Monday, January 21, 2019


Runaway Slaves Found Refuge with the Chickasaw People

 Chickasaw TV

Just when you didn’t think it could get any crazier I wake up to find this on my Facebook page.

Runaway slaves found refuge with the Chickasaw people

Now I don’t know who wrote this, who gave permission to post it on an official Chickasaw Nation website but clearly someone got their “facts” twisted. Now I don’t know if any runaway slaves sought refuge in the Chickasaw Nation because I have not seen any documented history to demonstrate that. What I do know is the people; my people who were enslaved in the Chickasaw Nation were not met with a kinder and gentler form of the oppressive institution of slavery in all of its hideous manifestations.

I know when my great-great grandmother Margaret Ann WILSON came to Indian Territory; she came as the slave of Col. Benjamin LOVE. I know the LOVE family of slave owners held hundreds of African and African-Native people like Margaret enslaved and they were not runaways and they were just happy to be working on an Indian plantation as opposed to the one she would have been working on in Tuscumbia, Alabama before she made that trip on the trail to Indian Territory.
I know when she gave birth to her children some of them were enslaved prior to having to be emancipated in 1866. If they were runaways from white folks in the south why is it they had to be, HAD TO BE emancipated from enslavement some forty or sixty or ninety years later from a kinder gentler enslaver like those in the LOVE family?

Why is it when Margaret gave birth to one of Col. Benjamin LOVE’S relatives did the Chickasaw Nation deny her the dignity of being recognized as a Chickasaw Indian?

Why is it that the children and descendants of those runaways not welcomed into the nation TODAY and taken in like those so called runaway slaves if the nature of the tribe is to embrace the people that have a shared history and in some cases share blood with them?

The revisionist history of slavery in the Chickasaw Nation that the author of this story is writing is replete with omissions, half-truths and downright mis-characterizations it is curious how this article was ever allowed to see the light of day; and that begs the question, why was it written and for what purpose?

The author(s) are using “statistics” (who knows where they got them) that should be cited if anyone is to take this article seriously.

By the latter part of the 18th century, more than 100 runaway African slaves had found refuge with some Chickasaw families. Gradually the number increased until records indicate that before Removal, the African slave population numbered 1,156.

You mean to tell me there was a population of over one-thousand “African” slaves in the Chickasaw Nation prior to “removal” Perhaps the authors were borrowing a little history from the Seminole Nation to make this statement? And they found “refuge” among the Chickasaw “families?” REALLY?

They arrived at a time when several Chickasaw families were moving out of traditional Chickasaw villages to establish farmsteads and plantations.

The author of this article would have us believe the runaway slaves happened along JUST IN TIME to help with the transformation of the Chickasaw nation to a more “CIVILIZED” existence as they moved out of their “traditional Chickasaw villages to establish farmsteads and plantations.” Those are some amazing runaways with exceptional timing if you ask me.  

Most African slaves worked on the larger Chickasaw plantations and were not subject to the brutality experienced by those who worked for many white slave owners.

Let’s start with the fact that if you looked at the 1860 Arkansas Slave Schedule of Indian Territory you will see a large percentage of SLAVES who were described as M for mulatto. Now they could have been runaway mulatto slaves or they could have been the product of Chickasaw men fathering children by their “grateful” runaway slaves only to enslave their own children, hmmm, I Don’t Think So! That doesn’t give me reason to think things were better as a slave of a Chickasaw than an enslaver in Alabama and Mississippi.

The Chickasaw slaves were free to attend church at the missions, and they often served as translators by virtue of their knowledge of English and Chickasaw.

The idea that slaves were allowed (ALLOWED) to attend church and serve as translators is probably the only truthful and verifiable statement in this article but that doesn’t mean it was good to be the slave; it only means you were being “allowed” to exist in a world that subjugated everything you did and still held you in bondage, not a citizen and not with rights and privileges of citizenship.

About 200 Chickasaw families owned African slaves who cultivated Chickasaw plantations, tended free range herds of cattle and assisted in household work.

