Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

Info on Elizabeth Melissa Johnson

Shirley Howard DeWitt Shirley Howard DeWitt

posted on July 12, 2010 and updated on July 12, 2010

I am seeking any information I can get on my great grandmother who was a member of the Choctaw Indian Tribe. Elizabether was born in Georgia on June 15, 1876 or 1877. At 17 years of age (1893)she married John Wesley Howard and they were living near Birmingham, Alabama. Four of her six children were born in Alabama. They moved to Midland, Arkansas in the early 1900 and two more children were born there. Her husband died in the mid 1900 and she married James Patterson who she was with until she died on November 21, 1936. She is buried in the Hartford Memorial Cemetery in Hartford, AR. Any help you can give me is appreciated.

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on July 12, 2010

elizabeth melissa johnson b. 9/15/~1877 GA d. 11/21/1936 AR m. john wesley howard. residence AL, midland, AR, spouse passed away 1905 or so. m2. james patterson. no childrens’ names listed. common surnames, so you need more information rather than less. childrens’ records often point to the parents, fix the family to specific dates and locations.

are you sure she was a member of the tribe? she was living in AR at the time of her death? enrolled members generally lived in OK/indian territory, part of the condition of enrollment at that time.

you might be looking for heritage, rather than enrollment. if so, you might have to trace back to AL and see if there was a land grant,, choctaw scrip, as a termination grant. there might have been a termination land grant in georgia, i don’t know, but some states were spotty about awarding those termination land grants. AL and MS were better.
you should do a search on mississippi choctaw and read about that tribe. they were natives that declined to go on the trail of tears in the late 1830’s.
land patent search
you will need the name of the head of household 1830-1870.

maybe this is your family:
Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Precinct 11, Jefferson, Alabama; Roll T623_20; Page: 23A; Enumeration District: 96.

1900 United States Federal Census
about Malissa E Howard
Name: Malissa E Howard
Home in 1900: Precinct 11, Jefferson, Alabama
Age: 24
Birth Date: Jun 1875
Birthplace: Georgia
Race: White
Gender: Female
Relationship to Head of House: Wife
Father’s Birthplace: Georgia
Mother’s Birthplace: Georgia
Mother: number of living children: 2
Mother: How many children: 6
Spouse’s name: John W
Marriage Year: 1893
Marital Status: Married
Years Married: 7
Occupation: View on Image
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
John W Howard 49
Malissa E Howard 24
Charles S Howard 5
Alonza S Howard 21
George W Howard 15
Caroline Howard 73

also, if they were in AL, they might be MOWA tribe too.
lawsuit for federal recognition
possible contacts:

john b. june, 1850 AL, parents b. GA
melissa b. june, 1875 GA, parents b. GA
children b. AL and caroline, john’s mother b. march 1827 GA.

Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Diamond, Sebastian, Arkansas; Roll T624_65; Page: 21B; Enumeration District: 138; Image: 277.
john is still alive here.
Name Age
John W Howard 60
Messa C Howard 33
Charles N Howard 14
Jessie C Howard 9
Cricket Howard 8
Paul Howard 1
James C Howard 81
paul was the only one b. AR. the other children b. AL. so there’s your migration.

he was young enough so that he could have enlisted for the civil war, so you should look carefullly where the unit mustered out. (find his name,, click on the unit, and then you will see where they drew people from.)

can’t find elizabeth melissa and james patterson after these census records.

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on July 12, 2010

genealogists use names, dates, locations, children and spouses to match records. if

you have a common surname, you need to give more information rather thann 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.

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


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

suzanne hamlet shatto