Sunday, January 14, 2018

Salina PICKENS Chickasaw Freedwoman #488

52 Ancestors 52 Weeks

Chickasaw Freedmen #488 front HAWKINS, Culosh & Salina

When I research my ancestors who lived among the Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians I recognize just how fortunate I am for many of the documents available for identifying and documenting these men and women. One ancestor who is related by way of my great great grandmother Margaret Ann WILSON nee ALEXANDER is her daughter Salina PICKENS-HAWKINS. For many people who grew up in southern Oklahoma and specifically in and around Ardmore may recognize both names and their association to black families in that area. What I find significant as I research the history of my family and the history of the Chickasaw Freedmen is how blended and connected our families are to each other.

Salina HAWKINS was born in slavery and was enslaved by a Chickasaw woman named Tilda CRINER. For the purposes of those who come behind me to conduct research you should know Tilda CRINER nee LOVE was the daughter of Col. Benjamin LOVE. This is an important fact because Salina’s mother stated that she came to Indian Territory as an enslaved woman with the same Col. Ben LOVE. 

Chickasaw Freedmen #488 rear HAWKINS, Culosh, & Salina
As the daughter of Ben LOVE and the daughter of one of LOVE’S slaves; I ask the question how did Salina become the property of Tilda CRINER? One can only hope to locate LOVE family records at some point that might disclose how the LOVE family handled their enslaved population and if Salina was “gifted” to the CRINER family?

Again it is one of the “benefits” of having ancestors who were living among the Five Slave Holding Tribes, their existence at a certain point was well documented by the Dawes Commission. And let me disabuse anyone of thinking I mean that to say the Indians were kinder and gentler than their counterparts in other parts of the United States that held Africans in chattel slavery, they weren’t.  Nothing is clearer to that point than by looking at the rear of Salina and Culosh HAWKINS Dawes card. Every individual listed on the rear of that card was enslaved by a different Chickasaw Indian.

1900 Indian Territory Census p23B, Enumeration District 168 Lines 87-94

The Dawes card for Salina and Culosh list important information about their children and will be useful as more research is conducted on this branch of the family tree originating with Margaret Ann WILSON. The fact this information was generated in 1898 means that it is possible to locate this family in the 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 and hopefully the 1940 census.

The children as we see are becoming adults and having families of their own. This is where the information in the census records can be useful. Communities of freedmen in Indian Territory remained close to their homes until about the 1930’s and 40 when you begin to see a migration to areas away from the countryside and state where they had established their families and homes.

Chickasaw Freedmen Land Allotment Application #2001 Salina HAWKINS p3 
Besides the use of Dawes Cards in recreating our family’s history another set of records can be very useful in discovering all there is about the people who make up our family. One such record is the land allotment application records that can be found at:

When I looked through this file I discovered another descendant of Margaret Ann WILSON nee ALEXANDER. In the file of Margaret’s daughter Salina was a hand written letter by Salina inquiring about the land allotment for her daughter Maud PAYTON and Leroy PAYTON.

 Not only does this document provide vital information regarding additional people who descend from Margaret Ann WILSON but it also demonstrates that Salina could read and write based on the rear of the document that has her signature! 

We learn that Salina refers to herself as “Slinnie HAWKINS.” At the same time Salina refers to her husband as “Chulish HAWKINS.” Documents like this provide valuable information about our ancestors so we can reconnect our family and make it possible for future generations to truly know where they come from.

Chickasaw Freedmen Land Allotment Application #2001 Sallina HAWKINS p3 rear

As a result of this document several other people who descend from Margaret Ann WILSON emerge. Salina had a daughter Maud and a grandson that are enumerated on Chickasaw Freedman card #592 which provides the name of Maud’s husband and the father of her son Leroy PAYTON. On the rear of the card is the name of Maud’s father Jackson BAILEY is revealed, who appears to also have a Dawes card! As Indian Territory researchers we know the place where all of these people lived is provided on their Dawes card, which should help in locating them in the U.S. census later.

