Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

Looking for Guyton Family

Beth Sterling Beth Sterling

posted on October 7, 2010

I am trying to find information on Martha Louise Guyton born in Attala, MS 1866. Married Paul C Lessly in Grayson Texas. One of her daughters Mahala Lee Lessly was my ggrandmother. There could be an adoption involved. Family stories say she was Native American 1/2 or more. Any information would be appreciated. My GGrandmother was born in 1895.

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on October 8, 2010

she might be mississippi choctaw or one of the texas tribes. links are in this post about those tribes. she was born well after the trail of tears in the late 1830’s, after the treaty of rabbit creek, so her father might have accepted land called choctaw scrip for tribal termination.

martha louise guyton b. 1866 MS m. paul c. lessly
mahala lee lessley b. 1895 TX?

1910 United States Federal Census
about Mahala Lesley
Name: Mahala Lesley
Age in 1910: 14
Estimated birth year: abt 1896
Birthplace: Oklahoma
Relation to Head of House: Daughter
Father’s Name: Paul C Lesley
Father’s Birth Place: Missouri
Mother’s Name: Martha L Lesley
Mother’s Birth Place: Mississippi
Home in 1910: Norman, Cleveland, Oklahoma
Marital Status: Single
Race: White
Gender: Female
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Paul C Lesley 50
Martha L Lesley 44
Melvelle G Lesley 21
Rodge Lesley 18
Anna Lesley 16
Mahala Lesley 14
Thelma Lesley 11
Winnie Lesley 7

Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Norman, Cleveland, Oklahoma; Roll T624_1245; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 34; Image: 1189.

paul was b. MO, parents b. KY. he’s a farmer, owns the farm with a mortgage. they were married 24 years ago.
martha was b. MS, father b. GA, mother b. MS. she had 9 children but only 8 survive.
all of the children were b. OK.

both paul and martha came from tribal areas.

Household Members:
Name Age
P C Lesley 40
M L Lesley 33
M G Lesley 11
M J Lesley 9
P R Lesley 8
A L Lesley 6
M L Lesley 4
Z T Lesley 6/12

Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Norman, Cleveland, Oklahoma; Roll T623_1336; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 34.
you should correct the ancestry name index so that others can find your family.

now he says his father was b. KY, mother b. VA.
they were married in 1887.
paul was b. april 1860 and martha was b. aug. 1866. children’s birth months are given also.
mahala was b. nov. 1895.

Source Citation: Year: 1920;Census Place: Norman, Cleveland, Oklahoma; Roll T625_1456; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 20; Image: 1110.
paul and martha are here.
and here: Source Citation: Year: 1930; Census Place: Norman, Cleveland, Oklahoma; Roll 1898; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 22; Image: 478.0.

this might be paul’s family. you should look at the missouri archives. they are very good:
Source Citation: Year: 1860; Census Place: Marion, Polk, Missouri; Roll M653_641; Page: 11; Image: 11; Family History Library Film: 803641.

i don’t have any clear leads on martha. if she was alive after 1/1/1937, when social security came into effect, she might have submitted a delayed birth certificate to show proof of age. and you should ask for her social security application. her death certificate and obituary might also help you. see your local public library about the obituary, as they can request newspapers for certain dates through the interlibrary loan program.

genealogists use names, dates, locations, children and spouses to match records. if you have a common surname, you need to give more information rather than less. if you post about women, it is helpful to include the maiden name and the married name and designate which one is the maiden name.

first of all, heritage and tribal enrollment are two different things. many times natives didn’t apply for enrollment because 1) they didn’t qualify, 2) they were philosophically opposed to enrollment, 3) they didn’t have documentation, or 4) they were mississippi choctaw and their ancestor had accepted land or benefits in lieu of tribal enrollment.

the dawes roll was taken 1896-1906, so you should trace your ancestors down to that time period. mostly, they had to be living in oklahoma by that time and agree to live there permanently.

2 ways to search:
this will let you enter partial names to get card#. click on the card# in the card column and you can see other names in that family.
other resources on the left and at the bottom of this webpage. native census records and databases are especially useful.
this will give you card# (family group) and enrollment #. they have some native marriage records too. other oklahoma records listed at left.
if the name is common, you may find too many possible records.

the tribe has an excellent information to help you. it is found under genealogy advocacy.

mississippi choctaw and choctaw tribe explained here:

jena choctaw tribe in louisiana:

MOWA tribe
MOWA Band Of Choctaws Wilford Taylor 1080 Red Fox Road Mount Vernon, AL 36560 (251) 829-5500. E-Mail:

texas tribes

oklahoma tribes:

types of records available for native americans:
pages 366-369 in particular although the entire native american chapter is helpful.
The Genealogist’s Companion and Sourcebook:
Guide to the Resources You Need for Unpuzzling Your Past
Emily Anne Croom
you can ask for these particular pages from your local public library. if they don’t have the book, you can get the pages through the interlibrary loan program.
native american records are discussed in pages 352-386.

Tracing ancestors among the Five Civilized Tribes: Southeastern Indians …
By Rachal Mills Lennon
this book could be accessed through the interlibary loan program also.

always find the state archives. some records are online, some records are not. but many times you can find a record not found in other places. you want to see also about newspaper mentions for obituaries, births, marriages in particular.

check courts for probate, civil and criminal cases, marriage records.

this book is a good read about the dawes roll and how they implemented it.
The Dawes Commission and the allotment of the Five Civilized Tribes, 1893-1914
By Kent Carter

if your relatives came from a different geographic location or belonged to a different tribe, try searching google for the state and tribes. you might find a contact for a state-recognized tribe or a federal recognized tribe.

i have collected many resources over the years. if you want to write to me, and request the choctaw resource list, i will be glad to send it to you.

i am just a volunteer that wants to empower people to learn how to do genealogy.

suzanne hamlet shatto