I often set aside articles on topics that look like they might deserve more research - and that's how I discovered Esther Beaumont. A Native American basket-maker, Esther sold her wares in Durham during the late 1800s. From the practice,she gained the title "Durham's last Indian."
But what do we really know about Esther? Relatively little. According to the Middlesex County Historical Society, she was born about 1797 and was of Wangunk (a local tribe) descent. Originally married to a Native American man, she finished her life married to Prince Beaumont, an African-American man. Vicki Welch's And They Were Related, Too adds more information. Esther's father was Namaan Rogers; her first husband was a Mohegan man named John Uncas.
Unfortunately, this paints an incomplete picture of Esther's family. Who was her mother? Her siblings? When did she first marry? Was her first husband's father a Revolutionary War veteran, as the pension list suggests? As the family does not appear on the census, they are hard to trace. But for a Native American genealogist, this is a potential goldmine. I hope someone chooses to pursue it.