Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Mayfield Family of Paw Paw, Cherokee Freedmen

In 1901 Charles Mayfield of Paw Paw appeared in front of the Dawes Commission to enroll his children as Cherokee Freedmen. His name appears on Cherokee Freedmen card #1388. He lived in an area of the Paw Paw Bottoms and he was applying on behalf of himself and his children Emmanuel, Beulah, Royal, McKinley, Nathaniel, and Bennie. He was married but his wife Lizzie was not a Cherokee citizen, and therefore he was not applying for her.

Cherokee Freedman Card #1388
The National Archives at Ft. Worth, Ft. Worth Texas 1868-1914, 
NAI Number: 251747

Record Group Title: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75
Image accessed on Ancestry.com

(same as above)



 Ceasar Mayfield was the father of Charles Mayfield. His mother was Nancy Starr. Ceasar was deceased at the time, but Nancy was still living at the time, and in fact filed on her own behalf. It will be shown below that their files were merged when the interview was conducted.

Mother, Nancy Starr
Nancy Starr lived in Cottownood, in the Sequoyah District of the Cherokee Nation. She was previously on the Wallace Roll as well as the Kern Clifton Roll of Cherokee Freedmen.

Cherokee Freedman Card #1383
(same as above)

Her parents were Henry West, and Phoebe Mayfield, and both had been at one time enslaved by Walker Mayfield of the Cherokee Nation. (She had been placed earlier on a "Doubtful" card but later, like the other Mayfields was placed on the admitted roll of Cherokee Freedmen.)

(Source: same as above)


Son Artice Mayfield

Charles and Lizzie had another child, Artice, who was enrolled on  his own card. He was enrolled on Cherokee Freedman Card#75, with Freedmen New Born Minors.
Cherokee Freedman Minor New Born Card #75
(same as above)


From the Application Jacket
The application jacket consists of a number of interviews all pertaining to the Mayfield family. Because Charles's mother was still living, she was interviewed as well and the files were merged.  In addition a number of questions pertaining to whether or not they were eligible for enrollment. This is evidenced by the questions regarding their presence in the Cherokee Nation during the Civil War and when they returned to the nation afterwards. To qualify for enrollment they have to have returned in 1866 and there are several questions pertaining to that. Also there were questions regarding their having been enrolled on previous rolls that reflected Cherokee Freedmen.

National Archives Publication M1301

Applications for Enrollment
(Also accessed from Fold3.com, Native American Collection, Choctaw Freedmen)



An interesting series of questions were directed in order to determine fully if the family returned in time. Part of this may be a result of their not having been enrolled on the 1880 roll of authenticated Cherokees. They were enrolled on the Wallace and Kern-Clifton Rolls. However there was some curiosity about their movements that were continually asked.

Source: Same as above

Nancy was asked whether she had traveled or spent time in Arkansas, but she pointed out that she was not sure if she had, as she was not sure where Arkansas was. Being unfamiliar with distances or measurement, the questioning shifted if she could state how many miles she lived from a neighbor, but again she pointed out that she was not sure.

Reading this interview gives an impression that there was doubt and perhaps there may have been an effort to find flaw in her statement.

Source: Same as above

As the interview continues it become evident that a large family clan is appearing around the same time and being interviewed at the same time. Houston West, also related to the Mayfield family and also the son of formerly enslaved people held by Walker Mayfield was interviewed. Houston West was the brother of Nancy Starr, son of Henry West. Again the same kinds of questions were asked and pertained to the slave holder and their movement during and after the Civil War.

Source: Same as above

Questions about Nancy Starr, mother to Charles Mayfield were asked, including her parents and whether they had been enslaved by Walker Mayfield as well. It was decided to merge the family of Charles Mayfield, with the file of Nancy Starr, and also of Houston West. All were related and all had a tie to the same Cherokee slaveholder at one time.

Source: Same as above

It is clear that there was some doubt felt by the commisioners and many of the questions were asked repeatedly of the applicants.

Source: Same as above

Their application was doubted, and it was decided to hear the case at a later date to present in its entirety. As a result, the family was at first placed on a Cherokee Freedmen "Doubtful" card.


Source: Same as above


There were other documents such as birth affidavits for the children and one sample is shown below. 

Source: Same as above

Finally after three years, of waiting a decision was made on this family, as well as on others who had been placed in a state of "doubt" by the commissioners. in October of 1904 it was decided that the Mayfield applicants among others were approved and could be enrolled as Cherokee Freedmen.

Source: Same as above



Land record of Artice Mayfield
(Personal Collection)


A land record outside of the Land Allotment jackets exists reflecting the young child Artice Mayfield and the land eventually awarded to him.

The record of the Mayfield is connected to the Wests, and the Starrs and other families, all of the Sequoyah District in the Paw Paw Bottoms. There are many other records that reflect this large extended family, and these documents reflect only a portion of them. This is a Cherokee Freedman family strongly rooted in their nation. They survived enslavement, removal to Texas, found their way back to their only home, and they fought to remain in the land of their birth. Their legacy is a strong one, and it is hoped that ties are still maintained among the families, and to the soil from which they come.

