Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Milo, Indian Territory-Tell Your Story or Someone Will Tell It For You

I was looking through some newspaper articles that had the name of some communities my ancestors lived in prior to statehood in hopes of finding information about the area they received their land allotments.

While going through articles in the Daily Ardmoreite I came across this article about a man named J.W. Johnson and how as a young man he came to Indian Territory with fifty cents in his pocket and became a very wealthy and successful businessman.

The article did not provide information on why he came to Indian Territory after leaving Pennsylvania at the age of twenty but it did mention “his first work here was on the stock ranch of Williams and Murrys, at Erin Springs, on the Washita River near Kickapoo Flats.”

Mr. Johnson had other employment experiences that included working on the government mail stage line from Caddo, Choctaw Nation to Anadarko and Comanche counties, where the article stated he “met with incidents which to us of this day would seem very thrilling.”

A few years after arriving in the territory J.W. Johnson married Emily Brown in 1886 she was the daughter of Hepsie Brown of Old Mill Creek in Tishomingo County and a Chickasaw Indian. Two years later the couple moved to Milo, Carter County which was then Pickens County, Chickasaw Nation and “settled on lands which he has since taken as allotments for himself and family and where he now resides.”

It is at this point the article seems to contradict itself because it further states, “at the time of his arrival at this place, there was no town of Milo: the land was comparatively wild and in its primitive state.” Perhaps I misunderstood the earlier statement that indicated the Johnson’s “moved to Milo, which was in Pickens County, Chickasaw Nation” In the next paragraph the article states: “the principal population of this part of the country at the time was the Indian, the illiterate negro, the whiskey peddler and the outlaw who made this part of the country his rendezvous.”

For the life of me, the history of freedmen in the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations glosses over the institution of chattel slavery and the presence of the formerly enslaved and their descendants. It also goes to great lengths to illustrate the lack of educational opportunities the former slaves had for their children and implies a certain ignorance that continues a theme of superiority that whites coming into the territory had towards the people who were there long before their arrival similar to J.W. Johnson.

According to the article Johnson established the post office and town of Milo and was the postmaster for the fifteen years prior to the date of the article. Just doing the math it would seem that within the ten years prior to the Dawes Commission allotment, J.W. Johnson established the town and post office of Milo, Indian Territory

The articles continues by identifying Johnson’s family that were entitled to land allotments based on his wife Emily being a “recognized” Chickasaw citizen. This very "successful" man was the head of a family that acquired three-hundred and twenty acres of land for his wife and their eight children “the total amount of this land for himself and family is three thousand two hundred acres, on which he now has fifteen dwelling houses besides his elegant private residence, an up to date cotton gin, grist mill and a nice store.”

I thought the statement in the article “many an eastern farmer longs for one-half of the blessings enjoyed by this man” to be missing the point that there were many people in the area that Mr. Johnson considered “illiterate negroes” that should have had the same opportunity he had but were denied because of the stain of slavery.

There were more than one-thousand five hundred individuals who should have been provided the same three-hundred and twenty acres of land in the same area that he “founded” the town of Milo. The thousands of people who were enslaved by Chickasaw Indians were not welcomed as J. W. Johnson and despite his statement that “come to Carter County and partake of these blessings with us. Civilization has taken the place of lawlessness and plunder.”

Well that is a debatable subject and clearly does not take into account of the manner in which Johnson was able to obtain a large amount of land that was denied people who were there before he arrived, lived among the Chickasaw’s before he arrived and remained on the land for him to come in and claim to establish a town were wild animals and illiterate negroes had been long before he brought his brand of civilization to the area.

To get a full understanding of the effect of what the area looked like I thought I would look at some census records to enlightened me on who among the freedmen lived in the area and how they may have been tied to the Chickasaw nation and found some very surprising results.

Beginning with the 1900 census I wanted to see just who lived in the same census tract that the Johnson family resided so my first task was to locate this family and the surrounding community in which they lived.

Because of my research I am well acquainted with that township and range as well as the enumeration district because many of the families I research live in that community. So you might excuse me if I don’t buy the idea that the area was wild and uncivilized before the arrival of J.W. Johnson and men like him.

Freedmen and their families were a vital part to this community and no doubt added money to the wealth of this man as they navigated their way in the territory a good twenty years before he arrived. Families like Jackson, Abram, Nero, Taylor, and Ligon all have homesteads in Township 3 South, Range 1 West and it is the height of arrogance to ignore their presence in this area.

