Thomas Bailey Christian

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Thomas Bailey Christian

Birthplace: Ohio river watershed, unknown, United States
Death: Died in Bandy, VA, USA
Place of Burial: Sinking Waters, Tazewell, VA, USA
Immediate Family:

Biological son of Thomas Bailey Christian's father and Thomas Bailey Christian's mother
Adopted son of Thomas Mastin and Agnes Mastin
Husband of Louisa Katherine Christian and Mary Caroline Polly Christian
Father of Mastin Harman Skootekitehi "Fireheart" Christian, Sr.; Moses Christian; David Te-beth-ki Christian; John Christian; Ruth Harman and 11 others
Brother of Rachel Whitt and Hezezekiah Whitt (Low Hawk)

Managed by: James Garland Winningham, Jr.
Last Updated:

About Thomas Bailey Christian

There is no confirmation of Thomas Bailey Christian's parentage. The assertion that he is the son of "a Cornstalk", meaning any one of the chiefs of the Shawnee, is unsubstantiated. Please do not merge or attach this profile to any father or mother without documentation.= (theories about parentage do not stand the test of fact or match any written records)

"When Chief Cornstalk and his son, Elinipsico, were murdered (1777), Thomas Mastin, and his wife Agnes, took in orphans, who have been given various names : Kumshaka (renamed Thomas Bailey Christian), Low Hawk (renamed Hezekiah N. Whitt), Outhowwa Shokka Cornstalk, and Mountain Raven (renamed Sarah Mastin). Kumskaka (aka Kumshaka) was supposedly later placed with the Christian Family who changed Kumskaka's name to Thomas Christian." The source of the middle name "Bailey" is unknown. But it seems that the name "Kumshaka" was given to him by later genealogists. There is no record of Thomas or his contemporaries ever referring to him by this name.

(as the preceding is under factual dispute(s). GENi curators are currently at work to resolve the truth of this account and will continue to update this profile as soon as hopefully solid determinations have been made) (March-April 2013) (& April 2015)

Essential to the controversy: • His parents:... Are they (white) Nathanial Christian & (Ewing)? ... or (predominantly Shawnee) Elinipsico and Standing Deer Bailey... or (Shawnee/Cherokee/white) that is, is Thomas Bailey Christian the historical "Kumshaka", brother of Tecumseh? Standing Deer Bailey seems to be a fictitious person. Then there is the possibility the the answer may be: unknown/none of these scenarios.

Many people, living today (2013) have weighed in on this topic. Chief Don Greene, Noel Schutz, Red Hawk, and descendants. There are blogs that discuss this topic at length.

DNA tests by some descendants suggest a Isle of Wight/ European background for Thomas Bailey Christian w/o native American markers.However, many of the Shawnee/Cherokee possible descendants have "white" blood lines in them too... This complicates hard and fast designation of Christian being either Native American or immigrant European.

• There is no birth record for Thomas Bailey Christian.

  • consider this reference for it details the origins of the real Kumshaka.

From: Shawnee Heritage I Written by Don Greene and Noel Schutz 2008 ISBN 978-1-4357-1573-8 2nd Edition page 148

“ Kumshaka aka Kumshaka Puckinshinwa-Kunshauskau- Cat Flying In Air – ¾ Kishpoko-Pekowi-Creek-Metis born 1770 OH-died before 1824 (Canada) 5th son of Puckenshiwa (born 1735) & Metheotashe Opessa (born 1740) (timeline) • a Kishpoko warrior raiding the Ohio River Valley (1788-1792) • Blue Jacket War (1787-1794) • raiding Ohio. Kentucky, Virginia, Tennesees: (1795-1810) • Brownstown (1812) • Mongaugon (1812) • Amherstburg (1812) • Frenchtown (1813) • Ft Meigs (1813) • 2nd Anherstburg (1813) • Thames (1813) with Tecumseh (his brother) Moved to Canada in 1815; died before band returned to Ohio (1825) Husband (c. 1790) of Kishpoko Woman (born 1774); children unknown”

(~• ed note: It is easy to discern that the above cannot be the same person as Thomas Bailey Christian, the adopted child)

(ed. Note: abbreviations in text expanded for clarity) parentheses are my own = MvB (the word " Metis " is of French origin meaning mixed blood... In other words: the real, historical, Kumshaka was ( according to Greene and Schutz) 1/2 Shawnee, 1/4 Creek, and 1/4 mixed)

Also see:

  • The Thomas Mastin letters state that the orphans came to be

with him after the Cornstalk murders (Thomas' father and grandfather)

  • Holston Past Finder, Issues 36-47 Holston Territory Geneological Society.


It says: Sources 1.↑ First Census of the United States 1790 - Virginia p.100 2.↑ A History of Halifax County Virginia, Wirt Johnson Carrington. p24 - Name given as Thomas Masten the Magistrate 3.↑ Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly Vol31, #4, p57 - Thomas Mustain, 400 acs Lunenburg Co. on both sides of Boplar Br, a Mill Cr,. adj Hugh Henry; 5 Feb 1753, p 42. 40 Shill. 4.↑ Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly Vol 23, #1, 9 - Thomas and sons Avery and Jesse Mustain recorded as swearing Oath of Allegiance. 5.↑ Holston past finder, Issues 36-47 Holston Territory Genealogical Society - Archive repository for Mastin letters. Statements by Thomas Mastin/Mustain pertaining to the orphans he took in, left by the Cornstalks who were killed at the fort in 1777. "Thomas Mastin's papers for the orphans are found in Tennessee. (It states he raised 4 orphans) There is also one from Hezekiah Whitt in Virginia for the recognition of Thomas Christian as a Cornstalk orphan. Following the murder of Chief Cornstalk October 9, 1777, at Fort Randolph, Point Pleasant, VA. now WV. A white-man friend, Thomas Mastin and his Indian wife, Agnes adopted 4 of his children. Cornstalk lived on the Saludy River. 6.↑ Holston Territory Genealogical Society - 1991Annual - Thomas MASTIN took our Thomas CHRISTIAN, Sr. under his wing when our Thomas was orphaned.”

  • for a cursory look at Shawnee culture see:

  • for the Hezekiah Whitt affadavit see:

In sum: It all does not add up. It doesn't seem that the real Kumshaka was the son of Elinipsico (Crornstalk) and Standing Deer Bailey but the son of Puckenshinwa. There is an argument for Thomas Bailey Christian being the son of Elinipsico and a Chalakatha Woman. This probability will be expanded upon elsewhere in this profile (under supporting documents) This theory is based on the work of Don Greene and Noel Shutz (two books of Shawnee genealogy published in the last decade)

It is unknown as to what other names Thomas Christian called himself. I know of no self-reference as "Kumshaka" (!)

last updated by Mike van Beuren (MvB) 4/11/2013

Note: To follow research on Ellinipsico (Elinipsico) Cornstalk (the man who some have too quickly (and w/o documentation) concluded was the father of Thomas Bailey Christian), go to: the REAL Elinipisco tree

view all 21

Thomas Bailey Christian's Timeline

March 15, 1770
unknown, United States
Age 8
June 4, 1792
Age 22
Sinking Waters, Tazewell, VA, USA
May 13, 1795
Age 25
Tazewell, VA, USA
Age 28
Age 31
Sinking Waters, Tazewell, VA, USA
Age 33
Tazewell, Tazewell, VA, USA
Age 36
October 3, 1812
Age 42
Bandy, VA, USA
June 18, 1829
Age 59
Tazewell Co, VA