This is the 35th article in a 52-article series devoted to sharing histories of families once held as enslaved people in Indian Territory, now known as Oklahoma. The focus is on the Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes, and these posts are part of an ongoing project to document 52 families in 52 weeks.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Family of Hazen Dosar, Parents & Children


The Dosar family of Mekasuka, Indian Territory was a Seminole family that lived closely with other extended family for many years. Finding records reflecting their whole story was a challenge due to missing records. There are enrollment cards, but the accompanying records found in application jackets are simply missing and were never microfilmed by the National Archives.

Hazan Dosar was a young man who appeared in front of the Dawes Commission to enroll his wife Sarah and  his step sons Amos and Levi Warrior.
Seminole Freedman Card #652
The National Archives at Ft. Worth, Ft. Worth Texas 1868-1914, NAI Number: 251747
Record Group Title: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75


His father was a man simply called Dosar, but who also was known as Sam Robert. His mother was Dotty Lotty, who was a member of the Bruner band of Seminole Freedmen. The entire family was part of the Bruner band.



Reverse side of card

Source: same as above



Daughter Dollie's Card

A note from Hazan's enrollment card, indicated that another child was listed on the Seminole New Born Freedmen card #92. Her mother was Viola Dosar, and her father was Hazan. It is not clear whether Hazan had a previous marriage or whether this was another wife with whom Hazan had a relationship. 

Seminole Freedman Newborn Card #92
The National Archives at Ft. Worth, Ft. Worth Texas 1868-1914, NAI Number: 251747
Record Group Title: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75




Daughter Leathia Ann's Card

Coming from Wewoka, another daughter Leathia Ann Doser. She is only 1 year old and her mother was Lucy Sancho. Lucy, her mother is enrolled on her own card #813


Mother Dolly's Card
Not far away in Sasakwa, Hazan Dosar's mother Dollie was found. She appeared in front of the Dawes Commission enrolling only herself. Both of her parents were deceased and she had been enslaved by John Jumper the Seminole leader who was twice elected principal chief.





Application Jacket
There is no application jacket that survives for Hazan Dosar, but a jacket was found for daughter Dollie. 


Ancestry.com. U.S., Native American Applications for Enrollment in Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.


Since no interviews of  Hazan Doser are to be found, only a small glimpse into the family history was found in the file of daughter Dollie. Statements were taken from Hazan, and Viola, mother of Dollie. It is not clear whether Hazan and wife Sarah had separated, but clearly they were both speaking to confirm the birth of daughter Dollie.



Although there was no interview in the file, the enrollment of daughter Dollie as a Seminole New Born was ruled in her favor and she was added to the roll as a New Born Seminole citizen.



The only concern was actually over the spelling of the last name. The issue was whether to spell the surname with an "a" or with an "e". It was decided to keep the spelling with the "e" because the mother's name had been written that way, and Dollie's name was to be placed on the roll to coincide with the mother's name.







Application Jacket for Daughter Leathia Ann


Source: same as above

Although the original card with wife Sarah and step children revealed that Hazan lived in Mekasuka, Indian Territory, Hazen Dosar died in 1911 in Wewoka, and a small document pertaining to his estate was found reflecting his wife and children as heirs. By this time the widow is noted to be Viola, the mother of daughter Dollie.


Oklahoma County, District and Probate Courts

Details about Hazen's life are scant.  Presumably he lived a simple life within the Seminole Nation. His daughters Dollie and Leathia Ann will be the ones through his legacy will be continued, and will live through his descendants and hopefully the memory of this quiet simple man will not be forgotten.

This is the 34th article in a 52-article series devoted to sharing histories of families once held as enslaved people in Indian Territory, now known as Oklahoma. The focus is on the Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes, and these posts are part of an ongoing project to document 52 families in 52 weeks.

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Family Legacy of Philip A. Lewis from the Creek Nation


The Lewis family of Muskogee Oklahoma has already been profiled with much focus on the maternal side of the family. Philip and Elzora Lewis applied in front of the Dawes Commission in 1898 and Elzora's family story was outlined in an earlier post. However, the story of Philip Lewis is as detailed and one can go back even further when examining his own family history.

As presented before, the Lewis family resided in Muskogee, and appeared in front of the Dawes Commission in 1898 to enroll themselves and their children as Creek Freedmen.


Creek Freedman Card #105
The National Archives at Ft. Worth, Ft. Worth Texas 1868-1914
NAI Number: 251747

Record Group Title: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75

(Reverse side of card)
Source: Same as above

Like so many cases, others, the Application Jackets for many Creeks simply do not exist, were never microfilmed, and have possibly been destroyed or hidden from the public domain. But thankfully a far better interview does exist for Philip Lewis, and like his wife Elzora, the Indian Pioneer project in the 1930s provided an opportunity for him to speak freely about his own family history. In addition, the full interview reflected an expansive knowledge of Creek history.