Maud PAYTON Chickasaw Freedwoman #592 front
Maud PAYTON Chickasaw Freedwoman #592 rear
What this record reveals it that before Salina was married Culosh HAWKINS at the time she enrolled her family gave birth to Maud from a relationship she had with Jackson BAILEY years before. This opens up other lines of inquiry and most importantly guides us to the M-1301 Oral Interview packet for both Maud PAYTON and Jackson BAILEY.

Chickasaw Freedmen M-1301 #592 Maud PAYTON p2
When I looked at the oral interview for Maud I was pleasantly surprised to see another ancestor that was the child of Margaret Ann WILSON and who I was acquainted with. In Maud’s interview were statements from her uncle William ALEXANDER who was enumerated on Chickasaw Freedman card number one.

William’s oral interview supporting his niece provides additional information about our extended family that was not readily known when I began researching and it demonstrates the value of the Dawes Commission records.

William is able to shed light on who enslaved Maud’s mother Salina HAWKINS which corroborates the information not only on Salina’s card but he confirms the information on his own card concerning who enslaved him and it provides some insight about the enslaved and the enslaver.

The name on both cards indicates the “slave owner” as Tilda CRINER but we learn her actual name is Matilda and her maiden name is LOVE. William goes on to inform us that Matilda married a white man named CRINER. William ALEXANDER states that “we stayed with Mrs. CRINER, always have lived with them.” He goes on to say “she kept children from about three or four years after the war.” This is important because if a freedman or freedman descendant was to receive a land allotment they had to prove they lived or returned to the nation right after the war in 1866. It also makes me wonder what kind of relationship the children had with Tilda CRINER that she “kept children” several years after the war?

Chickasaw Freedmen M-1301 #592 Maud PAYTON p3
In an effort to tie up this branch of the family tree it is important to look at the remainder of William ALEXANDER’S testimony concerning the application for land allotment. If you recall the place of residence for Maud was in Muskogee, Indian Territory, it was also the residence for her father Jackson BAILEY Chickasaw Freedman Card #903.

In William’s testimony to the commission he indicates young Leroy was living in Muskogee, Creek Nation with his grandfather Jackson. At some point those who descend from the BAILY line may pursue their connection to the ALEXANDER, HAWKINS, PAYTON AND WILSON branches of this family tree?

Chickasaw Freedmen M-1186 #903 front John BAILEY 
Chickasaw Freedmen M-1186 #903 rear John BAILEY
There is another document in the M-1301 file for Maud PAYTON that is vital to researching this family that is descended from Margaret Ann WILSON Choctaw Freedwoman #122. On page 5 of this file is a summarization of the interview sworn to by William ALEXANDER. The statement given by William to Dawes Commissioner A.S. McKENNON informed the commissioner that Maud was married to a U.S. citizen by the name of George PAYTON. Unlike white men who married Chickasaw women, George could not receive recognition as a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation nor could he be considered a freedman and receive forty acres of land he was therefore labeled as a non-citizen.

The document provided another revelation that Maud had a brother named Robert STEVENSON and he was enrolled as a Chickasaw Freedman on Dawes Card #591!  This becomes another example of just how intertwined the freedmen community was when it came to the development of families in the Chickasaw Nation.  This is the third man that fathered a child by Salina PICKENS-HAWKINS. It demonstrates that there are just small degrees of separation between the freedmen families. If nothing else it illustrates just how connected our families truly are.

With the fact that Robert STEVENSON was the son of Salina PICKENS-HAWKINS for anyone who grew up in the Ardmore, Oklahoma area recognize these surnames and now they have another nexus that will tie them to many more cousins that descend from Margaret Ann WILSON nee ALEXANDER and Cornelius PICKENS, former slaves of Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians.

Even though there is not a lot of information contained in the oral testimony file (M-1301) of Robert STEVENSON there is a great deal of information that can be gleaned from the front and rear of Robert’s Dawes card #591. The first thing to take note of is Robert and his family’s residence was in Springer, Indian Territory and the card provides names of his wife and children. Dawes card #591 provides the date of birth of a child L.G. Elnora as well as a notation about one other child that was documented on Minor Chickasaw Freedman Card #178 who was enrolled by Charles COHEE a well-known leader in the freedman community.

