Guion Miller Report
For Sizemore Applicants
thousands of applications from Sizemore descendants and going into the field to obtain 80
pages of testimonies, special agent of the Interior Department, Guion Miller, made this report.]
Rejected. Applicant is one of the Sizemore claimants. These applicants claim through
Ned (or Edward), John (or Doctor Johnny
Gourd), Joseph Sizemore and William Sizemore, and for
convenience, they are designated the Sizemore claims. These
applications number about 2000, representing approximately 5000 individuals. The claimants reside
chiefly in northwestern Tennessee, Southwestern Virginia, and southern West Virginia, and
northwestern and western Alabama. The statements in the applications and
affidavits filed in support of the same and in the testimony taken are not entirely consistent but
substantially the same claim is made for all these individuals. More than
80 witnesses were examined in the field and their testimony will be found in Sizemore testimony,
Pages 1 to 75. It does not appear that any one of the claimants or any one
of the ancestors of any of the claimants was ever enrolled with the Eastern Cherokees, nor does it
appear that any of these claimants or their immediate ancestors ever lived as Indians with the
Cherokee Nation or with Eastern Cherokees. None of them appears to have
been living within the Cherokee domain at the date of the treaty of 1835-6, but on the contrary,
most of these claimants or their immediate ancestors were living from 150 to 300 miles from the
Cherokee Domain at that time. From the applications, affidavits and testimony, it appears that
Ned Sizemore, John Sizemore, and Joseph
Sizemore were brothers, but the exact date or place of birth could not be definitely
determined. It is probable, however, that they were born somewhere between 1740 and
1760. Some accounts fix the place of birth as Halifax Co., Va., while
others say it was Halifax Co., N. C., while still another account states that Ned
Sizemore "was duly enrolled upon the rolls of the Cherokee Nation, taken and made in
the year 1748, in the Catawba Reservation", and William H. Blevins, a
prominent man among the claimants and one who has been largely instrumental in prosecuting this
claim, testified (Sizemore Testimony P. 56): "I remember one Elisha
Blevins who said that old Ned Sizemore came from the Catawba River, or
the Catawba Reservation, as he called it. Elisha Blevins has been dead
some time. Wesley Blevins also testified in 1896 to the same
effect". This would seem to indicate that Ned Sizemore came from South
Carolina, but, in any event, none of the accounts places their origin within the territory of the
Cherokee Indians. The claimants who were examined as witnesses were nearly
all well advanced in years and testified almost without exception that they and their parents were
generally recognized as white people, that neither they nor their parents had ever received any
money from the Government as Indians and had never been enrolled as such. Many of them stated that
until this enrollment had been agitated they had never heard to what tribe of Indians they
belonged but only that they had Indian blood.
Henry A. Holland testified at Pilot Mountain, North Carolina (Sizemore
Testimony P. 1) that he was 63 years of age, and that he knew John Sizemore (or
Doctor Gourd) and Joseph Sizemore; that he never
heard either of them state where
they were born, and that: "I never heard either of them say that they were
Indians. I heard that they were kin to them. I never heard either of them
say that they were kin to the Indians. I don't remember hearing it said to what
Indians they were kin. There were no bands of Indians living in Stokes County in my life time, as
Indians. I never heard them spoken of as Cherokees. I am not a claimant myself; I was
asked to come here by Mr. Whittaker, as agent for Mrs. Belva A.
Morgan D. Sizemore testified at Pilot Mountain, N. C. (Sizemore Test. P. 2),
that he is 46 years of age, and that: "So far as I can say, I have no Indian blood. I do not
know whether there is any tradition in my family that we have Indian blood. I have never heard my
father, Atha Sizemore, say that he was of Indian blood".
Benjamin F. King testified at Pilot Mountain, N. C. (Sizemore Test. P. 3) that
he is 53 years of age and that: "I claim Indian blood from having heard my mother say that I
am kin to the Indians. I remember my grandmother quite well. I do not remember ever hearing her
say anything about the Indians. Neither my mother nor my grandmother ever lived with the Indians.
My mother never said to what tribe of Indians she
belonged - simply said she was kin to the Indians. I never heard her mention the Cherokees.
