finding your roots

Saponi Indians-Stories my Grandmother told?

Cassandra Green-katy Texas May 23, 2012

Hello Mr. Gates, enjoy your show immensely. My grandmothers dads family, migrated from Huntsville Virgina, to Huntsville Texas, some say with Sam Houston. “Again stories my granmother told”. Sitting in the kitchen with her as she cooked she told stories of her Dad William (Bill) Branch. Cousin to reknown Houston Texas minister E. Stanley Branch, the E. for Eldridge. She (my granmother) also named after her dad, Willie Lou Branch, was very proud of this side of her family, She was a very striking woman, tall about 5’7 slender, wavy waist length hair, refined features.
She was always asked if she was of indian mix, I can recall she would always say, not oklahoma or Cherokee, I asked her one day well what type of indian, that’s when she informed me, Saponi. I have looked up Saponi and true they are native of Virginia.
I recall my grandmother with great interest and fondness, when researching her surname, Branch, the census has some as mulotto’s. Which is also very interesting.
Did the Branch family migrate with Sam Houston? Are they decendents of Saponi indians?
If ever your show is about Saponi Indians and their decendants, I’m available.

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    May 23, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Well, I have seen the name Branch in some history book or other, but that is of little help. On hte other hand, unless your grandmother had researched hte tribes of Virginia somewhere, then she was almost certainly telling hte truth.
    I do not know that anyone literally immigrated WiITH Sam Houston: I read htat he went htere on his own, but that is from a work of fiction, however accurate – I’d look for ohter sources .

  • May 26, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Hi Cassandra, my great great grandmother was Emeline Holland ( I do not know her maiden name )…from Virginia. We recently acquired a photo of her which stated on the back that she was 1/2 Blackfoot Native American—on her census records, she and her children are listed Mulatto. I had found a website re: Saponi Native Americans….thought that very interesting. I have submitted my DNA to see if this could be a possibility. I recently found cousins that also had heard we were Blackfoot and we hope to have their descendants take the DNA testing as well. We would like to confirm the oral histories. I live in Rhode Island and my new found cousins live in New Jersey. I would love to compare notes-my email address: Have you had a DNA test as yet? I went through Family Tree DNA in Texas. I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, Michele Holland

  • garth tuttle

    June 3, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    OI! Please Folks : research ! Why in God’s green earth would a Balck foot travle down from Cananda , east across the great plains, down nearly the full length of the Mississisppi river, through the state of Tennesee or Kentucky, across the Appalachians or down into Alabama , up through Georgia, South Carolina, NorthCarolina … just to have a child by a woman whom he’d f- if he’s like many of hte plains tribes – find contemptous ?

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The basic drive to discover who we are and where we come from is at the core of the new 10-part PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the 12th series from Professor Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Filmed on location across the United States, the series premieres nationally Sundays, March 25 – May 20 at 8 pm ET on PBS (check local listings).

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