This is historical malpractice and a weak attempt at distorting the history of the Chickasaw Nation. They should tell you about the memorial sent to the United States Congress that sought citizenship by adoption by all of these runaways only to be denied because the Chickasaws thought they would be perceived as a "black tribe" if they adopted their former (they ceased to be runaways once in Indian Territory if they ever were runaway) slaves.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Call For Essays-Vignettes of Indian Territory


This is a call for Essays for Indian Territory Freedmen and/or African-Native Descendants who would like to contribute and share a family history of their ancestor who was an original Dawes enrollee.

The working title of the publication is “Vignettes of Indian Territory, Family Histories of African and African-Native People” This involves writing short family stories on an original Dawes enrollee with the inclusion of a photo image of that enrollee.

If you have an image to share of an ancestor who was an original Dawes enrollee I would like your permission to use that image and hopefully encourage you to write a short essay/story of that ancestor consisting of 500 words or less?

For my purposes I need a relatively good image in jpg format submitted no later than February 15, 2019. I would also like to know the Dawes Card number that ancestor is enumerated on so I can access a copy of it to include in the publication.

In addition to the short story and portrait I would need written permission to use the story and images of your ancestor so I can publish your submission. If you have any questions you can contact me at my email address which is also where you send you submission.

Guidelines for submitting a Vignette
  1.  Biography 500 words of “less”
  2. Image of ancestor in jpg format
  3. California font 11 point type
  4. Written permission to use photo and bio
  5. Submit no later than February 15, 2019
  6. Name and email address
  7. Dawes Card number 

An example of what I'm constructing follows:


Ardena Darneal-Jones was born March 17th 1897 in Braden, Indian Territory on the on the former slave plantation of John Ring. The Ring Plantation became a sharecropper’s community and township during reconstruction in Indian Territory.

Ardena was the youngest of the family having a brother named Montville Arnolds who was born in 1891. Ardena’s mother, Fannie Colbert was a Chickasaw Freedmen that was born in 1871 in the Choctaw Nation. Fannie’s Mother, Hettie (Reynolds) Lucas was born in 1846, in the Choctaw Nation, she was the daughter of Bill and Tempsey Reynolds whose enslaver was Levi Reynolds. 

Ardena and her mother, Fannie received their land allotment based on this lineage. They received 80 acres on the Arkansas and Oklahoma border and later sold it and move to nearby Fort Coffee, Oklahoma.
Ardena’s history was very interesting, like a lot of other freedmen of the five tribes; she was the daughter of a blood Indian and a descendant of a slave. Her father Silas Darneal was born in the year 1866 in the Choctaw Nation and died in 1929.  Ardena’s family history indicates her grandfather; James Darneal was the last Sherriff and Executioner for the Choctaw Nation. Ardena’s great Grandfather, Anselon Darneal was a full blood Choctaw that never removed to Indian Territory.
Ardena married Johnnie Jones in the early 1920’s and they had ten children, my mother, Electa was the eldest. Johnnie Jones was a descendant of a black man named William Jones and Roxanna Fillyaw, a mulatto, that migrated to Indian Territory from Bartholomew Township, Lincoln County, Arkansas.
I remember the sweet, kind, generous and caring attributes she possessed. I remember how she maneuvered through the era of “Jim Crow” in Spiro, Oklahoma, easily. Because her father was a blood Indian there was an understanding, among the locals, not to bother her. Based on oral testimonies of some of my older siblings, my grandfather, Johnnie would send Ardena to Spiro to conduct business so he would not have to endure the Jim Crow practices of that era.
Ardena was a house wife all of her married life. She loved and cared for her children. My grandmother made sure they had plenty to eat and she taught them many skills and a work ethic that was has been guided me and my siblings today. 

v  Story Written by Verdie TRIPLETT
v  Image  Courtesy of the Verdie TRIPLETT Collection

v  Image edited by Terry LIGON

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Chickasaw Freedmen Community Project-Stonewall, Indian Territory

Township 2 North, Range 7 East
Enumeration District #121
Population of Freedmen: Approximately 165

Unlike most researchers who have a connection to the freedmen of Indian Territory I have tried to concentrate my interest on the larger communities of freedmen, especially the formerly enslaved of the Chickasaw Nation. It has been my contention for years that if I take the time to learn about these larger communities I will discover my family within them. I have not been disappointed.

