James Sage

James Sage and Caty Sage Genealogy

I have been interested in my family lineage on my mother's side of the family for many years now. I never had any direct contact with a lot of my family on the Brewster side mainly because the majority of them died before I was born or when I was a young child. The only direct connection I had to this side were my grandparents, mother, and uncle. Stories and images were my only portal to having a sense of who these individuals were. 

I recently made a trip to where many of my family members came from. Through these images and stories I am attempting to preserve their memory. This first post chronicles two of my oldest ancestors James and his daughter Caty Sage.  

James Sage, Revolutionary War Veteran. Elk Creek, VA. Grayson County. 

James Sage, Revolutionary War Veteran. Elk Creek, VA. Grayson County. 

James Sage (1749-1820) was my great grandfather (times seven) on my grandmother's mother side. Originally from England his title was "the baker for the King." It was not likely he was a personal baker for King George; rather, a baker for the English army. England during the time of the mid 1700's was going through an overpopulation crisis and any opportunity to get individuals out of the country they took. James was "caught" stealing a shirt and was sentenced to "transport" to the new colonies in America. Upon arriving in America, part of his sentence included indentured servitude for seven years in order to work off his crime. James thought this ridiculous and in order to get out of this sentence and escape the eye of the British army he went as far west as he could, which ended up being southwest Virginia. 

When the revolution against England began James signed up in order to fight against the British due to his unfair treatment. He was in a Virginia regiment that was ordered to protect Philadelphia. He was under the command of George Washington at Valley Forge, having spent the notorious winter there in his camp, and fought with him at Yorktown. After the surrender of Lord Cornwallis, James and his newlywed wife, Lovis, moved down to Cripple Creek, VA for ten years and then later down to Elk Creek, VA in Grayson County with land given to him for his service in the Continental Army. He had at least seventeen children and one of them was the infamous Caty Sage.   

James Sage Grave Marker. Elk Creek, VA. Grayson County. 

James Sage Grave Marker. Elk Creek, VA. Grayson County. 

Caty Sage Marker. Elk Creek, VA. Grayson County. 

Caty Sage Marker. Elk Creek, VA. Grayson County. 

Caty Sage (1787-1853) was my great aunt (times six) on my maternal grandmother's side of the family. She has become an infamous folk legend in southwest Virginia, because she was kidnapped by a white man at the age of five and sold to Native Americans. First living with the Cherokee tribe she was eventually given as a gift to the Wyandot Indians in Ohio, whom adopted her. She was given the name Yourowquains and was married three times to Indian Chiefs. After a lot of pressure by the United States government their land was bought off and they moved west to Kansas. Fifty-six years after her kidnapping she was found by her brother Charles Sage in Kansas. Charles settled in the area and met a Wyandot Indian who claimed he had the same features of a white woman who lived on the reservation. Astonishingly, it was his long lost sister, Caty. She died from pneumonia in 1853 in Kansas.   

The story has been recounted in many books such as, "Red Trails and White: The Mysterious Life of Caty Sage," "March of the Sages," "The Saga of Caty Sage," several children's books entitled "Yourowquains: A Wyandot Indian Queen: The Story of Caty Sage," "The Legend of Caty Sage," and the story even recounted in song form.

Below is "The Ballad of Caty Sage," which was originally a poem written by Eva Boyer in the 1930s in Carroll County, VA. J. C. Pierce of Galax, VA set the lyrics to music and performed it at the 1940 Galax, VA Old Fiddlers Convention. The Grayson Gazette published the poem. Pierce later recorded the song on several small commercial labels.

In the song, Pierce pronounces her name "Kay-tee." All my life I heard my grandmother pronounce it "Caddy." 

Caty Sage Marker #2. Elk Creek, VA. Grayson County. 

Caty Sage Marker #2. Elk Creek, VA. Grayson County. 

Site near river where Caty Sage was kidnapped. Elk Creek, VA. Grayson County. 

Site near river where Caty Sage was kidnapped. Elk Creek, VA. Grayson County. 

Caty Sage Road. Elk Creek, VA. Grayson County. 

Caty Sage Road. Elk Creek, VA. Grayson County.