Name: Theresa "Kanahwiiostah" Cook
Birth: 11 NOV 1918 in Hogansburg, NY
Death: 24 NOV 2008 in Lives in Basom, NY Seneca Reservation - 2004 1
Mrs Theresa Jemison
178 Park Ave
Binghamton, NY 13903
tel 607 724 0485
from Edmund Rice Assoc Fall 2005 newsletter
The Descent of Mrs. Theresa (Cook) (Leaf ) Jemison from Silas Rice
by Beth McAleer
Mrs. Theresa Jemison is an Amerindian woman who lives on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation in New York. In 1972, she came to visit Westborough, the town of her ancestors, claiming descent from Silas Rice. Silas was one of four young Rice boys abducted by Mohawk Amerindians in a raid on August 18, 1704, and adopted into the community at Kahnawake, Quebec, Canada. The Westborough Historical Society held an open house in her honor on May 15, 1972, and there is an article about her visit in the Edmund Rice Association Newsletter no. 24 (June 1972).
Theresa Jemison joined the Edmund Rice Association (ERA) in 1974 and was listed as a new member in the newsletter of that year. She was a guest of the ERA at the 2001 annual reunion, and I had the pleasure meeting her then. She told us how she had always had been interested in genealogy, but thought it wasn’t possible to trace her own family. Her grandparents died before she was born, and many of her older relatives couldn’t read or write. In 1971, she learned about the existence of the Roman Catholic parish registers, and visited the parish priest at St. Regis. They viewed the parish registers, and she traced her family back to Silas Rice.
The parish registers have been microfilmed by the Drouin Institute, and copies of the film are available at New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston. Last year, I became familiar with the registers by tracing the lineage of Michael Rice, whose Mohawk family lived for many generations at the village of Kahnawake, Quebec, Canada. Michael, like Theresa, is a descendant of Silas. For more information about our cousin Michael Rice, read “Y-DNA Secures Identity of Rice Mohawk Native American with Edmund Rice Haplotype,” by Beth McAleer and Robert V. Rice, New England Ancestors, Vol. 6, no. 4, Fall 2005, p. 48-50.
After completing Michael Rice’s pedigree, I faced another challenge: to verify Theresa Jemison’s pedigree in the parish registers of St. Regis. I worked from a computer printout compiled by George King, ERA Historian, from Theresa Jemison’s notes. Theresa had done a lot of research in the early 1970’s; my job was to verify and make a few minor corrections. I had already found the existing records for the family of Jacques Thanhohorens (Silas Rice) in the microfilm of the registers of the Mission of St. François Xavier at Kahnawake, while searching for the ancestry of Michael Rice, so the early generations of Theresa’s lineage were already documented.
Beginning with the 1920 federal census records of New York, I found Theresa listed with her family, one year old, living at the St. Regis Indian Reservation, with her father, Charles Cook, lumberman; her mother Annie, basket weaver; her brother John, 16, farm laborer; and sisters Nancy, Sarah, Kate, and Minnie.
I viewed the microfilm of the parish registers of St. Regis, and located the baptisms of Theresa and her siblings, listed under the Mohawk name of their father, Tekaronhiaken. Next, the marriage record of Theresa’s parents was found, which provided the names of the parents of the bride and groom, enabling the research to continue back another generation. Mohawk names change at adulthood, so it is best to work backward, to facilitate searching.
Theresa’s great-great-grandfather Jean Baptiste Cook was baptized as Jean Baptiste Tharonhiakehton, married as Jean Baptiste Kanonwatasse, and buried with the name Jean Baptiste Atawakohn. The two adult aliases of Jean Baptiste were recorded in the parish register for the baptism of his son Thomas, 5 June 1809. This demonstrates the importance of viewing all available records related to each family. If a marriage is a second marriage, the marriage record will provide the name of the deceased spouse, and then the first marriage record must be located, to verify the names of the parents. View all of the siblings’ baptisms and marriages available when researching; a grandmother may have been a sponsor at one of the baptisms, or a son may have served as sponsor at the burial of his father. The aliases may be explained clearly in only one of the records. Occupations and other interesting notes are frequent; other interesting notes, such as the cholera epidemic of 1832, are sometimes mentioned in the registers.
The name Cook is written in superscript over the baptismal record of Pierre’s daughter Anne, who was baptized 2 August 1743 at Kahnawake; Anne was Pierre’s child by his wife Marie Antoninatane.
Theresa Jemison is a descendant of Silas’s daughter Marie Joseph Kaniharonkwas, the second wife of Pierre Tharonhiakehton Cook. Their daughter Marie Anne was born at Kahnawake, and baptized at the Mission of St. François Xavier on 22 March 1763. It is this record that identifies Marie Joseph as [Jacques] Thanhohorens’ daughter.
About 1765, the Cook family removed to New York, where a group of Kahnawake Indians and Jesuit priests had established a new mission at St. Regis (Akwesasne) in 1755. Pierre Tharonhiakehton Cook was one of the first chiefs of St. Regis, as noted in his burial record and that of his wife. The family remained at St. Regis for six generations. With the records located in the parish registers and censuses of a single small community, the genealogist’s work is not difficult.