Chickasaw Freedmen M-1186 #591 front Robert STEVENSON
Chickasaw Freedmen M-1186 #591 rear Robert STEVENSON
M-1186  Minor Chickasaw Freedman # 178 Avis & Atwood STEVENSON
SURNAMES appearing in this article:
  • LOVE
GEOGRAPHICAL areas appearing in this article:

  • Chickasaw Nation
  • Creek Nation
  • Perry, OKLAHOMA
  • Pickens County,

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Joe FREEMAN 1829-19?? 52 Ancestors in 52 Week Challenge


M 1186 Choctaw Freedman Card #1422 Front
There is not a great deal of information about my great great grandfather Joe FREEMAN from family members but there is a small amount of information that we do know that was gathered from the Dawes allotment records. His age is given as seventy years when he filed for his land allotment in 1899 allowing us to speculate on his year of birth as 1829. Joe is one of the oldest living ancestors I found among the Dawes records but he was not the oldest. One other thing, I carry his name with me as my middle name; something I was unaware of when I began researching my family’s genealogical history almost thirty years ago.

Joe FREEMAN'S Dawes card provides some valuable clues that can be useful in efforts to discover additional information about Joe and his past. First it is shown he was enslaved by a Choctaw Indian named Brit WILLIS and in 1896 Joe established his tribal citizenship in Atoka County, Indian Territory. It was noted that in 1896 Joe FREEMAN had a tribal citizenship number 1457 and his postal address was given as Boggy Depot, Indian Territory.

There is one other notation on this card that can be important for future research about Joe FREEMAN. In the bottom left corner is a stamp that provides the approval date of enrollment in the Choctaw Nation as of June 23, 1904. The reason that is important is it means he lived at least until the enumeration of the United States 1900 Census. The thing to do now is to try and locate him in the Atoka area of the Choctaw Nation as well as locating his land allotment in or near the same area.
The rear of his Dawes card provides the names of his parents with hopes that will help drill down on more ancestors associated with Joe FREEMAN.

M 1186 Choctaw Freedman Card #1422 Rear
The rear of Choctaw Freedman Card #1422 does offer some more information about Joe, the FREEMAN family and possibly where they have ties. Unfortunately the name of Joe’s father is only given as FREEMAN and he is deceased but his mother’s name is provided. Joe’s mother is deceased but thankfully her name is provided as Charlotte FREEMAN and like Joe she was enslaved by Choctaw Indian Brit WILLIS. At some point it will be necessary to conduct research on Brit WILLIS and see what information may be available for Charlotte and Joe’s unknown father?

The information provided on the Dawes card was generated from a conversation or interview conducted by Dawes Commissioners and it is always beneficial to take a look at the interview jacket also known as M-1301. Like so many Dawes Commission interviews the packet provides only a summarized version of the interview. Information about Joe FREEMAN as a slave in the Choctaw Nation is indicates Joe considered himself the slave of Brit WILLIS’ first wife and not Brit WILLIS. 

M 1301 Choctaw Freedman Interview Packet #1422 p3 Joe FREEMAN 
The next document that provided some information on Joe FREEMAN is the 1900 census conducted in the Choctaw Nation. According to the Dawes card for Joe FREEMAN we know he resided in Atoka County in 1899. We also know from his allotment certificate he received his forty acre allotment in section 36, Township 2 South, Range 9 East. The land description was used in the early censuses for Indian Territory and that is where I looked for Joe FREEMAN in the 1900 Census.

1900 U.S. Census Indian Territory, Choctaw Nation, Atoka County E.D. 182; T2S, R9E pg15A, lines 11 & 12

Application for Land Allotment Joe FREEMAN #4703 p8

Joe FREEMAN had many children and I have been able to identify a possible ten by three different women. On the 1900 census we see he has a wife named Rhoda who is listed as fifty-five years of age and is attributed with giving birth to eight children but only one child was living in 1900. I have yet to determine if any of her children were fathered by Joe and I don’t know if she was a Choctaw Freedwoman but the census does indicate she was born circa 1845 in Indian Territory. 

