and Hildebrand

   This is where the family lines are the fuzziest; I am working only with stories told to me by Daddy's maternal aunts and uncles.

   And as these stories were told, it became readily apparent that there diametrically opposed points of view: those of the great uncles and those of the great aunts.  There was some common ground, but the major bone of contention was whether or not the Miller and/or Hildebrand family lines were --at least in part-- of Native American extraction.

   After reviewing the information I had received from my great aunts, I became wryly amused by the similarity to what some members of the Five Civilized Tribes did back in the bad old Removal Days.  If a member of the Five Civilized Tribes could pass as White, they did so, and persistently denied their Native heritage.  If you go back a little further, you find members of the Creek -- or Muskogee -- Nation doing the very same thing.

   See, not long after the influx of Europeans in what would become the southwestern United States, a group of Muskogee got fed up to *HERE* with family, friends, and neighbors trying to be just like the Europeans.  They were certain that no good would come of it and so they did their very best to drive the Europeans out -- using only traditional weapons -- in what would come to be called the Red Stick Uprising.  They were unsuccessful.  The loss was such an embarrassment, that, there after, many Muskogee would say, "Creek . . .?  Me . . .?  Nope, I'm Cherokee."

   So, I do understand my great aunts' point of view.   They could, in fact, be following a long held family tradition that goes back to the Red Stick Uprising.  However . . .

   I get to the Millers through my father's mother, Catherine Marie "Kit" Stuckey, like this:

  • Kit was the eldest child of William John Stuckey and Mable Louise Schaffer.

  • Mable was the middle child of George Philip Schaffer and Mary Louise Miller.

  • Mary was the daughter of Jacob Miller and his wife, Rachel Hildebrand.

   Mary might have had siblings; she might not have.   I don't know when she was born, so I'm going to guess that it was around the 1850s.

   Mary died in 1888, in/at Fort Randall [South] Dakota.

   Why the brackets around "South". . .?  It wasn't South Dakota yet, it was only the Dakota Territory.  And the "in/at" thing is that at some point between 1880 and 1888, the Fort was decommissioned.  And they may not have actually lived at the fort.

   The Great Aunts say that Mary died from either childbirth or a non-specified disease.  In the late 1800s, there were a lot of fatal non-specified diseases, many of which were related to the medical knowledge or more precisely the lack there of.

An Intriguing Inconsistency

   Mary was buried, to quote my Great Aunt Pink, "on the same reservation as Sitting Bull" (yet another letter -- or two -- that needs to be written).

   The researcher in me missed Great Aunt Pink's distress and, knowing that Sitting Bull had been buried in two places, I jumped right in with, "OO!  Was it where they first buried him, or where he rests now?"

   Great Aunt Pink pursed her lips, drew herself up to her full 5' 5", crossed her arms over her chest, and said quite firmly, "There is NO Indian Blood in OUR family!"

   After that, any questions regarding Mary, her husband, her parents, or her maternal lines was answered in exactly the same way, which had the opposite effect from what my great aunts were trying foster: I had to know more.

  • If Mary Louise Schaffer nee Miller was a "white woman" --as the great aunts insist-- why on Earth was she buried on a reservation when there was a cemetery at/in Fort Randall?

  • If Mary's only Native ancestry is through her Creek grandfather, Robert Hildebrand, why did the folks on that reservation in the Dakota Territory let her be buried there?

  • And if Mary DID have relatives on the reservation there, WHO WERE THEY?  And more importantly, do they have living descendants?

The Plot Thickens

   According to my great uncle, George Eldon Stuckey, his grandmother Mary's maternal grandfather was one Robert Hildebrand -- "though that was just his white name" -- a Cherokee War Chief who was asked to and refused to sign the Treaty of Okmulgee.  According to Great Uncle George, Robert asked if he had to sign to stay a member of the tribe and when They said "Yes", he said, "Fine.  I quit", packed up his daughter Rose and eventually wound up in THE Dodge City, where he became a "renegade". Daughter Rose became a "famous beauty of the Old West".

The Treaty of Okmulgee

   When Great Uncle George told me about my great great great great grandfather, Robert Hildebrand, I was still cloud-walking over being told I was related to Chief Dan George, and was positively beside myself with delight to find that I had more Native ancestors.  Remember, I was 13 years old.  Thirteen is a tough age all by itself, but when you were the weird kid that never really fit in, it was ambrosia for the soul.

