Saturday, February 5, 2011

Black (Indian) History Month Part 1

As we celebrate Black History Month I would like to take this occasion to illuminate the history of “black” people who were some of the “First Families” of Indian Territory.

To take it a step further, it is my opinion the full story of blacks in America the history of blacks in Indian Territory MUST be included. The story of black chattel slavery in Indian Territory MUST be included in the history America.

It is important we teach the history of Native Americans that comprised the so called Five Civilized Tribes; Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole Nations and their impact on "Black History Month!"

My contributions for this month will attempt to bring the voices of some forgotten people who toiled as slaves, celebrated their “emancipation” and in some cases lived long enough to tell about themselves and the life they lived among the "Five Slave Holding Tribes."

One of those former slaves who lived to tell about themselves and give some idea of their life before and after slavery was a woman named Margaret Ann WILSON nee ALEXANDER.

Born in July circa 1821 Margaret Ann WILSON was part of the forced removal of Chickasaw Indians from her birth home of Tuscumbia, Alabama. She is thought to have been the daughter of Alexander COLBERT who was a member of one of the largest and influential slave owning families among the Chickasaw tribe.

Margaret was the wife of Cornelius PICKENS who died sometime during the Civil War. It is not known if his death is a result of his involvement as a soldier in the war but his legacy lives on through the lives of his children and their descendants.

Margaret Ann was present at many of the changes that occurred to the Chickasaw tribe and since she was enslaved from the time of her birth, she did live to experience emancipation in 1866 and was present some thirty two years later when the Dawes Commission enrolled her and many of her children as Choctaw Freedmen in 1898.

This remarkable woman lived to give birth to ten children; eight of them were still living at the time of the 1900 census.

Margaret Ann was a witness to the Civil War in the Chickasaw Nation and saw Indian Territory slowly begin the transition to statehood at the turn of the century in 1900. Margaret was witness to the emergence of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Freedmen Associations in 1868 and saw one of her own son’s; William ALEXANDER become a leader in their community as he fought to secure the rights of citizenship and education for the formerly enslaved people of African and African-Native descent in the communities of Berwyn, Springer, Woodford, and Stonewall Indian Territory.


Margaret Ann WILSON’S life is testimony to the men and women who survived the horrible institution of slavery among the Chickasaws Indians. She endured being sold to a Choctaw Indian during the “War of Rebellion” and giving birth to a child she loved though the child’s father was a Chickasaw who was part of the family that held her in bondage and brought her to Indian Territory in the 1830’s.

We take pride in bringing attention to the life of Margaret Ann WILSON; she was a woman with a world of humanity whose legacy is the lives of her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and the generations to come. They all should know about this great woman and recognize she was not just a slave but a woman of great substance.


Margaret Ann WILSON nee ALEXANDER Choctaw Freedwoman # 122 front


Margaret Ann WILSON nee ALEXANDER Choctaw Freedwoman # 122 rear

The children of Margaret Ann WILSON nee ALEXANDER became matriarchs and patriarchs of some very familiar families in the area surrounding Ardmore, Oklahoma. It is important for the descendants of these men and women to know their ancestor's and know their family is interrelated throughout Indian Territory and Oklahoma history.


Bettie LIGON nee LOVE Choctaw Freedwoman et al Card # 106 front

Bettie LIGON nee LOVE Choctaw Freedwoman et al Card # 106 rear


John WILSON Choctaw Freedman Card # 123 front

John WILSON Choctaw Freedman Card # 123 rear

Louisa MURRAY nee LOVE Choctaw Freedwoman et al Card # 115 front
Louisa MURRAY nee LOVE Choctaw Freedwoman et al Card # 115 front


William ALEXANDER Chickasaw Freedman et al Card # 1 front

William ALEXANDER Chickasaw Freedman et al Card # 1 rear

Isabella CLAY nee PICKENS Chickasaw Freedwoman et al Card# 483 front

Isabella CLAY nee PICKENS Chickasaw Freedwoman et al Card# 483 rear

Susan JACKSON nee PICKENS Chickasaw Freedwoman et Card# 475 front

Susan JACKSON nee PICKENS Chickasaw Freedwoman et Card# 475 rear


Salina HAWKINS nee PICKENS Choctaw Freedwoman et al Card # 488 front


Salina HAWKINS nee PICKENS Choctaw Freedwoman et al Card # 488 rear

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