I write this article to demonstrate just how important it is that Indian Territory Freedmen preserve and tell their family’s story and the story of their community. I can’t say John J.W. “Six Shooter Johnson" was a bad man but articles like the one written about him that diminish the contributions our ancestors had on Indian Territory and the state of Oklahoma. It also diminishes the atrocities visited upon our ancestors that prevented them from amassing the land and wealth that was afforded a man from Pennsylvania with fifty cents in his pocket?

There is much more that can be said about the people of Milo, Indian Territory especially the men, women and children who came west on the Trail of Tears with the Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians. The men, women and children that survived the indignity of bondage and later denied their very heritage of sons and daughters of Chickasaw Indians were not provided the same dignity that was shown J.W. Johnson who went on to be considered a pillar in the community of Milo, Indian Territory and the state of Oklahoma.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Children Follow the Status of Their Mother?

Children Follow the Status of Their Mother?

In the past week or two an interesting discussion took place online between freedmen descendants and the descendant of someone who is a citizen by blood in one of the nations of the Five Slave Holding Tribes. In the course of that discussion the concept and rationale for the Dawes Commission, the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes enrolled children of freedmen women as freedmen.

Having conducted years of research I was keenly aware that this was not a practice that was written in stone but I did not want to challenge the post because it is rare we get an opportunity to have exchanges with citizens who are on the blood rolls concerning subjects like this.

Since there was no other follow-up to the statement I wanted to wait and let some time pass before I responded to the idea that a person’s race, identity or political status is based on the so called race of their mother. This custom has a direct link to the antebellum system of enslavers enriching themselves by increasing their slave holdings even if the child is a result of that enslaver fathering the child.

The Five Slave Holding Tribes appear to have accepted this practice with their enslaved population and when the Dawes Commission began enrolling individuals for land allotments, they attempted to use this holdover from the era of chattel slavery to place hundreds of men, women and children on Choctaw or Chickasaw Freedmen rolls despite some clear evidence these people possessed and claimed to have blood of their fathers.
Chickasaw Freedman Card #1071 Front IMPSON, Lucy
Such was the case with the children of Morris and Lucy IMPSON. Morris was a recognized citizen in the Choctaw nation and though he was married to another woman, Morris fathered three children with Lucy BURRIS a Chickasaw freedwoman. Strange as it may sound Morris’ wife was aware of the children and at one time before her death, she met them and advised them to always listen to their father and do what he says.
Choctaw by Blood Card #1829 IMPSON, Morris
It wasn’t until the death of his wife that Morris brought Lucy and their three children to live with him in his home that he shared with his previous wife. It was known throughout their community that Morris was the father of Joshua, Lillie and Frank IMPSON and with Lucy they were known as husband and wife.

When it was time to enroll with the Dawes Commission for their land Morris traveled to Tuscahoma (sic) and because he did not speak a word of English he required the services of an interpreter, Watson BROWN an elderly and respected Choctaw freedman who was working with the commission.

It was at this time Morris was informed his children had already been enrolled by their mother Lucy on her Chickasaw Freedman Card #1071. For reasons known only to Morris, he petition to have his children transferred from the Chickasaw Freedman roll to the Choctaw by Blood roll. Of course the Dawes Commission tried to hold fast to the idea that perhaps like today, children “follow the status of their mother.”

Fortunately Morris was not one to give up and he continued to battle the Dawes Commission, the Choctaw Nation and despite his inability to speak English he challenged this system and demonstrated that his children had every right to be considered Choctaw by blood as he did.

Now that’s not to say it was easy for Morris, the Dawes Commissioners tried every trick in the book to deny Morris and his children a transfer. While interviewing Morris and Lucy they determined that Morris was not married to Lucy at the time of the children’s birth. As stated before Morris was already married making Joshua, Lillie and Frank “illegitimate.”

Figure 3-Applications to Change from Freedmen 
to Citizens by Blood (Joe and Dillard Perry cases) 
1905-1907 Entry 90C NAID 650073 
NARA Fort Worth F—033 page 56
The commissioner at one point implied the children where another man’s children when they discovered Lucy had been living with a man named Jimmie DOCTOR. Lucy through an interpreter herself informed the commissioner that Jimmie DOCTOR was not the father of her children but of course it took another witness to confirm this. That is when the commissioner was informed Jimmie was Lucy’s brother and she was staying at his home with Jimmie and his wife.

