Thursday, June 30, 2011

Timeline Thursday-Blacks Among the Five Civilized Tribes 1890-1896

February 1890-National Women Suffrage Association and American Women Suffrage .Association merge to form the national American Women Suffrage Association.

March 1890-Commissioner Wallace denies the report that he has enrolled 44,570 Negroes. However he has applications to admit about nine thousand to citizenship.

April 1890-Commissioner Wallace is using the authenticated rolls of the Cherokee Nation for his guidance in determining who of the Negro people are to be recognized as citizens.

July 1890-Sherman Anti-trust Law enacted to help restore the institutions of government to their rightful owners.

November 1890- J. Milton Turner (Black Attorney from St. Louis, MO) has a contract to prosecute all claims of the Freedmen against the Cherokee nation is false according to Lester Foreman, president of he Freedmen brotherhood.

March 1891-Immigration protest; The “Guthrie News”, advises against the large influx of Negroes to Logan County

November 1891-The Choctaws are driving the Negroes out of that nation; any one employing a colored servant is subject to a $50.00 fine.

June 1892-Death of Negro outlaw, Bob Leslie

October 1892-The Secretary of the Interior states that a schedule will be made of all freedmen who were left off the Wallace roll but have been recognized in the hands of Agent Bennett for payment this month.

Benjamin Harrison~1889-1893; (1833-1901)

November 1893-The U.S. Congress authorized Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes. Former U.S. Sen. Henry Dawes of MA was named chairman.

December 1893-There is not a colored man in Blackwell

March 1894-A campaign against marriages between white and colored people was announced by the “Lexington Leader”, Lexington newspaper

June 1894-A controversy arising from an article by the Kingfisher Free Press in which the editor insists upon social and political fairness towards the colored race

July 1894-Lynching and Race Riot, murder in Monett

July 1894-Chickasaw Nation; The act in congress to adopt the Negroes of the Chickasaw Nation is given.

March 1895-The Freedmen case comes up again. Ike Rogers still insists on a compromise if possible. “I would like to know who has more right to settle this question than the Cherokee and Freedmen.”

March 1895-The adopted colored people of the Cherokee Nation learn they have won their case against the Cherokee Nation and will receive a share of the strip money.

June 1895-The Attorney General issued a proclamation notifying all Negroes on the Osage Indian reservation to leave the premises before July 01, 1895

April 1896-Perkins, a Negro, who ran on the Republican ticket for police judge of Guthrie, received 100 votes in excess of the total Negro vote in Guthrie.

May 1896-The colored people of the territory are said to be in a most prosperous condition, despite all predictions to the contrary

June 1896-The Freedmen Commission will hold a session at Vinita

June 1896-The Secretary of Interior has made a decision to the effect that all Choctaw freedmen, born since the treaty of 1866, are citizens of the United States

July 1896-Congress expanded commission's authority to include determining who belonged on Five Tribes rolls.

August 1896-Judge Adams chief justice of the Creek Nation Supreme Court, says the Negroes are not citizens of the Creek Nation

August 1896-The colored people celebrated Emancipation Day in El Reno Tuesday, in true American style.

August 1896-Rev. Cameron and J. R. Fulbright held a debate on the morals of the colored people, at the Emancipation celebration

September 1896-- Nearly 75,000 apply to be added to the Dawes Rolls; all but 2,075 were rejected.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Digital Scrapbook Another Way to Tell Your Story?

I've been curious about the possibility of using scrapbooks to tell my family history and came across a program that was offered for five dollars. I decided to download the program and see what it contained and if it provided me the platform to tell my family history in a visually attractive and stimulating way.

This program in the starter edition provides a great deal of options from frames, embellishments, and backgrounds when combined with the ability to convert and enhance all images; make this a powerful program to showcase my family history.

I certain that with more experimentation with the program I should be able to develop my skills in creating the visual images that will captivate the members of my family as they learn more about our ancestors and where they came from.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

In memory of those men who have proceeded me as father's and those who are my contemporary fathers; Any man can be a father, it takes someone special to be a Dad!

We don't have to be perfect, in most cases we are flawed. However, the we are there when needed. I remember the day I fell and had a piece of glass go about a half inch into the heal of the palm of my hand. My father took his time and removed the glass and I was off again to break an arm, dislocate a finger or get an A in a class for which he paid me a whole five dollars. He wasn't perfect but he was there.

