Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Otary Collins

I first became aware of Otary Collins, from a document I inherited from family records. Otary Collins is my double third Great Granduncle.

I have an interest in Otary Collins as his wife Frances Collins nee Nichols, had to testify at a hearing when my 2nd Great Grandmother, Mary Collins nee Caudill applied for a Civil War pension for her and her children.

Mary's husband, Hiram Collins (my 2nd Great Grandfather) died of Typhoid fever while serving in the14th Regiment Kentucky Volunteer Infantry (Union), during the Civil War.

Frances had been midwife to Hiram and Mary's children, thus her testimony was needed as Kentucky didn't have Birth Certificates until 1910. My Great Grandfather Andrew B. Collins was one of those children.

Otary Collins was the youngest son of my 4th Great Grandfather Valentine Collins. The youngest brother to my David and Joshua Collins. He was born in 1816 (KY or TN ?), he married Frances Nichols Oct 29,1835 in Morgan Co, KY, he died in Magoffin Co., KY abt 1886.

Otary is not a common name, his name is shown with the following spellings on the US Census of Johnson County , Kentucky:

1850 Otary,1860 Otrey,1870 Otery,1880 Oatrey

I did some research on this uncommon given name and found 2 possibilities, each one from the Iroquoian language group, one Cherokee, the other Tuscarora.

Cherokee:  Ottaray [OTT-a-RAY] (o-ta-ri): Mountain, in an extinct dialect.

FROM THE TUSCARORA..... Ottaray--the over hills.

The word Ottaray, which signifies a mountain region, was written in the sixteenth century by the old Spanish explorers Qttari and John Adair in 1775 wrote it Ottare. At present it would be Ottara, Ottalay, as modern Indians in the Piedmont sound "R" where those in the Altamont use "L," and both have changed the ending to the sound of broad a.

These are two probable sources for the name Otary, I'm still not 100% positive of that theory. 

Dr. Richard Carlson mentions Otary and Francis Collins in his Dissertation , "Who's Your People"..

On page 286 he states " Not having land of their own, Otery and Franky apparently lived on David's (Collins) land as probably many other Indians did from time to time"   That's backed up by census records. 

From page 304:  "In that 1880 instance the old Saponi Otary Collins was one of the over 30 "poor persons" (the rest of whom were white) kept by overseer Rich McGuire that year. Why the old Indian would die there (paupers farm) and not among his people at Big Lick or Jennies Creek in unknown"

" But this is again reveling of the local Indian families' ongoing successful attempts to strategically accommodate to potentially difficult times, in that none of the court records show any other Indians as being classified as 'paupers' from the time Otary Collins died at the Poor Farm in 1881 until 1886"

That's all I know about Uncle Otra, wish I knew more. Sure is a sad note he died on the 'Poor Farm'.

That's my 2 cents.....

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