Another ploy the commissioner used was the action of “drawing leased district money” as a way of establishing citizenship in the nation. As a citizen Morris was entitled to receive his payment and but Lucy was asked if Morris’ children “draw money” in 1893 and they didn’t. Morris testified he never attempted to draw money for his children in 1893 and this was a method used by the commission to deny an individual’s claim of Choctaw or Chickasaw blood if the record did not reflect them receiving tribal leased district money.

Morris was not to be denied! To the credit of their attorney Chilean RILEY, he demonstrated how the records maintained by the commission provided proof that Joshua, Lillie and Frank should be transferred from the Chickasaw Freedmen Roll to the Choctaw by Blood Roll.

RILEY pointed out on Morris’ field (Dawes) card #1829 it listed him with his daughter Susie Burris IMPSON and there is a notation that states, “No. 1 is the husband of Lucy IMPSON and father of her children on Chickasaw Freedmen card No. 1071” Made on December 9, 1902

The attorney went on to state, on the rear of Chickasaw Freedmen card #1071 it is shown that the father of the three children on the front are the children of Morris IMPSON, Choctaw Indian.

This is very important because in the majority of cases where someone is claiming to have Chickasaw or Choctaw blood there is an indication that whatever the father’s name is, it is followed up with the phrase; Choctaw or Chickasaw Indian.

This is problematic for the Dawes Commission, the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations because it is an admission that the person in question has a Choctaw or Chickasaw male parent and therefore possesses “Indian blood.” Clearly Morris was determined to have his children enrolled as Choctaw citizens by blood and with this evidence that in the majority of cases would fail to persuade the commission to transfer these individuals; Morris and Lucy were able to establish their children were the product of a citizen by blood and a freedwoman and still entitled to be placed on the Choctaw by Blood roll.

And yet, here we are in 2019 and for whatever reason, the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations are maintaining the antebellum system of racial identification based on the so called race of the mother. They disguise it as the children's status is based on the mother’s clan but if that was the case they need to explain all of those white women who were not Choctaw or Chickasaw who had children by men like Morris and their children were listed as “citizens by blood?”What clan did they belong to?

One thing that has to be mentioned; when you look at the rear of Chickasaw Freedman card #1071, the father of Lucy was noted as a Chickasaw Indian but she was not transferred to the Chickasaw by blood roll, just another tragic example of how these Native American nations held on to the belief that this woman was undeserving of being considered a “Chickasaw.”
Chickasaw Freedman Card #1071 Rear IMPSON, Lucy

Friday, March 1, 2019

Did The Chickasaw & Choctaw Nation Treat Their Enslaved People Fairly?

Did The Chickasaw & Choctaw Nation Treat Their Enslaved People Fairly?

Recently I was viewing a message on the Chickasaw Nation website I was struck how the historical narrative concerning the Chickasaws treatment of their enslaved population was benign and embracing; it is not lost on me this is just one side of that “story.”

Today the Chickasaw tribe seems to be doing a great deal of revisionist history on their involvement with chattel slavery but rarely is the voice of those enslaved included in that narrative, especially voices describing their enslavement and subsequent emancipation. It is hard to imagine that after enslaving thousands of people that it was an act of altruism that those enslaved people would be accepted in the nation when the record demonstrates otherwise.

As I was going through some Congressional records and indexing them for a presentation I will be giving later this year at the Midwest African American Genealogy Institutes (first ever) Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes Track #5 the narrative of those formerly enslaved Chickasaw and Choctaw “freedmen” illustrated another point of view that is not representing in the stories told by the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians.

There are many records among the Congressional Record Serial Set that are pertinent to Indian Territory Freedmen in general but one I found germane to the “story” that Chickasaw and Choctaw Freedmen were taken in and treated more kindly than those people enslaved in the south. The voices of the freedmen and the actions of their former enslavers spoke volumes about the condition of the African and African-Native people of Indian Territory.

