The Meherrin Connection

I’ve spent the last few weeks tracing my family’s background. We had always been told that we had Native American ancestry, in addition to various European roots. The search was quite tedious, but I wanted to find out everything I could about our lineage to pass it down to my children. After all, for the last 60 years the only information I had was speculative and spotty. My mother’s side was said to have been Creek and Irish, and my father’s side was supposed to be Cherokee, Irish and Welsh.

I’ve been able to trace a few lines way back into history, and I’ll save that for another post. For now I want to discuss what I’ve learned about my Native American ancestry which turned out to be surprising indeed. Luckily, there had been more information online than I previously thought. Most of the information had already been researched and documented by others.

Trying to confirm Native American lineage is a difficult process. There are tribal specific lists which were prepared more than 100 years ago. You have to find a documented ancestor’s name on one of these lists. The lists also contain blood quanta information for each individual, or in other words, the percentage of Native American “blood” of each respective person. Inter-racial marriage reduces that percentage and most tribes require a certain quanta for anyone trying to enroll in a tribe. Because each tribe is self-governed, the blood quanta required to enroll is set by the tribe, and may differ from one tribe to the next. I have no intention of enrolling, but the verification process is the same regardless.

I was able to determine familial relationship to The Holmes Valley Band of Creek Indians, which still live in Northwest Florida, but so far, no direct descendency. I was at a dead end for a moment, and just trying to finish researching and documenting the rest of my family tree. That’s when I ran across a WordPress article about my 4th great grandfather on my maternal side, Benjamin Thomas.

Benjamin lived on The Meherrin Indian Reservation in North Carolina, and there was documentation of a property sale/lease on record to verify it. My 4th great grandfather was Meherrin Indian, a branch of the Iroquois that settled into what are now Virginia and North Carolina before The United States was formed.

I’m going to continue searching for Creek and Cherokee roots, but for now I’ve at least found some Native American history and gained some experience on researching family trees. There have been unexpected finds already and I’m sure there will be more. I’m collecting all the documentation and photos I’ve discovered so far online and in my written records. I built a free WordPress blog to store it all for my family, but haven’t decided whether or not to make it public.

If you haven’t started looking into your heritage yet I strongly urge you to do so. There’s a whole other world out there you may know nothing of.

We got a call to look into remodeling a backyard deck that needs re-purposing and repairs. There are multiple problems that need addressing, mostly caused by water damage and settling. We’ll be strengthening the foundation and the structure itself. Afterwords, we’ll clean and seal the entire deck.

We finished most of the demolition this past Saturday, but I forgot to get a progress photo. I’ll take one tomorrow before we start back and then again throughout the day.

After removing a large portion of the deck and hauling off the debris, we brought in the first load of lumber to get started on the foundation and flooring. We had to make a second run out-of -State for treated 2x6s because of a local shortage. One supplier told us they hadn’t received a load of lumber in a month and a half.

We ran into a clearance sale on these two 16′ extension ladders. They were originally priced at $99.00, but were marked down to $29.70. They’ll come in handy on this job and others.

As it turned out, there was a lumber shortage locally. We had to buy the 2x6s in Alabama and all we could find were 12 footers at the time. It would have been nice to have the 16 footers for the sub-floor, but we adapted at a substantial cost increase. Using the 12 foot boards added more labor and extra galvanized joist hangers. It also doubled the amount of screws needed.

Working around the pool was a bit tedious as well. Once all the flooring is installed up to the angle change, we pop a chalk line across all of them and cut them to length all at once.

Another problem we ran into was the width of the flooring lumber. They differed in sixteenth inch increments from 5-1/2″ to 5-3/4″. We had to separate them into individual stacks and use them carefully to make an entire length run across the deck at each width. We kept the flooring tight at installation; as the pressure treating dries, the boards will shrink and gap themselves properly.

The homeowners wanted recessed steps to avoid running into them in the dark.

The finished ends after popping a chalk line across them and cutting them all at once. You have to pre-cut the first and last boards because the circular saw can’t get to them.

Luckily, by the time we purchased the joists for the roof, we were able to locate 16 footers. Lumber prices locally went up in price an average of $1.03 per board from the time we quoted the job. Needless to say, the job went above the estimate substantially and remains unfinished pending negotiation. The handrails aren’t installed completely, including the 2×6 caps all the way around. The metal roof also needs to be installed.

We have to let the wood dry out and fade a bit before we stain it. That could take 60-90 days. The handrail by the pool is temporary. These photos reflect a work in progress and do not show the completed project.

The year started out rough for us. We were working for an electrical contractor, and just as we decided to break free and go solo in a remodeling and restoration company, the shutdown over Covid 19 began.

And now this falls into our hands. Thank you Father. We actually wired many of these homes and met the General Contractor while working for the electricians.

We’ll be doing what are known as punch-outs. Small odd jobs required to get these fantasy homes rented, owned or on the market.

This year has been rough, but sometimes a rough start makes for a good finish. I’ll show you what our work environment looks like, keeping in mind we did not build these beautiful homes. Some are in the eight million dollar range partly because they’re situated between Highway 30a and the gorgeous Beaches of South Walton.

Our contractor gave us a call and we’ve resumed the remodeling business. In fact, we’ve gotten calls from several contractors. Many of the out of town sub-contractors bailed out after the Coronavirus shutdown. That left quite a bit of work for us locals once more.

The job turned out to be a stucco and brick home which was being repaired after storm damage from Hurricane Michael. A new roof was installed and the lower portions of sheetrock taken out revealed extensive termite damage throughout the outside walls of the house. Their insurance didn’t cover that, and also the storm repairs are on hold until the termite damaged wood has been completely replaced and inspected. The homeowner is having to come out of pocket for that. Unfortunately, the more we remove, the more we find.

The hip roof helped a lot on this job because we had to support it with temporary walls built before the damaged walls could be replaced. An entire corner of the house had to be removed, and the roof design aided by providing better support for our temporary walls. If the design was different, we might have had a girder truss sitting on one of the walls we had to remove. Supporting a girder truss would have not only been more difficult, but perhaps dangerous not only to us, but to the roof. It doesn’t require much movement to cause a leak or other stress damage.

We’re deep into the project right now, and I’ll update as things move along.

Stormcrow

I’d like to welcome everyone from Armor of God. I’ll be making new material available as time permits. The link for the library is at the top right of the page on computers and in the drop-down menu on phones.

I’ll be re-purposing this blog a bit in the weeks to come and trying to make the downloads easier on the eye. I’ll figure something out.