Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

John Garland or Ambrose Garland

MaDonna (Brown) Sharp MaDonna (Brown) Sharp

posted on December 22, 2010

I’m trying to find information on my 4th G Grandpa John Garland born 1809 KY. and his dad Ambrose Garland born 1775 NC and dies 1881 AK. It’s was said that Ambrose Garland married a Choctaw Indian born in MS. It appears they spent some time in KY. If anyone knows of this family, please contact me. When digging around Ancestry, something new comes up and throws me off tract.
Thank you for any help :)

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on December 22, 2010

these dates would be very early records, in large part.
local history books, obituaries, newspapers might be your best source of information. see your local public library for access to these. you will want to look at the state archives where these people live. some records are online, some that can be copied. there might be rations or trading books that might also have information. you might want to contact state and county historical or genealogy societies.

when you say that ambrose garland passed away in AK/alaska, you mean AR/arkansas, right?

no spouse, children, vague birth locations listed in your post. were any of their children listed on the dawes roll? any other rolls or databases?

i see several family trees on with john ambrose with father ambrose but little information on the mother. unfortunately, the female in the relationship often has few records. the war department was keeping records of natives about 1800-1880. choctaw was not a written language until the middle of the 1800’s and this is true of all native languages. there are no records from the choctaw side. however, those war department records are at NARA,, and sometimes there is a surprising find. fort worth and atlanta repositories.

U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885
about Ambrose Garland
Name: Ambrose Garland
Gender: Male
Race: White
Marital Status: Married
Place of Birth: Kentucky
Estimated birth year: abt 1829
Age: 51
Month of Death: Feb
Cause of Death: Pneumonia
Census Year: 1880
Census Location: (City, County, State)
Muddy Bayou, Faulkner, Arkansas
Enumeration District: 55
Page: 1
Line: 11
Roll: MORT_6
United States. Eighth census of the United States, 1860, Arkansas, mortality and Tenth census of the United States, 1880, Arkansas, mortality [microform] F410.C46 1850a, 1860a, 1870a, 1880a. University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville, Arkansas

i don’t know if this is your relative:
Alabama Land Records
about Ambrose Garland
Name: Ambrose Garland
Document Number: 15283
Total Acres: 40
Signature: Yes
Canceled Document: No
Issue Date: 1 Apr 1852
Mineral Rights Reserved: No
Metes and Bounds: No
Statutory Reference: 3 Stat. 566
Multiple Warantee Names: No
Act or Treaty: April 24, 1820
Multiple Patentee Names: No
Entry Classification: Sale-Cash Entries
Land Description:
i don’t know if this is a scrip type land given to people who terminated their tribal relationship or what. i don’t know if this is your relative either.

if your relative was in this area, maybe MOWA, mississippi choctaw, chickasaw or cherokee.

Annie Garland Jones: Murderess
1825 , Whitley County, Kentucky

The Death of Pleasant Johnson

Murdered by John and Annie Garland Jones Whitley Co Kentucky 1825

This event took place in the winter of 1825/6 and involved several families in the Cumberland River Region. We have found no other record than what has been located in the Whitley County Court records. We would like to discover what happened on that (probably) cold day in the winter of 1825/6 that Pleasant Johnson died…..and why were five people (including a woman) accused of his death….and why did the witnesses fail to appear at the first trial (including the sheriff)…..and why were they all related?? Can anyone add to our record?


PLEASANT JOHNSON was killed in Whitley County, Kentucky in the winter of 1825/6.

A murder (manslaughter) trial was conducted in Whitley County with 5 people having been indicted. The trial began 19 May 1826 and concluded in July. The people indicted were WELLS PENNINGTON, SAMUEL GARLAND, AMBROSE GARLAND, JOHN JONES, and his wife, ANNY GARLAND JONES.