Warren G. Ligon Sr.

Mitchell L. Ligon

I never knew my grandfather Mitchell; he died in 1932 the stories I hear about him leaves no doubt about his flaws. However, he was a man of his time and I would still want to know him with those flaws for he was my father's father. 

Terry J. Ligon & Tre'

Well here I am trying to minimize my flaws and be a dad to a great son. I once heard it's not the parents that make the good child; it's the child that makes good parents. My son has taught me a great deal from day one, he is making me a "Good Dad!"

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Word Up Wednesday Class Rolls Douglass High Ardmore, Oklahoma

The information contained in the Douglass High School of Ardmore, Oklahoma contains some significant genealogical information. One of the more difficult task of genealogist can be determining a woman's maiden name; well a high school book or in this case an alumni book contains the very information that can be useful when doing genealogical research.

I believe another significant roll an information source like this can provide is the book is a snapshot of the community in which all of these people were born, grew up, attended school and married. As a result, a publication like this provides a wealth of information with an added bonus of photographs of the people in most cases.

I am grateful my cousin Cheryl allowed me to use her copy of the Douglass High Alumni directory so I could go through it and extract information about the descendants of Choctaw and Chickasaw Freedmen descendants. Admittedly once I began looking I came to the realization that most of the freedmen descendants attended little church schools "out in the country" and only later did they or their children began to attend Douglass High which was located in the city of Ardmore.

This migration from the "country" to the city was illustrative of the blending of people and families that began following the Civil War but escalated in the years following statehood when the black community became one whether Freedmen or "State Negro."

Hester Marie Brown is in her 90's and a Chickasaw citizen
These men and women are in their 70's including my Aunt Barbara
Evelyn Brown (front 2nd L) was bused from the "country" to attend Douglass, she is 81 and going strong

In 1948 and 49 more Freedmen descendants appear at Douglass, Freeman & Ligon(s) I'm sure there more.

These documents serve to illustrate the robust community that was once part of segregated Ardmore, Oklahoma. This community established institutions based on the education of their children; one of the most important aspects the Chickasaw and Choctaw Freedmen Associations fought to establish. It is important that their legacy be preserved from the little church schools to Douglass High.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Timeline Thursday-Blacks Among the Five Civilized Tribes 1880-1889

James A. Garfield 
1880-James Abram Garfield 1831-81; 20th U.S. President; elected in 1880 but assassinated after less than a year in office

1881 -  Garfield is assassinated; Chester A. Arthur becomes president; took office in 1881 after Garfield’s assassination

May 1881-The eastern philanthropists who by the Quaker Commissioners over see the interest of our one Indian neighbors have just made the important discovery that the Negroes are the only citizens of the U. S. who have by treaty a right to settle on the ceded lands in the territory and parties are now at work in earnest organizing colonies of colored men to colonize Oklahoma

May 1882-Governor B. F. Overton, of Chickasaw Nation has gone back to Washington to protest against the adoption of the Negroes in that nation.

1884 -  Grover Cleveland is elected president; first elected in 1884 after defeating James G. Blaine

Cherokee Advocate May 5, 1882 P3, C1
April 1884-A bill by J. F. McCurtain, Principal Chief of the Choctaw Nation, to provide for the registration of the freedmen of the Nation, under the third article of the treaty of 1866, between the U. S. and the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations is given.

March 1886-The cause of the Cherokee freedmen which J. Milton Turner is representing, received a big boost. This bill is the response to the petition presented by Mr. Turner, asking restitution to the Cherokee freedmen of their share in the $300,000 from which they were debarred

April 1886-Governor Edmond McCurtain of the Choctaw Nation, issued his proclamation declaring all freedmen in his Nation who registered under the recent registration act of said Nation bona fide citizens of the same, and instructing them to vote in the future at all elections the same as Choctaws by blood or otherwise.

