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From: "Eddie Davis" <>
Subject: [ARBENTON] Benton, Looney and Vaughan
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 01:05:24 -0600


Benton/Looney/Vaughan I'm still trying to learn more about the parentage of
Fereby Benton/Looney (not sure what her actual last name was). Having gone
over the Rootsweb search engine for postings on Fereby over the past 3
years. I thought I'd post what I've found and try to make sense of it.
First, here is what most family researchers consider "settled" regarding
Fereby. She was born sometime between 1745 and 1750 in North Carolina. the
1850 Madison County Mortality schedule lists her as being 105. She died in
May, 1850 in Madison County, Arkansas. Some have said she was born in 1850,
I however favor what the records say. Around 1772, she married William
Vaughan in Sweetens cove, Tennessee. In 1773 their son Thomas Vaughan was
born in the town of Cherokee, in land that was part of the Cherokee Nation
(now Swain County)in North Carolina. Other children include William, John,
Samuel, David, Daniel, Martha and Elizabeth. There is some connection to
Ayres Vaughan, but if his year of birth is correct, he could not be the son
of William and Fereby. I won't touch on that now. William was in Capt. David
Looney's company in Lord Dunmore's War in 1774, serving with Daniel Boone.
William and Fereby had no children during the years that the Revolutionary
War was going on. They lived in Hawkins County, TN, then moved west, with
brief stays in NE Missouri. By 1821 they were in Crawford County, Arkansas,
near short Mountain Creek, living across from a large Cherokee Village until
1826, when they were forced to move. They lived in Evansville in Washington
County, AR and moved to Cane Hill in Washington County in 1826, then to
Tuttle Settlement on Richland in 1828.

This information is from "Vaughans in Wales and America" by James Vaughan.
They ended up in Washington, Madison and Carroll Counties in Northwest
Arkansas, and there they stayed. My Great x 3 Grandfather, Benjamin Franklin
Vaughan lived with William and Fereby -his grandparents- for some years, and
on October 27th, 1892 made a sworn deposition in a case that a relative had
brought before the Cherokee Nation in OK. In this deposition, Ben, a former
State Representative and 3 time Sheriff of Madison County, states that he
knew that his Grandmother Fereby was commonly thought of as a Cherokee
Indian by Blood.
He wrote, " I also became acquainted with a Cherokee Indian in my boyhood
who was in the habit of visiting my Grandparents and who claimed to be a
cousin of my Grandmother. The Indian's name-Looney Tol-lem-Tees-Key, and was
a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. (And further) That I was a grown up man at
the time I knew him. That I have often heard the Roggers (sic) (John and
James) say that the Vaughans should have a right in the Cherokee Nation and
old Capt. John Roggers wanted the deponent to remain in the Cherokee Nation
while the deponent was there, for the reason that the Vaughans were
descendants of the Cherokee Indians by blood." Ben further said that
Fereby's maiden name was Benton and that her mother's maiden name was Looney
and she was the side the Cherokee came from. William Vaughan died about 1838
in (probably) Madison County, Arkansas. He is said to have been buried in
Clifty Cemetery, but had no tombstone, and nobody knows where he was laid to
rest. That is what is "fact" on Fereby Benton/Looney.

Now here is the family "stories", none of them proven. 1.) Fereby was the
daughter of a Cherokee sub-chief and was 100%, 50%, 25%, ect Cherokee
Indian. 2.) Fereby was the daughter or granddaughter of a Raincrow, a
Cherokee. Or she was the niece of Chief Doublehead and there was a court
case which "proved" it in Washington or Madison Counties. Or she was cousins
to chief John Jolly and Chief Tahlonteeskee (born about 1776) 3.) Fereby was
the daughter of a Malinda or Martha Looney and a James or Jesse Benton(born
1724 in NC). Malinda/Martha's father was John Looney, born about 1700 in
Bradley County, TN, who was 3/4ths Cherokee. 4.) Fereby was somehow related
to Capt. David Looney (1738-1810) whom her husband served under in Lord
Dunmore's War. This would make her a descendant of the Robert Looney line.
5.) Fereby's mother wasn't a Looney as two of her grandsons swore in court,
but her maiden name was Benton, which Fereby took in Cherokee fashion. Her
father was an unknown Looney. 6.) Fereby was not Cherokee at all, but her
family and the Vaughans lived with and near the Cherokees and tried to pass
themselves off as members of the tribe, especially since the early 1900s.
That is pretty much where all of us descendants stand today on Fereby
research. Here is what I've pieced together. I feel it is safe to assume
that Fereby was indeed born in 1745. Her children's ages would match well,
although her daughter Elizabeth, born 1790 would have made Fereby about 45
years old at the time of the birth. Still possible, but at the very edge of
the childbearing years in the 1700s. If Fereby was born in 1745, her mother
would have had to have been born no earlier then 1700. Fereby's mother would
have been born no later then 1730 (making her 15 at the time of Fereby's
birth). So the range of years for the birth of Fereby's mom is 1700-1730. A
safe assumption is that her mother was born between 1705-1725. We can't
track her father's birth years the same way, as men sometimes sired children
into their 70s. So to find Fereby's mother, we need to locate a Looney or
Benton with a birth date of 1700-1730. Most of the children of Robert and
Elizabeth Looney (who Capt. David descends from) are known. It's a large,
well-researched family, and none of their children married Bentons.