Wells Pennington, John Jones, and Anny Jones were allowed to have someone stand security ($200. each) for them and stay free until the next session of court. Sam Garland and Ambrose Garland were kept in jail. Apparently, they could not find someone to provide security or were not allowed to.

According to the Court Order Book, there were several witnesses for the Commonwealth JOHN ROSS, ANGUS ROSS, WILLIAM and BETSY RIDDLE, THOMAS HALL and his WIFE. Interestingly enough, they did not appear on the day of the trial. The judge continued the case to the next session and ordered that the witnesses be fined if they could not show cause for failing to be present.

Wells Pennington and John Jones were found innocent. Sam Garland, Ambrose Garland, and Anny Garland Jones were tried. The jury declared them “Not Guilty” of murder but “Guilty” of Manslaughter. Sam was given 4 years in prison, Ambrose was given 2 years and Anny Jones was given 2 years. Anny was granted a retrial, and was found not guilty on the final verdict.

There were some tendencies among the Whitley County residents toward violence. Did it happen before or as a result of the death of Pleasant Johnson? The Court intervened and made the following orders

THEOPOLIS PENNINGTON is ordered to keep the peace toward ANGUS ROSS.

JOHN NEAL and DANIE NEAL are ordered, in a separate entry, to keep the peace, “especially toward ANGUS ROSS”.

And, again in a separate entry, ANGUS ROSS is ordered to keep the peace toward JOHN NEAL.\

Did the witnesses for the Commonwealth fail to show because they were afraid to?

Members of the Cast of Events

Angus Ross was born in 1767. He was a JP in 1822, ran a ferry over Marsh Creek and kept a tavern out of his house.

John Ross was a sheriff. He likely was related to Angus Ross.

“Wells” Pennington was born in Ashe Co., NC ca. 1779-1781. It is said that he is the son of William Pennington, but that has not been proven. No record has been found to indicate who Wells’ father was. Wells is believed to have married Elizabeth Strunk (not proven as yet), the sister of Daniel Strunk who also came to Whitley Co about 1818. Daniel’s first wife died, and he married Honor Pennington, believed, but not proven, to be a sister to Wells. Wells Pennington served on the Grand Jury in 1820.

Samuel Garland was the husband of Well’s daughter, Christina. Christina was born in 1804. They were married in Whitley Co., 19 March 1823.

Theopholis Pennington was Well’s son. He was born in 1802. Theophilus Pennington married Penelope Jones 25 Feb 1825 in Whitley Co.KY. She may have been related to Anny Jones, who was charged. Theophilus Pennington served on the Grand Jury in 1825. In the same summer, he was also was suing Angus Ross

The Anny Jones who was charged, was Anna Garland who married John Jones in Whitley Co.KY in 1825.

A Pleasant Johnson was known to live in Wayne Co., near Frazier, and on the south bank of the Cumberland River. Angus Ross lived on Marsh Creek and Wells and Theophilus Pennington lived near Pleasant Run Creek which appears to be between Marsh Creek and Frazer. Consequently, they all lived relatively near each other.

It appears that the Pleasant Johns(t)on that was killed is Pleasant Johnson of Wayne Co. He was proven to have died at the age of 31 in the winter of 1825/26 and lived on the south bank of the Cumberland River, within 30+ miles or so of Whitley County. There was no one named Pleasant Johnson living in Whitley or Pulaski County according to the Census of 1820. Therefore, it seems most probable that we have identified the proper person.

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The following information was provided by Bill Pennington

Several additional things of interest appear in the Whitley County Clerk Minutes 1818-22

. On page 4 is the motion for Angus Ross to establish a ferry across Marsh Creek etc. He was to be entitled to 75 cents for each wagon and team carried across along with 12.5 cents for each man and horse etc.

On page 16 is a reference to John Ross, Commissioner.

On page 20 is a reference to a road passing through the lands of several persons and Ambrose Garland is mentioned.

On page 22 is a reference to Samuel Ross getting the back part of his ear bitten off in a fight with Henry Holt.

