The story I have for you today is not officially documented, mainly because the old courthouse in Marble Hill MO burned down many years ago and all records were lost. The information I have received is word of mouth, but trusted as true by the folks in Marble Hill who helped me with my research.
I traveled to Marble Hill MO on September 12, 2005 to the Bollinger County archives. I met Wanda Rhodes and also Mike Farmer, both extremely helpful.
Wanda Rhodes has done some research on the CHEEKS in the past and she was able to give me some “family stories” regarding Randolph Cheek. (I believe him to be my great, great, great grandfather but have no documentation to prove it)
Randolph Cheek was a full-blooded Cherokee who was born in North Carolina. He came to Missouri (not with the Trail of Tears). He was there long before the Trail of Tears. The Trail of Tears time-line is from 1838-1839. Randolph Cheek had children that were born in Bollinger County long before that. The first is listed in 1814 – born in Cape Girardeau County. That was before Bollinger County was made a county. At that time it was a part of Cape Girardeau County until 1850. Randolph’s first child, Patience, was born in 1811 in North or South Carolina.(There is some question about the state line between NC & SC in the early days. So there is sometimes confusion about whether someone was from NC or SC)
In 1813 there was a child named James H. Cheek born in Kentucky. So they are moving at that time. (James H. Cheek died in Bollinger Co in 1905)
Then John Cheek was born in 1814 in Cape Girardeau County. So they may have been in Bollinger Co at that time.
In 1850, John Cheek is listed in the census of Bollinger Co.
I am told by the people in Marble Hill that my ancestor, Jesse Cheek (Sarah Cheek Yow’s father), was definitely Randolph Cheek’s son. He was born either 1818 or 1827 in Cape Girardeau Co. He died some time after 1880. The 1880 Census is the last census he shows up on. That census was for Jack Co Texas. I don’t know when he went to Texas or if he went anywhere else in between.
I do have documentation that my great-grandmother Sarah Elizabeth Cheek (Yow) was born in Marble Hill, MO.
This is the family story which Wanda Rhodes told me:
“When Randolph Cheek was very, very old (over 100) he had a grandson in Bollinger Co who was accused of setting fire to some barns in the area. It turned out the story originated from one of the Coles’ boys. The Coles boy said he saw “that Indian kid” setting fire to the barn. When word reached Randolph about it, he took his grandson and set off on foot to flee the area (even thought he was at least 100 yrs old)
Randolph’s family never heard from him again.
After Randolph and his grandson fled on foot, another witness stepped forward and said that she had seen the Coles boy setting the barn on fire. This woman was a credible person in the community. So Randolph’s grandson was cleared of the accusation.
However, by that time, Randolph and his grandson had already fled and no one was able to find them. Communication being as it was back then, the family had no way to contact them to let them know it was safe to come back. The family searched for them but were unable to find them.
The grandson is shown by the records as having made it to Oklahoma to the Indian Territory (now referred to as the reservation). But there is no record of Randolph being there. So it is unknown whether he made it to the reservation and died there or whether he died somewhere along the way.”
I admire the man Randolph Cheek for protecting his grandson, even in his old age. I hope he was my GGG grandfather and I think he most likely was.
Many thanks to the gracious people in Marble Hill MO who took their time to help me in my research, even sending me maps of the location of the land that Randolph Cheek and his children owned in Bollinger County.