Neither my mother nor my grandmother were ever enrolled with the Indians. I have never been
Tandy Bennett testified at Pilot Mountain, N. C. (Sizemore Test. Pages 4 and
5) that he is 67 years of age and has Indian blood in his veins through his mother who was a
Sizemore; that his mother died in 1898 at the age of 82; that she was born in Halifax Co., Va.;
that she got her Indian blood through her father, Joseph Sizemore who died in
Halifax Co., Va.; that his understanding was that he was born there and that he (Joseph
Sizemore) "was born here when the war broke out; he must have come to Stokes County
about 1821 or 1822, but Dr. Johnny Gourd came out here several years before he
did. Dr. Johnny Gourd died and was buried in Stokes Co., I have seen
him thousands of times and he was a very old man. I could not say that I have heard him say that
he was Indian. He resembled an Indian right smart; I don't recollect his saying that he was an
Indian. I remember Joseph Sizemore. I don't remember hearing him say he was
an Indian. I was in the twenties when he died. I saw him frequently in my
life-time and have talked some to him. He was pretty dark-skinned but he passed as a white man. I
never heard of Joseph Sizemore or Dr. Gourd receiving any money
from the Government as Indians nor my mother, Rebecca Bennett; if she had gotten
it I would have known it. My mother lived in Stokes Co., N. C. in 1851. I never heard her say
anything about any enrollment of Indians by the Government. I have heard Dr. Gourd called an old
Indian doctor. I never was enrolled for any benefits as an Indian. I have heard of there being
Indians ever since I can recollect. I know they have been called Cherokees. When people
would get mad they would call them Cherokee Indians. They would not take it very
well. I have been called a Cherokee Indian but of course I did not like
it. I have always lived as a white man and have tried to fill a white man's place.
There are none of our family who claim Indian blood other than through Joseph
James H. Sizemore testified at East Bend, N. C. (Sizemore Test. P. 7 and 8),
that he is 67 years of age and was born and raised in Yadkin Co., N. C.; that he has
never lived with the Indians and never received any money from the government on account of his
Indian blood; that his father was Isom Sizemore who was born in Halifax Co., Va.
- that his father never received any money from the government on account of his Indian blood, and
that: "I never heard him say to what tribe of Indians he belonged. In 1851 he lived in Stokes
County and lived there in 1835 also.
Dr. Johnny Gourd had fair skin and dark eyes and light hair. I
remember him. He lived with my father right smart while before he died. I have heard
my grandfather say that he was an Indian, but I don't recollect him telling of what Indian he
was, but he said he was from Cherokee. My father voted and was mustered. My great
grandfather lived in Virginia but was born and married in Cherokee, and then moved to Virginia
when my grandfather was a small boy. My grandfather, John, told me this. I have heard it said that
my great grandfather, John Sizemore, was a captain in the Revolutionary War,
fighting with the Colonies".
John E. Stallings testified at Yadkinville, N. C. (Sizemore Test. P. 13) that
he was 55 years of age and that: "I have always been a voter and my grandfather
Isom Sizemore, was a voter. I have always been considered a white man in this
Leah M. Harris also testified at Yadkinville, N. C. (Sizemore Test. P. 14)
that she is 69 years of age and that her father was Isom Sizemore, and that he
died 23 years ago at the age of 92 and that he was born in Va. and that she knew Dr.
Johnny Sizemore, and that: "He was born in Cherokee; I don't recollect in which
Cherokee he was born; he just said he was born in Cherokee. I have always passed as a
white woman and my father as a white man. I have heard Dr. John Sizemore say that
he was an Indian. He said that he belonged to the white complexion Indians. I never
heard him say any other tribe of Indians than that. I never paid much attention to
him. He was a good looking old man and was light complexioned. I made him a suit of clothes, got
him a new hat, and he shaved up and looked like another man. I have heard my father say he was kin
to the Indians. I never heard him say to what tribe of Indians he was kin. When grandfather came
to our house he wore his hair down to his shoulders, his beard down on his chest, and wore a
little old green cap."
John Henry Sizemore testified at Wilkesboro, N. C. (Sizemore Test. P. 16) that
he is 61 years of age and had heard his father speak of having Indian blood; that: "He said
his father was kin to the Indians. He did not say to what tribe of Indians. We always passed in
the community as white people".
James Woody, 84 years of age, who is not a claimant but was produced as a
witness on behalf of these claimants, in speaking of Ned Sizemore (Sizemore Test.
P. 20) states that he had seen old Ned Sizemore. "I do not know what
descent he originated from, but he was represented to be somewhat Indian". He also states
that he knew Owen Sizemore and that: "I did not hear it talked when I first
knew them what they were or what they originated from. Ned Sizemore was here in
this country when I was a boy. Owen Sizemore was regarded as a white man but he
had a little grain of Indian in him. Before this present money question came up, I never heard
that the Sizemores were Cherokee Indians. They used to meet on the hills and muster. I
do not know whether Ned Sizemore mustered or not, but the younger men did.
Catharine Petty, 64 years of age (Sizemore Test. P. 21) testified that she was
born and always lived in Ashe Co., N. C., and claims Cherokee blood through her father,
David Osborn; that her father was 92 or 93 years of age at the time of his death,
which took place in 1902, and that: "I have heard my father say that he was kin to the
Indians. He never said what kin we were. He never received any money from the Government on
account of his Indian blood that I know of. I never knew of my father visiting the Indians. He was
recognized as a white man in the community in which he lived. My father always voted".