The other significant piece of information in the 1900 census is the place where Joe and his mother were born. Joe states he was born in Mississippi indicating a strong possibility he came to Indian Territory as a child during the so called "Trail of Tears." The census has Joe's mother Charlotte as being born in Virginia. Those two points of information indicate that Joe's mother was possibly sold to someone in Mississippi where she gave birth to Joe. The document seems to be consistent in the fact that Joe FREEMAN did not know the name of his father because in that column his father's name is noted as unknown.

The earliest recorded birth year for one of his children is circa 1858 just a couple of years before the Civil War meaning that child was born as a slave in the Choctaw Nation. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of information about the various relationships Joe FREEMAN had with the women who gave birth to his children but many lived to enroll as Choctaw Freedmen and I will include them in the story of the FREEMAN clan during the 52 Week Ancestor Writing Program. 

It is not known if Joe FREEMAN had any siblings that lived among the Choctaw Indians but the search continues…

SURNAMES mentioned in this article:


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Warrior Wednesday Robert McGUFFIN

Oklahoma Historical Society 1998-Oklahoma City, OK

About 20 years ago I was conducting some research at the Oklahoma Historical Society before they moved to their present location. While there I was amazed at one of the paid staffers give a man some incorrect information that I knew was wrong on so many levels.

Like many people that discover they have "Indian" ancestry he was there trying to find some information on his family, if they had a connection to the Cherokee tribe and if they had as he was told, Cherokee blood.

This man named Robert McGUFFIN (I didn't know his name at the time) asked the staffer if there were records on the Cherokee freedmen at the library and could she help him locate them. The woman tersely informed she couldn't and just pointed in the general direction of some files and told him he "could find them over there." This gentleman politely walked away and I could tell he was a little disappointed but he sat down and continued to work on something that I forget now, 20 years later.

I just happened to have my laptop with me on this trip and I had a copy of the Native American index CD produced by OHS which had an index of the Dawes records. Not only that but when I first arrived at the library and went up to the large counter for a pencil (with a little confederate flag in the cup) I noticed a stack of the Native American CD collection right in front of  where this woman working.

After watching the shameful display of this woman I eased on over to this elderly gentleman and asked him what he was looking for and if he mind if I tried to help him. You could see the joy on his face that somebody would take the time to help him in something he clearly was unfamiliar with. Granted this was probably my second trip there in two years but I had been doing research for a few years and got a good idea of the library from my first visit.

Robert told me he had the name of an ancestor that he was told might be Cherokee Indian and all he wanted to do was see if he could verify the information on that ancestor. So I got up, went to counter and removed one of the disc sitting on the counter in front of the staffer. I knew this women knew exactly what he wanted and could have informed him because he too had a laptop computer to do his research. I plopped the disc in his CD drive and once he told me the name(s) of his ancestors we found them of all places on the Cherokee by Blood rolls.

Now I was trapped, I came there to do my own research but for the next hour or so we worked on his family, found the cards, copied them from the microfilm and he could not have been happier! So was I because all the while this was happening you know who had to see it all play out in front of her...

Well together we secured many documents on his family Dawes Cards and M1301 Interview packets and before he left he asked me for my name and address because he wanted to do something for me. He asked me if I liked baseball and I told him it was one of my favorite sports. Since he told me he was St. Louis I let him know Ozzie SMITH grew up in my neighborhood and went to the same high school in Los Angeles.

wow, I didn't think I would get emotional about this...

Well a few weeks later I got a package in the mail from Robert McGuffin and it was a board game he invented called Family Baseball. I still have it, and consider it a prize possession. The reason I’m relating this story at all is because I was putting together an outline for a story I'm trying to write and this memory popped up so I thought I would google him and the game to see what happened to him, is he on Facebook  and if he ever attempted to enroll as a Cherokee citizen?

It is with great sadness I found the obituary for Robert McGUFFIN this morning and I wish I could remember who his ancestor was and if the family ever attempted to enroll.

I never forgot the incident because it taught me a valuable lesson. When researchers in my opinion, Indian Territory Freedmen researchers in the early days of research were not taken seriously by a certain segment of folks at OHS and unfortunately if you didn’t know the right question to ask you may not get the same level of help and professionalism from a state run and funded institution.

