mtDNA & Minerva Tolliver Mannin

A cousin recently asked about Minerva Tolliver Mannin(g)’s Native American background. She wondered “if [I] have any evidence that Enoch and Minerva Mannin were Cherokee?” I told her that I no such evidence and I don’t believe she did (because of my X-Chromosome analysis). I then pointed her to my blog article “DNA, the X Chromosome & Minerva Tolliver Manning.”  Then, I thought about the issue a bit more.

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is quite simple. You receive your mtDNA from your mother. I received mine from my mother, but my son received his from his mother and none from me. Also, mtDNA doesn’t change much over time. That means my mtDNA is the same as my mother’s, which is the same as her mother’s (Madonna Montran), which is the same as her mother’s (Ida Barber), which is the same as her mother (Sarah Blackhurst), and the same as her mother (Fanny Taylor).
The same process is true for Minerva Tolliver Mannin(g)’s descendants. All of her children have her mtDNA, however, only her daughters carry that DNA on to their children. To prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt that Minerva was Native American, if we find a descendant of her daughter’s daughter’s daughter and that person is tested, the haplogroup that descendant is in would prove the descendant was Native American.
Haplogroup Migration Map
Courtesy of
Native Americans have mtDNA haplogroups A, B, C, D, and sometimes X. My mtDNA haplogroup is T2b, which clearly identifies my maternal ancestry to be from Europe. If the female descendants of Minerva are A, B, C, or D, we can be certain that Minerva was Native American. I Minerva’s female descendants are I, J, K or T, U, V, or W, we can be fairly certain that Minerva’s female ancestry was from Europe.
The key in using mtDNA for genealogy, or any DNA for that matter, is to determine who should be tested in order to prove a particular question. In this case, the proof comes from finding a child of the female line of Minerva and have that individual tested.
I’ll admit, my research into descendants of Minerva is not complete. I welcome anyone who has information regarding her descendants, particularly female descendants, to help me fill in the many blanks and gaps that I have. That said, this is what I think I know.
Minerva Tolliver Mannin(g) had five daughters, Nancy Ann, Sarah Jane, Mary Ermaline, Gresella, and Prudence.
Nancy Ann married Jessie Monroe Barnett. They had four daughters
·      Flora Belle, Sarah A. Sadie, and Nettie. I have no further information regarding Sarah, Sadie, or Nettie.
·      Flora Belle married George Wesley Horn. They had two or three girls, two of whom died as children. One child, Helen Elvira Horn, married Harold Anderson and lived until 1968. I have no records regarding her children.
Sarah Jane married Joseph Hatfield Bryant. They had five daughters.
·      Nancy Ellen Bryant married John M Horn. They had one girl that I know of, Mary A. Horn. I have no marriage information or children information regarding her.
·      Adella Mamie Bryant married Elmer Boaz Knowles. They had five daughters. One died as a child, leaving four to consider.
·      Elsie Lillian Knowles married Vernon Smalley. I have not information about any children of theirs.
·      Clara Lavina Knowles married Luther Elbert Parker. I know of one child of theirs Elsie Joan Parker.
·      Lorraine Grace Knowles married Richard Markham Taylor. They had three daughters, two of whom may still be living. I also have information regarding several of those children’s children, so this line may be my best area of further inquiry and contacts.
·      Bessie Katherine Knowles married Albert Dickerman. They had one daughter that I know of, Lillian Katherine Dickerman.
Mary Ermaline married Thomas N Jones. I know of no children of them.
Gresella (or Greselle) is a mystery to me. I have no marriage or child information regarding her.
Finally, there is Prudence. I believe she was married twice. Once to Frank P. Bare and again to someone surnamed McDonald. I don’t know of any children that she had.


If you are descended from any of these individuals, I would really like to hear from you. I would like to fill in Minerva’s descendants as well as I can. Please contact me either through commenting on this blog posting, directly via my email address (dontaylor50 (at), or though Facebook (
I will also try to contact any of the descendants that I do know of, particularly in the Knowles, Taylor line and see if any of them would be interested in doing a mtDNA test to prove conclusively if Minerva was Native American or not.
I plan to continue working on my own and fill in whatever descendants that I can.

 ————-  DISCLAIMER  ————-

DNA, the X Chromosome & Minerva Tolliver Manning

For many years, I have been hearing the stories that my 3rd Great Grandmother, Minerva Tolliver Manning was “Full-Blooded Cherokee.” I’ve never believed it and have written about the possibility of Minerva being Native American a few times before. Please see:

Ever being the skeptic, I considered that my grandmother had really gotten pregnant from a different man other than whom she said was the father. She was apparently estranged from her husband at the time of her pregnancy and anything is possible. (She never suggested that her husband was the father.) If the man she always said was the father actually was, then my mother’s half-sister will show the same genetic information on their X-chromosome.

My half-aunt was tested and sure enough, they are half sisters, which we expected. What is really cool is that for a person’s 22 chromosomes they are a mix of each of their parents, however, for the 23rd chromosome, the XX, a girl receives one X from their mother and one X from their father. The mother’s X is a blend of her parents but the father’s contribution is passed on with little to no change. That means that if two girls share the same father then one of the X chromosomes is identical between the two girls. My mother and my half-aunt share one X exactly, so we know, beyond any doubt, they share the same father.

% contribution atDNA
% cont. of X Chromosome
Mom & Half Aunt
Mary Manning
John W. Manning
2nd Great-Grandmother
Minerva Tolliver
3rd Great-Grandfather
Tulion Tolliver
As you can see from
the above table, a person’s 2rd Great-Grandmother provides four
times the contribution to an X chromosome than to the normal atDNA
contribution. If Minerva was full-blooded Cherokee as family history says then,
alternating sex through generations, her 2nd great-granddaughters should
have about 25% Native American contribution. Not there.  According the test results from 23 & Me,
their identical X-chromosome shows no Native American contributions.  
What is very interesting is that although both my mom and my
aunt are over 99% European, there is a .2% Sub-Saharan contribution overall and
it is on the X chromosome.  Looking at
only the shared X chromosome it appears to be between 4% and 6% of the X contribution.
That would be in keeping with a 4th or 5th Great-Grandparent’s
contribution.  If Minerva were ¼ to 1/8th
Sub-Saharan African, she would have had about the right percentage to “pass” as Native
American.  From the DNA evidence that
appears to me to be much more likely of a scenario than for Minerva to have
been Cherokee.
My Mom’s X results
My Aunt’s X results


Future Activity
As the saying goes, a mother knows her own children, but fathers can be a surprise. As such, I’m confident that Clifford/Dick was Mary’s child. I am also confident that Enoch and Minerva believed that Mary (and her sister Phoebe) were their granddaughters. Mary and Phoebe were orphaned and Enoch and Minerva raised them for a while.

Although reasonable and likely, there is always a possibility that someone else jumped into the mix. I know next to nothing about Mary’s parents, John William Manning and Eliza Jane Fannin. It is always possible that John William Manning wasn’t Mary’s father. Mary had a half brother, Robert, but we are not certain if he was John’s child or Eliza’s child who took on the surname of Manning. In either event, I don’t believe that line will provide much in the way of proof. Rather, Minerva had five daughters, Nancy Ann, Sarah Jane, Mary Ermaline, Grisella, and Prudence Manning. Their female descendants will have the mtDNA that would show Native American ancestry if Minerva were, in fact, Cherokee.

I’ll continue research for the descendants of Minerva and see if any of them are interested in testing, but as things sit currently, I am confident that Minerva was not Native American.