finding your roots

White/Black & Indian..

Fred Stephenson April 23, 2012

Wow just watched and episode of “Finding Your Roots” and I ran upstairs to see if you were on the internet. Lo and behold there you are. I have two stories or mysteries which I’ve found.

First, my mom kept everything pictures papers etc. I have an area State Archives in my home town so I was able to do a lot of research on my own. Through my grandfather I traced his family/relatives and came across a fun fact. Off the top of my head I don’t have the info at hand because all I wanted to do is type my story.

My grandfather’s mom and dad had several children that I’ve been able to trace at this point I believe they had 11 to 13 children. I’ve found several and also have pictures of some which my mom had in a chest.

Here is where the fun fact comes into play. I knew of an are cemetery which had family members. On the gave marker of a Anthony Simpson was markings for the 25th Infantry. That lead me on a the trail to search his military records. I sent away for his records and found that he also was in the 9th Cavalry. Doing a little checking before his papers came I found the odd fact these units were for black soldiers. The only white soldiers were officers. On his grave marker it showed Pvt. Odd!!! When I got his papers they also confirmed his rank. The first time the 25th Infantry he was a Private and when he reenlisted during the Spanish American War he was also a Private. So I say, how can this be. On his military papers they listed his color as dark and chocolate.

I say how can this be his parents were both white. I have a copy of his birth cert. and other papers which show his brother on some of his military papers. So you can see the fun fact I came across was a mystery I’m unable to figure out.

My second story is my dad died when I was 2 so I really didn’t know him but I was raised by my stepdad who I loved very much. All the while growing up I was told he had American Indian in him. I traced his parent and grand parents back and then I hit a brick wall which I would love to break. I’m almost 100% positive he has American Indian in his line. Here is the reason why I say so…

By the following names of his uncles and aunts. One was Elias Golden Maxwell, Roland Painter Maxwell and Loretta Turtle Maxwell. With these type of names one has to be from American Indians. I can trace there parents back to 1817 from Sussex County Delaware and the line stops. All I want to do is break into the line further just to see what tribe if any they were from.

So you can see I’ve have two great mysteries which I’ve found and would love to dig deeper. I’ve traced the Simpson line back the Civil War, American Indian War, Spanish American War, WWI and my father in WWII so you can say I’ve come from a military background.

I appreciate your time and hope you enjoyed my story. I only hope some day I will be able to find out my two mysteries. Quick note I live in Trenton, NJ and being I found the Anthony Simpson fun fact I found an area newspaper article announcing his death and stating he was in the 9th Calvary and was the only known Trenton resident to have fought in the battle of San Juan Hill. During February and Black History month several times I’ve brought this to the attention of my area Mayor to show an important fact of his military facts they shied away once they learned his parents were white. LOL.

Well thanks again and maybe my story will be of some interest and you will be able to help me with my fun facts.

Fred Stephenson

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  • Sharon

    April 24, 2012 at 1:06 am

    Mr. Stephenson,

    I googled Elias Golden Maxwell, + Roland Painter Maxwell + Loretta Turtle Maxwel and found several sites where you had left messages back in 2001, for the Maxwell family and the Jacobs family. There were many others who commented on these sites and were asking you to correspond with them on the sites and/or to provide a little more info.

    There was very interesting information posted about American Indian families with the Jacobs surname, and one person stated that he/she had not been able to contact or correspond with you.

    You may want to check these sites and see if there is relevant info that will aid you in your search and to let the kind and concerned people know that you’re alive.

    Best wishes.

  • garth tuttle

    April 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    From people I know personally, I can say that Native (American) characteristics can disappear within four generations of inter marriage (with Whites); some Africans are described (physically) as caucasian ; mixture with lighter skinned caucasians won’t change that .
    Anyway, I’d be proud to have an ancestor from the 9th or 10th cavalry !

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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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