Luke Conerly is my 3rd great grand uncle (if you can follow that). I found this information on the web;
The following is found on page 22 of "Descendants of John and Cullen Conerly." by William A. and Irma Lampton. Printed in 1986.
For several generations there have been countless family records written showing Letitia, wife of Cullen Conerly, as the "daughter of Turner Ward, a Choctaw Tribal Chief, and his wife Socretia" (Also it has been said that Socretia was Choctaw Indian Princess and Turner Ward was a trader with the Indians). We believe, as do others, that this information is erroneous.
Mr. Nicholas Murray, a Conerly descendant, formerly of Hammond, Louisiana, now in North Salt Lake, Utah gives the following reasons why this is in error.
[1) The tribal home of the Choctaws was in Mississippi. Letitia lived and died in North Carolina. If she was any kind of Indian, it would have been, almost certainly, a Cherokee.
(2) There is no record of a Turner Ward ever having lived in Duplin Co., NC. There were, however a number of Wards living in the immediate vicinity of the home of Cullen and Letitia, probably members of the same family from which Letitia sprang.
(3) The Conerlys have always been strong for carrying on family names -- Cullen, Owen, Luke, William, John and so forth. NO Conerly child has ever been named Turner or Socretia.
(4) Turner Ward is supposed to have been a party to the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830. About the latest possible birth date for Letitia would be 1760, since her son Owen was born in 1777, according to his own Bible, and he had an older brother. Her father, therefore, would have been 90 or more in 1830- hardly likely to be very active.
(5) The first members of the Conerly family came to Mississippi about 1820, settling in the Southern part of the state. Others, apparently just about all of Cullen's children except John followed them within the next ten years. If they had had an influential grandfather in the northern part of the state, such as Turner Ward, why wouldn't some of them have gone there?
(6) No authority is ever given for the Turner-Socretia story. Most people cite Luke Ward Conerly as having provided the information; but no mention of either name, or of any Indian descent, is made in his well-known "History of Pike County", whereas he goes into meticulous detail on other aspects of the family history.
(7) It is always easy to believe something which would, if true, be to our advantage. At the time the Turner-Socretia legend became widespread, it was believed that the US Government was about to pay all Choctaw descendants a large sum of money in compensation for their tribal lands. It is my considered opinion that somebody deliberately invented the Turner Ward ancestry in hopes of getting some of this Indian money - I never heard of anyone ever getting any, incidentally - and the rest of the connection took it up with the same hope.
I wrote to M.M. Wilkinson, who repeats the same statement of Letitia's supposed parentage in his book, "Genealogy of Wilkinson and Kindred Families" asking him for his source. He never answered me.
There was, as it happens, a Luke Ward living eight houses away from Cullen Conerly in the 1784-87 State Census, and also near him in 1790. In the 1782 Tax Roll for Duplin Co, Cullen is listed immediately after Luke Ward Sr., immediately following him is Luke Ward, Jr. It would be my judgment that this would be Letitia's father, in view of the fact that Luke and Luke Ward were names given to a number of her descendants. This is, of course, pure speculation."
The authors concur with the reasons which Mr. Murray has given because we have also checked some of the same things that he mentions above.
We the authors, hope that the following documents will prove to all doubters that Letitia Ward was the daughter of Luke and Bridget Ward.
You will find wills, a map, estate records, relationships, guardianships, to prove the fact that Letitia was daughter of Luke and Bridget Ward. Cullen Conerly also named a son Luke and a later descendant was named Luke Ward Conerly, who wrote "History of Pike County, Mississippi 1798-1876."
Cullen must have married Letitia Ward soon after they moved to Duplin Co., because their first child was born about 1774. The will of Luke Ward dated May 30, 1796, mentions wife Bridget, son Luke, Penny, Elizabeth Pollock and dividing remaining part of my property among my six children.
The author's have made a good documentation , I think. Guess we will have to draw our own conclusions. I do know nothing was ever proven and we sure didn't get any money from the government. Daisy