This method of research allows me to look at these communities and settlements as historical places on the landscape of Chickasaw history, Oklahoma history and the history of black people who have not have their story fully told. It is within that framework I have extracted some of the vital information on Dawes Cards for Chickasaw Freedmen to develop a way to look at what these communities may have been like.

The people who populated the larger settlements known as Stonewall, Berwyn, Woodford, Pontotoc, Burneyville, Homer, Hennepin, Tatum and Wynnewood just to name a few provide a very good look into how the Chickasaw Freedmen progressed in a very hostile nation that refused to accept them as citizens.

By reconstructing these communities and using the Dawes cards as a basis for information we can begin to look for the institutions that make up a community; businesses, schools, churches, homesteads, leaders and much more.

We know that the Dawes enumeration process that documented the residences for the Chickasaw Freedmen began around 1896-1899 and that is like a snapshot in time that allows for research that takes you beyond just getting to know your immediate family because in the end, these families were inter-connected through blood, culture and marriage that illustrates they were more than just names on a piece of paper.

When you take into consideration that the 1900 United States Census for Indian Territory was just one or two years following the Dawes enrollment process we can see the beginnings of a community of people that preceded Oklahoma statehood and follow them up to the migration of freedmen descendants throughout the country as they sought to find more opportunities that would provide for their family’s and the generations to follow.

There were certainly individuals in these communities and settlements that stood out as leaders like Charles COHEE, William ALEXANDER, Mack STEVENSON and my great grandmother Bettie LIGON yet there are others who have a story to tell and by telling the story of their communities I hope to bring well deserve attention to their story; our story!

Stonewall, Indian Territory was a town located in Pontotoc County near Ada. It had a history that began before the War of the Rebellion and established a post office circa 1874-75 that numerous freedmen families used as their place of residence on their Dawes Card.
Stonewall was home to the Chickasaw National Academy from 1856 up to 1880 (RHYNES)

The location and importance of this town to the Chickasaw Nation is not to be dismissed and therefore it is important to look at the people who populated Stonewall and the surrounding communities. It is not an accident that the freedmen established homes in this town and by doing so they clearly should be included as a part of the history and development of Stonewall, Indian Territory.
Map 1896 Stonewall, Indian Territory Chickasaw Nation

  1. GRAYSON, Serena CHIF#03
  2. NAIL, Joe CHIF#04 b.1828-d.5/1/1900-ATOT-enslaver COLBERT, Calvin
    1. Father-Peter
    2. Mother-NAIL, Harriet enslaver NAIL, Joel
  3. FRAZIER, Tony CHIF#05-EC-7071
  4. HARRIS, Mimy CHIF#08
  5. FRANKLIN, Wash CHIF#09
  6. VOLLEN, Mary CHIF#10-b.1833-ATOT-enslaver FRAZIER, Nancy
    1. Father-NELSON
    2. Mother-NELSON, Becky enslaver FRAZIER, Mollie
  7. BRUNER, Mary CHIF#11
  8. FOREMAN, Jeff CHIF#12
  9. CHARLES, Amos CHIF#14
  10. NOEL, Charley CHIF#15-EC-7071
  11. FRANKLIN, Jeff CHIF#16-See Petition to Transfer#1
  12. JOHNSON, Violet CHIF#17
  13. BROWN, Albert CHIF#19
  14. LEADER, Jane CHIF#21-b.1832-ATOT-enslaver FRAZIER, Nancy
    1. Father-COLBERT, Mike d. enslaver COLBERT, Alfred
    2. Mother-COLBERT, Minney d. FRANKLIN, Nancy
  15. BLUE, Sam CHIF#22
  16. ABRAM, George CHIF#23_b.1820-d.05/25/1900-ATOT-enslaver Ontiabby
    1. Father-ABRAM d
    2. Mother-ABRAM, Jennie d.
  17. ABRAM, Paralee CHIF#23-b.1833-ATOT-enslaver BROWN, Chomikee
    1. Father-PERRY, Homday-d enslaver PERRY, Jim
    2. Mother-PERRY, Mirna-d. enslaver McCLISH
  18. FRAZIER, Sookey CHIF#24-b. 1834-ATOT-enslaver WATERS, Katie_EC-7071
    1. Father-McGEE, Andy d. enslaver McGEE, Marcum
    2. Mother-McGEE, Flora d. enslaver WATERS, Katie

There is more to learn about the Chickasaw Freedmen population of Stonewall which requires researching other historical records that might provide stories that include the names listed here. We can use the census records of 1910-1940 to see how the families of freedmen began to enlarge through marriage and childbirth as well as those who died and left their mark on the community.