Capt. David Looney was born in 1738 and would be too young to be Fereby's
father. He did have a daughter named Elizabeth who married a John Vaughn (no
"A" in the name) sometime before 1801. Although this Looney family lived in
Sullivan County, TN., I don't think David is Fereby's father. Could he be
her brother? Well, Robert and Elizabeth Looney had a son, Joseph, in 1740.
Most Looney researchers say Elizabeth was born in 1700, so she could have
had Fereby at age 45, but there is no record of it, and I doubt it. My
theory on the Looney side is that Fereby was the granddaughter of a brother
of Robert Looney. I suspect that her mother was indeed named Malinda or
Martha. Malinda's father may not have been Robert's brother but a Cherokee
that took the last name Looney out of respect for the Looney family living
near by. The John Looney that was 75% Cherokee could indeed be Martha's
father, and Cherokee records would have to be consulted from the 1700 time
frame, and even if there was a record, he'd probably be listed by his Indian
name. The James or Jesse Benton stories as the father of Fereby have been
impossible to track.
Some have claimed that Jesse Benton lived in the "Southside Virginia" area
and later in Sullivan County, TN. There is one interesting possibility. In
"Abstracts of the Wills of Edgecombe County, NC 1733-1856" on page 37, there
is the following will, which I will reproduce in part: BENTON, Charity April
5, 1818 August Court. 1818 book E page 22. Son and Exr: James Benton 1/3rd
of estate. Daughter: Pherabe (SOUND IT OUT Pherabe and FAIR-A-BE), 20S
already provided for. Other children: Allen Knight, Elizabeth C. Benton,
Polly Corbin, Sally, Kindred Knight (deceased), John C. Knight (deceased),
Elizabeth Nicholson (deceased). Now, if Pherabe and Fereby are the same
person, Fereby would have to have been 63 years old when Charity died. The
interesting thing is, three of Charity's kids are listed as deceased. As if
their Mom was very old and had out-lived them. If Charity was 83 years old,
then it would work easily. The thing is, after Pherabe is the "20S". Does
that mean that she was 20 and single or mean that she received 20 shillings
or something else. This is where I plan to aim my research next. Also not
that Charity's oldest son was named James. Usually the oldest son was named
after his father, and if that was so, then we have a James Benton who had a
daughter named Pherabe. Regarding the Rain Crow links; I know that the
Looneys had some neighbors with the last name of Crow living near them in
Virginia. From what I can tell, they weren't Indians and none were named
Rain. David Looney had dealings with them. Doublehead and John Jolly are
famous Cherokees, and there is no indication that Fereby was related to
them. I have no documentation on that, but she still could have been.
Tol-lem-Tees-Key is a white person's attempt to phonically spell out
Tahlonteeskee. The word means "Woodcuck Catcher". Fereby was a
Tom-lem-Tees-Key's cousin. There is no indication that this means that the
same man as Tahlonteeskee, who was a chief and John Jolly's brother. The
Cherokee name was popular. John Jolly and Tahlonteeskee's father was Robert
Due, and if Fereby was his cousin, that would mean that one of Robert Due's
siblings was either Fereby's mother or father. Both chiefs came to Arkansas,
part of the Old Settler group, and William and Fereby lived nearby and
probably knew them. But that doesn't mean that Fereby was a cousin. Sadly,
Cherokee records are scant and proving this would be nearly impossible. So
in summary, I suspect that Fereby was the daughter of a Malinda Looney and a
Jesse or James Benton. She may be the same as the Pherebe listed in Charity
Benton's will. I suspect that her mother (whatever her name actually was)
was part Cherokee, but her father was white. The stories told by Fereby to
her children stayed in their minds and were enlarged by the 1800s to make
her the daughter of a chief and related to the most famous chiefs. I suspect
that Fereby's Looney grandfather was either a brother to Robert Looney or
else an Indian that knew Robert that took the Looney name as his "white"
name. I would love any comments on this research, any suggestions or "proof"
that any of you might have.
http://www.atlascomm.net/ecdavis/vaughan.htm to read more about this line.
Eddie Davis

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