Betsy claimed to have been born in 1823 (1900 census), and in the 1910 census, she was said to have been born in 1820. This would make her an entire generation removed from her children, which suggests that she, like almost everyone on the frontier, was addicted to exaggerating her age. Her birth date should have been closer to 1840.
The 1905 Indian census gives her Hocąk name as Say Nay Win Kah, which may be a misperception of Sįnį́wįga, "Cold Woman." The transcription suggests Senewįga, which resists analysis.
The 1910 census says that she was 1/4 white, which means that one of her grandparents, most likely a male, was a white man.
Victoria Brown summarizes what has been passed down about Betsy:
The 1885 Wisconsin State census shows her living next to William Thunder and his wife, as does the 1910 Federal census. The latter census states that she had had ten children of which only three were still living at the time. Two dwellings away (in 1885) is a John Thunder, who may also be a son. In the 1900 Federal census, Henry Thunder is indicated as one of her sons. The 1905 Indian census explicitly identified three of her sons: William, Henry, and Thundercloud (a unitary name).
The 1910 census lists her occupation as "Doctor, General Practice."
1885 — Betsy, living with her 19 year old son, Henry, in Albion, next to her son William and his wife, moved with her presumed son John to neighboring Manchester between the 1st and 13th of June. (1885 censuses)
1895 — She was living next to her son Henry in Manchester. (1895 census)
1900 — Betsy was living in a lodge next to the wooden frame house of her son Henry in Manchester township, Jackson County, Wisconsin. (1900 census)
At least one genealogist has proposed that Betsy's husband was White Thunder (b. 1821) inasmuch as they are so identified in the 1900 census from Wittenberg. This woman, however, is named "Bettie" and is said to have been born in 1815. Unfortunately, the same census shows a Betsy Thunder (b. 1823) living by Henry Thunder (her son) in Manchester in Jackson County. Wittenberg is in Shawano County. The Manchester census was conducted on the 1st of June, that of Shawano County on 13 June. Therefore, "Bettie" is not likely an alternate name for Betsy Thunder.
Something similar is seen in the 1885 census. In the township of Albion, on 1 June, John Thunder is listed with 4 males and 1 female, followed by Snider Bear (an in-law?), 2/1; Betsy Thunder, 1/2; and William Thunder, 1/1. On 20 June, in the township of Manchester, we have John Thunder, 3/2; M B Thunder, 1/1; Betsy Thunder, 1/1. Notice that John went from 4/1 to 3/2 while Betsy went from 1/2 to 1/1, but a new female emerges, M. B., who has the missing 1/1. This suggests, since they were all living in lodges at the time, that they moved shortly after 1 June, to their usual home base in Manchester, which is divided from Albion Township by Perry Creek. So in this case the plausible explanation is that on or slightly after 1 June 1885, they packed their lodge hides, and moved a few rods or miles into the next township where they were counted again by a different census taken on the 13th of June.
She passed away before 1917. The 1910 Federal census shows her to be still alive, but she is absent in the 1917 Indian census.
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Betsy is 25 degrees from Charles Grey, 26 degrees from Henry Herbert, 31 degrees from William Cobbett, 27 degrees from William Lamb, 36 degrees from James Lush, 35 degrees from David Heath, 30 degrees from Mary Ann Withers, 27 degrees from Robert Blake, 47 degrees from William Dove, 36 degrees from Richard Venfield, 38 degrees from James House and 28 degrees from Karen Stewart on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.