As you can see from some of my notations there are many who lived in Stonewall that came to Indian Territory as an enslaved individual during the removal (ATOT.) From that information we may see which Chickasaw Indian enslaved them. Additionally we may discover the name of that individual’s parents and who enslaved them? The question becomes did the parent and child come to the territory at the same time or were they separated and never saw one another again?

The other aspect of this type of community research allows the researcher to see who among the population sought to be recognized as a Chickasaw by blood (EC-7071.) Within this community there are several cards that imply someone on it has claimed to have a parent or ancestor that was a recognized citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. This demonstrates that within that community of freedmen that lived among the Chickasaws was an individual or family that may have had ties to a Chickasaw family in the area or certainly in the nation.

Sookey FRAZIER or someone in her family would seem to fill in all the boxes as a woman or child that came to Indian Territory during the removal and either had Chickasaw blood or a child of had a claim of Chickasaw Indian ancestry?

It is important as Chickasaw Freedmen researchers we begin to expand our thinking about our ancestors and reclaim all of their history. We need to discover the stories that include them in the history of the Chickasaw Nation, the history of Oklahoma and the history as African-Americans.

It is not easy but it is necessary! 

M-1186 Dawes Card#24 Front Sookey FRAZIER
  1. CLARK, Coleman CHIF#26-See Petition to Transfer#1
  2. PHILLIPS, Mary CHIF#27
  3. FRAZIER, Harriet CHIF#28
  4. TOWSER, Polly CHIF#30-b.1829-ATOT-enslaver LOVE, Overton
    1. Father-PERRY, Jack d. enslaver PERRY, John
    2. Mother-GUNN, Affie d. enslaver GUNN
  5. COBREY, George CHIF#47
  6. MIKE, Aleck CHIF#49-b.1843-ATOT-enslaver FRAZIER, Nancy
    1. Father-MIKE d. enslaver COLBERT, Alfred
    2. Mother-MIKE, Minney d. enslaver FRAZIER, Nancy
  7. BLUE, Billy CHIF#52
  8. FRANKLIN, Albert CHIF#55-EC-7071
  9. PERRY, Lila CHIF#60-b.1828-d.1901-ATOT-enslaver BROWN, Cassie
    1. Father-PERRY, Manuel d. enslaver HARROD, Hotiche
    2. Mother-PERRY, Dinah d. enslaver PERRY, Lizzie
1900 US Census Indian Territory Chickasaw Nation, Pontotoc County, Township 2 North, Range 7 East
  1. ABRAMS, Daniel CHIF#63
  2. COVAN, Charlotte CHIF#64
  3. BENNETT, Bud CHIF#66
  4. GRAYSON, Mary CHIF#67
  5. ALFRED, Henry CHIF#68
  6. BROWN, Lou CHIF#72-EC-7071
  7. JOHNSON, Levi CHIF#74
  8. COCHRAN, Agnes CHIF#76
  9. TOWNSEND, Fannie CHIF#77
  10. BLUE, Mary CHIF#78-b.1822-ATOT-enslaver COLBERT, Winchester-Wife King BLUE
    1. Father-CHISM, Joe d.Cherokee Indian
    2. Mother-CHISM, Sallie d.
  11. COLBERT, Agnes CHIF#79
  12. PATRICK, Bessie CHIF#80
  13. BLUE, Joe CHIF#85
  14. JOHNSON, Manuel CHIF#88
  15. BLUE, Peter CHIF#91-Son Old King BLUE_NB#435
  16. SMITH, Wesley CHIF#94-Parents alive-Card#?
  17. COCHRAN, Nathan CHOF#09-Deceased
  18. COCHRAN, Henry CHOF#10
  19. COCHRAN, Mary CHOF#12-EC-7071
  20. COHEE, Amanda CHOF#13
  21. COCHRAN, Nathan CHOF#15
  22. COCHRAN, Charley CHOF#16
  23. BLUE, Rachel CHOF#20
  24. HARRIS, Jim CHOF#22
  25. BROWN, Philip CHOF#24
  26. DUNFORD, Seeley CHOF#25
  27. BROWN, Mandy CHOF#26
  28. HARLAN, Aleck CHOF#27 P.O. Franks, I.T.
  29. BLUE, Hardy CHOF#28-P.O. Franks, I.T.
  30. WILLIAMS, Anderson CHIF#101 (D-10/18/1900)
  31. HARLAN, Elijah CHIF#106 (P.O. Franks, I.T.)
  32. PERRY, Jane CHIF#110
  33. SMITH, Maggie CHIF#115
  34. HARLAN, Joe CHIF#120
  35. HARLAN, Martha CHIF#122-P.O. Franks, I.T.
  36. BLUE, George CHIF#127-(D-04/19/1899)
  37. COLBERT, Silas CHIF#132
  38. BLUE, King CHIF#135