Figure 1 is a copy of a microfilmed baptismal record in French from the Drouin collection with a translation.
Figure 2 shows the pedigree of Mrs. Theresa Jemison showing her descent from Silas Rice.
I would like to credit my cousin Theresa Jemison for all of her hard work. In addition I would like to dedicate this article to Rev. James Albert “Jim” Rice, who welcomed me into the Edmund Rice Association at my first annual reunion in September, 2000. Jim was interested in peoples of other cultures, and his untimely death on November 17, 2000, prevented him from completing this project. Special thanks to Robert V. Rice and George King. Finally, I would like to encourage cousins who may have connections at Kahnawake or St. Regis (Akwesasne) to pursue their roots.
-- Beth McAleer
Figure 1. Baptism of Charles [Cook] 10 February 1811
February 10, 1811, I the undersigned priest of St. Regis baptized Charles born the sixth of this month of the legitimate marriage of Jean Baptiste Atawakohn and Marie Kawennitakhe, Indians of this village. The godmother was Marie Karonianoran who doesn’t know how to write. J. Roupe Missionary Priest
Drouin Collection: Parish registers, St. Regis. Quebec. Institut Genealogique Drouin. [Microfilm] Roll 197, 1811 page 2 verso.
Figure 2. Pedigree of Theresa Kanahwiiostah (Cook) (Leaf) Jemison
I. Edmund Rice
(b. abt 1594 - d. 3 May 1663)
m. 15 Oct 1618
Thomasine Frost (bp.11 Aug 1600 - d. 13 June 1654)
II. Samuel Rice
(bp. 12 Nov 1634 - d. 25 Feb 1684/85)
m. 8 Nov 1655
Elizabeth King (bur. 30 Oct 1667)
III. Edmund Rice
(b. 1663 - d. Sep 1726)
m. 15 Nov 1692
Ruth Parker (d. betw. 1716-1720)
IV. Silas Rice, renamed Jacques Thanhohorens
(b. 10 April 1695 - bur. 16 May 1779)
m. Marie Tsiakohawi (bur. 14 May 1779)
V. Marie Joseph Kaniharonkwas
(b. May 1723 – d. 29 October 1811)
m. Pierre Tharonhiakehton Cook abt. 1750
at Kahnawake; removed to St. Regis abt. 1765
(b. 1712 - d. 9 March 1808)
VI. Jean Baptiste (Kanonwatasse) Atawakohn Cook
(b. 8 November 1769 - d. 23 June 1832)
m. 9 September 1806 at St. Regis
(b. 1779 – d. 20 December 1857)
VII. Charles Saionwese Cook
(b. 6 February 1811 - d. 19 October 1892)
m. (1st wf) abt. 1831
(b. abt 1815 - d. 29 October 1877)
VIII. Jean Baptiste “John” Tekahionwannhontere Cook
(b. 29 Dec 1842 – d. 11 July 1888)
m. (2nd wf) 31 January 1876
Marie Josette Karenhatsi Ransom
(b. 2 February 1856 - d. 10 March 1897)
IX. Charles Tekaronhiaken Cook
(b. 26 November 1883 – d. 19 March 1927)
m. 4 November 1902
Anne Kaientison McDonald
(b. 2 June 1887 – d. 30 December 1950)
X. Theresa Kanahwiiostah (Cook) (Leaf) Jemison
(b. 11 November 1918
St. Regis Indian Reservation, Hogansburg, New York)
Drouin Collection: Parish registers, [Kahnawake] St.-François-Xavier, co. La Prairie, Caughnawaga, Québec, Canada. Québec, Institut Généalogique Drouin. [Microfilm] Rolls 1119B and 1120B. Baptisms: March 1, 1735-March 10, 1745; March 25, 1753-1916. Marriages, Sept. 30, 1743-June 24, 1747; January 29, 1763-1916. Burials, January 1762-1916.
Drouin Collection: Parish registers, St. Régis. Québec. Institut généalogique Drouin. [Microfilm]
Roll 197, January 1807-December, 1824, 1832-1864 (gap 1824-1832); Roll 198, 15 March 1864-4 November 1929.; Roll 3320,
2 February 1764-131 December 1825; Roll 3321, January, 1826-26 December, 1830
1900 U.S. Federal Census: Charles Cook family; New York. Franklin County. St. Regis Indian Reservation.
T623-1035; Page: 30B; Enumeration District: 62.
1910 U.S. Federal Census: Charles Cook family; New York. Franklin County. Bombay township.
T624- 937; Page: 221B; Enumeration District: 76; Part: 2; Line: 6.
1920 U.S. Federal Census: Charles Cook family; U.S. New York. Franklin co., Bombay township, St. Regis Indian Reservation.
T625-1112 page 165
Father: Charles "Tehharhaniakin" Cook b: 26 NOV 1883 in Hogansburg, NY
Mother: Anna " Kahientisonh" McDonald b: 10 JUN 1887
- Living Jemison
- Living Jemison
Edmund Jemison b: ABT 1914
- died at the home of her son, Dwight Jemison, in Binghamton, NY.