Saturday, December 29, 2018

Chickasaw Freedmen Community Project-Stonewall, Indian Territory

Township 2 North, Range 7 East
Enumeration District #121
Population of Freedmen: Approximately 165

Unlike most researchers who have a connection to the freedmen of Indian Territory I have tried to concentrate my interest on the larger communities of freedmen, especially the formerly enslaved of the Chickasaw Nation. It has been my contention for years that if I take the time to learn about these larger communities I will discover my family within them. I have not been disappointed.

This method of research allows me to look at these communities and settlements as historical places on the landscape of Chickasaw history, Oklahoma history and the history of black people who have not have their story fully told. It is within that framework I have extracted some of the vital information on Dawes Cards for Chickasaw Freedmen to develop a way to look at what these communities may have been like.

The people who populated the larger settlements known as Stonewall, Berwyn, Woodford, Pontotoc, Burneyville, Homer, Hennepin, Tatum and Wynnewood just to name a few provide a very good look into how the Chickasaw Freedmen progressed in a very hostile nation that refused to accept them as citizens.

By reconstructing these communities and using the Dawes cards as a basis for information we can begin to look for the institutions that make up a community; businesses, schools, churches, homesteads, leaders and much more.

We know that the Dawes enumeration process that documented the residences for the Chickasaw Freedmen began around 1896-1899 and that is like a snapshot in time that allows for research that takes you beyond just getting to know your immediate family because in the end, these families were inter-connected through blood, culture and marriage that illustrates they were more than just names on a piece of paper.

When you take into consideration that the 1900 United States Census for Indian Territory was just one or two years following the Dawes enrollment process we can see the beginnings of a community of people that preceded Oklahoma statehood and follow them up to the migration of freedmen descendants throughout the country as they sought to find more opportunities that would provide for their family’s and the generations to follow.

There were certainly individuals in these communities and settlements that stood out as leaders like Charles COHEE, William ALEXANDER, Mack STEVENSON and my great grandmother Bettie LIGON yet there are others who have a story to tell and by telling the story of their communities I hope to bring well deserve attention to their story; our story!

Stonewall, Indian Territory was a town located in Pontotoc County near Ada. It had a history that began before the War of the Rebellion and established a post office circa 1874-75 that numerous freedmen families used as their place of residence on their Dawes Card.
Stonewall was home to the Chickasaw National Academy from 1856 up to 1880 (RHYNES)

The location and importance of this town to the Chickasaw Nation is not to be dismissed and therefore it is important to look at the people who populated Stonewall and the surrounding communities. It is not an accident that the freedmen established homes in this town and by doing so they clearly should be included as a part of the history and development of Stonewall, Indian Territory.
Map 1896 Stonewall, Indian Territory Chickasaw Nation

  1. GRAYSON, Serena CHIF#03
  2. NAIL, Joe CHIF#04 b.1828-d.5/1/1900-ATOT-enslaver COLBERT, Calvin
    1. Father-Peter
    2. Mother-NAIL, Harriet enslaver NAIL, Joel
  3. FRAZIER, Tony CHIF#05-EC-7071
  4. HARRIS, Mimy CHIF#08
  5. FRANKLIN, Wash CHIF#09
  6. VOLLEN, Mary CHIF#10-b.1833-ATOT-enslaver FRAZIER, Nancy
    1. Father-NELSON
    2. Mother-NELSON, Becky enslaver FRAZIER, Mollie
  7. BRUNER, Mary CHIF#11
  8. FOREMAN, Jeff CHIF#12
  9. CHARLES, Amos CHIF#14
  10. NOEL, Charley CHIF#15-EC-7071
  11. FRANKLIN, Jeff CHIF#16-See Petition to Transfer#1
  12. JOHNSON, Violet CHIF#17
  13. BROWN, Albert CHIF#19
  14. LEADER, Jane CHIF#21-b.1832-ATOT-enslaver FRAZIER, Nancy
    1. Father-COLBERT, Mike d. enslaver COLBERT, Alfred
    2. Mother-COLBERT, Minney d. FRANKLIN, Nancy
  15. BLUE, Sam CHIF#22
  16. ABRAM, George CHIF#23_b.1820-d.05/25/1900-ATOT-enslaver Ontiabby
    1. Father-ABRAM d
    2. Mother-ABRAM, Jennie d.
  17. ABRAM, Paralee CHIF#23-b.1833-ATOT-enslaver BROWN, Chomikee
    1. Father-PERRY, Homday-d enslaver PERRY, Jim
    2. Mother-PERRY, Mirna-d. enslaver McCLISH
  18. FRAZIER, Sookey CHIF#24-b. 1834-ATOT-enslaver WATERS, Katie_EC-7071
    1. Father-McGEE, Andy d. enslaver McGEE, Marcum
    2. Mother-McGEE, Flora d. enslaver WATERS, Katie

