The origins of Shawnee Indian chief Blue Jacket have been debated for years. According to legend, a young man named Marmaduke Van Swearingen, wearing a blue coat, was captured and adopted by the Shawnee around the time of the American Revolutionary War. His younger brother, Charles, watched him being taken, but was allowed to live. The legend also claims that years later, after earning the trust of the Shawnee and rising to the position of war chief, the white man, now viewing himself as an Indian, killed his brother in battle.
The story is even reenacted every year in Xenia, Ohio, as part of a pageant that has drawn more than 1 million visitors over the last 25 years.
It is a great story, but apparently it is untrue. New DNA evidence shows almost certainly that Blue Jacket was in fact an American Indian and not white, as the myth had claimed.
Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, and Technical Associates Inc. in Ventura, California, collected DNA from six living male descendants of Blue Jacket and four direct relatives of Swearingen. The team's report states, "Barring any questions of the paternity of the Chief's single son who lived to produce male heirs, the 'Blue Jacket-with-Caucasian-roots' legend is not based on reality."
Carlyle Hinshaw, an Oklahoma genealogist and seventh-generation descendant of Blue Jacket, was of assistance in finding relatives as he had "done some updating of genealogy and developed a good database." Hinshaw explained that Blue Jacket's people were first resettled to northeast Kansas, then, after the Civil War, to Oklahoma to live with the Cherokee.
You can read more about Blue Jacket at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Jacket and more about the recent DNA study at http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/couriernews/top/3_1_EL04_A1INDIAN_S1.htm