Abraham Helton was born in 1743 in Virginia. Part of Virginia was in the Cherokee Nation
First found in 1778 in Rowan County, NC having owned land
1785 Burke County, NC census
1786 married Katie Owl, a Cherokee, in Hanging Dog Creek, NC and had four children, Sarah, John, James and Harmon
1807 he was paid by the federal govt. $95.00 to haul deer hides from Macon to Savannah, GA
1812 Fought in the Indian War
1820 he was on the census in Habersham County, GA living in the Georgia Militia District #836 which is where we are today. This district has been called the Capt. Townsend District, Capt. Turner District and Frogtown District.
In the 1821 Georgia land lottery he was awarded a 220 acre lot in Newton County. A law suit was filed against him in 1825 stating he was not a white man and as a result lost his land. Indians could not own land or testify against a white person in court.
1823 Abraham did a land swap with Thomas Townsend. Thomas Townsend received the land in Newton County, which Abraham legally owned at that time, and Abraham received Lot 84 of the 1st District in what was Habersham County, now Lumpkin County. Lot 84 of the 1st District is the location of Frogtown Winery. Later Townsend found out that Abraham had the land in Newton County taken from him by the Superior Court and sued to regain his property in Habersham County. Abraham lost both pieces of land because he was a Cherokee.
1834 Abraham on Lumpkin County census. Lumpkin was formed in 1832
1836 he filed for his Revolutionary War Pension in Lumpkin County, GA. He stated he was not aware that he could file for a pension but with his age of 93 and diminishing health he discovered he could file and went to the Courthouse and submitted for his pension. He enlisted with the regular troops for two years in 2nd Virginia Regiment about the time that George Washington fought at Monmouth Courthouse in New Jersey, June 26, 1778 and served part of the time at Valley Forge on the “”SKOO kull”” Schuylkill River. He fought in skirmishes in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Jersey and into New York. He received a regular discharge and entrusted it to a friend. The friend's home was burnt and the discharge was destroyed.
During those times it was common for whites to encourage Indians to leave their homes so they could have them for themselves. If encouragement failed then they burnt their homes. “Indians could always build a home on the other side of the hill” well until a white wanted that home also. Abraham’s brother Peter also lost his discharge papers the same way but at a different house.
1838 Lumpkin County Census
1840 Lumpkin County Census, Abraham a widower and was living with his daughter Sarah. Katie had died in 1840.
1843 Abraham was reported as living in the area of the Frogtown Cherokee Indian Village when he died. It was located where Damascus Church Road crosses the Chestatee River about 1 ½ miles North of here.
In 1906 The government paid the Cherokee descendants for the land that was taken from their ancestors. 133 direct decedents of Abraham filed claims. Most of these claims were filed by lawyers on the person’s behalf. On the claim you had to list your entire family, parents, parents brothers and sisters, grandparents on both sides and to whom you are claiming as your Cherokee ancestor.
From these documents located in both state and national archives, deed books, maps, Civil Law Cases, Criminal Law cases from numerous counties, professional researchers and interviews with decedents, the Helton cousins across America were able to make linage charts and slowly piece together where our ancestors lived and where they died.
With several documents here and several words from other documents there over the course of 15 years we were able to locate the grave of Abraham and Katie Owl Helton. The final piece was the Cedar tree above the headstone. Cherokee custom was to plant a cedar tree beside the grave to hold the sprits of the Cherokee who had died. When Cydney Kritzer recommended this location for the stone, we placed the stone and looked up and noticed that it was at the base of a small cedar. To tell the truth I felt a chill. It was as if the Lord confirmed this was the right place.
Craig and Cydney Kritzer, the owners of Frogtown Winery, were gracious enough to allow the Helton families to place a headstone on their property in memory of Abraham and Katie Owl Helton. Without their help and cooperation this would not have been possible.
Presently the Kritzers and Heltons are working on obtaining a Georgia Historical Marker to be placed on the road giving the history and location of Abraham and Katie Owl Helton.
Sent in by: Len Griffin