(From an online discussion forum on the Payne Family)
Bob Erwin wrote:
My name is Bob Erwin from Atlanta. I’m a descendent of Moses Ayers and Abigail Payne through their son Nathaniel. Moses and Abigail were married in Pittsylvania Couny, Va. in 1782. As has been noted, there is a persistent family story that Abigail was half-Cherokee. I used to doubt this story but now doubt it less because I’ve learned, through studying Bryant Ward, another ancestor and Indian trader, much more about the domestic arrangements of men who had business in the Cherokee Nation. If Thomas Payne was the “Trader” and had Cherokee offspring, I don’t think we can know that his Cherokee spouse was his first, second, or third wife. The fact is, these men found it politically and economically expedient to contract marriages in the place where they were conducting business. These marriages were not recognized as such in the white world and some men, such as Gen. Joseph Martin, of Henry County, Va., maintained two residences and families simultaneously. Martin was married to the daughter of Bryant Ward and Nancy Ward, the “Beloved Woman” of the Cherokees. This caused Martin’s son, William, some some embarasement when recounting the story to Draper some years later (see Draper Manuscripts.) The Cherokee’s concept of marriage was different than that of the English and being a matrilineal people, a Cherokee woman could dissolve a marriage at any time just by putting her husbands belongings outside the door. By saying these marriages were expedient, it is not to say that these men did not care about their tribal families. I think it caused them to often have divided loyalties, especially with the outset of the Revolution and the Cherokee’s alliance with the British. Anyway, I think it possible that Abigail Payne was the half Cherokee daughter of “Trader” Payne, whoever that turns out to be, but it is logical, though unproven, that Thomas Payne, neighbor and brother-in-law of Moses in Virginia, and the person that sold Moses and Abigail land in Georgia after they had lived 10+ years in Surry County, NC, is both the “trader” and the father of Abigail and might want to hook up his brother-in-law and child by another marriage.