   There was just one problem.

   Well, more actually.

   The very first, however, was that Great Uncle George hadn't the slightest idea how "Hildebrand" was spelled; as he suggested, I've spelled it just like he pronounced it -- which in itself is problematic.

   You see, Out here in the Pacific North Wet we are notorious for things like pronouncing SEATTLE "see-ADDLE", and Washington as "WAR-shing-tun", but can pronounce Puyallup (pew-AL-up) and Sequim (skwim, rhymes with swim) and Great Uncle George was born and raised in western Washington, thus HILDEBRAND could actually be HILDERBRAND, HILTEBRANT, HILTERBRANT, HELTERBRENT, or any other spelling that would produce a Pacific-NorthWetian HILDEBRAND.

   I've seen many HILDEBRANDs, and HILDERBRANDs, and a couple HILDBRANDs and HELTERBRANDs.  While at the National Archives in Seattle, I saw a HELTERBRANT woman living with a MILLER family.  This woman could be family but with only Robert and his daughter Rose's name to work with -- and no firm dates except for that of the Treaty of Okmulgee -- ANY of the assorted HILDEBRANDs I've found could be family and I wouldn't know it.

   The second problem deals with the Treaty of Okmulgee itself.  It was offered up on February 14th, 1833, at Fort Gibson Oklahoma, to the Creek (Muskogee), not the Cherokee (Tsalagi).  Great Uncle George said it was offered to the Cherokee, but I have since found that it wasn't.

   So.  Was Robert Cherokee or Creek . . . maybe a descendent of a Red Stick . . . or he could have been Seminol or of some other Nation from that area . . . or was my dear Great Uncle just "telling stories", as his two sisters insist?

   I recently bought a book called The Five Civilized Tribes: Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole by Grant Foreman (ISBN 0-8061-0923-8, copyright 1934).  The number one reason I bought it was that in the index, it listed two men named HILDERBRANT: John and David.  On page 395, there's a quote from an article that appeared in the Cherokee Advisor, December 23, 1847, page 2, col. 2, which reads:

   "Died at the residence of his son Mr. David Hilderbrand, near this place, on the 20th inst., at 11pm, Mr John Hilderbrand, one of the oldest men in the nation, aged at the time of his death, 92 years, 10 months, and 8 days.  He came among the Cherokees east of the Mississippi, more than fifty years ago, among whom he intermarried.  He retained a remarkable degree of activity up to within a short time of his death.  He left more than 100 lineal descendants, a majority of whom are residing among the Cherokee."

   Could Robert have been one of those "more than 100 lineal descendants"?  It might explain why Great Uncle George said he was Cherokee, and a Creek wife might explain why Robert was asked to sign a Creek Treaty.  Unfortunately, the name of Robert's wife and mother of Rachel has been lost to time.

So there we are, the first Stuckey family reunion in eons. . .

   I and my two great aunts, Pink and Merle, are cozied up on a couch at my cousin Ken's house (one of Great Uncle George's sons).  We're going over some family info I had gotten from Great Uncle George a couple decades earlier.  We touch on the ancestry of my great great great grandmother, Rose Hildebrand.

   "Who told you that?" demanded Great Aunt Pink.

   "Great Uncle George did," was my reply.

   "Oh, that George!" she exclaimed, "But, then, he's always been like that. He reads these fantasy stories and puts our family in them.  And her name wasn't Rose, it was Rachel."

   She then went on to tell me that Rachel was from Stuttgart, Arkansas, and that she'd married a man named Jacob Miller.

   I perked up and asked if Rachel was born there, or was that where she was living when she married Jacob Miller?  My answer. . .?

   Yup, you guessed it: "There is NO Indian blood in OUR family!"

   So who is the Rachel Hilderbrand, daughter of Robert Hilderbrand I was told could be found on the Dawes Rolls (in the part listing the denied claims, if I recall correctly)?

   "My" Rachel was "from" Stuttgart, Arkansas.  In the early part of the 1800s, that part of Arkansas was called "Indian Territory" and there weren't many, if any "white women" living there.

