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Home: Surnames: Pettus Family Genealogy Forum

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Re: Campbell Pettus, SC
Posted by: A. Ledford (ID *****6825) Date: March 25, 2002 at 09:46:55
In Reply to: Re: Campbell Pettus, SC by Louise Pettus of 940

Hello, thank you for the message.

I was talking about my great-grandfather Joseph Campbell Pettus (my mother's grandpa) being Cherokee, not his father James. Several factors support that, indeed, Joseph was of Indian descent:

1) It was well-known that he was Indian among some of the Pettuses I have spoken with in the Clover area (one of them was a nephew of Joseph Campbell Pettus, one a grandson by Sarah, Joseph's daughter by his first marriage). My cousin in California was also aware of Indian "blood" on the Pettus side. Also my mother's uncle (Joseph's son George Pettus) told her this when she was a young girl growing up in Clover, and her uncle Wilson told her this as well.

2) The photos I have of him indicate he was obviously of Indian descent. Other photos of some members of the Pettus family reveal Indian physiological traits (even some of those who lived in Virginia).

3) He called my mother "Weesee" as a child. (Nicknames like this are common among American Indian families.) He was an interesting mix of Indian and white (what I call true "COUNTRY") in the way he lived and in the way he thought. He was a strict Presbytarian who on Sundays would sing to the kids, and yet made locust beer every Christmas and allowed his children to have a taste. He wore overalls and often went barefoot. He was dark-complected with black hair, had high cheekbones, and small, slightly slanted eyes. He could "pass" as a white man, but the Indian features were evident. He loved and respected animals and was even known to doctor animals. He was not a wealthy landowner like his ancestors - for part of his life he was a tenant farmer for a SC landowner. Back in those days it was not "trendy" to be of Indian descent like it is today - so the family never went around spreading the news. More likely, those of Indian descent would say they were "black Irish" or something like that. (Indian folks were still losing their land in those days.)

Anyway, this is the info I have. One thing is for sure, history books do not reveal just how much miscegenation there actually was (especially in the South, where it was rampant). Back in the old days, it would be ridiculous to "make up" Indian ancestors (or black ancestors) because to do so would be plain risky! As soon as they arrived on American soil, probably most of our European ancestors married fellow white folks. Some, however, chose to be with Native Americans and African Americans (although open marriages in the last instance were very rare).

Okay, enough from me.

Thanks for the additional info about James.

A. Ledford

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