On March 16, 1870 approximately four years following their emancipation and two years from the time limit for the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations to adopt their formerly enslaved people, the two nations still refused to comply with the Treaty of 1866. First-hand accounts in the congressional records demonstrates the relationship with the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians did not want to accept their former slaves as citizens in their nation and that contradicts the argument of how much they cared.
Senate Miscellaneous Document #106 41st Congress, 2nd Session page 1
The Choctaw and Chickasaw Freedmen were constantly advocating for their adoption but just four years after emancipation it was clear to them that the people that enslaved them were determined not to accept them as citizens; and sometimes their disdain for their former slaves rose to the level of violence and intimidation. The freedmen formed a group of men to represent their views and they expressed those views in the form of a memorial to the United States Senate in 1870.
SMD #106, (41-2) pg 2
The freedmen (colored people of Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes) said in their own words, “although freed from slavery by the result of the late war, we enjoy few, if any, of the benefits of freedom.” Clearly the freedmen were not under any illusions they were not embraced by their former enslavers. They continued their concerns by stating, “Being deprived as yet of every political right, we are still wholly in the power of our late masters, who were almost a unit on the side of the rebellion against the government and who, from having been compelled to relinquish their ownership in us, regard our presence among them with no favorable eye.”
SMD #106 (41-2) pg 3
Nothing in those were suggest the freedmen were being treated in the manner that the Chickasaw nation is attempting to demonstrate of their good relationship with those people they enslaved. The conditions in the Chickasaw Nation became so intense the Choctaw and Chickasaw freedmen living in eastern part of the Choctaw nation sought to hold a convention on September 25, 1869 at Scullyville ; to address their grievances.
SMD #106, (41-2) pg 4
There was another convention of “colored people of the western portion of the Territory, to take similar action in relation to their condition” was met with threats on their lives, destruction of their printed posters that advertised the “proposed” convention and had one of their leaders was arrested on his way to the meeting by the United States agent.

SMD #106, (41-2) pg 5

Clearly the Chickasaw nation is not portraying their history and relationship with their formerly enslaved people according to firsthand accounts by the very people affected and it is sad to see that this may be the type of information that is being placed on official websites of the nation.

SMD #106 (41-2) pg 6
 As Black History Month comes to a close, we are reminded that history is often told by those who are the victors; fortunately in this case we have a record that can refute an incorrect and misleading narrative concerning the Choctaw and Chickasaw Freedmen. 

It’s time for the descendants of those formerly enslaved men and women and the descendants of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians discover what is true about their shared history and be guided by correcting the historical record from a full review of the record. 

Senate Miscellaneous Document #106 was a Memorial by the Choctaw and Chickasaw Freedmen, the former slaves of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nation in an attempt to address their grievances regarding their equal rights in the same manner that white "citizens" were given. Let that sink in, the people who were treated as property continued to not have rights or citizenship in the nation of their birth.

The treaty of 1866 could not be enforced to secure their rights but today the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations would have the public believe they had a soft spot for people of African descent; "what a web we weave when we practice to deceive."

SMD #106, (41-2) pg 7

Friday, February 22, 2019

Indian Territory/Oklahoma Historic Landmarks #FreedmenFriday

Indian Territory/Oklahoma Historic Landmarks

I was on the phone earlier this week speaking with a man who wanted to get permission to refer to a blog post I wrote about Jehovah Baptist Church. His reason for the request was based on the 150th Anniversary of the church and a program they were planning for March of this year.

After thinking about all of the effort Oklahoma puts into recognizing “Oklahoma All Black Towns” I was not aware of their recognition of Indian Territory Freedmen landmarks, settlements, buildings or institutions.

Now that is not to say the state doesn’t recognize the history of Indian Territory Freedmen, I’m just not aware of them and considering that a church that established by Choctaw and Chickasaw Freedmen approximately three years following their “emancipation” I would think that church should be recognized at least by the Oklahoma Historical Society.

The ground on which the church sits is a cemetery that the sacred remains of many Chickasaw and Choctaw Freedmen lay in rest. It is also the resting place for Chickasaw Indians like Amanda ABRAM Chickasaw by Blood #610
M 1186 Chickasaw by Blood #610 
Considering there are other individuals who have attended this historic church and have been laid to rest on the soil of their ancestors it is vitally important that this history and the history of this institution is recognized and preserved for generations to come.