ATOT-African Trail of Tears
b.-BornCHIF-Chickasaw Freedmen
CHOF-Choctaw Freedmen
d.-DeceasedNB-New Born
EC-7071-Equity Case 7071

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

African Trail of Tears Jerry COLBERT Chickasaw Freedman #923

African Trail of Tears

b. 1818 d. 11/1904
Chickasaw Freedman #923
Enslaver: Jake (Mack) COLBERT
Residence: Colbert, Indian Territory

Father: Isaac COLBERT d.
Mother: Polly COLBERT d.

As we honor those enslaved ancestors that traveled the African Trail of Tears during the removal of the Chickasaw Indians, one individual that lived to a ripe old age was Jerry COLBERT. Individuals who came to Indian Territory as enslaved people in the Chickasaw Nation provide a very good example of what it means to survive and for Jerry to live to the age of eighty or one hundred is worthy of honor.

M-1186 Chickasaw Freedman Dawes Card #923 Front

 One of Jerry’s sons Jake COLBERT provided testimony about how his father arrived in Indian Territory from Mississippi during the Chickasaw removal. In that interview a great deal of information was provided about Jerry, who was his enslaver, the name of his wife, the name of another child and where Jerry COLBERT was living.

Sometimes we can get a sense of an individual and their personality from what we read in their interviews. Jake COLBERT provides a little insight into his attitude when the interviewer asked him whether his father was “alive now?” In his response you get the sense Jake was just a little annoyed at the question when he responded; “He was day before yesterday at nine o’clock when I left there.”

The age given for Jerry COLBERT was 80 indicating he was born circa 1818 but in the interview with Jake COLBERT, Jerry he indicated Jerry may have been about 100 years old.

Jake made it clear Jerry COLBERT came to Indian Territory when he stated his father arrived with the Chickasaws “when the Indians first came to this country from Mississippi.” Jerry COLBERT may have come to Indian Territory with the Indians from Mississippi but it appears he was born in North Carolina according to the information in the 1900 United States Census.

M-1301 Interview Packet Chickasaw Freedmen card #923 pg 9

It is not clear if Mack COLBERT was the last slave owner of Jerry or his original Chickasaw Indian enslaver but it is clear even at eighty years of age, Jerry was witness to a great deal of history and upheaval regarding the Chickasaw Nation.

He was a witness and participant in the Chickasaw removal.  He would have been a middle age man anywhere from forty-three to sixty years old at the outbreak of the Civil War. Jerry would have been present when the Chickasaw Nation emancipated their enslaved people in 1866 and we know he was present when the Dawes Commission began its work to allot land to the Choctaw Freedmen, he was an eyewitness to a great deal of history.