That is not to say there were and are some very good people there (I have some fond memories of Chester the curator of the photo department) that have no problem helping and sharing information but since I was from California and the first thing I saw when I visited that library was a little confederate flag in the pencil cup (of all places) to remind people this was "Little Dixie." I know on some subsequent visits I didn’t see that flag in the pencil holders but it has been a while and an institution supported by ALL of the citizens of Oklahoma (including freedmen descendants) should treat all visitors with more respect than what Robert McGUFFIN got that day.

I did not forget Robert and as always, things seem to come to me when I need them; it was with great sadness to come across his obit this morning. I lost contact with him and really never expected anything in return from him; I just saw someone who needed help and was being disrespected by a woman who could have spent all of 3 minutes to show this man an important piece of information that he came all the way from St. Louis, MO to find.

Quite frankly I got more out of helping him (instead of getting my work done) than he would ever know. I felt a certain obligation to help him because of the little knowledge I had and recalled how much I relied on people like Angela WALTON-RAJI and Robert BROOME when I first began researching. Like Robert there was NO ONE who could tell me anything about Chickasaw freedmen so I was just paying it forward.

I guess this is just another reminder of the great responsibility we have to tell our story and you never know who will impact your life or the lives you will impact when you give a little bit of yourself?

The game he sent me I have never taken the time to play but I treasure it as if it were some precious stone or metal because when Robert McGUFFIN left the library that day, he knew so much more about his family’s history and their connection to the Cherokee Nation that was payment enough.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Frank LIGON Chickasaw Freedman #864

Angela Walton-Raji back in April 2017  wrote an article on Nellie & Frank LIGON that I didn't pay much attention to at the time because I was familiar with the two. I have been going back over some Dawes cards in preparation for some articles and came across the mother and her son and decided to look at the files again. One of the things we both noticed was the fact that certain information was missing from both files but what got me to thinking was who was Frank's father?

Frank LIGON Chickasaw Freedman M-1186 #864 rear
I went back through both files and came across the hand written affidavit provided on behalf of Nellie but located in Frank's M1301 and in it Nellie revealed some important information.

Frank LIGON Chickasaw Freedman M-1301 #864 p5
 Angela correctly noted that Nellie had been "taken" to Texas during the War of the Rebellion and came back to Indian Territory following the birth of her son Frank. However included in that affidavit was the name of Frank's father Isaac LIGON something that was not reflected on Frank's Dawes card but should have.

Because I'm a LIGON and have some connection to Texas as far as that name goes it is now worth looking into whether or not Isaac had any connection to my great grandfather Hadley LIGON?

I don't know if Isaac remained in TX or moved to Indian Territory with Nellie. Clearly he was not mentioned as being a freedman of any nation on Nellie's or Frank's Dawes card.

Obi-wan Kenobe my only hope is Isaac shows up in a census in Texas or Indian Territory circa 1900 or earlier. The fact that Frank was born in TX circa 1869 the family may show up in the 1870 census?

The other thing that could be of interest is the 3 older children with the surname TILLMAN. Were they enrolled as freedmen and was their father Porter TILLMAN an Indian Territory Freedmen?

sounds like another research project...thanx alot!

I had a (bad) copy of a Dawes card #1515 for a Joe TILLMAN it appears his mother was Nellie LIGON and father Porter TILLMAN! I wonder what his M1301 has to say about all of this and whether there is a notation on his siblings?
Joe TILLMAN Chickasaw Freedman M-1186 #1515 front
Joe TILLMAN Chickasaw Freedman M-1186 #1515 rear
Well this only makes it an imperative to scrutinize the M-1301 packet for Joe TILLMAN and hope there are some clues to his sisters and whether they were also Chickasaw Freedmen and if there is any clue regarding the father of Frank LIGON, their little brother who was born in Texas?

In the oral interview provided by Nellie LIGON in the M-1301 file for Joe TILLMAN she provides some very good genealogical information about Joe and his siblings. Because in an earlier statement Nellie only provided the maiden names of her daughters but in this document the married name of Joe’s sister Ruth is revealed as SMITH and she has four children; Jamie and Jodie SMITH as well as Lucy and Frank THOMAS. It is also revealed “Ruthie” is living in the Chickasaw Nation where she has born!

