Nail Choctaw Family – List of Mixed Bloods

[92]Another ubiquitous family, the Nails (see Chart 17), was intermarried into several full-blood and mixed-blood families. Cushman, while visiting the gravesites of some noted Choctaws in Indian Territory, discussed the Nail family:

“Close by that of Colonel David Folsom’s was the grave of Joel H. Nail, a brother-in-law to Colonel

Key to Chart

Probable = P,  Countryman = C,  Yes = Y,  Trader = T,
Married = md,  Mixed Blood = mb

Chart 17[92a]

[93]Folsom, and grandfather of Joel H. Nail, now living in Caddo, Indian Territory. He was another true and noble specimen of a Choctaw Christian man. A beautiful marble monument also marked his place of rest….

“The present Nail family of the Choctaws are the descendents of Henry Nail, a white man, who came among the Choctaws about the time Nathaniel Folsom, John Pitchlynn and Louis Le Fiore came; and as they did, so did he, marry among them, was adopted and thus became identified among that people. He rose to the position of chief and exerted, as did the three other above mentioned, a moral influence among that noble and appreciative people, with whom he had cast his lot. He had four sons — Joel, Robert, Morris and Joseph. Joel Nail had seven daughters -?Harriet, Delilah, Selina, Catherine, Isabelle, Melvina and Emma; and three sons — Jonathon (father of the present J. H. Nail), Adam and Edwin. Robert Nail had one son — the only chief — named Edwin, who was drowned in Blue River; and Jonathon had only one son, the present Joel H. Nail….” 1

Cushman also says that Henry, Adam and Edwin Nail were contemporaneous with John Pitchlynn, which gives rise to the possibility of an earlier individual named Adam other than the one Cushman names as the son of Joel. 2 But given the frequency with which the mixed bloods used the same first names, the existence of two Adam Nails is a very good possibility. Henry Nail had claimed a total thirteen children, twelve living and one dead, to the Reverend Kingsbury in the 1820s. 3 Joel Nail (son of Henry) was a cousin to Lewis Folsom, killed in an accident at a mill[94] while a a boy. 4 Catherine, who married Col. J. D. Harris, was the fourth daughter of Joel Nail. 5 Joel H. Nail was a brother-in-law to David Folsom. Cushman’s references to Robert Nail’s son Lewis Folsom as the cousin of Joel and the grandson of Nathaniel Folsom offer the intriguing possibility that either another Robert Nail (the brother of Henry Nail) existed or that a daughter of Nathaniel Folsom was both the aunt and sister-in-law to Joel H. Nail.

Considering the high amount of mixed-blood intermarriages, the latter situation is quite plausible. If this daughter of Nathaniel Folsom is Rhoda Folsom, then she is probably the same person who became the first wife of Peter Pitchlynn. This indicates that Peter Pitchlynn married his mother’s cousin, a distinct possibility if Ebeneezer Folsom (Peter’s grandfather) married a Choctaw woman of a different iksa from the wives of Nathaniel Folsom. If the two women were of the same iksa, Peter’s marriage would be more in agreement with white kinship patterns and he would have married his second cousin. The unraveling of this convoluted genealogy is further confused by the frequent recurrence of the names Rhoda, Sophia and Delilah, possibly obscuring the existence of their daughters or cousins with the same name.

[95]These myriad, complex linkages between the Nails, Pitchlynns, Folsoms and other mixed bloods vividly illustrate the interrelated kinship of many the mixed bloods in Choctaw country. It also demonstrates the fallibility of simplistic, dichotomous interpretations of Indian history after the mixed bloods began achieving tribal power in the late eighteenth century. This usage of both Indian and white kinship patterns probably also molded the bloods more firmly together as a group or family and allowed for more cooperation and communication than would have been the case for a pure Indian or white family.

The Nail family remained active in tribal affairs after removal. 6 Cushman’s genealogical data on the Nail family allows the identification of a large number of them as mixed bloods.

Finally, the complex web of kinships and business relationships among the mixed bloods leads to perhaps the most influential and best known Choctaw mixed-blood family of all, the Pitchlynns.


Wells, Dr. Samuel James. Choctaw Mixed Bloods and the Advent of Removal. University of Southern Mississippi. 1987. © Dr. Samuel James Wells, 1987. Used by permission.

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  1. Cushman, History, 288.[]
  2. Ibid., 332.[]
  3. Ibid. 86. Nathaniel Folsom identified Mr. Welch as the father of Mr. Nail (Henry?), Ibid., 326.[]
  4. Ibid. 329.[]
  5. Ibid. 342.[]
  6. Baird, Peter Pitchlynn, 74-5; Arthur DeRosier, Jr., The Removal of the Choctaw Indians (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1970), 132.[]

5 thoughts on “Nail Choctaw Family – List of Mixed Bloods”

  1. My grandmother has told me since is a child that our family surname “Nail” had indian Blood. I have a family bible handed down to me from 1868 with a marriage license inside dated 1848. I also have a receipt showing paid “Indian Tax” at the local post office inside the same bible.
    What can i do with these items to see if they trace back to me?
    Thank You,
    Chelly Nail

    1. I am searching the nail family also. William c. -George-William alexander – I think Nicholas was the father of William c. Do any of these match the names you have. William Alex had about 12 children . they all came from Mississippi and then to Shelby co, tx. then to coke co. then to okla. would love to hear from you. Thanks jane

    2. Christa Faith Randolph

      I am a decendant of Colonel Joel H. Nail, he was my 5th G-Grandfather. He was married to Lucinda (Sina) Nail and they had several children, one of which was my 4th G-Grandfather, Joel. He was the father to my 3Rd G-grandmother Selina (Nail) Davis, on down to my 2nd G-Grandmother Alwilda Davis Hodges. Selina Nail married James Davis of Atoka. Or that’s how the family lore goes…so far it’s been confirmed with research. However, I wanted to know who was mentioned on your marriage license dated 1848?

  2. I am looking for my great great grandmother by the english name eutoka wren she was born in 1866 she was in the choctaw tribe in panola county mississippi how do I find out any thing about her?

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