Dorcas Rebecca Milam (born Harris)

Born:Mar 17 1825 In:  Franklin County, Tennessee
Died:1864 (at age ‎~39‏)In:  Hardin County, Tennessee


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Immediate family

James Morrow Milam, Sr.
Her husband
Telitha Jane Milam
Her daughter
John Milam
Her son
William Milam
Her son
James Morrow Milam, Jr.
Her son
Sarah Zada Ann ? (born Milam)
Her daughter
Polly Milam
Her daughter
Cornelius Coleman (Neal) Milam
Her son
Joel (Joe) C. Calvin (Calhoun) Milam
Her son
Riley Ervin Milam
Her son
Lorenzy D. Milam
Her child
Lorenzo Dow Milam
Her son
Ferrell David Fayrell (Ferrill Milam
Her son
Thomas J. Milam
Her son
Franklin (Franklyn) Milam
Her son
Dr Frankling Milam
Her child
Nancy E. Milam
Her daughter
Henry A Milam
Her son
Permeli (Pamela) E. (Elizabeth) Hargrove (born Milam)
Her daughter
Elizabeth ? (born Milam)
Her daughter
John Harris, Jr.
Her father
Sara Sarah Harris
Her mother
Jane Harris
Her sister


Reported to be full blooded indian Called DARK EYES. Father wasfull blooded Indian chief of the Eastern Cherokee group. He was married to a Sarah that was also full blooded indian.

CAUTION!!! Dorcas's Ancestry is uncertain. Our family records list her parents as John and Sarah P Harris. The information regarding John and Sarah being full blood Cherokee is based on the research of Vera Milam Ryker.

1850 Census District 6, Hardin, Tennessee; Roll: M432_882; Page: 206; Image: 28James Milam, 28, M, TNDorcas Milam, 25, F, TNSarah Ann Milam, 0, F, TNJames M Milam, 2, M, TNTelitha J Milam, 7, F, TNWilliam Milam, 4, M, TN

1860 Census District 6, Hardin, Tennessee; Roll: M653_1254; Page: 331; Image: 97James M Milum, 39, M, TNRebecca D Milum, 35, F, TNSarah A Milum, 10, F, TNCornelius Milum, 7, M, TNJoel C Milum, 6, M, TNRiley Milum, 4, M, TNLoreiza Milum, 1, M, TN

A thread on the RootsWeb message boards written by Connie states that a book titled "We Tiptons and our Kin" written by Reverend Charles Ervin Tipton, lists Dorcus Rebecca Harris as the daughter of someone other than John Harris.

One source at lists her parents as Berry and Mrs Smtih.

The information regarding the Cherokee heritage of Dorcus Rebecca Harris is questionable. Possibly she was of Cherokee descent. I dispute the information that her father was a Cherokee and have listed him of English descent. I believe that her mother was a full-blood Cherokee, but have found nothing to support this. Inter-marriage with whites was not uncommon but it was illegal before the 1860's in most southern states, including Tennessee. The Cherokee Nation was a separate, sovereign nation and inter-marriage was not illegal there. Many of mixed blood explained their darker complections by claiming to be "Black Dutch".

The elusive question is, when did the term Black Dutch arise? A strong probability is after 1830, when the forced removal of the Cherokees from their homeland began. Were there, in fact, a Dutch people with similar physical characteristics, or was the term coined or manufactured to match the occasion?

Several genealogical organizations have made attempts to investigate the origin of the term 'Black Dutch,' yet no specific clarification, no pedigree charts, and no documentation of any kind have been forthcoming.Numerous accounts have circulated to the effect that the 'Black Dutch' can be identified as groups of Irish, Cherokee, Amish, Swiss, Sephardic Jews, Dutch-Indonesians, and Hollanders--to name just a few.The conclusion drawn by those who have attempted to define the term is that 'Black Dutch' ancestry seems to be based on folklore and hearsay."

The fact is it worked very well. It is understandable that the Cherokee, Chickasaw and others who remained behind had to come up with a cover-up in order to survive. No choice but to go underground, to become “white” in order to own land, keep their homes and survive, denying their Indian identity simply because it was the safest thing to do at the time. This may have led them (especially the women) to take on the term “Black Dutch” or “Black Irish.” Children, when they became of age to marry, may have been encouraged to seek out mates who were white or had more white or European heritage. The first generation of blending and re-blending may have occurred after the 1840’s and 1850’s.

Before the Indian Removal Act in 1830, many Cherokee people were already mixed with white settlers and stayed in the hill country. They denied their ancestry and basically lived much of their lives in fear of being sent West.