Another interesting bit of information is provided that may or may not mean much; Nellie was asked “was Joe born here?” Nellie answer indicates Joe was not “but pretty close by, down across the Red River.” That could mean that Joe was also born in Texas and if so that could mean Nellie was somewhere close to Cooke County, Texas?

Of course none of this provides much about Frank’s father Isaac other than another document that indicates his father died as indicated on the rear of his card. It will take more research to determine if there was any connection between Isaac and Hadley LIGON across the Red River in Cooke County, Texas?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Timeline Thursday-Blacks Among the Five Slave Holding Tribes 1906-1913

April 1906-Five Tribes Bill established final enrollment deadline of March 4, 1907. Claimants
Muskogee Democrat p4c4-5
were allowed one more chance for appeal. The bill placed a 25-year restriction on 'full blood' land.

November 1906 - The department of the interior reverses the decision of Tams Bixby relating to new born Choctaw freedmen: giving those under 21 years of age, who were living on March 19, 1906 a right to enrollment

February 1907-Senate Investigation into the “Official Conduct” of William O. Beall, Secretary to the Commissioner of the Five Civilized Tribes. (Senate Document 357; 59th Congress, 2nd Session)

February 1907-Resolution of Constitutional Convention of Oklahoma remonstrating against the passage of the bill to authorize the so-called Frisco Railway Company to consolidate and merge certain small branch lines in the Indian Territory.

March 1907-Five Tribes' governments cease operations. All rolls were closed.

April 1907-A vigilance committee of the citizens of Waurika posted notices to the Negroes to vacate the community within twenty four hours.

April 1907-The suit Bettie Ligon et al., (Equity Case 7071) filed in the United States Court at Ardmore Saturday evening(April 13th) involving property worth probably $15,000,000, attracts attention as one of the most gigantic pieces of litigation in the history of the Indian Territory. The litigants sought to be transferred from the Choctaw or Chickasaw Freedmen rolls to the respective by blood roll. 

May 1907-Tulsa, May 29, Judge William Lawrence, in a special court session here today, denied the intervention set up by Joseph H. Tiger, a Creek freedman, in the case of Smith and Fewell, versus .S. S. Steele. The decision is far reaching, effecting 5,000 Creek freedmen.

July 1907-Some 2,000 Cherokee freedmen who have lost out in the citizenship courts but are still in possession of lands on which they have lived for years are to be ejected by the United States Indian Agent.

November 16, 1907- Oklahoma Territory as well as Indian Territory became a memory on this date with the signing of the statehood proclamation by President Theodore Roosevelt, Oklahoma became the 46th State.

April 1908-Muskogee; Since the “Jim Crow” law went into effect in Oklahoma it has been observed that the Negroes established a boycott on the street car company.

April 1908-Muskogee, OK, Justice Wright of the United States Supreme Court issued a writ of mandamus compelling the Secretary of the Interior to place Lillie Lowe and six other Cherokee freedmen, who had been stricken from the rolls by the Dawes Commission, back on the rolls, and give them allotments.

May 1908-Congress removed restrictions on all Tribal allotments to whites, some 'mixed-bloods' and freedmen. Restrictions were retained for 'full blood' and some mixed bloods. More than 11,000 requests to remove restrictions were filed the first year.

June 1908-Hominy: The importing of Negro laborers in this section has given rise to intense feeling of opposition among white citizens, who are against the populating of the state with the black race

San Francisco Call p34 c3 February 24, 1907
September 1908-George Washington, an aged Negro of Okmulgee is preparing to call a state convention of Negroes to take up the proposition of colonizing Liberia with Oklahoma Negroes.

September 1908-Judge A. H. Huston in the district court at Guthrie declared unconstitutional the Oklahoma separate school law providing separate school boards and separate schools for Negroes in the new state.

October 1908-U. S. Court of Appeals ruled that Bettie Ligon and family are freedmen and not of Chickasaw and Choctaw blood. Records from Dancing Creek Treaty in Mississippi of 1830 were introduced to show that the Ligon's were lineal descendants, if they were of blood they would be entitled to 320 acres, freedmen received only 40 acres.