We honor Jerry COLBERT survivor of the African Trail of Tears during the Chickasaw removal by saying his name and preserving his history, our history as a Chickasaw Freedman.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

AFRICAN TRAIL OF TEARS Peter WOLF Chickasaw Freedman

African Trail of Tears

Peter WOLF
Chickasaw Freedman
Tishomingo, Indian Territory

As a Chickasaw and Choctaw Freedman descendant it is my responsibility and obligation to tell the story of our ancestors and their history among the Five Slave Holding Tribes. Part of that story, their story, my story is the legacy of our ancestors that traveled on the infamous Trail of Tears as enslaved people and survived.

Not only did they survive and birth the next generation of freedmen and women but they also gave rise to a generation of individuals that would later be emancipated in 1866 following the War of the Rebellion in which the Five Slave Holding Tribes participated as confederate soldiers and sympathizers.

For Peter WOLF born circa 1823 to have come west as a slave had to be an arduous journey rife with uncertainty. The Chickasaws tell their story of hardship and how difficult it was for them to leave their homes and struggle on the trail; imagine the thoughts coursing through the mind of Peter  WOLF as he made that same journey and probably with even less comfort than the man that brought him to Indian Territory.

Peter would have been a young man possibly in his early twenties, strong and able because he would have been employed to carry the weight and clear the path for his enslaver to reach Indian Territory with his “possession’s” intact.

Peter WOLF did make it to Indian Territory and miraculously survived that journey and made it through the War of Rebellion and to have his name recorded on a Dawes enrollment card in 1898. Peter WOLF fathered at least one son that I have found and their records have been preserved hopefully for their descendants to discover, preserve and treasure.

Upon discovering the two Dawes cards of Peter WOLF and Robert PATRICK his son, I noticed something unique about them. Both men died on the same day, December 3, 1900. Patrick would have been approximately twenty nine years of age and his father seventy-seven.

 The record is not extensive but it does reveal some simple truths about these men and their legacy. On the rear of Peter WOLF’S card he provides the names of his parents, they are simply Patrick his father and Hannah his mother. Both were deceased at the time of his enrollment and he didn’t provide a surname for either parent. The person that enslaved his father is not given but Peter did provide the name of his slave holder as Tush-ki-o-ka.

Peter’s son Robert evidently abandoned the surname WOLF and appears to have chosen PATRICK which could easily be interpreted as honoring the father of his father?

It is because of people like Peter WOLF that we must honor and remember the names of those who survived so we can be here today. Peter had a grandson who was named Bob who would have been about four years of age when his father and grandfather died. He may have had just the slightest memory of them while growing and he clearly would not have had an opportunity to hear his grandfather talk about that long journey on the African Trail of Tears.

I hope that Bob PATRICK went on to have many children and grandchildren and today they can discover the rich history of their family and what it means to survive the hardest of times and be able to tell the story of his grandfather Peter WOLF; Chickasaw Freedmen and a survivor of the African Trail of Tears.

This one short statement lives on and so does Peter WOLF, a survivor of the African Trail of Tears.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Chickasaw-Choctaw Freedmen Institute "Educate, Preserve and Publish the History of the Indian Territory Freedmen"

About 20 years ago I began formulating a plan to establish a site to house, publish and preserve the history of the Indian Territory Freedmen. I constructed a website called The Estelusti Foundation and began a series of articles not unlike what I’m doing with the

I envisioned a home for this organization in the ancestral homeland of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Freedmen in the surrounding rural area of Ardmore, Oklahoma where many freedmen descendants reside today. I bring this up because now it is some 20 years later and many of the people coming online to learn about their freedmen ancestors want to know about their history, join the tribes as citizens and preserve their family’s history.

What many are learning if you are a freedmen descendant is your desire to become a citizen of the nation of your ancestor’s birth is not welcomed with open arms, yet there is still that sense of wanting to join and embrace all of the history of your ancestors. In a way, I get it!

However, I am of the opinion we as descendants of Choctaw and Chickasaw Freedmen can do ourselves a favor by establishing our own institutions that educate, preserve and publish the history of our ancestors and all we need to do is combine our resources, talents and common purpose to that end.

We don’t need the Chickasaw nation to accept us if we accept ourselves and each other. We don’t need the Choctaw Nation to embrace us into their body to preserve our ancestor’s history. We can establish a site, home or archive that will serve as a multi-functional home that will allow us to preserve our history; become a site to host family reunions and become a viable long lasting institution that will maintain our history as descendants of Choctaw and Chickasaw Freedmen.