There other important people who have left a mark on Indian Territory and Oklahoma history and you will find their presence on these hallowed grounds. If you are a student of Chickasaw Indians and Chickasaw Freedmen you undoubtedly have heard the names of Dora and Jesse McGEE,

One of the oldest original Chickasaw Freedmen interred in Jehovah Cemetery is Maria FRANKLIN a sister of Amanda ABRAM’S husband Ed ABRAM (Chickasaw Freedman Card #699.)
M 1886 Chickasaw Freedman #600
I don’t know the status of the church and it’s cemetery as far as a historical landmark but I do know as a Chickasaw and Choctaw Freedmen descendant we need to recognize and preserve our history.

There are other cemeteries that are being taken back by nature like the one I visited years ago that was the resting place for United States Color Troop Soldier Thomas BLACKWATER at the Brazil Cemetery and the cemetery in Berwyn (Gene Autry) that is the resting place for Chickasaw leader Charles COHEE. I find it difficult that the descendants of these heroes and she-roes are not insuring the preservation of these sacred sites.

As we celebrate Black History Month we need to know, why isn’t the state of Oklahoma showing the same zeal to recognize and preserve these sites as part of the history of Indian Territory and the state of Oklahoma as they “proudly” proclaim the “All Black Towns of Oklahoma?

More importantly, why are we as descendants of Indian Territory Freedmen preserving and celebrating our long history and historic sites in Indian Territory and the state of Oklahoma?


Place Names
Jehovah Missionary Baptist Church
Calvary Cemetery
Jehovah Cemetery

Milo, Indian Territory

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

William ALEXANDER Chickasaw Freedmen #1

Chickasaw Freedmen #1


During the 1890’s many men and women became advocates and leaders in the Chickasaw and Choctaw Freedmen community. One of those individuals to emerge as a leader in their community was the brother of my great grandmother William ALEXANDER. During the tumultuous time when Chickasaw Freedmen were organizing he was a member of the Chickasaw Freedmen Association led by Charles COHEE.

Like so many of my ancestors there is not a full and complete record available so he can be recognized for his contributions but within his Dawes file there is some information that allows us to get a general feel for his participation in the advocacy for Chickasaw Freedmen citizenship and land allotment.

The fact that William and his family was enumerated on Chickasaw Freedman card number one demonstrates to me he was showing the way for other freedmen as they sought to be recognized as people who had a legitimate right to be included on the Dawes Rolls and leave a record for their descendants who are now engaging in the research to reclaim their history.

M1186 Chickasaw Freedmen Card #01 ALEXANDER, William Front
William ALEXANDER was born during War of Rebellion in Indian Territory to Cornelius PICKENS and Margaret Ann WILSON. It is believed his birthplace was Burneyville, Indian Territory in Pickens County. Like other freedmen he migrated north and settled in the community of Purcell, Indian Territory.

During his testimony before the Dawes Commission William informed the commissioner that his father died sometime during the war but it is not clear if Cornelius was a soldier and there are no clues to the circumstances of his death.
M1301 Chickasaw Freedmen Card #01 p06 ALEXANDER, William 
It is not clear why William had the surname of ALEXANDER he did have a brother Colbert ALEXANDER that identified with that name, however his three sisters Salina, Isabella and Susan were all known by the surname PICKENS. I can only speculate why but at the surface the three sisters were all born prior to 1860 and the other children were born after that date.

My pet theory is the children born after 1860 may have taken the name of their mother’s presumed father Colbert ALEXANDER and it is interesting that one of Margaret’s sons was given that name.
M1301 Chickasaw Freedmen Card #01, p06 ALEXANDER, William 
Reading the limited information contained in William’s file illustrates just how connected and supportive our ancestors were when it came to issues of family and community. William indicates just how strong his bond was with his brother Colbert and sister Carrie ALEXANDER-BROWN; their children were a vital part of his family and given a warm embrace as they were raised in the home he shared with his wife Victoria and their four children; Isabella, Ora, Clinton and Odell ALEXANDER.

Unfortunately I don’t know any of the descendants of William ALEXANDER; he died intestate and there was a large record concerning the property left to his widow and children. Hopefully in time we will discover the descendants of Isabella, Ora, Clinton and Odell?

With the land and property being sold to pay off his debts, more research is necessary to fully understand the record and legacy left by this man who was at the forefront of change in Indian Territory and Oklahoma; we cannot allow his memory to be lost from the pages of history.

Wills & Probate McClain County, OK Vol. 0001, 1908-1917

These ARE all PEOPLE who will NEVER be LOST to history AGAIN!