Page 23 has another reference to Angus Ross and his tavern Another reference on page 24 is made to the road at his place. There is yet another reference to the road on page 25.

Daniel Strunk’s name is mentioned on page 26 concerning a road.

On page 28 there is a reference to John Ross, Sheriff, and his pay.

On page 32 Wells Pennington is mentioned as being appointed surveyor of the road leading from the ford of Gillico to the dividing ridge between Marsh Creek and Gillico

In the 1820s there was no McCreary County. McCreary was formed from Wayne and Whitley in 1912. As such, Wayne and Whitley shared a common border and both were bordered to the south by Tennessee. Today Marsh Creek is in McCreary County. If you imagine a pendulum swinging from 1000 to 300 you can imagine a road or some semblance thereof in an arc that ran from Monticello, county seat of Wayne to Williamsburg at 300 in Whitley. Marsh Creek running to the south into Tennessee intersected the road at about 430. To require a ferry, this probably is fairly wide, as creeks go. Anyone traveling from as far away as Monticello by horseback would probably arrive at Marsh Creek late in the afternoon and enjoy a drink at Angus Ross’s place either before or just after crossing the creek. It may be that some folks would have more than one drink. Today this area is part of the Daniel Boone National Forest and is very remote. The closest anything is Silerville or the Strunk post office five miles or so to the northwest.

Some other notes Angus Ross was born 29 Oct., 1767 and was four years older than Wells. Angus married Elizabeth Haws 2 Aug., 1791. He appeared in the 1810 Knox Co. census and the 1820 Whitley census. Whitley was carved from Knox in 1818 so Marsh Creek has appeared in all three counties. Ross also appeared in the 1850 Whitley census. He received land in 1816 at Marsh Creek in the amount of 355 acres. He received 100 more at Marsh Creek in 1826.

John Jones married Anna Garland 10 May, 1825 in Whitley Co. There was some sort of settlement at that time near Marsh Creek called Jones.

Penelope Jones wed Theophilus Pennington in Whitley 25 Feb., 1825.

Samuel Garland married Christina Pennington in Whitley 19 March, 1823. The Garlands had been closely related with the Penningtons, having come over from NC to Whitley about 1818.

A Catherine Johnson married Isaac Riddle in Wayne County 26 Aug., 1824. Could it be that these folks might have come with Pleasant to Marsh Creek?

There’s a lot of newly married folks and Pleasant Johnson who may have appeared at Marsh Creek alone, and met three men Wells Pennington, Ambrose Garland, and Angus Ross. Obviously, something happened. It was murder that got changed to manslaughter. Sometimes a murder charge is reduced to manslaughter through plea bargaining. I doubt that this was the case. More likely a jury of people who knew everybody except Pleasant decided either rightfully or wrongly that the victim was at least partially at fault.

When Wells, Theophilus, et al moved to Pulaski County in 1828 they pretty much moved to the north rather than to the west. When Samuel Pennington went to Whitley County in 1848 to get married he went to Clio, about five miles northwest of Williamsburg.

Wells Pennington’s daughter Tabitha, born 1811 is my ancestor. At 17 in May of 1828 she gave birth to a son. The father is unknown. The child was born in Pulaski County. Wells, Theophilus, and all the others moved to Pulaski in early 1828 and at 17 young Samuel was granted fifty acres that was adjacent to land owned by Wells. Samuel married Martha Walls in 1848. Interestingly, they went to Whitley County to get married. Samuel and Martha raised 14 children, most of whom were born at Miller County, MO. He joined forces with the North in 1861 and was a life long member of the Grand Army of the Republic. He died in 1914 at the age of 86 shortly after taking a second wife. Martha had died in 1904. Samuel and Martha’s fourth son was John born in 1857. He married Louisa McCubbin in Miller County and died in 1945 at the age of 89. John’s oldest son was William, born at Ibera, MO in 1878. He married Alice Clow in 1905 and died at Siloam Springs, AR in 1962. His oldest son was my father, Clarence Pennington, born at Tulsa, OK in 1908. He died in 1978 and is buried near Atlanta.