February 1909-A Muskogee grand jury indicts Gov. Charles Haskell and three others, charging fraud in a Muskogee and Tulsa town lot scheme.

March 1909 – Race Riot: Hickory Grounds; Negroes, Indians; Militia Sent.

May 1909-Washington. The court of claims has rendered a decision which will give one thousand four hundred Cherokee Freedmen applicants, a chance to go into court and prove that they were unjustly rejected by the Dawes Commission when they were entitled to enrollment and allotment

July 1909-NAACP founded.

July 1909-Lynching murder of Albert Turner

July 1910-Regarding the “Negro disfranchisement,” which is a live issue in Oklahoma, Ex-President Roosevelt asserts that neither state nor party can afford to disfranchise Negroes by indirection

June 1911-Charles Cohee and other freedmen have filed an appeal in the Supreme Court contesting the judgment rendered against them in favor of Turner & Wiggins Negro attorneys

September 1911-The Negroes of Colbert, Oklahoma have organized for mutual protection against the efforts of the whites to drive them from that part of the country.

July 1912-Attorney General West will go to Muskogee Friday and represent the state in proceeding instituted before U. S. Judge Ralph K. Campbell, to compel the registration of Negroes in eastern counties, without regard to their qualifications under the “Grandfather Clause.”

July 1913-Believing that the Grandfather Clause and the Jim Crow Law was placed on the statute book to make life as uncomfortable as possible for them, 125 or more Negroes will leave Oklahoma City in September to go to Monrovia, Liberia.

December 1913-Fifteen hundred Negroes residing along the Ft. Smith and Western Railway, have completed arrangements to sail for Africa the first of the year.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Warrior Wednesday Charles COHEE President Chickasaw Freedmen Association

Graphic created by Terry Ligon © 2011-2017

Charles COHEE was born in February of 1848 he was considered to be part Chickasaw and part African descent. His wife Mary was mixed white and African descent. His father was a free man who it was said, appeared to look like an Indian with long straight hair. Charles Sr. came to Indian Territory with the Chickasaws around 1837. He attended the Chickasaw Council’s and acted as their interpreter.

M1186 #171F Chickasaw Freedmen Charles COHEE
M1186 #171R Chickasaw Freedman Charles COHEE

Charles COHEE Jr. became a prominent leader among the freedmen in his community of Berwyn and Dresden. In 1891 COHEE and Freedman Marcus HAMILTON traveled to Washington, D.C. to voice their concerns to Congress and the President of the U.S.

Senate Miscellaneous Document 24 (53rd Congress, 3rd Session)

In 1894 Chickasaw Freedmen held a convention and established contracts with attorneys named MULLEN and BELT who were hired to secure allotments for the Chickasaw freedmen and if failing to do that, they were instructed to negotiate and secure land for the freedmen some where else.

Senate Miscellaneous Document 24 (53rd Congress, 3rd Session) p28

The Committee of Chickasaw Freedmen’s Association which included Isaac C. KEMP, George W. HALL and Mack STEVENSON brought to the attention of U.S. Congress that the Freedmen did not participate in the creation of the Treaty of 1866 and therefore insisted the United States fulfill its fiduciary responsibility to protect the rights of the Chickasaw Freedmen.

Senate Miscellaneous Document 24 (53rd Congress, 3rd Session) p 36

The United States represented by the Dawes Commission began work to dissolve the Five Civilized Tribes in 1898, Charles COHEE, now the President of the Chickasaw Freedmen’s Association called for a convention to meet at the Dawes Academy near Berwyn on August 4th and 5th of the same year to pass several resolutions to fight for their rights under the Treaty of 1866.

Senate Miscellaneous Document 24 (53rd Congress, 3rd Session) p 37

The “Twin Territories” became the state of Oklahoma in 1907, in less than a year in April of 1908 Charles COHEE was deceased. Throughout his life Charles COHEE served the Chickasaw Freedmen and his community by representing their interest and desire to become citizens in the nation of their birth. His example of leadership is something we can learn from today as we preserve and highlight his legacy as a leader among the African and African-Native people of Indian Territory.

Senate Miscellaneous Document 24 (53rd Congress, 3rd Session) p 38

This is a re-post of a previous article with minor revisions.