Friday, February 8, 2019

Louisa MURRAY Choctaw Freedwoman #115 Black History, Our History, My History

Choctaw Freedwoman #115


Honoring another ancestor today by acknowledging their life and the record they left for us to discover is my Great great-grand...

Throughout my research and discovery of family history the complexities of familial ties can be vexing. Fortunately researching the history and genealogy of Indian Territory Freedmen can be made easier once you have a toe hole on the documents that help piece together the puzzle of a complex family tree.

Once again I have been blessed to have some information that not only illustrates the intersection of the ancestors but within the documentation I believe these ancestors demonstrate just how tight and connected they were and why it is important we learn from their actions.

Louisa MURRAY was born Louisa LOVE the daughter of Mink LOVE and Margaret Ann WILSON. Louisa and her children were recognized as a Choctaw Freedmen while living in the Chickasaw Nation. Each member of the family received their “Tribal Enrollment Numbers” as citizens in the Choctaw Nation which is noted on Dawes card number 115.

Choctaw Freedman Card #115 Front
Despite the surname MURRAY this family is not related to the other MURRAY families that have their origins with Joe MURRAY who was enumerated on Chickasaw Freedman card #124 because Louisa’s husband was Drew MURRAY and considered a non-citizen in the Choctaw Nation.

Choctaw Freedman Card #115 Rear
One of the extraordinary things found in the record of Louisa is the summarized statement provided to the Dawes Commission by her husband. Why they chose to interview him, a non-citizen instead of her the descendant of two formerly enslaved people is curious, yet he was able to provide some information that I found fascinating.

Now I don’t know if Drew considered it important or it was a byproduct of the stenographer and Dawes Commission but after identifying himself someone felt compelled to include the sentence; “My wife Louisa is sister of Bettie LIGON.” She was not characterized as Bettie’s half-sister or her step sister but, her sister and tells me there was an awareness and relationship between Bettie and Louisa that must have been close.

Another interesting aspect of this card is where the family lived which was in Burneyville, Chickasaw Nation. Louisa’s older sister Bettie migrated north to Newport, to rear her young family and for all I know she may have made frequent trips back to Burneyville to visit with her sister.

Looking at the rear of Louisa’s Dawes card other revealing information is provided that demonstrates how well these families knew who they were, where they come from and the sophisticated knowledge to know their genealogy. It also reveals their knowledge of the enslavers who had a profound and lasting effect on the life’s of those in the family. For those who don’t know the story of Bettie LIGON that is her father Robert LOVE on the rear of Louisa’s card as the Chickasaw Indian that enslaved her father Mink LOVE.
1900 Census Chickasaw Nation Township 7 South, Range 1 West
It appears sometime between 1900 and 1910 Louisa passed away and left her husband to care for their children alone. The records indicate Drew first relocated to the Muncrief Township in McClain County, Oklahoma, with him were his children Mary Jane FRANKLIN and her husband Bonnie. Louisa’s two son’s Claude and Sampson MURRAY were also in the home ages fifteen and eleven respectively.
1910 Census Oklahoma McClain County, Muncrief Township
The legacy of Louisa LOVE-MURRAY was vested in her children and the record seems to illustrate that her children may not have had children of their own? Claude was living in in Pasadena, California when he registered for the draft in 1916 at the age of twenty-two years old. Unfortunately it appears Claude William MURRAY died in August of 1935, I have not been able to locate any spouse or children associated with him up to that point.

The record reflects that Claude’s younger brother Sampson registered for the draft in September of 1918 when he was twenty years of age. At the time he was living in New Mexico in a community near Gallup, New Mexico. According to the 1940 census it appears Drew MURRAY remarried and Sampson was for a time living in their home on Filbert Street. It is not clear what Drew’s occupation was but those who lived around him all seemed to be orange pickers on a citrus ranch.

In 1942 Sampson (Samson) MURRAY again registered for the military but this time he was living in Duarte, Los Angeles County, California. There is no evidence yet that he served in WWI or WWII. Based on my limited research I have not found any children of Mary, Claude or Sampson I hope that I am wrong and somewhere there are relatives who descend from Margaret Ann WILSON alive and well?

