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My Nelms Family Were Enslaved on What Was Native American Land

Pam Robinson Porterfield at Walls, Mississippi on the Middle Woodland Native American mound while an undergrad in anthropology and archaeology at Memphis State.

In December of 2020, I posted The Power of Connecting to Researchers in Your Ancestor's Area to some of my Facebook Groups. Little did I know that I would get this response in Alabama Genealogy! Just Ask! I have always been a believer in the power of social media particularly on Facebook.

My New GenFriend

Pam Robinson Porterfield is a member of Alabama Genealogy! Just Ask! I should not have had this to happen in Alabama Genealogy! Just Ask! Mississippi Genealogy! Just Ask! is where I would have expected Pam to respond. It shows me that I was meant to meet Pam.

This was her first response on the post:

Pam: We visited the site when I was an undergrad in anthropology/archaeology at Memphis state!

My immediate answer was:

Robin: Wow! Does anything stick out in your memory?

History of Native American's in Walls, Mississippi

Pam: This was pre-Tunica so the mound was down a 2 lane road out in the middle of a huge cotton field that went on for miles! . lots of arrowheads…pot sherds…. Mud… the ruins of the house were on top of the Middle Woodland Indian mound. The Indians were Quiz Quiz and related to the Natchez tribes. In the Mississippi vicinity houses were often built on top of the mounds to stay above potential floodwaters. There were Native American graves at the base of the mound with some bones exposed… there were some small grave goods like beads and pot sherds with them. I’m sure it’s protected now. I gave The house ruins little to no attention…there was some foundation, a well, bricks …. I may have a pic…I’ll look

I was so excited. I could see my Uncle Buddy back when I had taken his oral history interview. Suddenly, what he told me came back. He had said when he was little his grandmother would take him around with her. She would carry him upon her back like the Native Americans did. I did not know of the importance at the time. Some things he told me I cannot remember. It had to do with the influence of the Native American during enslavement.

All I could say was:

Robin: Wow!

Seeing the Land

Pam gave me the photo above.

Pam: This is all I had digital…dig my 80’s gear?…lol..this is only a partial of it…it is one of the biggest mounds in Mississippi (if I remember correctly). Mississippi State was researching it and maybe had it deeded to them. It was really fun visiting all the mound sites back in the day.

Robin: Oh my goodness! Thank you so much! There is great power in these groups. I could have never imagined someone having this experience and sharing it with me. Can I blog about this?

Pam: of course…genealogy are all family…literally… and determined to find the ancestors that connect us!

There it is. It's that special bond between two people who know genealogy is more than hobby.

Professor Dr. Dye and the Prehistoric Native American Village

An hour so later, Pam shared an article about Professor Dr. Dye:

Pam: Check this out. Dr. Dye was who we went on field trips with back in the day. Tunica May have built all over this place now… Construction Crew Uncovers Artifacts in Walls, MS (

Robin: Wow! I am so excited on so many levels. First, I get to learn more about my family. Second, I get to learn about the Native American in the same place.

The C.H. Nash Museum at the Prehistoric Chucalissa Archaeological Site

Pam also let me know about Chucalissa, a prehistoric Native American site:

Pam: Try to get to Memphis and tour Chucalissa it’s fascinating…I haven’t been in 30+ years and I’d love to go back!

Robin: Oh my! Yes. I will have to go.

Pam: Also, there is an Egyptian museum that is so awesome on Memphis State campus…being a sister city they received artifacts from everywhere… it was amazing to sit in there and study…mummies and large statues and tomb artifacts…it’s amazing.

Robin: Oh I bet it was. I love finding those places .... all because of you. Thank you so much.


First of all, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Pam who shared all this with me. I know she doesn't know what this does for me.

This has affected me on so many levels. The two most important things to me are family and Church.

Knowing that I can visit the Memphis museums and universities plus maybe even the land in Walls, Desoto County, Mississippi has made it possible for me to find out more about the Nelms family. I can develop a greater understanding about what my uncle was trying to express to me.

I am very interested in researching the Native Americans. They had a prehistoric village on the same property where my ancestors, Buck and Lucy Nelms and their family, were enslaved. Those Native Americans are connected to the Nephite or

Lamanite people.

Second, I will comb through our conversation and make a list of all the places where I plan to research. Are you stuck on an ancestor? Try out one of my Facebook Groups: Genealogy Just Ask.


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