IT WAS DURING my long and grueling search for answers that I encountered the Cherokee Vanns. This was a Gates County family that may or may have not been the progenitors of the very influential family of Cherokees by the same name. Some at least think so, and trace a trio of families — Vann, Barnes, and Odom — back to an alleged Cherokee pedigree.
I say alleged because the stories and names are too good and precise for Seventeenth Century records. Am I to believe truly that the name of April Tikami Hop Cornstalk, the wife of Richard Barnes of Chowan County, and that she was actually born in a Cherokee town in Tennessee? And yet most of these families lived in the vicinity of the old Meherrin Reservation in what is now Hertford County.
I have little doubt that I have Vann and Barnes in my family tree and am almost certain that I have Odom in it. In 1815, Jacob and William Vann sold part of the grandfather William Vann’s estate to Jonathan Williams, a presumed relative, who was either my direct ancestor (father of Mildred Williams Arline) or her brother. It could be that Mary Williams, wife of Jonathan Williams, was the sister of William and Jacob Vann.
Either way, it shows Native links on either side of that family, not just through the Collinses, but via the Williamses and associated families as well.