Cherokee IndianVera Milam Ryker in her book on Milams states that Dorcas Rebecca Harris Milam was full-blood Cherokee, born March 17, 1825 in Tennessee, possibly Franklin County. She married James Morrow Milam May 16, 1840 in Coffee County, Tennessee. Her indian name is reported to have been "Dark Eyes." As far as the name, Dark Eyes it would still be Dark Eyes in Cherokee, the translation would be: ulasigi digatoli, pronounced oo la (like the a in father) see gee (like the g in goose) dee ga (like the a in Father) toe lee.

She is reported to be full Cherokee, with indian name, "Dark Eyes." Reported to have been told by Passo Milam, son of David Ferrill Milam: "Sometime after Franklin was born in 1864, and before James M. Milam, Sr. remarried in 1869, Dorcas died from smoke inhalation while helping to fight a timber fire in Hardin County, Tennessee. She may be buried in the Nixon Cemetery."Found:

Family lore says she was a full-blood Cherokee. Indian name was "Dark Eyes" and she was registered in Greesburg (Greensville?) South Carolina (Greeneville, Tennessee?).Her father was reportedly a lesser-known Eastern Cherokee Indian Cheif, John Harris. Her family left North Carolina and went to Hardin County, Tennessee near Savannah around 1800-1820. She had apparently died after 1850 as she was no longer included on the census after 1850. Tennessee was created in 1819 from Cherokee Indian land. The Milam website states John Harris is listed on the 1851 Siler Roll as: John Harris #74 and on the 1852 Chapman Roll as: John Harris #41. These rolls are listed in the book "Cherokee Roots" by Bob Blankenship, Copyright 1978. I feel these roll numbers are incorrect (see notes for John Harris). There is a definite relationship between the Harris' and the Milams that predates James marrying Dorcas. On the 1850 Hardin County Census, John was listed as 56 years old, from North Carolina, and a laborer and Sarah was listed as 53, from North Carolina. Children on the 1850 census were Martin 22, John 23, Samuel 14 and Margaret 17.

Some believe Lucenda Harris to be the mother of John Harris and that he was born 1794 in South Carolina based on the following:

The Pickens County, South Carolina Real Estate Books, Book A, Page 138:Richard Poe owned 250 acres in the Pickens District lying on Town Creek. He bequeathed the land to Lucenda Harris and at her death to her children. Known children at the time of her death were: John Harris, Dorcus Harris, Sarah Harris, Carter B Harris, and Nathaniel Harris. Dated March 1, 1852. Is this is the same John Harris who lived in Hardin County, Tennessee? Did he name his daughter, Dorcus, after his sister? Was Richard Poe John Harris' father?

More from Hardin County:

The 1833 Tax List for Hardin County shows a John Harris, a Nathaniel Harris, and Thomas Harris. John Harris is found insolvent and excused from paying taxes for the years 1842 and 1843. Also in 1849, John Harris of the 8th Civil District and John Harris Sr. of the 8th Civil District are found insolvent and excused from paying taxes. Then in 1858 John Harris is listed as being too young to pay taxes. Were Indians required to pay taxes?

In the 1850 census for Hardin County, John and William C. Harris are found living as neighbors with the Milams in the 6th Civil District of Hardin County.

William C Harris is listed on the 1850 census as being married to Martha L who is Coleman Milam's daughter. William C Harris and family moved to Franklin County, Arkansas in 1880. Martha L died January 1922 and is buried with the Milam's in Louis Creed Cemetery. Census is as follows: William C Harris, 31,M, b. Tenn, farmer, Martha L Harris, 25, F, b. Tenn, Elizabeth A Harris, 8, F, b. Tenn, Martha J (Jane) Harris, 6, F, b. Tenn, Charles C (Coleman) Harris, 3, M, b. Tenn, John M Harris, 1, M, b. Tenn, Albert G Milam, 21, M, b. Tenn, laborer (Cannot read or write, he is Martha's brother and he died in 1853).

On the 1850 census, Hardin County, Tennessee, John Harris lived next door to William C (Coleman) Harris, Thomas F Milam lived two houses down (next to William) and James Morrow Milam lived a few more houses down.

See notes for John Harris.

1850 Census District 6, Hardin, Tennessee; Roll: M432_882; Page: 206; Image: 28James Milam, 28, M, TNDorcas Milam, 25, F, TNSarah Ann Milam, 0, F, TNJames M Milam, 2, M, TNTelitha J Milam, 7, F, TNWilliam Milam, 4, M, TN

Additional Sources:;;

Full-blood Cherokee. Indian name was "Dark Eyes". She was registered in Greesburg (Greensville?) South Carolina.

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