1888 -  Benjamin Harrison is elected president; grandson of ninth U.S. president, William Henry Harrison; defeated incumbent Grover Cleveland in 1888

June 1888-Mr. Dawes has introduced a bill in the Senate providing for the removal of the freedmen from the Chickasaw nation, to lands west of the ninety-sixth meridian

July 1889-J. Milton Turner has been paid one-half of the fee of $15,000 allowed for securing the passage of he Cherokee freedmen indemnity act for $75,000. The balance is held pending the investigation of Col. E. C. Boudinot’s claim for one-half the fee

December 1889-Negro families from near Kingfisher are returning to Topeka, Kansas. It is estimated that less than half of the original colonies will prove up on their claims.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Identifying the Offices of B.C. Franklin

In recent days I have been engaged in a conversation about the photograph on the dust jacket of Buck Colbert Franklin’s book, “My Life And An Era.” Over the years I have visited Ardmore, Oklahoma and from my earliest visits I was told the current building that is the Renaissance Center was the building in which housed the law offices of Buck Colbert Franklin.

The cover indicates the building in 1910 that housed B.C. Franklin’s office was located in the Munzesheimer & Daube building. The author provided the address in his book on page 137 as 311 South Main Street and from this information I sought to corroborate the building still exist and is the building I was told was where he and four other black attorneys set up shop.

One of the things I chose to do in an effort to document the history of this building required me to begin utilizing the services of Google view to first see what was at the address 311 South Main today.

From my personal knowledge of Ardmore and Main Street, Main Street is laid out in an East –West direction. The locals refer to the street as East or West Main. It is quite possible that in 1910 Main could have been referred to as North and or South.

When I plugged in the address of 311 East Main Street on Google View, the block that includes the Renaissance Center, which has the look of what could have been the same building and office in 1910.

I began to have some questions if the building I knew as Franklin’s office was in fact, the building on the dust jacket. One of the reasons for my doubts had to do with what appears to be a building next to the Munzesheimer & Daube building on the cover.

In addition, on the dust jacket there isn’t any other building to the right of the offices but today there appears two other buildings. Could one of the three buildings on the panoramic view actually be the Munzesheimer & Daube building? I located another view of the Munzesheimer & Daube building that may be dated prior 1910?

In this view it is clear the Munzesheimer & Daube building sat on the corner and there was a building adjacent to it that had a sloping roof. However the front of the building does have a similarity to the front of the building today.

From looking at the two buildings they are similar but one has adjacent buildings connected to it while the photo of the building indicates the Munzesheimer & Daube building stood on a corner with a side street adjacent next to it.

Of course I couldn’t rest here, the data was inconclusive and in the one hundred years from 1910 to 2010 much I’m sure has changed in Ardmore on Main Street!

With more research I was able to come up with another piece of information that may begin to clarify where the offices of B.C. Franklin actually stood in the form of the Munzesheimer & Daube building. This information comes from an internet site giving more history of the building and identifying who and what Munzesheimer & Daube were.

In this article it explains “the store was located east of where the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway tracks now run.” That description clearly indicates that East Main Street is where the Munzesheimer & Daube existed and that is where the row of buildings are today, east of the railway tracks.

What is problematic about a lot of this is the other photographs including the in this article. However, when you read the article further, a lot of this clears up.

The article goes on to state that “in the early 1900’s” the “enterprise known as the Blue front and moved to this location.” I suspect, the article meant the photo was the new location known as the Blue Front and Munzesheimer & Daube along with Daube’s brother Sam abandoned the east Main Street location prior to B.C. Franklin occupied that site.

As I looked at this photo I thought that it might be possible to locate this building despite the fact it was not the location of Franklin’s office. I should also mention there was another photograph of the Munzesheimer & Daube building that gave a view of Main Street that was interesting.

In this photo it is clear to me the Munzesheimer & Daube store had moved west of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. The façade on the building had changed drastically and the caption states the view is “looking West from Whittington Hotel.”

At this point I’m almost certain we have an idea where the law offices of B.C. Colbert were but I need to square the circle and pinpoint where Munzesheimer & Daube moved and is there any evidence of that building still in existence?

Strangely enough I think there may sufficient evidence in the above photo to establish what building was the building in question. In this photo, there are three blocks in question and the building in the third block that appears to be a three story building in my opinion is still standing.

Much has changed and I suspect this is an artist illustration or postcard of Main Street in Ardmore, Oklahoma. By utilizing Google View again, I attempted to recreate that angle and perspective of the illustration to locate the building today.

In this view I believed I located the three storied building in the background that is similar to the illustration.