There is more to learn about the Chickasaw Freedmen population of Stonewall which requires researching other historical records that might provide stories that include the names listed here. We can use the census records of 1910-1940 to see how the families of freedmen began to enlarge through marriage and childbirth as well as those who died and left their mark on the community.

As you can see from some of my notations there are many who lived in Stonewall that came to Indian Territory as an enslaved individual during the removal (ATOT.) From that information we may see which Chickasaw Indian enslaved them. Additionally we may discover the name of that individual’s parents and who enslaved them? The question becomes did the parent and child come to the territory at the same time or were they separated and never saw one another again?

The other aspect of this type of community research allows the researcher to see who among the population sought to be recognized as a Chickasaw by blood (EC-7071.) Within this community there are several cards that imply someone on it has claimed to have a parent or ancestor that was a recognized citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. This demonstrates that within that community of freedmen that lived among the Chickasaws was an individual or family that may have had ties to a Chickasaw family in the area or certainly in the nation.

Sookey FRAZIER or someone in her family would seem to fill in all the boxes as a woman or child that came to Indian Territory during the removal and either had Chickasaw blood or a child of had a claim of Chickasaw Indian ancestry?

It is important as Chickasaw Freedmen researchers we begin to expand our thinking about our ancestors and reclaim all of their history. We need to discover the stories that include them in the history of the Chickasaw Nation, the history of Oklahoma and the history as African-Americans.

It is not easy but it is necessary! 

M-1186 Dawes Card#24 Front Sookey FRAZIER
  1. CLARK, Coleman CHIF#26-See Petition to Transfer#1
  2. PHILLIPS, Mary CHIF#27
  3. FRAZIER, Harriet CHIF#28
  4. TOWSER, Polly CHIF#30-b.1829-ATOT-enslaver LOVE, Overton
    1. Father-PERRY, Jack d. enslaver PERRY, John
    2. Mother-GUNN, Affie d. enslaver GUNN
  5. COBREY, George CHIF#47
  6. MIKE, Aleck CHIF#49-b.1843-ATOT-enslaver FRAZIER, Nancy
    1. Father-MIKE d. enslaver COLBERT, Alfred
    2. Mother-MIKE, Minney d. enslaver FRAZIER, Nancy
  7. BLUE, Billy CHIF#52
  8. FRANKLIN, Albert CHIF#55-EC-7071
  9. PERRY, Lila CHIF#60-b.1828-d.1901-ATOT-enslaver BROWN, Cassie
    1. Father-PERRY, Manuel d. enslaver HARROD, Hotiche
    2. Mother-PERRY, Dinah d. enslaver PERRY, Lizzie
1900 US Census Indian Territory Chickasaw Nation, Pontotoc County, Township 2 North, Range 7 East
  1. ABRAMS, Daniel CHIF#63
  2. COVAN, Charlotte CHIF#64
  3. BENNETT, Bud CHIF#66
  4. GRAYSON, Mary CHIF#67
  5. ALFRED, Henry CHIF#68
  6. BROWN, Lou CHIF#72-EC-7071
  7. JOHNSON, Levi CHIF#74
  8. COCHRAN, Agnes CHIF#76
  9. TOWNSEND, Fannie CHIF#77
  10. BLUE, Mary CHIF#78-b.1822-ATOT-enslaver COLBERT, Winchester-Wife King BLUE
    1. Father-CHISM, Joe d.Cherokee Indian
    2. Mother-CHISM, Sallie d.
  11. COLBERT, Agnes CHIF#79
  12. PATRICK, Bessie CHIF#80
  13. BLUE, Joe CHIF#85
  14. JOHNSON, Manuel CHIF#88
  15. BLUE, Peter CHIF#91-Son Old King BLUE_NB#435
  16. SMITH, Wesley CHIF#94-Parents alive-Card#?
  17. COCHRAN, Nathan CHOF#09-Deceased
  18. COCHRAN, Henry CHOF#10
  19. COCHRAN, Mary CHOF#12-EC-7071
  20. COHEE, Amanda CHOF#13
  21. COCHRAN, Nathan CHOF#15
  22. COCHRAN, Charley CHOF#16
  23. BLUE, Rachel CHOF#20
  24. HARRIS, Jim CHOF#22
  25. BROWN, Philip CHOF#24
  26. DUNFORD, Seeley CHOF#25
  27. BROWN, Mandy CHOF#26
  28. HARLAN, Aleck CHOF#27 P.O. Franks, I.T.
  29. BLUE, Hardy CHOF#28-P.O. Franks, I.T.
  30. WILLIAMS, Anderson CHIF#101 (D-10/18/1900)
  31. HARLAN, Elijah CHIF#106 (P.O. Franks, I.T.)
  32. PERRY, Jane CHIF#110
  33. SMITH, Maggie CHIF#115
  34. HARLAN, Joe CHIF#120
  35. HARLAN, Martha CHIF#122-P.O. Franks, I.T.
  36. BLUE, George CHIF#127-(D-04/19/1899)
  37. COLBERT, Silas CHIF#132
  38. BLUE, King CHIF#135

