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February, 2000


Here is the written history of this most fascinating family. When I began this project, I had no idea where it would lead and when it ended, I was astounded at the richness of it.. I wasn't sure if I should begin at the the "beginning" or begin at the end…Which would be easier to follow? In the end, I decided it would be better to begin with the current generation and work back. We will start with the Mayes side of the family and then continue with the McIntosh side. It is only logical that I begin with my Husband, Donnie and work back from there but all of you who are related to Mattie and Joseph or Harriet Beecher and Virgil, will be able to follow along. I hope that you will find this history as fascinating and enriching as I have. This journey of discovery has been one of the greatest joys of my life. Very little of this information would have been possible if it hadn't been for Aunt Adeline. She was the one who remembered the oral history, as told to her by her Grandmother, Mattie. Another person who deserves a great deal recognition is Tressie Nealy of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Also, Brenda Mayes-Andreotti for her diligent work in finding Mattie's and Joe's Marriage Certificate and the slave rolls of Jesse Partridge, which showed us Mattie's Mother and Grandmother.

Donald Mayes - Born July 26, 1941 - Edmonton, Alberta Donnie was the eldest son of Sallebelle. When he was very young, he moved with his mother to Winnipeg. She went there to work and to stay with family members. Donnie remembers attending a daycare of sorts, where they were looked after by Nuns. He doesn't remember much about Winnipeg, other than it was very hot in the summer and the mosquitoes were horrible. Sally eventually moved back to the family farm in Ponoka, Alberta. She had two more children, Winston and Trudy. The family moved quite a bit in those early years and eventually settled in Edmonton. Donnie left Edmonton as a young man and eventually met and married Nancy Caufield in Vancouver, B.C. They had two children, Donald Jr. and Dion. The marriage didn't last and Donnie returned to Alberta and eventually settled in Calgary where he met Anne Marie Ross. They too, married and had two children: Kevin Ian and Colin Dean. Again the marriage did not last and they divorced. Donnie has two other children as well. Valorie Mayes-Allen of Vancouver and Aimee Chase of Vancouver. Donnie finally met the girl of his dreams, Me! We met in 1979 and were married on January 24, 1988, in Banff, Alberta. We did not have any children and have been together now for 22 years.

SALLEBELLE MAYES, Mother of Donald, Winston and Trudy Mayes

Sallebelle Mayes was born in Turtleford, Saskatchewan on January 12, 1912. She is the daughter of Virgil Mayes and Harriet Beecher McIntosh. She was a very strong and independent woman. She worked very hard her whole life to provide for her children. There were many good days on the farm in Ponoka and the local Native People from Hobema were good friends to the family. There was plenty of racism from the local townsfolk, to be sure. The town fathers would not extend power or sewer and water facilities to the farm, even though it was within the town limits. Eventually, they left Ponoka and moved on to Calmar, Buck Lake and then Edmonton. She eventually married Bill Coleman who passed away from a heart attack and then, shortly before she died, She married John Schular. Sallie lived in Edmonton for the rest of her life. She died on January 29, 1985 and is buried in Edmonton. Sallebelle had the following brothers and sisters: Roy Milton Fred Hazel Adeline Victor


Virgil Mayes is the son of Joseph Mayes and Martha Jane, (Mattie) Warner. Virgil Mayes was born in Cass County, Texas in 1875. He is seen on the 1880 Cass County Census, living with his parents and they are shown on the Census as being Share Crop Farmers. It is not known when they moved on to Indian Territory, which would later become the state of Oklahoma. But oral history tells that they moved there seeking a better life for themselves. One that would be less burdened with racism. While in Oklahoma, he met and married Harriet Beecher, (Beechie) McIntosh. They married at Creek County, Oklahoma on March 20th, 1909. The families, once again, found it difficult to find peace and prosperity. Racism was a never ending constant in their lives and one day, someone brought home a flyer that welcomed "all" to come to Canada. Free homestead land to all who applied, so, the Mayes' and about 20 other families sold what they could and came north to Saskatchewan, Canada and filed for homestead lands. Homestead documents from the University of Saskatchewan show that Joseph and Virgil, among others, arrived in Canada on May 25, 1910 and applied for their homesteads in August 1910. Sadly, a life free of racism was not to be, and they were treated very poorly there. There were some white folks who were kind to them but for the most part, it was the same, sad story. At one point, the Canadian Government tried to stop the migration of freed slaves to Canada, saying that they were "unsuited" to the cold climate. A complete accounting of that story can be found in the book, "Deemed Unsuitable" by R. Bruce Shepard. Eventually, Virgil took his family and moved on to Alberta and Ponoka. Virgil died in Edmonton and is buried there.


Joseph Mayes was born in approximately 1856 in Colouen Georgia. He was born a slave. Little is known about his life until he shows up in Tennessee. Records show that he married Martha Jane Warner on February 21, 1876 in Fayette County, Tennessee. The next record of Joe shows up on the 1880 Cass County Texas Census and show he and his wife Mattie, living with his Parents, Susan and Allen. They are shown as Share Crop Farmers. It is not known when they moved on to Oklahoma, but it is known, as stated in Virgil's bio, that they eventually moved to Saskatchewan to homestead. Joseph, along with the other men who came from Oklahoma, built the Shiloh Baptist Church and Joe ministered the gospel there until he retired. He died there and is buried at the Shiloh Church, which is now designated an official Heritage Site. Joseph and Mattie were true pioneers. They gave much to their community and were always the first to lend a hand or support to others. Mattie was friend and midwife to all who called on her. To be sure, there were hard times. Aunt Adeline told me of times when there was no food for the families and some of the men went out one night to "liberate" a small amount of grain from a silo so that they could make some food to eat. They were caught and arrested and sent to jail, which left the women alone to fend for themselves and their children. Aunt Adeline told me that the women caught gofers and sold them for the bounty on their tails and were able to get a little money for food. But there were also many happy times of Christmas and Church Socials and picnics. It was a harsh existence which few of us can even imagine. We can all be proud of their strength and courage and determination to make it against all odds. Joseph and Mattie Mayes had the following children: Virgil David Harvey John Edward Douglas Wyatt Charlie George After Joseph passed away, Mattie left Saskatchewan and came to Alberta with her son, Edward.


