William Tilley stated in his Eastern Cherokee application (#38065) that his father was Joel A.Tilley, his grandfather was Aaron Tilley, his great-grandmother was Elizabeth Tilley (born Harris) and her father was named William Harris, who was the brother of Nancy Harris..All the applications for members of this family were rejected. Commissioner Guion Miller wrote "Claimant together with his parents and grandparents was born in Stokes Co., N.C. far removed from the Cherokee domain. There is nothing to establish Cherokee association, affiliation, or recognition between claimants immediate ancestors at 1855-56 or since. Claimants parents and grandparents were never enrolled as Cherokees." Miller carefully checked Cherokee censuses and rolls back to 1835 before making his decisions.
About 90,000 people were named in Eastern Cherokee applications but only 30,000 turned out to actually be Cherokee. Lawyers advertised that they could get people a share of the $4 million dollar settlement and made lots of money by charging people for filling out the forms and for writing letters on their behalf. In the end each person's share was only $133.00.