A closer view brings the landmark building in the background in a clearer light and is approximately in the same location and number of blocks away from what I believe is where the relocated “Blue Enterprise” Munzesheimer & Daube building exist today.

How interesting, a building that is in the approximate same location of the Munzesheimer & Daube building happens to be painted BLUE!

Now I can be totally wrong in my assumptions and conclusions. It is my hope that some of the local resident’s can shed some light on this subject. There is just a bit more information in the article about the Daube’s and Munzesheimer business that an Ardmoreite can help with.

The article indicated the Munzesheimer & Daube store became a fixture in Ardmore and it existed until 1990 when they finally closed their doors as a department store. My question is where did that department store stand and is this the location of the “Blue Enterprise?”

For more discussion on B.C. Franklin's book "My Life And An Era" join the Facebook page; The Oklahoma/Indian Territory Reader. The site was launched to create an atmosphere where literature concerning African-Americans who lived among the so called Five Civilized Tribes.

If you have a Facebook account and want to be a part of the discussions request to be added to the community today!

The Oklahoma/Indian Territory Reader

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Black & Red Vignettes~Evelyn Norwood

Evelyn Norwood nee Brown
The first time I met Evelyn she phoned me out of the blue and where she got my number I can't even recall. She was living in Georgia and wanted to talk with me about some relatives of mine she knew. During the course of our conversation, Evelyn told me she had some photographs of some of my ancestor's; she offered to send me copies and I gladly accepted (trying not to blow my cool.)

This must have been about ten years ago and over the years we would talk, always over the phone and to this day I have yet to meet her face to face (it's on my bucket list.)

What I have found in Evelyn is in my opinion a one of a kind TREASURE!

During the years I've moved and lost her number, so we had not been in contact for at least three or four years. During that time I would hear about her through other people but for some reason we had not talked.

Eliza Stevenson (Evelyn's mother)
What became more important for me was the oral history Evelyn would share with me; about my ancestor's I never knew but who she grew up with or grew up hearing stories about them. With Evelyn telling me the history of her people and those she grew up with allowed me to know my own ancestors. It has been invaluable in a way that allowed me to have images of these ancestor's I would not have had without her.

I should point out one of the reasons we have connected is Evelyn and I share some family members. My great great grandfather John Taylor is Evelyn's great grandfather. This connection brings with it so many other ancestral lines that boggle the mind. It also has brought a great deal more information my way by having conversations with Evelyn.

She is funny, has a grasp for the history that defies her eighty plus years on this earth. Evelyn is giving to all who will take the time to listen to her and she loves to share oral history as well as the images of our ancestors. One of those images included my grandmother and grandfather who I never met.

I'm glad to say that earlier this year Evelyn got word to me she wanted to talk and ask that I give her a call; we have been talking like we never lost a step and she has continued to provide so much information about our families and the history of Ardmore, Newport, Milo and Berwyn Oklahoma. Her information has helped me to dig deeper in the research of the blacks and African-Native people of Indian Territory.

Evelyn's father Lester ; his brothers A.B.& Henry Brown
Evelyn like so many of our elders is a treasure because she doesn't mind sharing the stories of our ancestor's if only we take the time to listen. I'm doing my level best to document her stories and preserve them for future generations.

I would like to encourage those who subscribe and read this journal, seek out the elders; the "treasures" in your life; record their oral history and more importantly utilize today's technologies so their story is preserved for future generations.

If we don't tell our story, who will? If we don't preserve our history, who will? If we don't document our story, who will?

Evelyn doesn't use a computer. She can't use the technology available but she is willing to talk and share her story with all who listen, I'm sure the elders in your family are similar in many ways. Give them a call, better yet; if possible visit them and record those stories in a video or an audio recorder.
Chickasaw by blood Dawes Card for Evelyn's Grandmother Hattie Brown

If you are a descendant of Indian Territory Freedmen, contact me and let's see what we can do to preserve our history.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Oklahoma/Indian Territory Reader

A reading group has been formed that focuses on books, film and published articles that pertained to Blacks in Oklahoma and Indian Territory.

If you have a serious interest in the subject matter and would like to engage in vigorous but respectful discussions consider joining our group, click on the link below.

The Oklahoma/Indian Territory Reader

The first book we will read and discuss is "My Life And An Era" by Buck Colbert Franklin.

This is a closed group and you will need permission to join.