Jesse D. Osborn, a brother of Catharine Petty testified
(Sizemore Test. P. 22) that his grandfather, Jesse Osborn, lived and died in Ashe
Co., N. C. and that: I have been a voter all
my life. I have never heard that Indians visited my father or grandfather or that they ever
visited the Indians".
Francis M. Woody, 82 years of age and brother of James Woody
referred to above, testified (Sizemore Test. P. 26) that he knew old Ned Sizemore
when affiant was 17 or 16 years of age, and that Ned Sizemore was then about 60
or 70 years of age and claimed to be full-blood Cherokee Indian. He testified that: I have heard
old Ned say that he was an Indian many a time. He used to brag of being a Cherokee Indian. He
never spoke of having received any money from the government on account of his Indian blood that I
ever heard. He went backwards and forwards to Cherokee to visit the tribe many a time. He died in
Allegheny Co., to the best of my recollect - that he was probably in the fifties [this should read
that he died probably in the fifties, as per Francis Woody's original testimony, P. 26]".
If the Ned Sizemore referred to was the one referred to as the ancestor of so
many of these claimants, he certainly must have been more than 60 or 70 years of age when this
affiant was 16 years old, and if he lived in the fifties, he must have been considerably over a
hundred years of age at the time of his death. This witness testified: "Ned
Sizemore's beard was not gray when I first saw him. I never knew any Indians living
in this country except the Sizemores". This is the most direct testimony connecting the
Sizemores with the Cherokee people and is not consistent with the testimony of his brother,
James Woody, above referred to, nor with the testimony of other witnesses or
claimants that Ned Sizemore came from Halifax Co. or from the Catawba
Eli J. Phipps testified at Jefferson, N. C. (Sizemore Test. P. 30) and that he
is 64 years of age and lived in Ashe Co. all his life, and that: "I have always been a
recognized white man in the community and have always voted. I have always been taught that I am a
descendant of an Eastern Cherokee Indian".
Nancy E. Porter testified at Jefferson, N. C. (Sizemore Test. P. 31) that she
was born in Grayson Co., Va. and that: "I have always been taught that I have Indian blood by
my father and mother and have also heard others say the same thing. I do not remember what kind of
Indian they said I was descended from. My father lived with white people all his life. I did not
know of any Indians living in Grayson Co., with the exception of my father and his
John A Peak testified at Grassy Creek, N. C. (Sizemore Test. P. 32) that he is
61 years of age and that: "I claim my Indian blood through my mother and the Sizemores only.
My mother and her ancestors were recognized as white people but it was claimed through the country
that we had Indian blood".
Claban H. Pennington testified at Grassy Creek, N. C. (Sizemore Test. P. 36)
that he is 77 years of age and claims his Indian blood from the Sizemore race; that "Old
Ned Sizemore lived on a creek called Blackwater that ran into Clinch River right
at where he lived in Lee County, Va. Old man Owen lived up on Clinch River on the
Virginia side. I suppose they were recognized white people, for there was nothing said about
Indian or negro in those days. I do not recollect hearing anything about there being Indians - I
cannot remember. I did not apply because I thought I was Indian, for I did not know, but I am kin
to the Sizemores".
Owen Blevins testified at Grassy Creek, N. C. (Sizemore Test. P. 37) that he
is 62 years of age and claims Indian blood through his father. "I heard that Sizemore was a
full blood Cherokee. I have been taught that all my life. My father was a recognized white man in
the community in which he lived. My father's Indian blood came through his mother,
Lydia Blevins, who was a daughter of Owen Sizemore".
George Blevins testified at Grassy Creek, N. C. (Sizemore Test. P. 39) that he
was born and raised in Ashe Co. and is 79 years of age, and that: "I have been a voter and
was always recognized as a white man with the exception of the Indian blood in [me.]
I never received any money from the Government on account of my Indian blood nor did my father.
I claim Indian blood through my father's side only. He claimed to be of Cherokee Indian
John Baldwin also testified at Grassy Creek, N. C. (Sizemore Test. P. 40) that
he is 70 years of age and was born in Ashe Co., N. C. and that: "I have always
been taught that I had Cherokee Indian ancestors. My father lived in Grayson Co, Va.
He was a very old man when he died". His father died in 1898. He
claimed through his father's mother, Catherine Hart He further
testified that his grandmother, Catherine Hart, lived in Ashe Co., and that:
"My grandmother, father and I were considered white people, but when people got mad with us
they would throw up the Indian". In this connection, it may be well to note that the Cherokee
Nation surrendered all claim to the territory that now constitutes Ashe Co., N. C. by the Treaty
of 1777, and no portion of Ashe County is within a hundred miles of what constituted the Cherokee
domain in 1835-6.
