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Thomas "Cherokee Tom" Mantooth, Sr.

Also Known As: "Cherokee Tom", "Cherokee /Tom/"
Birthdate: (72)
Birthplace: King George, Virginia, United States
Death: circa 1834 (64-80)
Sweetwater Community, Cocke County, Tennessee
Immediate Family:

Son of John Mantooth / Monteith and Cherokee Mildred
Husband of Elizabeth Phariss
Father of Thomas Mantooth, II; Mary Mantooth; John Thomas Mantooth, Sr.; Robert Mantooth; Letty Virginia Virginia Hall and 5 others
Brother of Elizabeth Mantooth / Monteith

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Cherokee Tom



by Raymond Estep (1990)

Revised by Brenda Schwall (November 1997)




As every genealogist and family historian soon learns, many family surnames underwent many changes in Colonial America. One of the surnames that suffered through misspellings was that of Montieth--some 20 variant forms of which are found in pre-Revolutionary tax and militia records in Pennsylvania.

To Mantooth genealogists of recent generations one of the two great challenges confronting them has been that of identifying the Scottish ancestor who converted the original spelling of Monteith to Mantooth and thus created a niche in history for himself as the pater familias of a long and unbroken line of hundreds (perhaps thousands) of descendants throughout the United States who proudly bear the Mantooth name.



Numerous family members representing descendants of his several sons and daughters have failed over recent decades to identify the founding father. The tracing of early Mantooth history has been made extremely difficult by the almost total lack of official records--Federal census returns for many East Tennessee counties (including Cocke) prior to 1830 do not exist, and Cocke County court records were destroyed when the Courthouse in Newport burned in 1876. The task is further complicated by the fact that Federal census returns prior to 1850 list only the given names of the heads of households--other family members are identified only by sex within five-or 10-year age groups.



No authentic evidence has been found that identifies the creator of the Mantooth name. Family legend indicates that it was coined by a Montieth who married a Cherokee, an act violently condemned by his brother. Embittered by this reaction to his marriage, the groom severed relations with the brother and changed his name to Mantooth3. Whether the family legend is accurate or not, the writer (after searching hundreds of records during more than 15 years) is inclined to believe it is true.



Another major problem confronting family historians is that of identifying the Cherokee married by the original Mantooth. That there was a Cherokee ancestor seems certain, a fact attested to by descendants of numerous branches of early Mantooth families4, but, until now (1992), not one of them has discovered evidence that reveals her name, and no one seems to know whether she was a full-blood or a mixed blood. The problem is further complicated by the fact that Mantooths chose not to live on a reservation. A review by the writer of all Cherokee censuses from the 1820's to the early 1900's has failed to reveal a single Mantooth on the Cherokee rolls-he has found only three letters in the official records pertaining to the Cherokees in which a Mantooth recorded a claim to being of Cherokee descent5.



The question that has confounded Mantooth family members for years--did a Monteith marry a Cherokee and subsequently change his name to Mantooth--was brought one step nearer final solution in 1992 by Brenda Schwall with her discovery of marriage and tax records in Shenandoah County, VA, that gave credence to the previously mentioned recollections as to the origin of the family (see notes 3-4). Although this evidence does not identify the Monteith-Mantooth or his wife, it does identify a product of that marriage--Thomas Mantooth, the person known to his descendants as Cherokee Tom (see p. 5), who, almost certainly, was the first Mantooth to settle in Cocke County, TN. The author believes that he was the Thomas Mantuths who married Elizabeth Pharris, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth Phariss, in Shenandoah County on September 3, 1785, bondsman, Samuel and Elizabeth Phariss6, and that he was the same person registered in the 1787 tax list in that county as Thomas Mantooth (which may be the first recorded use of the Mantooth name).7 The author also believes that he was the same Thomas Mantooth, who, by letter, on January 7, 1792, joined the Big Pigeon Primitive Baptist Church in Cocke County, TN.8 Evidence strongly supporting the author's belief is afforded by the close association of Thomas Mantooth in Virginia and Tennessee with the Phares (Faris, now Pharris) and Leith (Leath and Leeth) families, families which migrated from Shenandoah County, VA, to eastern Tennessee in the same period. Samuel Phariss' Bible lists a daughter Elizabeth, born 9 September 17649. Over the next four decades the Mantooth name was recorded several times in preserved written records of eastern Tennessee. Among these are: 1) Jefferson County Court Records, November 1793, deed from John Baldridge to Thomas Mantooth;10 2) The citation in church records in 1803 of Thomas Mantooth for some unnamed transgression;11 3) the deeds recording the purchase (in 1824) and the sale (in 1831) by John Mantooth of land in adjoining Greene County, TN;12 4) an entry recording the reception of John Mantooth "by experience" in the Big Pigeon Baptist Church in 1829;13 5) the reception into the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church of Cocke County between 1836 and 1860 of Eliza, Evaline, Lydia, Mary, Polly and Rosaman Mantooth.14



