Sunday, January 14, 2018

Salina PICKENS Chickasaw Freedwoman #488

52 Ancestors 52 Weeks

Chickasaw Freedmen #488 front HAWKINS, Culosh & Salina

When I research my ancestors who lived among the Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians I recognize just how fortunate I am for many of the documents available for identifying and documenting these men and women. One ancestor who is related by way of my great great grandmother Margaret Ann WILSON nee ALEXANDER is her daughter Salina PICKENS-HAWKINS. For many people who grew up in southern Oklahoma and specifically in and around Ardmore may recognize both names and their association to black families in that area. What I find significant as I research the history of my family and the history of the Chickasaw Freedmen is how blended and connected our families are to each other.

Salina HAWKINS was born in slavery and was enslaved by a Chickasaw woman named Tilda CRINER. For the purposes of those who come behind me to conduct research you should know Tilda CRINER nee LOVE was the daughter of Col. Benjamin LOVE. This is an important fact because Salina’s mother stated that she came to Indian Territory as an enslaved woman with the same Col. Ben LOVE. 

Chickasaw Freedmen #488 rear HAWKINS, Culosh, & Salina
As the daughter of Ben LOVE and the daughter of one of LOVE’S slaves; I ask the question how did Salina become the property of Tilda CRINER? One can only hope to locate LOVE family records at some point that might disclose how the LOVE family handled their enslaved population and if Salina was “gifted” to the CRINER family?

Again it is one of the “benefits” of having ancestors who were living among the Five Slave Holding Tribes, their existence at a certain point was well documented by the Dawes Commission. And let me disabuse anyone of thinking I mean that to say the Indians were kinder and gentler than their counterparts in other parts of the United States that held Africans in chattel slavery, they weren’t.  Nothing is clearer to that point than by looking at the rear of Salina and Culosh HAWKINS Dawes card. Every individual listed on the rear of that card was enslaved by a different Chickasaw Indian.

1900 Indian Territory Census p23B, Enumeration District 168 Lines 87-94

The Dawes card for Salina and Culosh list important information about their children and will be useful as more research is conducted on this branch of the family tree originating with Margaret Ann WILSON. The fact this information was generated in 1898 means that it is possible to locate this family in the 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 and hopefully the 1940 census.

The children as we see are becoming adults and having families of their own. This is where the information in the census records can be useful. Communities of freedmen in Indian Territory remained close to their homes until about the 1930’s and 40 when you begin to see a migration to areas away from the countryside and state where they had established their families and homes.

Chickasaw Freedmen Land Allotment Application #2001 Salina HAWKINS p3 
Besides the use of Dawes Cards in recreating our family’s history another set of records can be very useful in discovering all there is about the people who make up our family. One such record is the land allotment application records that can be found at:

When I looked through this file I discovered another descendant of Margaret Ann WILSON nee ALEXANDER. In the file of Margaret’s daughter Salina was a hand written letter by Salina inquiring about the land allotment for her daughter Maud PAYTON and Leroy PAYTON.

 Not only does this document provide vital information regarding additional people who descend from Margaret Ann WILSON but it also demonstrates that Salina could read and write based on the rear of the document that has her signature! 

We learn that Salina refers to herself as “Slinnie HAWKINS.” At the same time Salina refers to her husband as “Chulish HAWKINS.” Documents like this provide valuable information about our ancestors so we can reconnect our family and make it possible for future generations to truly know where they come from.

Chickasaw Freedmen Land Allotment Application #2001 Sallina HAWKINS p3 rear

As a result of this document several other people who descend from Margaret Ann WILSON emerge. Salina had a daughter Maud and a grandson that are enumerated on Chickasaw Freedman card #592 which provides the name of Maud’s husband and the father of her son Leroy PAYTON. On the rear of the card is the name of Maud’s father Jackson BAILEY is revealed, who appears to also have a Dawes card! As Indian Territory researchers we know the place where all of these people lived is provided on their Dawes card, which should help in locating them in the U.S. census later.

Maud PAYTON Chickasaw Freedwoman #592 front
Maud PAYTON Chickasaw Freedwoman #592 rear
What this record reveals it that before Salina was married Culosh HAWKINS at the time she enrolled her family gave birth to Maud from a relationship she had with Jackson BAILEY years before. This opens up other lines of inquiry and most importantly guides us to the M-1301 Oral Interview packet for both Maud PAYTON and Jackson BAILEY.

