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Esther Thompson (Black)

Also Known As: "Gantanaga"
Birthplace: Little Broad River, Lincoln, North Carolina, USA
Death: May 23, 1835 (66)
Soco Creek, North Carolina, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Thomas Black and Elizabeth Cox
Wife of Nathaniel Byers "Dutch" Thompson
Mother of Esther Elizabeth Sawyer; Lorenzo Dow Thompson; Thomas Thompson and Jane Thompson
Sister of Rachel Cobb; Ephraim Black, Sr.; Joseph Black; Samuel Black and Martha Black

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Esther Thompson



“Many descendants claim that Elizabeth, the wife of Thomas Black, was either full-blood, half, or quarter Cherokee; however, three mitochondrial DNA tests for descendants from three different daughters of Esther Blacks, show that Esther (and thus her mother Elizabeth)'s mtDNA haplogroup is "H" which is a European haplogroup, not a Native American haplogroup. Therefore, Elizabeth cannot be full-blood Cherokee, and if she was Cherokee at all, it had to come from either her father, or mother's father's side of the family. The mtDNA tests prove that Esther's mitochondrial ancestor was European, not Cherokee. — Tom Kryssbek (2017). All records located thus far about Elizabeth do not provide her family name (it was not Ramsey!), and only call her by the name Elizabeth (never Esther).”

Marie A. Anthony to Thomas W. Johnson, 30 May 1991: "The tradition as stated by one of the Chambers was that Esther Black was a full blooded Cherokee. And one of the Anthonys told us a couple of years ago that when the Cherokees were rounded up to be sent to Oklahoma that Esther was spared because they convinced the authorities that she was 'Black Dutch.' " During a telephone conversation on 8 June 1991, Marie A. Anthony said that she did not know who had said that Esther was Black Dutch or which of the Chambers said that Ester was a full-blood Cherokee.

During a telephone conversation between Lamon Chambers and Thomas W. Johnson on 1 November 1991, he said that when Esther Black died, the people in the Metho- dist congregation would not allow her to be buried in the church cemetery because she was a heathen. Instead she was buried under an oak tree on John McClure's place. The location of the grave has been lost.

Eastern Cherokee Applications of the U.S. Court of Claims, 1906-1909, no. 2005 (Thomas Patton Sawyer), FHL 0378336. Thomas gives Hester Black's Indian name as (Y/G)antanaga. In an deposition made by Noah J. Howard on 11 Oct 1906, he states: " . . .That Esther Thompson Sawyer mother of Thomas Patton Sawyer was known to be of the Cherokee Indian blood and that she Inherited the blood through her mother Hester Black who was considered to be a Cherokee Indian and affiant further states That the Thompson family is considered to be of the Cherokee Indian blood through all this county . . ." In a deposition made by by William Harvey Stillwell on 6 Oct 1906, he states: ". . . That he knew Thomas Patton Sawyer's mother [Esther Thompson Sawyer] claimed to be of the Cherokee Indian blood which came through the Blacks on her mother's side of the Generation and it was understood by the affiant that this generation of Blacks was of the Cherokee Indian blood. . . ." In an deposition made by Thomas Patton Sawyer on 22 July 1908, he states: ". . . I am 67 years of age; was born in Swain County, N.C. I claim Indian blood through my mother, Esther [Thompson]. She was the daughter of Hester Black, an Indian. My mother was born in Lincoln County. My grandmother, Hester Black, was born in the Eastern part of North Carolina. My mother died in Swain County. She lived with the white people. I never saw my grandmother. She died in Jackson County, N.C. My mother has often talked to me of my grandmother and always taught me that there is Indian blood in me. . . . My mother was never paid any Indian money. One of my mother's brothers, Nathan B. Thompson lived in Macon County. Another lived in Missis- sippi. My uncle was a recognized white man and a voter. He was a farmer and also a school teacher. I have always heard that Hester Black's father was nearly a full blood. I have heard of my Indian blood ever since I was a child. . . . My mother attended the white schools and I always did. I never heard my mother say if my grandmother went to school. I was never called Indian when I was small but it was generally understood that we were part Indian. . . . I have visited the old place where my grandmother lived before she died. She was buried in a cemetery for the White people, I suppose. . . ."