In the Cherokee applications of 1906 two of the great-granddaughters were turned down for failure to prove the Cherokee Indian ancestor. In their applications were affidavits from a Robert Mantooth (probably a grandson) and James Wilson Ford, a grand-son-in-law. These gentlemen both said that all of the neighbors called Thomas Mantooth (Sr.) "Cherokee Tom" and that "from his looks and color and his general deportment he was half Indian blood." Another spelling for the name was given as "Mantuff."15

This is undoubtedly the Thomas Mantuths/Mantooth from Virginia who married Elizabeth Pharris in 1785, and who joined the church in 1792 and bought land in 1793. He is the 60-70 year old listed in the 1830 census. If he was about the same age as his wife who was the 86-year-old Elizabeth Mantooth in the 1850 census, he was probably born in the early 1760's.

The children of Cherokee Tom and Elizabeth (Phariss) Mantooth may have been:

1. Mary Mantooth, c. 1788, VA, married Joseph Burke in 181116

2. John Mantooth, c. 1789, VA, m 1) Elizabeth Burke, 2) Mgt17

3. Thomas Mantooth, Jr., 1790-1800, married Letitia Dillon18

4. Robert (?)Mantooth, 1790-1800, (30-40 in 1830 Rhea County)19

5. Letty Virginia, c. 1796, married Billie Hall (earlier had a daughter, Nancy Mantooth, by John Lillard 20

6. Elizabeth Mantooth, c. 1796, married Benjamin Frazier21

7. Samuel Mantooth, c. 1799, married Litha Phariss22

8. William Mantooth, c. 1803 married Nancy23

9. James Mantooth, c. 1807 married Mary24



The 1830 Tennessee Census 24

The 1830 Federal Census returns reveal the residence of five Mantooth Families in Cocke County. Identification of spouses and children is based on the 1850 census and court records. These were: 1.Cherokee Tom and Elizabeth (Phariss) Mantooth, each between 60 and 70 years of age along with 2 males 5-10, 1 male 10-15, 1 female 5-10, 1 female 10-15 and 1 female 20-30. The identities of the younger members are unknown.

2. John and Betsy (Burke) Mantooth, the John age 61 in 1850, born in Virginia, each between 40 and 50 along with 1 male under 5, 1 male 5-10, 2 males 20-30 and 2 females 15-20.

3. Thomas Jr. and Letitia (Dillon) Mantooth, 30-40 with 1 male under 5 (Robert?), 1 male 5-10 (Hugh), 2 males 15-20, (James and William), 1 female under 5 (Loisa?), 2 females 15-20 (Elvira and Margaret? Daughter Elizabeth is either married or Loisa is not yet born.)

4. William, 20-30 and wife Nancy (Lee) 15-20, with one female under 5 (Harriet born 1829-30).

5. James, 20-30 and wife (Mary), 15-20 and one male under 5 (William born 1830).

In Rhea County was Samuel Manitheth (Mantooth), 30-40 and wife, Litha (Phariss-Faris) 20-30. Also therein, some 15 households from Samuel, was a Robert Manteith (Mantooth?) and wife, ea. 30-40.

The 1839 Cocke County Tax List 25

In the 1839 Tax List eight Mantooths were recorded living in the 8th District of Cocke County. Among these were a James, with 137 acres of land, two others named James, and a William. It also includes Elizabeth (Phariss) Mantooth, widow of Cherokee Tom as the owner of 200 acres of land. She is shown in the 1850 census as being a native of Virginia and at that time 86 years of age. Also listed was Letty (Letitia Dillon) Mantooth, widow of Thomas Jr., with 130 acres of land. Also in the 8th district was John Mantooth, whose 344 acres made him the largest landowner among the Mantooths. In the 9th District resided another John Mantooth, Jr. (probably the John Mantooth who was born about 181226, and who moved to Polk County, TN, about 184027 and to Franklin County, AR, between 1857 and 1860).28

The 1840 Tennessee Census29

By 1840 the number of Mantooth families in Cocke County totaled eight (one at least had moved since 1839). These were: John and wife, each 50-60; Thomas and wife (30-40); James, 30-40 and wife, 20-30; William, 30-40, wife, 20-30; William and wife, 20-3030 ; Samuel and wife, 20-30; John and wife, 20-30; and James and wife, 20-30 (with whom was living a female, 70-80, who was probably Elizabeth, the widow of Cherokee Tom and the grandmother of James.)

