[Photograph Collection Connecting the Native American Family of Jane Ross Nave, Eldest Daughter of Chief John Ross, Cherokee Nation, and the Moravian Schneller Family of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania].
In 1838, the Cherokee Indians were forcibly relocated from the Southeastern United States along a “Trail of Tears” to a newly created Indian Territory in what is today Eastern Oklahoma. With them on that trail went Jane Ross Nave (1821–1894), the daughter of Cherokee Principal Chief John Ross (1790–1866). Jane settled in Indian Territory and there raised her children from two marriages.
Three photographs in this collection portray Jane Ross Nave and two of her children. The tintype portrait of Jane was made during a sojourn in Pennsylvania. A contemporary inscription on the back of the photo mount, possibly written by Jane herself, reads “Jane R. Nave, Park Hill, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory, April 22nd 1867.” Another tintype photograph, bearing the same date, is that of her 12-year-old daughter Henrietta Nave (1855–1921). A third image, a circa 1865 carte de visite, identifies another of Jane’s daughters, Elizabeth Grace Meigs (Ross), from her first marriage to Return Jonathan Meigs IV (1812–1850). This photograph of this young woman, taken in a Bethlehem, Pennsylvania studio, is annotated “Lizzie Meigs, Ceroque [sic] Nation.”
What are the connections here with Cherokees and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania? A Moravian Family named Schneller and the girl, later woman, who kept all the photographs in this collection—Annie Mary Schneller (1864–1941). Numerous photographs in the collection are inscribed to Annie Schneller including one of young Henrietta Nave, possibly in her own hand. The annotation on the back of Henrietta’s portrait sheds light on Jane Ross Nave’s sojourn in Pennsylvania. It reads in part: “Left town Apr. 19th 1867. Started for the Nation Apr. 22nd 1867.” This latter date is the same as that on Jane’s tintype inscription.
Jane Ross Nave was the eldest child of Chief John Ross and his wife Quatie (Elizabeth) Brown Ross (1791–1839). Chief of Cherokee Nation, John Ross served in this capacity for 38 years, until his death. Quatie Ross died in Arkansas on the Trail of Tears as the Cherokee party traveled to Indian Territory.
After Jane’s first husband Return J. Meigs IV died, she married Andrew Ross Nave (1822–1863). Andrew was killed in Park Hill, Indian Territory during the Civil War. After this Jane moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Bethlehem was a principal seat of the Moravian Church which had a long history of missionary activity among the Cherokees, dating back to before the Trail of Tears. The Moravians were associated with Park Hill, Indian Territory and also conducted a mission at New Westfield in “Kanzas,” Indian Territory.
Among the committeemen of the Moravian Society for Propagating the Gospel in 1867, during Jane’s family’s Pennsylvania sojourn, was Benjamin F. Schneller of Bethlehem. A carte de visite photograph of Benjamin F. Schneller, Annie’s father’s cousin, is included in the collection. (Further seen, a portrait group seen of five young Moravian women, wearing their close fitting caps and plain dresses, may depict students or possible missionaries.)
There are a number of identified or identifiable Schneller portraits in the collection: 5 cartes de visites of Annie Mary Schneller including a possible hand-tinted image of her holding a doll, 10 cartes de visites and one cabinet card of Annie’s younger brothers, George Graff Schneller (1868–?) and Frank Ezekiel Schneller (1876–?), the aforementioned portrait of Benjamin F. Schneller, and a photographic copy of a photograph of “Grandmother Schneller (Brown) wife of George C. Schneller—the mother and father of Sidney Schneller.”
Annie, George, and Frank were the children of Sidney Samuel Schneller (1822–1886) and Louisa Catherine Cole (1838–?). One of the photographs of Annie shows her sitting in the lap of a woman, likely her mother.
Other photographs in this collection of sixty-five images, suggest a possible genealogical connection with Chief John Ross and the Cherokees. In the 1840s, one Ellen Whitmore, a missionary teacher, traveled west to Indian Territory with John Ross. Two carte de visite portraits show Marcia Whitmore Floyd of Lebanon, New Hampshire and “Cousin Edwin P. Whitmore.” Were the Whitmores related to the Schnellers? Are these Whitmores connected to Ellen Whitmore? Elsewhere, three other New England photographs depict Susannah Thayer Brown, Albert Brown, and Sarah Floyd Brown. Are these Browns related to Jane Ross Nave’s mother Quatie Brown, the first wife of John Ross? Is Annie’s paternal grandmother, “Grandmother Schneller (Brown),” the immediate connection?
Description: [Photograph Collection Connecting the Native American Family of Jane Ross Nave, Eldest Daughter of Chief John Ross, Cherokee Nation, and the Moravian Schneller Family of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania].
[Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and other places in Pennsylvania and New England etc., 1865–1916]. 65 Photographs. Various formats: 41 Carte de visites; 5 Tintypes; 14 Cabinet Cards; 1 Real Photo Post Card; 4 “Miniature” Photographs. Many with manuscript identifications, dates, and annotations. Tintype of Jane Ross Nave with small facial scratch. Overall, very good.
Proceedings of the Ninety-first General Meeting and Eightieth Anniversary of the Society for Propagating the Gospel among the Heathen (Bethlehem, 1867).
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