Life in Possum Holler

Saline County, Arkansas, United States
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22 September 2007

History rewritten on Cherokee demise - LiveScience -

History rewritten on Cherokee demise - LiveScience - External pressures, not lack of natural resources, led to tribe's collapse

By Heather Whipps

A slow, lethal combination of external pressures including warfare, rather than a lack of natural resources, led to the demise of the Cherokee Indians, two new studies suggest.

The date of the Cherokee society's collapse is often cited as 1785, when several tribes signed the Treaty of Hopewell and came under the jurisdiction of the new United States of America. Resource scarcity was the major factor in the dissolution, many historians have thought, based on an eyewitness narrative of sparse settlement patterns.

But the Cherokee of the Southeastern United States actually had plenty of land, crops and animals to go around, the new land-usage research indicates. The collapse was more likely instigated by a series of events that occurred over a period of a few decades, said University of Georgia anthropologist Ted Gragson.

[Follow link for remainder of story]

16 September 2007

"Sumter County, S.C. Turks"


By Calvin Trillin
Published March 8, 1969, p. 104
Abstract from The New Yorker Online Archives:

U.S. JOURNAL about a group of people living in Sumter County, S.C. called Turks. They are not really Turks. Throughout the Southeast there have always been communities of people who constitute a third race, usually discriminated against by whites and almost always segregating themselves from Negroes. They are dark-skinned people of mysterious origin. Most of the groups apparently descend from remnants of Indian tribes that long ago intermarried with whites and with freed or escaped slaves. "The men are mostly of the small-farmer or tenant class and most of them are poor," an article in the Columbia "State" said in 1928. Every Truk is certain that he is white and certain that his neighbors are ready to believe that he is part Negro. The founders of this community were 2 men who fought with Gen. Thomas Sumter during the American Revolution and were given land by the Genl. around his plantation. They were a Frenchman called Scott and Joseph Benenhaley, who is usually identified as a Moor or an Arab. The Turks were discriminated against and segregated until a few years after World War II. At first they succeeded in getting their children admitted into Hillcrest, the local white high school; later into grade school. Eventuall most local white students went to a private high school, but some white students, not local, from Shaw Air Force Base, do go to it.