Eastern Cherokee Applications of the U.S. Court of Claims, 1906-1909, no. 2021 (James Lovel Sawyer), FHL 0378336. James Lovel Sawyer listed Hester Thompson's Indian name as (Y/G)antanaga.

Eastern Cherokee Applications of the U.S. Court of Claims, 1906-1909, no. 5466 (Ruth Melvina Sawyer Chambers), FHL 0378403. In a deposition made by Nancy E. Sawyer (Nancy E. Medlin, wife of John Love Sawyer) dated 28 Nov 1906, she states: ". . . that she has known the family of Sawyers for sixty years and that Hester Black daughter of Thomas Black was of Cherokee Indian descent and that the Sawyers are descendants of Hester Black. . . ."

Eastern Cherokee Applications of the U.S. Court of Claims, 1906-1909, no. 29581 (Vira Crisp Mashburn), FHL 0378511: ". . . My father was not a full blood but his great grandmother [Hester Black's mother?] was said to be a full blood Cherokee. I first heard that I had Indian blood when I was small. My father told me. He did not live with the Indians nor talk the Indian language. . . ."

Eastern Cherokee Applications of the U.S. Court of Claims, 1906-1909, no. 36940 (Joel Harvey Crisp), FHL 0378547. Joel Harvey Crisp's application contains a deposition made by Nancy Sawyer (Nancy E. Medlin, wife of John Love Sawyer) on 21 August 1907 in which she claims that she knew Hester Black and that Hester was a "half Bluded Indian." Another deposition made by Louis Medlin on the same date states that it was always reported to him that "Hester Black Had indian Blud in her."

NOTE: Nathan Thompson was also sealed to Esther Black 3 Dec 1980 SLAKE.

From Betty Mintz database:

Hester Gantanaga was a Cherokee. None of Hester's descendants were able to prove their Cherokee blood during the 1907 Dawes Commission applications for membership into the Eastern Bank of Cherokees. Hester's father, Rev. Thompson, a Methodist preacher, was born in 1762 in New Jersey and moved into Lincoln Co., N.C. where in 1785 he wed Ester Gantanaga Black, d/of Thomas Black. In 1790 Nathan was in Rutherford Co., N.C. but moved into the Carolina Smokies before 1800, settling somewhere in what would soon become Haywood Co., probably in the Soco Creek Section. In 1809 Nathan was appointed Coroner of the new county. A family story says that Hester, Nathan's wife, explained her dark skin to the Federal authorities by saying she was Black Dutch, an ancestral origin many of the early settlers claimed, and thus escaped being forced to join the sad march to Oklahoma in 1839. When Hester died, according to Lamon Chambers, the people of the community would not allow her to be buried in the local cemetery for they felt she was a 'pagan', so she was buried outside the cemetery's boundary under an oak tree and eventually her grave's site was lost. Since she adamantly denied to the Federal authorities, that she was Cherokee, her name never appeared on any of the Cherokee rolls, thus making it impossible for her descendants to prove their Indian blood.

There is speculation that Ester (hester) was full blood Cherokee. During the Trail of Tears, Ester was spared convincing the authorities she was Black Dutch.

Information found here :


  • "North Carolina Marriages, 1759-1979," database, FamilySearch ( : 10 February 2018), Nathan Thompson and Esther Black, 19 Aug 1785; citing Lincoln,North Carolina, reference ; FHL microfilm 6,330,323.
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Esther Thompson's Timeline

January 17, 1769
Little Broad River, Lincoln, North Carolina, USA
North Carolina
April 24, 1797
Rutherford Co.,NC
Henderson,Vance,North Carolina,USA
June 25, 1806
North Carolina, United States
May 23, 1835
Age 66
North Carolina, United States