The family bible was destroyed by the daughter who inherited it because she did not want anyone to know that she had Indian blood in her family. My dad also remembered the family bible before its destruction.
Although, no records state specifically that Mary was Indian, I have no doubt, because there is plenty of indirect evidence pointing to the conclusion that she was. She was probably Shawnee, though, not Cherokee, but the Shawnee were considered part of the Cherokee.
I would have liked to have met her and spent time with her. I would have liked to had her teach me her ways and about her people. I have so many questions I would have wanted to ask her.
Her name was Mary Elizabeth Goldsberry or so most of the records say. Many years later, when it was "safe" or, at least, safer, to be Indian, two of her daughters' death certificates gave "Gooseberry" as their mother's name. She was born on February 11, 1804, either in Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Virginia, depending on the record you consult.
She was born into a time of turmoil for the Shawnee people. Just ten years prior to her birth was the Battle of Fallen Timbers. The following year, the Greenville Treaty was signed and the Indians were placed under the protection of the U. S. government, meaning reservations were established and many Indians lost much of their freedom. More and more white settlers moved into their lands. The War of 1812 resulted in taking more of the Indians' lands and the establishment of more reservations. In 1830, the Indian Removal Act sent them to reservations in Kansas, but some did not go or escaped and returned to Ohio.
Those still living in Ohio had to deny being Indian and claim to be white or mulatto, anything but Indian. This was the world that Mary grew up in. What was this like for her?
Two years before the Indian Removal, she married William Dobbins, on August 7, 1828. They lived in Oldtown, Ross County, Ohio. Oldtown was the principal village of the Shawnees in Ohio-their capital. Their six children were born in Oldtown and they lived there until sometime in the 1840's. They moved to Pickaway County and continued to move. William died during this time and Mary's whereabouts are unknown until 1860 when she was living with her daughter in Montgomery County. She had remarried and had another daughter, but both her new husband and little daughter died before 1860. Whether they died at separate times or together from disease or an accident is not known.
Mary lived in the homes of her adult children for the remainder of her life. She lived it as a white woman, at least, publicly. In private, she taught her children about the Shawnee way of life or they remembered from when they lived in Oldtown as children. Her memory and the people she came from were passed down to each generation. Did she have to protect her children during those years following the removal? Did she have fears of what would happen to them because they were Shawnee? Did they move to hide who they were so they would be safe? What happened during those years? Did she, as many did, fear that she and her children would be taken to a reservation if her true identity was revealed? I would like to know.
The places she lived during her lifetime were all places where the clan of Tecumseh had lived. Was she of their clan and possibly related to Tecumseh? Perhaps, time and continued research will tell.
Mary died on June 26, 1889. When she died, she was living in Christiansburg, Champaign County with either William or Nelson, her two sons who lived there. She is buried in Smith Cemetery on the edge of Christiansburg near her daughter, Mary and her son, Nelson.