DNA Discussion

Sometimes genealogy research is subject to just plain luck. We were lucky to have found Byron Brown, my father, Dwight Hilgeford’s distant cousin and Brown family historian. What made him so unique was his extensive research. He could document family lines to their arrival in America. However, the Brown line stopped cold with Alexander Brown. Alexander was also a great grandfather in Dwight’s line. Byron’s research combined with ours showed that Native American DNA could have come from the Brown family. A DNA test on Bryon showed that he was 6% Native American.

We were able to locate Alexander Brown in South Carolina at a time when King George ll was making free land grants to white settlers of Cherokee land. James Benson, an immigrant did receive land from the Cherokee lands and willed his daughter Sarah a farm. She married Alexander Brown and lived on this farm along the Tyger River. This farm’s location had been in original Cherokee lands. From this circumstantial evidence it could be reasoned that Alexander was Native American of Cherokee descent.

Dwight’s family lines on the Leeper side also come to a halt with Cephus Leeper. The Leeper name is a very old pioneer name but in our case untraceable. There is also a vague story about Samantha Hughes Leeper’s grandfather on her father’s side of the family. Native American DNA could have accumulated here. Also it should be noted that being “Indian” in those days was a hardship and Indians were discriminated against. So secrets may have been kept …