So how do we do that you ask? I’m glad you asked; it takes money, group effort and establishing an organization that will leave a legacy for the generations to come.

So I’m just throwing this out there for serious people to consider. There is a property in the Lone Grove area of southern Oklahoma. It is a FIVE acre site with a 1,527 square foot home (3Bed-2Baths) AND an out building that is capable of being a multi-functioning unit for a host of things (Only limited by your imagination.)

I’m sure there are a lot of people who are not interested in this “project” and will immediately find ways to poo-poo it but consider the effort people put in trying to become a member of a tribe that does not want them? Maybe it’s time to consider another way to preserve your history and the legacy of your ancestors?

Now I don’t know if this property is still available and even if there were enough people seriously interested; could money be raised to make a down payment on it for purchase? That’s not the only point. This is an ideal piece of land (FIVE ACRES) that can be developed into an independent facility that we could all be proud of.

Here is one other piece of information to consider. Every year a family connected to the Choctaw and Chickasaw Freedmen has a reunion in the Ardmore area or OKC. People from all over the country come to spend a weekend celebrating their family history and in the process an individual could drop one to three grand for the pleasure?

How much of that money goes back into the black (freedmen descendant community) is negligible by all accounts. Oh they’ll leave a chunk at the hotels along interstate 70 or another chunk at Lake Murray not to mention the casino’s in the area. How much of that money is being utilized to preserve the very history they come to celebrate? NEGLIGIBLE!

With your own facility and five acres, you can drop some buildings on that land for lodging. You can hire the local people to help run and maintain the facility at the same time providing jobs and skills that can be taken elsewhere. 

Somebody could set up a Go Fund Me or whatever it is for the tune of $100K and make it happen!

I am just throwing this out there perhaps there is someone or a group of people capable and willing to invest in such an endeavor. I would love to get some feedback.

You contact me privately through the email or leave your comments on this page.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Henry CLAY Chickasaw Freedman #483 #WarriorWednesday

Henry CLAY
Chickasaw Freedmen #483

M1186 Chickasaw Freedmen Card #483 front  CLAY, Henry & Isabella

My research of the Chickasaw and Choctaw Freedmen of Indian Territory over the years continually reminds me just how connected our ancestors were. The men and women in these communities were clearly tight and responsible to each other in so many ways that it leaps from the pages of their documentation.

Henry CLAY was a leader in his community of Woodford and was known to the people in the nearby communities like Milo, Berwyn, Springer and Homer. If you just stopped at the information on the Dawes Card you would get a small sense of his family and some its origins but that doesn’t really tell you who this man was and how he came to be a leader in his community.

The generation before him bore witness to a group of men and women who shortly after being “emancipated” submitted a memorial to congress expressing their desires for inclusion as citizens in the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations[i]. These men and women became the example for people like Henry CLAY who was politically active as a member of the “Convention Committee of Twelve” that strategized for their enrollment and land allotments under the Curtis Act.[ii] The convention occurred on August 4 and 5, 1898 which is a time that is synonymous with “Emancipation Day” in Indian Territory.

Unfortunately Henry died prior to 1902 and did not receive a land allotment but in his land application packet his certificate of death provides some revealing and supportive information on how connected the Choctaw and Chickasaw Freedmen were to each other. First let me point out that on the rear of Henry’s Dawes card it reveals his parents and the parents of his wife Isabella. At first blush nothing appears extraordinary. It is not until you look at the rear of the card that things begin to get interesting for researchers like me.
M1186 Chickasaw Freedmen Card #483 rear CLAY, Henry & Isabella
It is unfortunate we don’t have information concerning Henry’s father but we do see his mother was named Malinda ALBERSON. The information that is interesting and has significance to me is the parents of his wife Isabella. His wife is the “half-sister” of Bettie LIGON and the daughter of Cornelius PICKENS and Margaret Ann WILSON nee ALEXANDER.

