Thursday, August 30, 2007


By Gary J. Gabehart

Get well soon Nick!

One Redbone Family.

From a recent discussion, with William Gomez, aka "Fruitloop" I began to realize issues I had slaved over years ago were now the issues of other folks, who now slaved over the same documents and family members.

With that said, it is often critical to others that we again address some of the interesting members of our families for the benefit of the masses who come behind us -- get it on the record!

For example, the older father and son Drake's, were referenced in records as John Drake, Aaron Drake, John Aaron Drake, John Aaron Drake, Sr. (abt.1750 - 1813) and John Aaron Drake, Jr. (abt. 1776 -- 1828). Confusing to say the least when you are dealing with just two people. But, if you are concerned as to whether there was a junior or senior, I direct your attention to the Camp Orcoquisac census of 1807 that indicate both a junior and senior with wives and children although they are listed (both) as Juan Erondraque by the Spanish Officer Geronimo (Her-ron-nimo) Herrera.

Also, to compound the problem of whose on first, John Aaron Drake, Jr. and his wife [1] Rosalie Abshire (15 Jan 1872) name two of their sons, Aaron Drake (abt. 1802 -- 25, Aug 1857) and John Drake (abt. 1805). The only thing that saves you from further confusion are the birth date's, Camp Orcoquisac [2] records and Father Don Her'bert's record translations, both Church and Civil, for Southwest Louisiana (the work is attributed to him, but he had help doing it). However, with these three records, the four Drakes can easily be accounted for.

Still later, Aaron Drake, Sr., son of John Aaron Drake, Jr., names a child Aaron Drake, Jr. (3 mar 1847--23 Oct 1939). There is confusion in this generation however, as Aaron Drake was married to Caroline Bass (1811-1860) and Sarah Ashworth. And, Caroline Bass was also married to Elisha Jacobs (b.1790) who was married twice as well (Martha Calvit).

It is this Aaron Drake, Sr., who seems to be associated with Bearhead Creek, Louisiana (Singer) near Lake Charles (Redbone Country).

Of course, this is always information that is constantly under construction, so if you see something curious, let's talk.

Another bone of contention concerns the term "Mulatto." In present day, the term Mulatto, in many peoples mind, means "Negro or African White mixture," but that is far from being a true statement.

The fact is, it meant then, and now, a number of things but "primarily the mix." Here it becomes complex. I've said before the term essentially meant White/Indian, Indian/Black or Black/White, according to various laws of the land, but it does not. You have to dig deeper. It is far more complex.

If you are thinking White, Black and American Indian in Louisiana or anywhere (the entire US), I ask you, what happened to the other ethnicity's other than White, African? Did those other groups only come in through Ellis Island in the late 1800's? Wrong!

The answer is that Mulatto meant White/Free People of Color (including American Indians), FPC (including American Indians)/Blacks or White/Black (Negro or African). The trick is, American Indians were included in Free People of Color by White Society. Some American Indians were light in color and others were quite Black.

John Aaron Drake, Jr. was known as a Mulatto. The simplest way to explain the following is to say if you were the wrong kind of Mulatto, you could not be married in the Church. When it came time for John Aaron and Rosalie Abshire to marry, the Church performed an investigation of his status and concluded he was the right kind of Mulatto. I might add, those original marriage documents are held by LSU in Louisiana, and I expect a copy at McNeese University in Lake Charles as well.

So what kind of Mulatto? He could have been a FPC or FPC/White mix, but -- not African or Negro. We know, from Don Her'bert records, that John Aaron, Sr. stated in marriage records he was from Virginia, right in the middle of the Powhatan Confederacy. Family lore of the John Aaron, Jr. family indicates a connection to the Powhatan Confederation. Also, it is speculated the Drakes could have been either English Drakes or Irish Drakes; however, very few Irish Drakes were known to be in New England prior to 1775. Beyond this, we can only speculate for now, but I expect there was an American Indian heritage from the Virginia Drakes [3].

I'm not knocking Africans or Negro's here, I'm just stating that Mulatto meant much more than Black/White. If you are tracking your family, it is important to know this -- your FPC family could have been any ethnicity other than White/African -- Turk, Asian, Pakistan, India, Middle East, Portuguese, American Indian and it goes on. If you want to be tri-racial, bi-racial, multi-racial or what ever you might believe, so be it, but -- it would be a good idea to shake out these other groups if in any doubt. I might add that "some" of these so-called Black/White Mulatto issues are now turning out to be, White and "other than Black" -- through DNA research.

One argument we hear is the Drake's at Bearhead were only Redbone by virtue of a marriage into the Ashworth family, and that could certainly be so. This is a good case for Redbone by marriage or guilt by association.

(1) Rosalie Abshire was First Cousin to Isaac Ryan (Alamo) and Elisha Ryan Rigmaiden of Lake Charles, Louisiana; and, Grandmother to Jeremiah Goins and Sharafina Drake's children. Rosalie Abshire was also the 4th Great-Grandmother of this writer, Gary J. Gabehart.

(2) November 1, 1807 Elizabeth Shown Mills, transcription. - Lost Spanish Towns, Jean L. Epperson, p.38;; Bexar County Archives, Reel 37, frames

(3) In 1705 the Virginia Legislature passed into law that “the offspring of an Indian is a Mulatto.” Ponyhill.

Bless LVH and WAG for their latest temper tantrums.

Gary J. Gabehart, Mishiho (Mish-eh-ho)

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