Mattie, as she was known all her life, was born into slavery on May 20, 1859 in Meriwether County Georgia. She was born the slave of Jesse Partridge. Aunt Adeline remembered Mattie telling her that when she was a very little girl, she was riding in a wagon with her mother and some other slaves. The "Master" was driving the wagon. They were crossing a bridge, when a man on horseback approached from the opposite direction. It turned out that he and the "master" were friends. The man on horseback, one Hiram Warner, spotted Mattie in the wagon and insisted that Jesse Partridge sell her to him, on the spot.. A deal was struck, then and there and Mattie was taken from her mothers' arms and into the saddle of the new "Master" and ridden away….She never saw her mother again. But she did tell Aunt Adeline that he was a very kind man and very good to his slaves. Mattie's job was mostly to stand at table during meals and shoo away the flies. When the war broke out, Hirams' son went away to fight for the Confederacy. Hiram stayed home and when the Union Soldiers came, the slaves hid him so he would not be killed. When the son returned from the war, he set the slaves free and Mattie, with others moved to Greenville in Meriwether County. She was still a young girl and shows up on the 1870 Georgia Census as age 14. It is not known when or why but she left Georgia and went on to Tennessee, where she met and married Joseph Mayes. Martha Jane's mother was a slave of Jesse Partridge. Her name was Charity and she was born March 27, 1842. Charity's mother was named Ellen and she too, was a slave of Jesse Partridge.


Very little is known about Susan and Allen Mayes. They are the parents of Joseph Mayes and were discovered on the 1880 Cass Co. Texas census, while looking for Joseph.


Harriet Beecher McIntosh, or Beechie, as she was called, was the daughter of Sims or "Surno" McIntosh and Sallie Hawkins. Beechie was born in 1888 or 1889, at Maud, Texas. Her father died when she was quite young and Sims' half brother, Jacob Anderson, took the family in. This family of "Freedmen" are members of the Creek Nation. They were adopted by the Creeks and are shown on the Final Roll of the Dawes Commission for the Five Civilized Tribes. There is far too much information there to transcribe in this story, but it is, nonetheless fascinating. This information and the transcripts from those hearings were an invaluable tool for this research. The transcripts are available from the Oklahoma Historical Society. More info on how they came to be members of the Creek Nation will follow when we get back to General William McIntosh. As stated in the Mayes history, Beechie eventually met Virgil and they married. Beechie died in 1955.


Little is known of Sims. He was born approx. 1855 in the Creek Nation of Indian Territory, (Oklahoma). He died approximately 1897 in Texas. He married a freed slave named Sallie Hawkins. Sallie was born approx. 1869 at Ridge, Indian Territory. Sims was the son of John McIntosh, (slave) and Sylvia or Sylvie Hawkins.


Sylvie was born a slave. Sylvie's mother was Winnie. She was a slave of General William McIntosh. Sylvie was married twice. Once to Jinks Anderson, who died and then to John McIntosh. She is seen on the Final Rolls of the Dawes Commission and indeed, testified there. She was a very old lady at that time and was living with her son, William. They lived at Ridge, Texas and soon moved to Indian Territory so they could claim status as members of the Creek Nation. How that came about follows after the last generation listed below.


Little is known about Winnie, other than she was a slave of General William McIntosh. What is known is that she had at least one child by the General and that child was Sylvie. There is much known about General William McIntosh. He was not a very nice man. General McIntosh was a ½ breed Creek Indian and Scotch. He was well educated and even spoke Gaelic. He was a Chief of the Creek Nation and at the time when they were treating with representatives of President Jackson, he and several other Creek Chiefs betrayed the rest of the tribe and signed a treaty, giving the Creek Nation Lands to the US Government. As you can imagine, the rest of the Chiefs were not too pleased and came after General Wm. McIntosh and his followers. They caught up with him at one of his plantations and murdered him, his wife his stepson and some of his followers. They also took all of his property, which included his slaves…And that is how your ancestors became members of the Creek Nation. The Creeks carried the slaves and other property to Indian Territory, where they thought they would be safe. It was later ruled that the slaves be returned to General McIntosh's son, Chilly. But the Creeks didn't return all the slaves and some intermarried with the tribe and became full members. When the war started, some of the freedmen, as they were called, went to Texas to live and farm. But when the US Government decided to settle, once and for all with the "Five Civilized Tribes", of which the Creeks were one, they moved to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma where they testified at the Dawes Commission. They had to swear to remove themselves to Indian Territory and remain there. They did that and were duly sworn as members of the Creek Nation. More information on General Wm. McIntosh is available from Georgia State Archives or on the Web at This brief history of the Mayes and McIntosh Families is presented by Carolin Fox-Mayes.

More information about General William McIntosh can be found at the following Link Dawes Commission