   The one part of Great Uncle George's story that his sisters will agree with was the part about Rachel being a "famous beauty of the Old West".

   Great Aunt Pink nudged me in the ribs with an elbow and said, "You know what that means."  And then she winked.

   Yes, I did.

   Rachel aka Rose Hildebrand was a saloon girl.  Of which of the --I believe-- three basic types she was, I don't know.

The Millers

   As for Rachel's husband Jacob Miller, I know next to nothing.

   I have his name: Jacob Miller.

   I've been told that two of Jacob Miller's relatives, Clell Miller and James Miller, were members of The Miller Gang that made things difficult for folks in Kansas in the 1870/80s.

It should be noted . . .

   The one thing I know for certain is that MY Clell Miller is NOT the Clell Miller who was in the James/Younger Gang.  A 45 minute phone conversation with a very nice lady named Ruth Coder Fitzgerald determined that unequivocally; Ruth is of the family lines of the James/Younger's Millers.  (Thank you, Ruth Coder Fitzgerald)

   James Miller was hanged as a horse thief.

   And, just to make things interesting, Mary Louise Miller's daughter Alicia Schaffer married a fellow named Bob Miller.  Bob was a "relative" of Mary's, and like his infamous relatives, Clell and James, I don't know how Bob fits in.

Research Problems

   I have my doubts about solving this family mystery through the usual means -- census records, etc.  I've looked and the trail back stops in Tacoma, Washington, November 1st, 1899.  There is the notation in the 1910 census that says Mable was born in the Dakota Territory, but searching Dakota Territory censuses has proved to be more frustrating than stacking live crabs.

   Between 1880 and 1888, county boundaries changed a couple times, placing Fort Randall in either Gregory County or Charles Mix County.  I found lots of Schaeffers, Schaffers, Shafers, and Millers, but none with names I recognize.

   Then there's the little matter of the distances involved between Mobridge South Dakota, Fort Randall, and Fort Yates.  Though, they really aren't that far apart by water, and if Mary had family up towards Fort Yates, they would have found a way to get her there regardless.

   And then there's the thought that my Great Aunt Pink has been throwing up a smoke screen by telling me that George Philip Schaffer and wife Mary Louise Miller lived at Fort Randall.  That Mary was buried on a rez in the Dakotas I don't doubt --Great Aunt Pink's reaction was too strong-- but I'm now wondering if perhaps they lived somewhere other than Fort Randall.  Fort Yates, maybe?

   But, regardless, I think the key to solving this puzzle lies in finding other relatives from this line and hope they have info I don't and vise versa, in which case I would be more than happy to share information.

   And should you be from this line and/or if any of my family stories coincide with any of your family stories, please drop me a line at:

Janice Keiswetter: If you are reading this, please please send me your mailing address, either via email or by leaving a private message in my guestbook.  I do want to see the corrections your mother made and wish to make arrangements to get them to me, because I very much want to find the truth.  As currently, the information I have found does indicate that there is indeed a distinct probability of some Native America ancestry in the Hildebrand line, I am thinking that if there are new names in those corrections, it could make a great deal of difference in the content of this particular page on my web site -- regardless of where the truth takes me.


   In June 2001, during a visit to my local public library, I found they had copies of two invaluable books, the two volume Cherokee Roots, by Bob Blankenship, and the 4 volume Cherokee By Blood.  Now, I'd heard about these works and had always meant to look them up, and finding them at my local library superseded my original reason for being there.  I looked for my surnames and found a number of listings, which I am sharing with you here. 

   Do be aware that at the moment all I have on this are the following names, and once I get a certain misunderstanding cleared up, I will be checking both works out and doing some more in depth research.  All I could do at the time was copy down the names and some info on each of the rolls. 

   Also be aware that not too long ago --but after Cherokee Roots was published-- one of the bands of Cherokee closed their enrollment, but unfortunately I can't remember which one.

   If you think you might have ancestors listed in either work, go to your local library and check it out.

