We have followed the movement of the Sizemores from the early 1700’s up until the early 1900’s and the filing of more than 2,200 Eastern Cherokee Applications filed by Sizemore descendants. Despite those Eastern Cherokee Applications, our research has found is that we are a Siouan people who migrated here from the Ohio River Valley around 1100 AD. When you research history you find our people have gone by many names. Some of these names include, Esaw, Yesa, Yesah, Tutelo, Catawba, and Saponi. The evidence tells us the Sizemores were Tutelo, and that they were part of the Catawba Confederacy. We have been closely aligned with the Catawba, Saponi, Saura, Keyauwee, Occaneechi and a few others for centuries.
The Catawba and their confederates were among the Siouan speaking tribes of the Piedmont area of the Carolina’s at the time of the first European contacts. What is known is based largely on the writings of John Lawson, who explored the Piedmont territory and visited the Catawba in 1701. The Catawba Nation or Confederacy was actually a military alliance of several Siouan tribes and remnants of tribes or bands decimated by war and disease, which joined the Catawba.
From the early 1700’s and Fort Christanna the story of the Catawba, Tutelo, Saponi and others is so closely tied that to separate their stories is very hard. They suffered the same hardships, disease, wars, shared customs and traditions, and even death and decimation. Near the end of the 1700’s with numbers dwindled, political riffs, they began to separate and move toward the frontier to try to live out their lives in peace and to be able to carry on their traditions, beliefs, culture. It was at this time that some of the Sizemores, Riddles, Ayers, Shepherds, and Collins and etc. moved back into the far northwestern mountains of North Carolina along the New River. It wasn’t new to them though for this was the home of the Tutelo back in the late 1600’s. This river has been used for centuries by our people in many ways including being used as a mode of transportation, trade, as well as a source of food and water The New River is a part of our history. Here the descendants of the Sizemores, Ayers, Shepherds and other Native American families remain till this day.