I have to ask the question how did these men and women relate to each other? What was the nature of their conversations regarding their status as freedmen and in Bettie’s case “mixed African-Chickasaw? What happened to Isabella  after the death of her husband Henry? More importantly for me now is who are the descendants of Henry and Isabella CLAY and where are they now?

There was another example of just how close these two sisters may have been and it was discovered in the same application for a land allotment that Henry never received. Because Henry died prior to a certain date in 1902 his wife was obligated to document his death in the form of an affidavit, signed, notarized, witnessed and sent to the Dawes Commission. I was pleasantly surprised to see a familiar name AND signature of Bettie LIGON on that affidavit:

Land Application Packet CLAY, Henry #1974 p2

These types of documents in my humble opinion form the basis for the first group of vital statistics for Indian Territory and the state of Oklahoma as it entered the United States in November of 1907.

That makes the information vital (pun intended) for researchers and for me it illustrates the relationship Bettie had with her sister Isabella.

This document provides facts that Henry died one-hundred eighteen years ago last month. It also demonstrates for me that my great grandmother Bettie LIGON could write her own name and the signature looks just like her signature on the brief of Equity Case 7071.

I hope to locate the records that provide us some insight into the Convention of Chickasaw and Choctaw Freedmen that was held on August 4th and 5th of 1898. If we are lucky they will provide us with some idea of how our ancestors thought and the methods they used to fight for their rights as citizens within the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations. As a leader I hope to see something specific to Henry CLAY that will add to his biography as a leader among the Chickasaw Freedmen.

There is one document that may have more insight into Henry CLAY, it is in the M-1301 Interview Packet that implies Henry spent some time as a soldier in the War of Rebellion. There is some corroboration in the interview packet for another freedmen who had what appears to be a colorful past; Henry McCOY aka Henry SHANNON. 
M1301-Chickasaw Freedmen #483 CLAY, Henry p2

In this document from Henry’s M-1301 Application Packet he makes a statement that he followed Henry McCOY to Fort Gibson and worked their until about Christmas. It is the next statement that may require some additional research but he states, “I was wounded in the winter before peace was made…”

Was that a reference to his involvement in the war? Is there evidence that Henry CLAY and Henry McCOY were soldiers in the USCT? Were they forced to work for their confederate Chickasaw Indian enslavers? Is there a record of either one of these men filed that will provided details of their service and efforts to gain their freedom from enslavement by the Chickasaw Indians?

Clearly, this is like so many other Chickasaw and Choctaw Freedmen stories, our ancestors deserve more research so their story becomes included as part of the wider history of blacks on this continent. The Chickasaw Freedmen’s story tends to be left out of the story of black America. As an enslaved people, they don’t show up on many of the maps that attempt to illustrate “slave states.”


Indian Territory was not a part of the United States which demonstrates just how important Henry CLAY, his story, his descendants and the communities they lived in are to Indian Territory history, American history, and more importantly Black History!

Residence: Woodford, Indian Territory
·         Enslaved by Jincy LOVE

Parents: Father Unknown, Mother-Malinda ALBERSON
·         Mother enslaved by Captain ALBERSON

Spouse: Isabella CLAY nee PICKENS
·         Enslaved by: John CRINER
·         Parents: Cornelius PICKENS (Deceased) & Margaret A. WILSON
o   Enslaved by: Edmond PICKENS & Robert WILSON

·         Zeno
·         Samuel
·         Hezekiah
o   See New Born #472
·         Tamis
o   See New Born #380
·         Delora
·         Bohanon
·         Lou Creasy
·         St. Paul
·         Lovinia
·         Jennie

Surnames Appearing in this Article:
  • CLAY
  • McCOY

Places Appearing in this Article:
  • Berwyn, Indian Territory
  • Chickasaw Nation
  • Fort Gibson
  • Homer, Indian Territory
  • Milo, Indian Territory
  • Newport, Indian Territory
  • Oklahoma
  • Pickens County, Indian Territory
  • Springer, Indian Territory
  • Woodford, Indian Territory

[i] Senate Executive Document 82; 40th Congress, 2nd Session
[ii] The Chickasaw Freedmen a People Without a Country, Dr. Daniel F. Littlefield, Jr. p178