   From Cherokee Roots Vol I (ISBN 0-9633774-1-8/0-9633774-0-X) and Vol II (ISBN 0-9633774-0-X (set)/0-9633774-2-6) by Bob Blankenship copyright 1992

   1. RESERVATION ROLLS 1817:  A listing of those desiring a 640 tract in the east and permitted to reside there.



MILLER, Andrew, John

   2. EMIGRATION ROLLS 1817-1835:  Those who filed to emigrate to Arkansas country and after 1828, to Oklahoma.


MILLER, James, John, Martin, Nancy

   3. HENDERSON ROLL 1835:  A census of over 16,000 Cherokee residing in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina to be removed to Oklahoma under the treaty of New Echota (1835).

HELDERBRAND, George, J.V., John Lewis, Moses


MILLER, Ave, David, George, Polly

   4. MULLAY ROLL 1848:  Census of 1,517 Cherokee remaining in North Carolina after the removal of 1838.  John C. Mullay took the census pursuant to an act of Congress in 1848.

   5. SILER ROLL 1851:  A listing of some 1700 Eastern Cherokee entitled to a per capita payment pursuant to an act of Congress in 1850.

HILDERBRAND, Amelia, Ann, Eliza Jane, Emily, John, Martha E., Martha E., Mary, Michael, Michael Jr.

MILLER, Joseph, Joseph

   6. OLD SETTLER ROLL 1851:  Cherokee still living in 1851, who were already residing in Oklahoma when the main body of the Cherokee arrived in Winter 1839 as a result of the Treaty of New Echota (1835).  Approximately one third of the Cherokee at that time were Old Settlers and two thirds were new arrivals.

HILDERBRAND, Josephine, Lucy, Matilda, Reece

MILLER, Susani, Alfred, Andre, Cabbin, Peggy, Return, Jefferson, Anna, Melvina

   7. DRENNEN ROLL 1852:  The first census of the new arrivals of 1839.  The N.E.T. (New Echota Treaty?) group.  Trail of Tears.

HILDBRAND, Alex, Anna, Ben, Emma, Ann, Ara Adny, David, Donna M, Elizabeth, Elizabeth, George, Emily

HILDEBRAND, Lucy, Peter Jr, Susan, Jane, Michael, Nelly, Rachel, Susan, Abigail, Ann E, James V, James V Jr, Jemina, Nancy, Sally, Anna, Emina, Lewis W, Lucy, J. N., Jane, John, George Jr, Ellis, Joseh, Samuel, Sarah, Susan, John, Nancy, Jane, Joseph, Leander, Stephan, Susan, John, Mary E, Mary, Anne, Jane, John, Moses W, Caty, Diannah, George, Thomas, Nelson, Wakey, Reese, John

HELDERBRAND, Mary, Stephan \par MILLER, Elenner, Nancy, Ezekiel, Andrew, Avery, Catharine, Elizabeth, John, Sarah, Susanah, Thomas, David, Martha, Joseph, Susan, Warren, Jack, Elizabeth, Alfred, Ellen, Lucinda, Martha, Nancy, Rufus, William, Mary, Lewis, Washington, David, Binford, Charles, Jane, Rider, Sarah, Arle, Calvin, Daniel, Martin, Mary, William, David, Lucy, Henry W, Sarah Ann, Ailsey, John, Sally

   8. CHAPMAN ROLL 1852:  prepared by Albert Chapman as a listing of those Cherokee actually receiving payment based on the Siler census.

HILDERBRAND, Amelia, Ann, Eliza Jane, Emily, John, Martha E., Mary, Michael, Michael

   9. SWETLAND ROLL 1869:  prepared by S.H. Swetland as a listing of those Cherokee and their descendants, who were listed as remaining in North Carolina by Mullay in 1848.  Made pursuant to an act of Congress 1868 for a removal payment authorization.

   10. HESTER ROLL 1883:  compiled by Joseph G. Hester as a roll of the Eastern Band of Cherokee in 1883.  (This roll is an excellent source of information, including ancestors, Chapman Roll number, age, English name, and Indian name.)

HILDERBRAND, Amelia, Egletine, Eliza Jane, Green, John W. Jr., John W. Sr., Lawrence W., Martha, Martha, Nancy, Vince

   11. CHURCHHILL ROLL 1908:  by Inspector Frank C. Churchhill to certify members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee.  Like the Hester Roll, includes a lot of information including degree of blood.  Rejected also included.

