By Zora Cunningham

There are records of Killough pioneers marrying Native American women, eventually producing countless descendants.  By now some people know they are part Indian and others have heard of that in family stories but have no proof.  An example of family stories being handed down are those about William Killough, born about1798 in No. Carolina, who married Elizabeth "Betsie" Bybee in May 1830, probably in North Carolina, born about 1810/15 in Kentucky.  He died in 1874 in Arkansas; she died about 1880 in Jamestown, Ark.  They had ten children. One of their descendants has a letter written to her by William's great granddaughter, Ila Zona (Killough) Jackson Cook, in which she says:

"John Toliver Killough's [her father] grandfather, I don't know his name, where he came from or anything only he married a Chickasaw Indian Squaw.  An Indian of a MuskhogeanTribe now citizens of Oklahoma.  Her name was Bettsie and great-grandpa was crazy about her.  See they married before the Massacre . . . between the whites and indians.  Whites run all indians away or killed them, only since Bettsie belong to grand paw they let him keep her.  Pa remembered her for I've heard him talk about her."

Arkansas census records show them living in Arkansas at the time of the 1838 Killough Massacre in northeast Texas.  She may have been referring to that.  Her father (John Toliver) was almost six and a half feet tall, with black hair and thick mustache.  He had eight children by two wives.

Another story is that William was upset with his family over their disapproval of his desired marriage to an Indian.  He left home, went off into the woods and built a stockade type shelter where he retreated at night to be safe from prowling wildlife.  During the night, wolves tried to get to him and his horse by digging under the walls.  He fought them off by chopping off their feet with his ax.

Amanda Elizabeth Killough's granddaughter, Willie Ruth Tanner, born in l897 in Milford, Texas, married George Lester Loden, who was born in 1893 in Tennessee.  She died in 1969 and he died 1945 in Athens, Texas.  He was the son of Charlie Francis Lohgan (Cherokee name for Loden) and Mary Hart, Cherokees born in Appalachian Co., Tennessee.  They had nine children.

Members of a Killough family in Alabama have heard a family story that mentions the term "Black Dutch".  This is an old term that refers to descendants of the marriage of a white person and a dark skinned person.  An article by Darlene Wilson in the 1997-98 issue of the Appalachian Quarterly, published by the Wise Co. (Virginia) Historical Society, says about this:

"'Black Dutch' was used in southwest Virginia, southern West Virginia, east Tennessee and east Kentucky, in a context that OFTEN (but NOT always) served to explain away the dark-featured, swarthy, (good) looks of family members who would be right at home (in the sense of physical appearance) among 'Indians' (native Americans), Middle Eastern or Arabic countries, or those in African communities . . . In the aftermath of the so-called 'Nat Turner revolt', attitudes hardened toward mixed-ancestry people throughout the 1830s and the southern states passed harsh measures to control their lives or banish them from white(r) communities.  By 1840, anybody who resembled an Indian could be 'rounded-up' and herded out West with all the other descendants of post-contact-Natives.  If you had certain features or skin-tones (even the palest of yellow if the record-keepers didn't like you or your daddy or mama), you and your children could be 'rounded-up and sold into slavery. . . . Suddenly people felt compelled to deny their more-colorful, mixed-ancestry.  There were literally thousands and thousands of Southern residents who shared this problem.  So, I'd argue that Black Dutch was a 'polite' euphemism for being 'of mixed-ancestry' only if it were accepted by local and military authorities-if not, going deeper into the upcountry South could be a family's only recourse.  The mountainous region that would be named 'Wise County' became one such safe destination, a sanctuary for those who needed more time to get 'white enough' according to these new racial categories."

This may explain why some Killough descendants looking for their ancestors' names on Indian Rolls have not found them there.  It has been reported that a Yonah Killough was found on the immigration rolls of 1817/35 of Cherokees who were relocated from No. Carolina to Arkansas. 

If you have more to contribute on this subject, please contact Historian, Zora Killough Cunningham.  Further discussion on this subject may be on this Web Site in the future.

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