…for enrollment as citizens by blood of the Chickasaw Nation
In part one of “The Records Show No Documented Evidence” I illustrated why there was a probability Calvin, Agnes, Ed and Isaac HUMDY were the great grand children of Thomas COLBERT; a Chickasaw Indian. The purpose of the article was to demonstrate how the Dawes Commission failed to protect the rights of the claimants based on the Commission's perception Calvin, Agnes, Ed and Isaac were not descendants of a Chickasaw Indian.
With the real possibility the Dawes Commission chose to ignore the one piece of information that would have corroborated the application of Calvin HUMDY et al; I think there is additional information that if nothing else, gives a full accounting of this family’s connection to the COLBERT family and not just as their slaves.
One of the key elements of the Dawes Commission’s basis for refusing the application for transfer to the Chickasaw by Blood roll was their contention that the ages of the applicants; Calvin, Ed, Isaac and Agnes HUMDY. The Commission concluded from their examination of the 1878 Annuity Rolls, Calvin HUMDY having been born in 1848, made it impossible for him to be the great grandson of ANY man named Thomas COLBERT. The Dawes Commission’s claim was there were ONLY three Thomas COLBERT’S listed and the ONLY Thomas COLBERT’S with the possibility of being the HUMDY’S great grandfather.
It is my opinion the Commission either knew better or was just ignorant of the records that would have supported the claim that Zilphia the grandmother of Calvin, Ed, Isaac and Agnes was in fact the daughter of a Chickasaw by the name of Thomas (Tommy) COLBERT!
The Dawes Commissioner was playing fast and loose with the truth. The Thomas COLBERT’S they looked at more than likely were not the father of Zilphia. However, clearly there was one son of Major James COLBERT listed on the 1818 Chickasaw census (a record the Commission should have had) that clearly was a possibility.
Apparently this Thomas (Tommy) was completely ignored as a “possibility for being the father of Zilphia and the great grandfather of Calvin, Ed, Isaac and Agnes HUMDY. It was probable one of the seven slaves in his household enumerated in 1839 was in fact Zilphia.
We don’t know from these records whether Zilphia was in Thomas’ household. We don’t know how Samuel and Robert came into possession of Zilphia’s daughter Lydia and Thomas’ great-grandchildren Calvin, Ed, Isaac and Agnes. However we do know there was a connection between all of the COLBERT slave owners; they were brothers and the sons of Major James COLBERT and all of them were enumerated on the 1818 Chickasaw census. How the Dawes Commission missed this is a “mystery?”
I will be the first to say none of these records prove conclusively, Zilphia or Lydia are the descendants of Thomas COLBERT. Unfortunately for many Choctaw and Chickasaw Freedmen descendants who have an ancestor that attempted to be transferred to the blood rolls trying to establish that connection is daunting.
We have yet to discover family records of the slave owners that could shed some light on this subject but clearly when you look at the "circumstantial" evidence and put it into the context of 19th and 20th century racial politics it is no wonder these people who may have as much "Indian blood" if not more than those on the rolls today is a story yet to be told.
There is another record that could be significant to establishing the connection of Zilphia and Lydia to the COLBERT family.
The records of the Monroe Mission written by Father Thomas Stuart contain some very interesting information. The Monroe Mission is not so unique for some churches during the antebellum period. It is a place where we discover slave and slave owner practicing their religion under the same roof. The records of the Monroe Mission offer another possible connection of Zilphia and Lydia to the COLBERT family who were members of the church.
Again, much of this is speculation on my part but as a “genealogist” of “Black” genealogy, I’m left to speculate with some of the records to get me to my destination. With that said, as one of my “mentors” (you know who you are,) proclaims “speling dusn’t kount.”
I say spelling doesn’t count because in the Monroe Mission Church records we see a “colored woman” by the name of Silpha who becomes a church member in 1828. If this is Zilphia then we have another record that puts her in the same church as the COLBERT family with the distinct possibility of being Samuel or Thomas COLBERT’S slave?
Again, the Monroe Mission church records of Father Thomas Stuart illustrates how the slave and slave owner at least worshiped together in what was describes as a building no larger than sixteen feet by sixteen feet. Through the years much of their church life and in some cases their personal and private lives were documented in the church records if it involved their "spiritual development."
I have to stress the fact that none of these records are definitive but they clearly demonstrate the probability of a direct connection and possibility Thomas COLBERT could have been the great grand father of Calvin, Agnes, Ed and Isaac HUMDY. The record implies a certain familiarity between the slaves and their owners that allowed them to worship under the same roof and maybe have more of an interpersonal relationship that would not have shown up in the "official records" of the Chickasaw Nation.
To be continued in part three...