More about Hannah b. 1813/14 & John Lewallen

Lu Dawn Ross - May 31, 2010

Hannah "Anna" Motley b. 1813, died 1861/62 , is buried Old Meadows Cemetery, Bull Creek, Missouri.   She m. John Lewallen??? d. abt. 1848 presumed to have drowned in the Platte River, where on this river unknown.

John Mitchell writes much of Hannah, Jane & Polly, in his book, Tales of Bull Creek Country.
On page 52 we find the following:
'This information on the Lewallen Fmily has been furnished by Wesley A. Hogan of Elk City, Kansas.   It is included here to correct and supplement versions contained in the first printing of the book.
Wesley Hogan is the grandson of Sarah Emmaline Lewallen who married Andrew Jackson Hogan in Johnson City, Kansas, 28 September 1865.
According to Wesley, Hannah Lewallen's maiden name was Motley and Sarah often spoke of :Uncle John Motley.:   He was a slave owner but the Lewallens were firmly opposed to such practice and had no part of it.   Hannah's husband's first name is not recalled, he was referred to as "Granpa Lewallen." The oldest Lewallen boy was "Bill" - he and his father left Missouri to join the California Gold Rush.   According to a neighbor who accompanied them they were both drowned in the Platte River.   The legend is they carried $3,000 in gold which was never found.   A question is why they would have this much money on the way to the gold fields, also how they accumulated it.
Hannah died after a runaway wagon accident in which she broke her back.   Sarah then assumed care of the family and the children in the home, particularly Robert and Elizabeth, the youngest, John and Jesse both joined the Union Army, leaving Sarah and Elizabeth to tend the farm.   When Bushwhackers threatened to burn them out they put their belongings in a wagon and moved to Johnson County, Kansas where Keziah and her husband, Jim Oliver lived.   Sarah and her husband visited Missouri and Arkansas in 1906 and at that time Jesse and his family lived at Green Forest.
Sarah Emmaline died 14 March 1919, and is buried in the St. Charles Cemetery, Chautaugua County, Kansas.'

Lu DAwn's Notes:
Now, Hannah Lewallen, was my gr gr gr grandmother on my mother's side.   I remember during the 1970's and 1980's when we were searching for Hannah and her daughter Jane Lewallen, being told the story of how they had arrived in Arkansas after leaving the Trail of Tears, and that Hannah's husband left for the Cailfornia Gold Rush and was never heard of again.

As to the question of the $3,000 in gold, this very well could have been $3,000 in cash made from the Gold Rush and that is what ultimately caused his drowning death in the Platte River!   That makes sense - that he was killed/drowned and his money stolen!
As for the names Motley & Lewallen, it is known that many Native Americans escaped or left the Trail of Tears and took white men's names.   It is also known that these Native Americans hid out as 'whites' and lived among the 'whites' with white man's names.
Also remember that our government insisted that these people be forced to take 'white man's ' given names by the U. S. Military and others!
This is a known fact.

John Mitchell writes on page 27:
'It seems probble that the Lewallen family was part of the forced migration of the Cherokees from Tennessee to the Indian Territory of Oklahoma in the 1830's and 1840's.   On that migration many of the weary travelers left the march and took refuge with Indian families living in Arkansas and Missouri.   According to one legend Jane Lewallen's family was one that remained in Missouri rather than continue the journey to Oklahoma.   This story relates how Jane's father, who was a Cherokee chief, left his family behind while he accompanied the tribe to Indian Territory.'

Remember that Hannah was located on a census in Arkansas then later in Missouri!

John Mitchell continues to write:
'Whatever the true story of Jane Lewallen, the following are facts which can be substantiated by official records.
Jane Lewallen was born in Tennessee in 1835, and in the 1850 census of Taney County, Missouri, she is listed in the house of her mother, Hannah.   Her father is not listed in this census, or in any other that we know of.   He seems to have disappeared about 1848, and even family descendants of today can give no clear account of what happened to him.   Hannah, while listed as white, could have been at least part Cherokee.   The resemblance of her children and grandchildren to Indian physical features is too much in evidence to dismiss the possibility of Indian ancestry.'

Billie Harris - May 31, 2010

That was interesting reading.   Thanks for posting it.   Do you think if   John and his son were carrying $3,000 in gold, they might have had it on themselves and perhaps with the weight, were drowned in the river?   Just a thought.

Do you have information on the Motleys?   Maybe since many families and neighbors travelled from place to place together, the Lewallens and the Motleys might have gone with each other and we can find more out about who the John Lewallen was that married Hannah Motley that way.

Lu Dawn Ross - Jun 2, 2010

Thank you Billie,   we will do just that.   Thank you for all your observations!   Lu Dawn

Lu Dawn Ross - Jun 5, 2010

Have since found that Lewallen and his son Bill died after complications of Cholera, in a typed   copy of Wesley's history:   'However, it is known that Sarah's father and her oldest brother, Bill and a neighbor went to the gold rush.   A few months later, the neighbor returned and told the family that theyhad both contracted Cholera.   Yhey had recovered and went swimming in the river (maybe the Platte).   Yhey were still very weak and drowned.   Hannah always thought they might have been killed for the $3,000 they had taken with them.'
Lu Dawn

Billie Harris - Jun 6, 2010

In re-reading the above, I can see why they would question him carrying $3,000 in gold when he was on his way to the gold country and not returning from it.   Although gold was discovered   January,1848, the "rush" didn't begin until 1849 but it makes a person wonder where he acquired $3,000 to take with him and why he would even go if he had that much money.

Here's informaton on the Platte River (a tributary of the Missouri River) and where it's located:

In looking at the 1860 census record for Hannah, it looks like the oldest son in that census was born 1840 in Tennessee.   They must have lived in Arkansas a short period of time afterwards, maybe 2-3 years and then by 1845 they lived in Missouri.   Noting that the oldest son, Bill, died with his father, I looked at the 1840 census for Tennessee and do see a William in Wayne County with 5 children under age 20 and two individuals over age 20 which would, of course, have been the husband and wife.   It makes me wonder if Bill, the son who drowned, might have been named after his father.   Just a thought