Louisa MURRAY nee LOVE
Sampson MURRAY

These ARE all PEOPLE who will NEVER be LOST to history AGAIN!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Melviney "Viney" JORDON nee HARRIS Black History, Our History, My History

Choctaw Freedman Card #109


Every time I look into my family’s genealogy I am reminded that we intersect numerous families that have a history in Indian Territory because our ancestors were enslaved by Chickasaw and/or Choctaw Indians.

Putting together a short story on my great-great grandmother Viney HARRIS I am again reminded of how we have connections to so many other families of southern Oklahoma. It is through Viney that some of these connections manifest themselves because she was the mother to children who were fathered by different men.

First, let me say without equivocation, it is not my place nor anyone else’s to judge the relationships our ancestors developed. We weren’t there, we don’t know who they loved and we are not responsible for their decisions. I view my job as someone who is trying to document this history, our history, my history so that future generations may benefit from the knowledge of knowing their ancestors and more importantly their ancestor’s story. My attitude is as researchers we should never attempt to attach our values and mores to our ancestors.

Choctaw Freedman Card #109 Front
Viney was the daughter of an enslaved man simply known as Stewart who was deceased and was enslaved by Joe COLBERT who may have been a Choctaw Indian. Her mother my great-great great grandmother was named Lucy HARRIS and she was enslaved by a man named Daniel HARRIS. It is not clear if Lucy survived to be enumerated by the Dawes Commission because she is not noted as being “dead” like Stewart.

Choctaw Freedman Card #109 Rear
Based on the age of Viney it is a good probability that Stewart and Lucy traveled on the Choctaw Nation’s “Trail of Tears” during their removal and it is hoped that more information can be discovered about Lucy’s story.

When I mentioned that Viney is the reason many freedmen descendants have a connection to one another you simply have to look at her children to understand why it is important we research our genealogical history. Prior to her death in June of 1902 her husband at the time Thomas JORDON provided information about Viney’s children and who their father was.

Thomas was a United States citizen and not entitled to receive a land allotment but he was familiar with Viney’s children and stated that Viney was 46 years of age and was freed by Matilda MANNING.  Thomas informed the commission that Viney had three children; Lucy who was the wife of Judge CLAY who was also a U.S. citizen.

Viney had another daughter named Martha who was the wife of Caro CHRISTIAN and he added that Caro’s mother’s name was Sallie and she was enslaved by Judge Thomas McCOY. Martha and Caro were my great grandparents and their daughter Elizabeth was my grandmother who was also known as Callie Mae.

Thomas provided the name of Viney’s other children who had different fathers and their names were Belton DAVIS, Amos MOSS and Pink JORDON. She had another daughter named Lucy SHANNON by Chickasaw Freedmen Henry SHANNON I suspect she named Lucy after her mother? Lucy did not live long enough to receive her land allotment yet she lived long enough to generate a card that included her two daughters, Vinnie and Rena.

Choctaw Freedman Card #108 Front
For future researchers there was a little note that was included with Viney’s file that provides some pertinent information that could be useful for additional research. A woman described as Mrs. B.W. CARTER stated she “knew Melviney JORDON…since she was 10 years old.” CARTER further stated that Melviney “belonged to Forbes LeFLORE and he gave her to his daughter Matilda who married Dr. MANNING.”

"Viney" HARRIS-JORDAN left a legacy for her descendants to be proud of, her life gave life to us all and we should recognize our connection to one another through her and our shared history.


These ARE all PEOPLE who will NEVER be LOST to history AGAIN!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Nellie CRAWFORD-TAYLOR Chickasaw Freedwoman #505 Black History-Our History-My History


Honoring another ancestor today by acknowledging their life and the record they left for us to discover is my 3rd great-grandmother …

Chickasaw Freedwoman Card #505

My great-great-great grandmother Nellie TAYLOR nee CRAWFORD who was at least 80 years of age and was probably an enslaved woman with children during the Chickasaw Removal aka “Trail of Tears. Her story does not resonate with the Chickasaw Nation when they commemorate their ancestors that came to Indian Territory but her story is preserved in the documents that showed she was enslaved by Chickasaw Cubby LOVE and she is a part of their history and deserves to be recognized as a survivor.

Chickasaw Freedman Card #505 Front
Additionally the names of Nellie’s parents; Sam and Dilsie CRAWFORD who were deceased at the time of the Dawes enrollment process but we can forever say their name because Nellie survived the “Trail of African Tears” and she was able to provide their names for their descendants to remember and recall today.

