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ANCESTRY INVESTIGATIONS: The Chism family from Milton in Santa Rosa County

By Beverly Nield | Special to The News Herald

The Chism family from Milton in Santa Rosa County probably hailed from Adam Chisholm. Adam was born in Tinedill, Scotland, circa 1695 and was imprisoned for taking part in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715.

There are prison records in Scotland and other documents which show he was captured at Preston in the North of England and tried in London. His punishment was to be banished to the colonies for fighting against King George I.

Newton Alonzo Chism, a grandson of Jesse, is seen in a photo taken about 1841.

The Jacobites wanted James II’s son, James Frances Edward, to be king instead of Hanoverian George. However, James didn’t have much stamina; the first time he set off for England he caught measles and went home, the second time he had a sniffly cold and did not wish to fight.

On 28th July 1716, Adam was put on a slave ship, “SS Elizabeth & Anne,” at Liverpool and arrived in Virginia later that year, where he settled in Yorktown.

A gravestone at the Oklahoma Historical Society honors Jesse Chisholm, here given birth and death dates between 1806-1858.

More:ANCESTRY INVESTIGATIONS: Pay heed to family stories

A more recent ancestor was Jesse Chism, born circa 1800 in Tennessee. On 15th June 1819, he married Cinthia Lewis in Bibb County, Alabama. The story, according to his grandson Newton Alonzo Chism, is that his wife left him in 1828 and claimed she was a widow.

The reason for her leaving with their two sons, William and Elisha, was due to Jesse shaving off his beard!

With the removal of facial hair, it was obvious that Jesse was of Native American descent, and he admitted this to be true. After Cinthia left, Jesse headed to Oklahoma and became an interpreter for the army on “The Trail of Tears,” when the army moved the Cherokee from their homeland to Oklahoma. Jesse was fluent in 14 different Native American dialects.

Jesse Chism lived circa 1800-1865.

The following inscription was erected by the Oklahoma Historical Society in 1976:

“Born in Tennessee in 1805 of Scottish and Cherokee descent, Jesse Chism came to Indian Territory in the 1820s. For 40 years, he operated trading posts near Asher, Purcell, Watonga and Oklahoma City; also a guide, freighter, interpreter, salt works owner and peace maker. Few men in the territory were so well known by the Indians. ... Part of his freighting route became known as the Chisholm Trail. Jesse played an integral part in persuading the Plains tribes to meet with the government representatives, which resulted in the Medicine Lodge Treaty of 1867. He died March 4, 1865 after eating bear meat cooked in a copper kettle. ... The inscription on his grave — NO ONE LEFT HIS HOME COLD OR HUNGRY — is a tribute to the character of this rugged individual.”

Cinthia had help from her family in bringing up the boys, but sadly, according to Newton’s account, claimed their father to be, “a scoundrel, thief and a bad person.”

Beverly Nield runs Ancestry P.I., providing genealogy research in a colorful album format, including photographs, maps, family crests, surname definitions and more. For details, email BeverlyNield@gmail.com or call 850-708-1913. This column usually appears on the third Sunday of each month in the Celebrate section of The News Herald.