The Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Cultural Heritage Center provides resources to keep the Tribe’s history safe and accessible for generations to come. One key way the Nation does this is through the CHC’s archives and video interviews.
To highlight some of the archive’s holdings, the Hownikan is featuring photographs and family history of every founding Citizen Potawatomi family. If interested in assisting preservation efforts by providing copies of Citizen Potawatomi family photographs, documents and more, and to schedule family interviews, please contact the CHC at 405-878-5830.
Countryman family beginnings
Frederic H. Countryman (Contraman) was born about 1795 and appeared on an 1823 Michilimackinac County, Michigan, voter list. He married a Potawatomi woman named En-do-ga and was fluent in Potawatomi. It is possible that a woman named Doga who appears in a George Winter watercolor sketch is actually En-do-ga. She was the niece of a respected Indiana Potawatomi leader named Naswawke. Frederic and En-do-ga had three daughters — Betsey, Nancy and Sarah.
They lived near Kellogg’s Grove in a log cabin and a bark wigwam. He was appointed Peoria County constable in 1825 because of his established relationship among the Potawatomi.
In 1831, the Countryman family joined a large group of Potawatomi who were moving west to Paw Paw Grove. In 1834, the Potawatomi and the Countryman family were forced west again to Calhoun County, Kansas. Frederic appears in the Kansas Territory Census of 1855 and 1857. Their home was on the Potawatomi reservation south of the military road leading from Ft. Leavenworth to Ft. Riley, near Solider Creek, Kansas.
Following the 1833 treaty, the U.S. government paid Nancy, Sarah and Betsey cash grants in lieu of allotments, each for $600.
Smith family establishes Kansas ferry
Nancy Countryman married Peter McClain in 1839. Together, they had Albert and Josephine. Nancy then married Andrew Johnson in 1845. They had Rachel and Matilda. Sadly, Matilda died at age 3.
Nancy later married Sidney W. Smith in 1853. Sidney had established Smith’s Ferry along the Oregon Trail. The southern landing was near the Potawatomi Mission. Smith’s Ferry ran for eight years, helping travelers cross the Kansas River. Sidney and Nancy had Louisa, William (Smith McLane) and Thomas. They divorced in 1860.
Sidney is then documented as remarried to Nancy in 1861. Nancy died in approximately 1876. Sidney died in May of 1887.
1887 Oklahoma allotment roll
Several of Nancy’s descendants were listed on the 1887 Oklahoma allotment roll:
Josephine Smith Bourassa
Nancy’s daughter Josephine married Andrew Smith in about 1860. Together, they had Martha (Mullen), Nancy (Fehlg), Frank, Zoe (Denton), Eliza (Edwards Calvin) and Sidney Jr. Josephine later married James Bourassa. They had a daughter named Nellie “Ellen” (Bourassa Wiley).
Josephine’s son was born in 1872 in Kansas. He married Sarah Cook on May 3, 1893, in Tecumseh, Oklahoma. The couple’s son, Willie Bryant Smith, was born in Maud, Oklahoma, in 1898. Frank died in 1928 in Shawnee and was buried at Tecumseh Mission Cemetery.
Rachel Johnson Catick
Nancy’s daughter, Rachel Catick, received an allotment in 1887 in Oklahoma. She is listed in the roll, age 39, along with her children, Louise, 19, Blanch, 6, and Benjamin, 1.
Louisa Smith Storm Hartman
Nancy’s daughter married a Dr. Storm in St. Marys, Kansas. They had two daughters, May “Mary” (Hammer) in 1871, and Zoe (Whitmere) in 1874. After Dr. Storm died, Louisa then married John Hartman in 1881. Their daughter, Elizabeth “Lizzie” (Lynn) was born in 1882. Another daughter, Dora (Stewart), was born in 1884. Their son Thomas followed in 1886. Two daughters were also born: Nettie (Peck) in 1888 and Henriette (Beeler) in 1891.
Zoe Smith Denton
Nancy’s granddaughter Zoe married Reuben Denton in 1880 at Dover, Kansas. Together, they had Minnie (Cook), Hattie (Bixby), Nellie (Allen), Pearl, Anna, Mary (Powell Devine), Ellen, Josephine (Smith), Clinton, Jesse, Leroy and Dorothy. A family history document reveals the heartbreaking loss of four daughters: Anna and Pearl, twins, who died in 1908 at age 16. Dorothy died at age 12 in 1908. Lily died at age 1 in 1908.
Zoe and Reuben enjoyed nearly 55 years of marriage. Tragically, they both died within 60 hours of one another. Reuben suffered from a stomach disorder for years. On Feb. 8, 1935, he learned that his beloved wife had suddenly died of a heart attack. The 79-year-old farmer died on Feb. 10, 1935. They were remembered by their family and loved ones during a funeral mass and buried on the same day.
Elizabeth Hartman Lynn
Nancy’s granddaughter Elizabeth married Tom Lynn, and they had a son named Graydon D. Lynn. A daughter, Dora, lived to adulthood and married J.C. Stewart. They also had a daughter named Martha Louise (Green) and two sons named Lewis and Thomas. An unnamed baby died in infancy.
The Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Cultural Heritage Center provides resources to keep the Tribe’s history safe and accessible for generations to come. One key way the Nation does this is through the CHC’s archives and family interviews. If interested in assisting preservation efforts by providing copies of Citizen Potawatomi family photographs, documents and more, and to schedule family interviews, please contact the CHC at 405-878-5830. Schedule interviews online at portal.potawatomi.org. Learn more about the Family Reunion Festival at cpn.news/festival, and find research resources online at potawatomiheritage.com.