ATOT-African Trail of Tears
b.-BornCHIF-Chickasaw Freedmen
CHOF-Choctaw Freedmen
d.-DeceasedNB-New Born
EC-7071-Equity Case 7071

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

African Trail of Tears Jerry COLBERT Chickasaw Freedman #923

African Trail of Tears

b. 1818 d. 11/1904
Chickasaw Freedman #923
Enslaver: Jake (Mack) COLBERT
Residence: Colbert, Indian Territory

Father: Isaac COLBERT d.
Mother: Polly COLBERT d.

As we honor those enslaved ancestors that traveled the African Trail of Tears during the removal of the Chickasaw Indians, one individual that lived to a ripe old age was Jerry COLBERT. Individuals who came to Indian Territory as enslaved people in the Chickasaw Nation provide a very good example of what it means to survive and for Jerry to live to the age of eighty or one hundred is worthy of honor.

M-1186 Chickasaw Freedman Dawes Card #923 Front

 One of Jerry’s sons Jake COLBERT provided testimony about how his father arrived in Indian Territory from Mississippi during the Chickasaw removal. In that interview a great deal of information was provided about Jerry, who was his enslaver, the name of his wife, the name of another child and where Jerry COLBERT was living.

Sometimes we can get a sense of an individual and their personality from what we read in their interviews. Jake COLBERT provides a little insight into his attitude when the interviewer asked him whether his father was “alive now?” In his response you get the sense Jake was just a little annoyed at the question when he responded; “He was day before yesterday at nine o’clock when I left there.”

The age given for Jerry COLBERT was 80 indicating he was born circa 1818 but in the interview with Jake COLBERT, Jerry he indicated Jerry may have been about 100 years old.

Jake made it clear Jerry COLBERT came to Indian Territory when he stated his father arrived with the Chickasaws “when the Indians first came to this country from Mississippi.” Jerry COLBERT may have come to Indian Territory with the Indians from Mississippi but it appears he was born in North Carolina according to the information in the 1900 United States Census.

M-1301 Interview Packet Chickasaw Freedmen card #923 pg 9

It is not clear if Mack COLBERT was the last slave owner of Jerry or his original Chickasaw Indian enslaver but it is clear even at eighty years of age, Jerry was witness to a great deal of history and upheaval regarding the Chickasaw Nation.

He was a witness and participant in the Chickasaw removal.  He would have been a middle age man anywhere from forty-three to sixty years old at the outbreak of the Civil War. Jerry would have been present when the Chickasaw Nation emancipated their enslaved people in 1866 and we know he was present when the Dawes Commission began its work to allot land to the Choctaw Freedmen, he was an eyewitness to a great deal of history.

We honor Jerry COLBERT survivor of the African Trail of Tears during the Chickasaw removal by saying his name and preserving his history, our history as a Chickasaw Freedman.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

AFRICAN TRAIL OF TEARS Peter WOLF Chickasaw Freedman

African Trail of Tears

Peter WOLF
Chickasaw Freedman
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.