African Trail of Tears
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.