I don’t know what happened at Marsh Creek. I can only surmise. Presumably Samuel Garland was the trigger man since he served the most time. If you look at the birth dates of Samuel Garland’s children you will see that were none during the years he served his time. It’s interesting that women were involved. Your curiosity and imagination can go in many directions.

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Link to Whitley County Court Minutes , Book 1, 1818-1822

If you have any information on this historical event, please contact any or all of the following

Barb Temple—descendant of Wells Pennington who conducted the initial field research concerning the trial

Bill Pennington—descendant of Wells Pennington. He is the Group Leader for Group 32 (the Wells Pennington Group) of the Pennington Research Association .

Elbert Johnson—descendant of Pleasant Johnson.

mdharmon added this on 23 Sep 2007

Annie Jones serves time in 1825 for the death of Pleaasant Johnson. Story from Barb Temple, Bill Pennington and Elbert Johnson http//

how colorful.
you should contact people who have posted on the family tree tab and the stories and publications tab.

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.

start with what you know, gather documentation, then you can go backward in time. so get your birth certificate, your parents’ birth certificates and marriage license and then you can start on your grandparents. if someone passed away after 1/1/1937, they probably have a social security application on file. if you ask a government for a birth certificate, and they were born before 1929, they might have sumitted a delayed birth certificate. death certificates, cemetery information and obituaries are helpful. you can usually get a copy of an obituary, newspaper mentions such as birth of a child or marriage, through the interlibrary loan program – see your local public library for this. i usually start with the death and work toward the person’s birth. military records and pension records can be helpful. census records can tell you where they were at particular times. the census records up to 1930 are available, although the 1890 census was largely destroyed. the 1940 census will be public information in 2012.

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:

other choctaw tribes:

texas tribes

oklahoma tribes:

some links for the choctaw.
i looked at the land records and those need a lot of work. i have no information about whether or when they will improve some of these categories.

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.

if your ancestors lived on a reservation, they might not appear on a federal census because they were not taxed.
1860 census, indian territory.

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

good advice about native research:

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

Berns Berns

posted on November 28, 2011

My great great grandmother was Charlotte ( Lottie, Charlotta ) Garland. She married Luther Mefford. Luther Mefford and Charlotte Garland married in Marshall County, Alabama. The story in the family was that Charlotte Garland was a Native American but we had no proof. My research indicates but without solid proof that Charlotte Garland was a daughter or grand daughter of Ambrose Garland who also lived in Marshall County, Alabama. The census records indicate there were two Ambrose Garlands in Marshall County, a father and son most likely by age and living near each other. Also, census records tell us that Charlotte Garland was born in Kentucky. Also, my research indicates that Ambrose Garland and family packed up and moved to Arkansas.
Charlotte Garland’s mother married Elijah Cameron in Marshall County, Alabama and Charlotte had several half brothers and sisters named Cameron. Charlotte was the only child to have the maiden name, Garland. Records indicate that Elijah Cameron died and Charlotte was living with a known Native American family named Poulston. The Poulstons were in Madison County, Alabama which borders Marshall County. Also, the Poulstons were connected to the Merrell family and they were Native American. When Charlotte married Luther Mefford, she lived most of her life in bordering Jackson County, Alabama.
There are records of Ambrose Garland living in Morgan County, Alabama which borders Marshall County, Alabama. This was apparently before he moved to Marshall County.
I have often speculated that Ambrose Garland was connected to the Simm’s Settlement in Limestone County, Alabama.
Can anyone help make the connections??

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on November 28, 2011

no dates in your post. i am not sure if your family is connected to the family mentioned in the first post.

you might try the MOWA tribe or the mississippi choctaw tribe. links are in my previous post on this thread.