918 – 8 Jul 1920 (“At rest”)
Simmons, Lizzie – Wife of Samuel Simmons – 6 Feb 1898 – 1 May 1920 (“She believed and sleeps in Jesus”)
Simmons, Siah – Son of Walter and Chippie Simmons – 30 Mar 1910 – 30 May 1910
Simmons, Walter – Died 1 May 1921 (Writing on handmade stone illegible)
Smith, Alfred – 1929 – 1983
Smith, Betty Phillips – 21 Apr 1888 – 9 Feb 1964 (“A Woman That Feareth The Lord, She Shall Be Praised”)
Smith, Geneva – 1926 – Living? (Wife of Alfred)
Smith, Joe – Husband of Rose Smith – 1873 – 11 Jun 1919 (3 o’clock AM) (“Earth has no sorrows that heaven cannot heal”)
Smith, Marie – 28 Dec 1922 – 22 Mar 1963 (“Daughter”) [Obit: Died in Talihina]
Smith, Roland Carl – 23 Aug 1914 – 25 Aug 1924 (“His Memory Verse: The fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom. Son of Mr. and Mrs. W. M. Smith)
Smith, Rev. William P. – 1 Oct 1890 – 15 Nov 1958 “He Whom We Thought Dead Is Only Gone Before Us”
Spaniard, Andre Cody – 1921 – 1995
Spaniard, Anna – 1925 – 1999
Spaniard, Simon – 14 Aug 1894 – 24 Oct 1963 (Oklahoma – PFC – U.S. Army - World War I) (Last name spelled Spainard)
Spaniard, Unknown – Funeral Home Marker damaged - 1896 – 1986 [Melva Best: Annie Ida Spaniard]
Spillers, Jessie H. – Son of J. E. and Parthenia Sellers – 10 Sep 1888 – 10 Nov 1909 (“Come Ye Blessed”)
Spillers, Parthenia – 16 Aug 1865 – 7 Feb 1917
Starr, Dolly Jean – 1 May 1924 – 8 May 1924
Starr, Walter – 28 Jul 1898 – 13 Nov 1924
Sulman, Robert – Son of Roly and Lucy Sulman – 1909 – Jul 1911 (“Age 2 years – Our loved one”)
Thomas, Mattie Jean – 1933 – 2006
Thomas, James C. – 17 Jul 1895 – 22 Mar 1970
Thomas, Lizzie Lou – 10 Sep 1899 – 18 Jan 1979 (“A Loving Sister”)
Thomas, Minnie F. – 14 Jun 1907 – 9 Jul 1982
Thompson, Unknown (Possibly E. T.) – No dates, possible initials illegible
Tiger, Annie Walker – 22 May 1917 – 14 Mar 2008 (“God took her home, It was his will, But in our hearts she liveth still”)
Tiger, George – 13 Sep 1933 – 11 Dec 1934
Tiger, George – No dates – (“Aged 8 Ys.”)
Timontruby, Dina – 1894 – 3 May 1906 (“Aged 12 Ys.”)
V., F. – No dates - Fieldstone

Washington, Martha – 27 May 1925 – 27 May 1925 (“At Rest”)


This next section will list graves I have found record of in obituaries or from Melva Best's surveys, but that I did not locate markers for during my survey of the cemetery. They are likely some of the damaged and illegible marks, as there many of them. In [brackets] I have written my source.

Part Two - Unmarked Graves:

Bullett, Silas Stephen - 13 Mar 1937 - 22 Jun 1999 [Melva Best]
Chisholm, Buster – Died Apr 1939 [Obit - Indian Journal]
Deo, Billy - 8 Dec 1910 - 15 Sep 1993 [Melva Best]
Hicks, Edmond - 11 Mar 1913 - 31 Jan 1999 [Melva Best]
Hicks, Leo L - 1941 - 1998 [Melva Best]
Hughey, Floy – 5 Dec 1912 – 4 Apr 1942 [Find A Grave - No Source]
Kano, Eldon Lewis – 28 Nov 1935 – 16 Sep 2001 [Obit - Online]
Lasley, Gilbert - Died Apr 1970 [Melva Best]
Lasley, Sam - Died 31 Jan 1964 [Melva Best]
Lasley, Wesley - 1912 - 27 Dec 1980 [Melva Best]
Pigeon, Lena - 1922 - 19 Dec 1980 [Melva Best]
Proctor, Kelly - Died 2 Sep 1970 [Melva Best]
Simmons, Charley - Died 21 Feb 1965 [Melva Best]
Simmons, Chippie - Died Nov 1952 [Melva Best]
Smith, Sam – Buried 6 May 1936 [Newspaper Mention - Indian Journal]
Thomas, Timmie F. - 1907 - 1982 [Melva Best]
West, Aaron - 1914 - 1987 [Melva Best]


Lastly, I submitted a historical sketch of the cemetery and some pictures to the Find A Grave page for the cemetery. This is the sketch and the non-headstone pictures I shared, along with some additional photos I like but may not be necessary for the Find A Grave page.

"Weogufkee is Creek Indian for "Muddy Water", and the Weogufkee Indian Baptist Church and cemetery grounds have been used by Creek Indians in the area of modern-day Hanna, Oklahoma in McIntosh County since about 1858, according to a large commemorative marker. The earliest marked burial that has been located is dated 1891. The Pendley family has a separate fenced plot a few yards from the main collective of graves, but are still considered to be a part of the "Muddy Water" Cemetery. Soldiers from every major American conflict since the Civil War are interred here among members of the earliest Creek families that lived in the vicinity.

A large stone marker next to the church reads: "Weogufkee Indian Missionary Baptist Church - The church was finally whereon the stone stand and began its missionary work in about 1858. This stone was erected to be a memorial to departed faithful servants of our savior Lord Jesus Christ." It is dated in May of 1935.

It is still in use today by current and former members of the Weogufkee Indian Baptist Church. The dirt road leading to the church is marked with Weogufkee Indian Baptist Church sign, and can be found by taking the Dustin/Highway 9 exit off of the Indian Nation Turnpike, and heading east on Highway 9. Follow that to Highway 52 going south toward Hanna. Go through Hanna on Highway 52, which becomes Main Street, and turn west on Countryside Road, which becomes E1250 Rd., when you reach the intersection with the Post Office. Follow Countryside Road to the Weogufkee Indian Baptist Church sign, which will appear on your left if you are going west and will be just before you reach the bridge taking you back over the Indian Nation Turnpike. Take the dirt road back about 1/2 mile, at which point you'll arrive at the gate to the cemetery and church."




The sign for the Weogufkee Baptist Church off of Countryside Road coming from Hanna. 


The pond which can be viewed as you turn down the road toward the church and cemetery.


The road to the Weogufkee Church and cemetery.


The entrance to the Weogufkee/Muddy Water Cemetery.


A view from within the cemetery.


Another view from within the cemetery.


Another view from within the cemetery.


This is the Pendley Family Plot, which is fenced off and a few yards from the main body of the cemetery.


Weogufkee Indian Baptist Church, April, 2016.


Memorial erected in 1935 commemorating the cemetery and church.


The sign, found a few yards from the church and memorial, naming the cemetery. 

Please feel free to write me or comment with any questions or additional information.

3 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. You've done amazing work Nathan, thanks!

    -john johnson, MCN

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  3. Melva Best was my Uncle Chester's wife. I am Chester Best great niece. I grew up coming to see the church and cemetery of my ancestors. RIP Aunt Melva and to all my other loved ones and even buried in Hanna cemetery!

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