   12. GUION MILLER 1909:  compiled by Mr. Miller of all Eastern Cherokee, not Old Settler, residing either east or west of the Mississippi.  Ordered by Court of Claims as a result of suit won by the Eastern Cherokee.  See Guion Miller Roll West for more details.  Had to be alive on 28 May 1906 and established as a member of the Eastern Cherokee, or a descendant of, at the time of the violated treaties.  One lucky enough to find an ancestor on this roll can find a tremendous amount of information, some going back to the early/mid 1800s.

HILDERBRAND, Amelia E., Eliza Jane, John W., Lawrence III, Lawrence W., Lawrence W. Jr.

MILLER, Carl, Flonnie A.

13. THE DAWES ROLL 1898-1914:  Final roll for allotting the land and terminating the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.  Senator Henry L. Dawes was the commission's chairman, and consequently, the name Dawes is associated with the final roll.  The roll turned out to not be as final as it was expected to be.  Upon the reorganization of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma in the 1970s, the Dawes Roll became the only means of certifying membership.  To be enrolled by the Cherokee Nation, one must prove ancestry to a person enrolled by Dawes.  Information on enrollment with the Cherokee Nation may be obtained by writing to: Cherokee Nation / Tribal Registrar / PO Box 948 / Tahlequah, Oklahoma / 74465

HELTERBRAND, James, John William

HILDEBRAND, Joe, Karla Dee, Linda

HILDERBRAND, Ah Diah, Annie, Arch, Benjamin D, Benjamin J, Betsy, Brice, Charles, Cherokee, Cherokee D, Cicero, Daniel, Dennis D, Edward E, Elic, Elijah, Elizabeth, Emma, Emma, Ezra, Fannie, Fannie, Flora, Francis J, George, Gracie L, Hoolie, Ida, James, James, James, James F, Jennie, Jennie, Jesse, Jodie, Joe, Joe, Joe, John, John, John, John, John, John, John, John B, John E, John H Jr, John William, John William, Joseph, Josie, Julla E, Katie, Laura, Laura E, Laura Mae, Lelia, Lem, Lillian A, Lizzie, Lucinda, Lucion, Lucy, Lucy, Lucy, Lura Pixie, Maggie, Maggie, Mary, Mary E, Mary S, Mike, Mose, Nake, Nancy, Nancy Louettie, Nettie, Reese, Riley, Robert, Rosa, Sallie, Samuel, Sauel J, Sissie, Stephan, Susie, Thomas, Thomas, Tooka, Tyer, Wallace, Wallace A, Wallace S, Walter, William, William, William, William, Infant

MILLER, Jacob, Jacob William


   14. BAKER ROLL 1924:  supposed to be the final Roll of the Eastern Cherokee.  The land was to be allotted and all were to become regular citizens.  Fortunately the Eastern Cherokee avoided the termination procedures and unlike their brothers of the Nations to the West.  The Baker Roll Revised is the current membership roll of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina.

MILLER, Adelle, Agnes Reed, Alanerd, Arnold, Atlas, Baskey, Bedenard, Bessie, Charles Reed, Flonnie, Rogers, Iris Porter, Lissie, Vernon, Vertie

And from the book CHEROKEE BY BLOOD, Volume 4

HILDERBRAND, Robert # 9887, rejected, Vian Oklahoma


     Sometime in the late 1970s or very early 1980s a 5-foot-tall statue of Nancy Ward, Ghighau (Beloved Woman of the Cherokees), was stolen from the Arnwine Cemetery, which overlooks the Clinch River, near Liberty Hill in Grainger County, Tennessee.

     According to families living near the graveyard, it was probably stolen in the summer of 1981.  It was seen being taken away in a gray Cadillac with a portion of the statue protruding out the rear of the trunk.  They have no idea what could have happened to it beyond that last sighting. Story and picture can be found at "Missing Statue":

Previously published in RootsWeb Review: 11 August 2004, Vol. 7, No. 32.


   Over the course of my research, a number of people helped me.  I would like ot return some of those favors by presenting queries I've received during my search.


The James-Younger Gang

   Regardless who they are or where they're from, if you have a Miller, Hildebrand, or Native website and would like to have a link to it added HERE, drop me some email, and we'll get it done.

Indian blood is like gold...
No matter how thinly it is spun
It still shines just as brightly.

(Thanks again for the quote, Joyce)
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This page updated 13 May 2005