Mary A. Sullivan testified at Weasels, N. C. (Sizemore Test. P. 44) that she
claims through her mother Louisa Baldwin, who is 77 years of age, who was born
and raised in Grayson Co., Va., and that her mother's Indian blood came through her father,
William Baldwin, who was also born in Grayson Co., Va. This is
likewise in territory which was surrendered by the Cherokees as early as 1768 and is still further
removed from the Cherokee domain in 1835-6.
Matilda Davis testified at Weasels, N. C. (Sizemore Test. P. 47) that she is
68 years of age, was born in Ashe Co., N. C. and that: "I do not know what kind of Indians
the Sizemores were thought to be. My Indian blood comes through my mother who was a
Blevins. I have heard my mother say that her grandfather was a fullblood Indian.
His name was Neddie Sizemore. I reckon she was born in Ashe Co. and lived there
most of her life".
David Tucker who lives near Weasels, N. C. and who is not a claimant,
testified (Sizemore Test. P. 48) that he is 87 years of age and moved to Ashe Co. when he was ten
years old; that he had seen Ned Sizemore many times, that he was an old man and
claimed to be Cherokee; that his acquaintance with him terminated when affiant was about grown;
that he believed he went west; that the people in the neighborhood recognized Ned
Sizemore as an Indian, and that: "I have heard it said that he took part in the war
of 1812, but I do not know. Old Ned Sizemore was a preacher. I have
heard him preach. He talked English very well. He did not show any signs of white
blood. I have heard all through life that Old Ned ought to have a
claim, although the Sizemores I have known have not talked a great deal about their Indian blood
until the time of the land matters in the Indian Territory".
Byron Sturgill testified at Weasels, N. C. (Sizemore Test. P. 49) that he is
62 years of age and claims his Indian blood through his mother only; that she has been dead about
thirty years, and that- "She never spoke to me about her Indian blood. Cicero
Price, up in the mountains, told me about my Indian blood since this Cherokee judgement.
Before that, I had not heard that I was related to the Cherokees".
William H. Blevins, 67 years of age, testified at Marion, Va. (Sizemore Test.
P. 56) that he was born in Ashe Co., N.C. and claims through his father who lived and died in Ashe
Co., N. C. That he never received any money from the Government on account of his Indian blood;
and that: "I have heard my father say that old Ned Sizemore lived in what is
now Alleghany Co., N. C., but was then Ashe Co. I have heard that old man Ned Sizemore's
father was John Sizemore and he lived in Stokes Co., N. C. and had a son,
Dr. Johnny Gourd Sizemore who was a brother of Old Ned. I
remember one Elisha Blevins, who said that Old Ned Sizemore came from the Catawba
River or Catawba Reservation, as he called it. Elisha Blevins has been dead some
Wesley Blevins also testified in
1896 to the same effect. I never heard that any of the Sizemores ever received any money from
the Government on account of their Indian blood. If they did, I think I should have
known it - that since I was old enough to recollect. I was not enrolled on the census of Eastern
Cherokee Indians in 1885 and never heard of it before. I was not enrolled in 1851 by
the Government. I did not receive any of the money paid in 1851, and none of the
Sizemore family did that I know of. I have heard my father and his brothers talk something about
the enrollment of 1851. They were afraid of the emrollment, were afraid they'd be carried to
the Territory and scattered on that account. I do not think my father was enrolled in 1835 or any
of the Sizemores that I know anything of. They were afraid of enrollment. My father,
Armstrong Blevins, I do not think was a party to the treaty of 1836 and
1846. Elisha Blevins gave testimony in 1888 and 1896 before me, was
not a party to the treaty of 1835 and 1836, and di not claim to be an Indian at all. I suppose
Wells Blevins was living in 1835 and 1836. He lived in Ashe Co., N. C. I do not
know that he was a party to the Treaty of 1835-36. I do not know that any of the
descendants of the Sizemores, or Old Ned himself, ever lived with the Cherokee
While it seems certain that there has been a tradition in this family that they had a certain
degree of Indian blood, the testimony is entirely too indefinite to establish a connection with
the Eastern Cherokee Indians at the time of the Treaty of 1835. The locality where these claimants
and their ancestors are shown to have been living from a period considerably prior to 1800 up to
the present time, is a territory that, during this time, has not been frequented by Cherokee
Indians. It is a region much more likely to have been occupied by Indians from Va. or
by the Catawba Indians who ranged from South Carolina up through North Carolina into Va. It is
also significant that the name of Sizemore does not appear upon any of the Cherokee rolls. For the
foregoing reasons, all of these Sizemore claims have been rejected.