The Zachariah Lewis Pogue/Fatima Ross story was also passed down in my family, I have searched for her as so many have. I do have a couple of clues I wish to share; I once found a Fatima Ross listed on a census; she was NOT the right age or area to be this Fatima (much too young); however she was in TN. She was not listed as indian- she was from a family who claimed the father was born in Scotland. This made me wonder if that could be Fatima's Ross family, as names are so often passed down.
The other clue is from a book written I believe in the fifties about Missouri families. In that book it says: "Fatima Ross, of that same family as John Ross" I don't claim to be an authority on the Cherokee, though I have spent a lot of time studying them. "Of that same family" can have many meanings to the Cherokee- It can mean literally of that particular family,(daughter,sister,niece, cousin,etc), or it can mean of the same clan (anywhere in the extended family), or even from the same area. Note, it DOESN'T say DAUGHTER!
The other point I would like to make is we have to remember what was taking place in history at the time regarding the Cherokee. It was not at all unusual for people to change their name (more than once in some cases), destroy papers and lie to the Government agents who were trying to identify and sort out the tribe. In short some did not want to be identified as Cherokee, and went to great lengths to cover it up. Remember the Gov't got the names for the Cherokee Rolls from interviewing the Cherokee that did admit to the heritage. It's not hard to figure if someone did not want to be on the roll, they just passed the word to their friends and family, and presto they were no longer part of the Cherokee tribe; because the Gov't later ruled if they were not on certain rolls they were "not Cherokee."
For more about how the Cherokee rolls came to be, and how people could easily be excluded I highly recommend the book "Cherokee Proud" by Tony Mack Mclure, Ph.D.; published by Chunannee Books, Somerville, TN 1999. It is an excellent guide for someone trying to search Cherokee genealogy and is a top notch book for understanding the basic history of the Cherokee.
We may never "find" Fatima Ross, but that doesn't mean she didn't exist, and certainly doesn't mean she wasn't Cherokee. To say she doesn't exist without proof is just as bad as saying she does exist without proof. Without proof one way or the other she is only a "clue" in our research on the Pogue family.
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