Chickasaw Freedmen M-1301 #592 Maud PAYTON p2
When I looked at the oral interview for Maud I was pleasantly surprised to see another ancestor that was the child of Margaret Ann WILSON and who I was acquainted with. In Maud’s interview were statements from her uncle William ALEXANDER who was enumerated on Chickasaw Freedman card number one.

William’s oral interview supporting his niece provides additional information about our extended family that was not readily known when I began researching and it demonstrates the value of the Dawes Commission records.

William is able to shed light on who enslaved Maud’s mother Salina HAWKINS which corroborates the information not only on Salina’s card but he confirms the information on his own card concerning who enslaved him and it provides some insight about the enslaved and the enslaver.

The name on both cards indicates the “slave owner” as Tilda CRINER but we learn her actual name is Matilda and her maiden name is LOVE. William goes on to inform us that Matilda married a white man named CRINER. William ALEXANDER states that “we stayed with Mrs. CRINER, always have lived with them.” He goes on to say “she kept children from about three or four years after the war.” This is important because if a freedman or freedman descendant was to receive a land allotment they had to prove they lived or returned to the nation right after the war in 1866. It also makes me wonder what kind of relationship the children had with Tilda CRINER that she “kept children” several years after the war?

Chickasaw Freedmen M-1301 #592 Maud PAYTON p3
In an effort to tie up this branch of the family tree it is important to look at the remainder of William ALEXANDER’S testimony concerning the application for land allotment. If you recall the place of residence for Maud was in Muskogee, Indian Territory, it was also the residence for her father Jackson BAILEY Chickasaw Freedman Card #903.

In William’s testimony to the commission he indicates young Leroy was living in Muskogee, Creek Nation with his grandfather Jackson. At some point those who descend from the BAILY line may pursue their connection to the ALEXANDER, HAWKINS, PAYTON AND WILSON branches of this family tree?

Chickasaw Freedmen M-1186 #903 front John BAILEY 
Chickasaw Freedmen M-1186 #903 rear John BAILEY
There is another document in the M-1301 file for Maud PAYTON that is vital to researching this family that is descended from Margaret Ann WILSON Choctaw Freedwoman #122. On page 5 of this file is a summarization of the interview sworn to by William ALEXANDER. The statement given by William to Dawes Commissioner A.S. McKENNON informed the commissioner that Maud was married to a U.S. citizen by the name of George PAYTON. Unlike white men who married Chickasaw women, George could not receive recognition as a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation nor could he be considered a freedman and receive forty acres of land he was therefore labeled as a non-citizen.

The document provided another revelation that Maud had a brother named Robert STEVENSON and he was enrolled as a Chickasaw Freedman on Dawes Card #591!  This becomes another example of just how intertwined the freedmen community was when it came to the development of families in the Chickasaw Nation.  This is the third man that fathered a child by Salina PICKENS-HAWKINS. It demonstrates that there are just small degrees of separation between the freedmen families. If nothing else it illustrates just how connected our families truly are.

With the fact that Robert STEVENSON was the son of Salina PICKENS-HAWKINS for anyone who grew up in the Ardmore, Oklahoma area recognize these surnames and now they have another nexus that will tie them to many more cousins that descend from Margaret Ann WILSON nee ALEXANDER and Cornelius PICKENS, former slaves of Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians.

Even though there is not a lot of information contained in the oral testimony file (M-1301) of Robert STEVENSON there is a great deal of information that can be gleaned from the front and rear of Robert’s Dawes card #591. The first thing to take note of is Robert and his family’s residence was in Springer, Indian Territory and the card provides names of his wife and children. Dawes card #591 provides the date of birth of a child L.G. Elnora as well as a notation about one other child that was documented on Minor Chickasaw Freedman Card #178 who was enrolled by Charles COHEE a well-known leader in the freedman community.

Chickasaw Freedmen M-1186 #591 front Robert STEVENSON
Chickasaw Freedmen M-1186 #591 rear Robert STEVENSON
M-1186  Minor Chickasaw Freedman # 178 Avis & Atwood STEVENSON
SURNAMES appearing in this article:
  • LOVE
GEOGRAPHICAL areas appearing in this article:

  • Chickasaw Nation
  • Creek Nation
  • Perry, OKLAHOMA
  • Pickens County,

1 comment:

  1. I wish there were cards like this for those outside of the 5 slaveholding nations.