The 1850 Tennessee Census31

By 1850 the number of Mantooth families had increased to 13 in Cocke County and five in Polk County, TN. Beginning with this census it is possible for present-day researchers to gain a clearer picture of the ancestors from whom they descend. Also, it is possible to make reasonable assumptions as to the identity of children, otherwise unidentifiable in the 1830 and 1840 censuses, and thus to trace an ancestor back one or two generations before 1850. The existence of a William, age 30-40, and another William, age 20-30, in the 1840 census, indicated that they may have been uncle and nephew, or cousins. John Mantooth, age 61, born in Virginia has to be the oldest son of Cherokee Tom and Elizabeth (Phariss) Mantooth. Oral tradition gives his first wife as Elizabeth (Betsy) Burke and his eldest child as Lydia born 28 August 1807.32 There are 5 males in the 1830 census. Since the John Mantooth, who moved from Polk County to Arkansas before 1860, stated in his Union Army military records that he was born in Cocke County about 1812,33 he could have been the second or third child of this John, born about 1789. There is some evidence to indicate that among this younger John's brothers were Lawson, c. 1827 (23 in 1850), who married Mahala Montgomery,34 and Robert Mantooth who married Harriet Bush.35

ID: I587918306

Name: Thomas "Cherokee Tom", Sr. MANTOOTH

Given Name: Thomas "Cherokee Tom", Sr.

Surname: Mantooth

Sex: M

Birth: 1760

Death: Bet. 1835 - 1836

Religion: Dec 1792 Joined the Big Pigeon Baptist Church in what is now Cocke County, Tennessee by letter

Event: Property 9 Nov 1793 Jefferson County, Tennessee deed was proven and recorded from John Baldridge to Thomas Mantooth. Cherokee Tom paid 100 L for 250 a. n the north east side of Big Pigeon River.

Emigration: Bet. 1789 - 1792 from Virginia to Tennessee, possibly came with Samuel Phariss by June 1790.

Emigration: believe his parents or grandparents may be under the name "Monteith". because of a Scottish man who came over from Scotland & married a Cherokee woman & the name changed. Check records for Lake Monte

Event: Nationality Cherokee Indian


The nickname "Cherokee Tom" came from the 1907 "Indian Application" of

two of the great-grandchildren and will be used to indicate Thomas

Mantooth, Sr. It was stated that this was Thomas Mantooth's nickname in

the neighborhood where he lived.

The earliest proven documentation for our Mantooth branch of the family

is the marriage bond for Thomas "Cherokee Tom" and Elizabeth Phariss

Mantooth who were married under the name Montuth/Mantuth in Shenandoah

County, Virginia in 1785. (bond dated Sept. 3, 1785, bondsman: Samuel


Thomas Mantooth appeared in the 1787 Shenandoah County Virginia Tax List

owning 2 horses & 2 cattle.

Thomas Mantooth joined the Big Pigeon Baptist Church in what is now Cocke

County, Tennessee in December 1792 by letter.

"Cherokee Tom" (Thomas Mantooth) appeared in the Jefferson County,

Tennessee, Court Minutes 1792-1795 by Douthat on November 9, 1793, when a

deed was proven & recorded from John Baldridge to Thomas Mantooth.

Cherokee Tom paid 100 L for 250 a. on the north east side of Big Pigeon

River. The only adjoining lawn owner mentioned was a Moses McCoy/McKay.

Thomas Mantooth & Ebenezer Leith were securities for Samuel Phares

(Phariss) who was appointed guardian of the heirs of John Cheers, dec.

(p.234 of original, date unknown.)

Thomas Mantooth & Samuel Phares (Phariss) were both on a list of jurors

in the State vs. Jacob Beem, Augusta McKinney, Rollin McKinney, and

Daniel Beck. Assault and bettary on Mary Buchkner (p.235, date unknown).

Father: John MENTEITH b: in Glasgow Scotland - There is a church in Glasgow with a Menteith tomb. It is called Glasgow Necropolis on Castle Street, Cathedral Square.

Marriage 1 Elizabeth PHARISS

Married: 3 Sep 1785 in under the name Montuth/Mantuth in Shenandoah County, Virginia


Mary MANTOOTH b: 1788 in Virginia
John MANTOOTH b: 1789 in Virginia
Margaret MANTOOTH b: 1786 in Eldest child according to the Lee descendants
Thomas, Jr. MANTOOTH b: 1790

Marriage 2 Elizabeth PHARISS b: 9 Oct 1764

Married: 3 Sep 1785 in under the name Montuth/Mantuth in Shenandoah County, Virginia


Margaret MANTOOTH b: 1786 in Eldest child according to the Lee descendants
Mary MANTOOTH b: 1788 in Virginia
John MANTOOTH b: 1789 in Virginia
Thomas, Jr. MANTOOTH b: 1790
Robert MANTOOTH b: Bet. 1790 - 1800
Letty Virginia MANTOOTH b: 1796
Elizabeth MANTOOTH b: Bet. 1796 - 1797 in Virginia
Samuel MANTOOTH b: 1799
William MANTOOTH b: 1803 in Cocke County, TN
James MANTOOTH b: 1807

view all 13

Cherokee Tom's Timeline

King George, Virginia, United States
Age 24
January 1, 1787
Age 25
Cocke County, Tennessee, United States
Age 26
Shenandoah Co., VA
Age 27
Shenandoah, Virginia
Age 28
North Carolina (?)
Age 34
Cocke County, Tennessee
Age 34
Cocke County, Tennessee, United States
Age 37
Cocke County, Tennessee