Nellie CRAWFORD and Albert TAYLOR had at least seven children that have been documented beginning with their eldest Robert who was born circa 1839 to the youngest Rosa who was born around 1866, the year of their emancipation; the TAYLOR family was enslaved for three decades within the Chickasaw Nation and their story is also a story of survival. The descendants of Nellie and Albert TAYLOR have grown exponentially and are a part of the larger community of Indian Territory Freedmen. Their descendants include individuals who are considered “Chickasaw by blood” and citizens of the nation today.

Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of information to date on Nellie’s parents other than their names Sam and Dilsie CRAWFORD, on the rear of her Dawes card but the fact that she was able to name them and keep their memory alive provides some hope that their story will be told. They were held in bondage by different enslaver which again is monumental when you think about Nellie retaining that memory and probably how much it meant to her to keep their memory alive for the eighty plus years she survived!
Chickasaw Freedman Card #505 Rear
So many questions arise when looking at the information on this card; where did the surname CRAWFORD come from? How did the two meet if they were enslaved by two different people?
Can the two enslavers be placed in the same geographical area prior to their being enslaved by a Chickasaw Indian named Cubby LOVE? Were they originally from Africa? How many other children did they have and did they come to Indian Territory with their sister Nellie?

In the four hundred years since the first African arrived on this continent enslaved the names of Sam and Dilsie CRAWFORD will never be lost again. They however did leave a legacy of hundreds if not thousands of descendants that carry just a little piece of their essence today?


These ARE all PEOPLE who will NEVER be LOST to history AGAIN!

Monday, February 4, 2019

Isom JACKSON Choctaw Freedman #1213 Black History-Our History-My History


Honoring another ancestor today by acknowledging their life and the record they left for us to discover is my Great great-grand...


Allen & Phoebe JACKSON
Choctaw Freedmen #1213

During “Black History Month” I’ve decided to honor some of my ancestors by writing a brief story about their lives as my contribution to the story of Indian Territory, the United States and the state of Oklahoma. Much of what I know about them results from research on the institution of slavery among the Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians.

There are many records that provide a glimpse into the lives of my ancestors but not enough is known about the history of African chattel slavery by Native Americans and the result is not much is known about my ancestors.
Choctaw Freedmen Card #1213 Front
Isom JACKSON provided testimony that he was enslaved by a Chickasaw Indian named Fannie LANIHEE, in that same record was testimony by a man named Albert BIRD who testified the person who enslaved Isom went by the name of James LANIHEE, also a Chickasaw and more than likely related to Fannie.

The individual conducting the interview had some knowledge about the JACKSON family to the extent that he inquired about whether Isom had been sold by James LANIHEE. It was revealed that James did not sell him and in his testimony Isom stated “my father and mother were sold and a boy by the name of Henry…”
Choctaw Freedman Card #1213 Rear
The other children of Allen and Phoebe JACKSON remained as slaves of James Le-ni-ha; they were Mitchell, Isom, Elzira, Julia, Melvina and Amanda. Because Allen and Phoebe along with Henry and the children that were later born in Texas, none of them were “eligible” to be placed on the Choctaw Freedmen Roll.
Interview Packet Choctaw Freedman Card #1213 p3
Allen and Phoebe are my 3X-great grandparents and more than likely were a part of the Choctaw Nations “removal” to Indian Territory during the 1830’s. They were alive and enumerated on the Choctaw Freedmen 1885 census and living in Kiamatia County, Choctaw Nation. In their household were some their children and grandchildren. At the time the Dawes Commission was not creating the roll of citizenship in the Choctaw Nation but the census did determine Allen, Phoebe and everyone in the household was considered to have their nationality with the Chickasaw Nation.

1885 Choctaw Freedmen Census 
The 1885 Census of Choctaw Freedmen is a very good source to illustrate the relative wealth these former slaves accumulated only two decades following their emancipation from enslavement in 1866.

Like so many people of African descent I am not able (at this point) to determine all of my ancestors and especially those that were the first Africans to set foot on this continent but since this is the four-hundred year anniversary of those first African arriving on these shores prior to the Mayflower I still draw strength from those I am able to discover, document and honor by telling their stories.

Julia Ann  JACKSON

These ARE all PEOPLE who will NEVER be LOST to history AGAIN!

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.