University of Oklahoma, Western History Collection
Interview with Phillip A. Lewis
Indian Pioneer Papers Digital Collection


Source: Same as above


Source: Same as above

Source: Same as above


From the interview, some glimpses into the lives of his family can be gleaned. Philip spent much of his youth in the care of his beloved grandmother Rachel. She was a caregiver to many and she nurtured many in her Creek community, though yet, enslaved. Rachel continued care for multiple children even during the post war years when they were now free, and allowed to attend school when of age. 

Philip attended school at Fountain Church for primary education, and later he attended the Tullahassee Mission School for Creek Freedmen. Education was a priority in the with Philip, and he became himself an educator, later teaching at the Tullahassee himself.

Image Source: Same as above


Tullahassee School
Courtesy Oklahoma Historical Society


 
Source: Same as above

Philip Lewis was one of the earliest known Freedmen who became an educator at the school that he once attended. Also it is noted that the Lewis interest in education continued well into the 20th century, for it was noted in the 1920 census, that Philip and Elzora's daughter Melvina worked as a school teacher at a unnamed "rural" school.

(part of 1920 Federal Census, Muskogee, Ward 4, District 94)


They lived mostly around the city of Muskogee, well into the 20th century. Phillip and Elzora's names are also found in a city director for Muskogee Oklahoma in the mid 1940s.



The Story of the Grandparents of Phillip A. Lewis

One of the many fascinating features in the narrative of Philip Lews was the story of his grandmother Rachel, and how she became the wife of King Kernal. The story is more than unusual, because it takes place at a place of sorrow and heartbreak---a slave auction.

He recanted the story that grandmother Rachel often told---of how she was being auctioned off to be sold to the highest bidder at a slave auction. One man in the crowd--another man enslaved, in fact, addressed her, and asked if his master purchased her, he asked if she would be willing to become his wife.  This is one of the stories in Indian history where the actual purchase of a slave is told from the perspective of the enslaved person's family.

In spite of it being a time of heartbreak, there was a degree of love that emerged between the two--enslaved people, King, and Rachel, and the love that grew from their union endured for decades, through enslavement, intro freedom, and to the cusp of statehood.



University of Oklahoma, Western History Collection
Interview with Phillip A. Lewis
Indian Pioneer Papers Digital Collection

Image Source: Same as Above

Image Source: Same as above


The Lewis family thrived well into the 20th century, with both Philip and Elzora living into the 1950s. Both of them had seen many changes from the era of slavery, the Civil War, the post Civil War years in the Creek Nation, to the years of westward expansion, the Dawes Commission era, into statehood and their eventual life as US Citizens. Their history is a rich one, going back over 200 years, and this strongly rooted Oklahoma family has a legacy that is honored and to celebrated.

Both are buried in Booker T Cemetery in Muskogee Oklahoma.

Image Source: Find a Grave


Image Source: Find a Grave

* * * * * * * * * *

This is the 33rd  article in a 52-article series devoted to sharing histories of families once held as enslaved people in Indian Territory, now known as Oklahoma. The focus is on the Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes, and these posts are part of an ongoing project to document 52 families in 52 weeks.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Mary Helena Jones & Family - Chickasaw Freedmen



Chickasaw Freedman Card #1469
The National Archives at Ft. Worth, Ft. Worth Texas 1868-1914
NAI Number: 251747

Record Group Title: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75


On October 19, 1904 Mary Helena Jones appeared in front of the Dawes Commission to enroll herself, her son Elijah, daughter Emma, son Silas and daughter Tener. At that time she lived in Cavanaugh, in the Choctaw Nation but they were applying as Chickasaw Freedmen. A notation on the card appears that though she was not born a slave, she and her children were "descendants of General Cooper's slaves".
Some notes at the bottom of the card provide some very useful remarks that provide valuable information about the family and its history. In particular was a reference to another card (Chickasaw Freedman Card #873)
Mary's husband was Shadrick Jones who was not a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. Her parents were Silas Johnson, and her mother was Maggie Johnson who was enslaved by Douglas Cooper. And because Mary Helen Jones was a young woman she was not born enslaved, but her parents had once been enslaved by Chickasaws.
(Same as above) 


The Gordon Card
Chickasaw Freedman Card #873 reflected the Gordon family living in the Braden area of the Choctaw Nation. This was the family of Emma Gordan. She was the family head appearing at the Dawes Commission registering her children, John, Vivian, Sam, Sarah, Izora, Lewis and Abe.

Emma was the daughter of Mat McLish, and Martha Burney. There did not appear to be a connection between this Gordon family and the Jones family on the card with Mary Helena Jones. The only similarities appeared to be the fact that they resided in the Braden area, often called the Braden Bottoms, and also the fact that the parents of both Mary Helena and Emma Gordon had been enslaved at one time by General Douglas Cooper. There had most likely been a social relationship that they had share, once having had the same person who enslaved them on the same estate.


From the Application Jacket

At first glance at the items in the application jacket a small interview appears with Mary Helena, or Ellen as she preferred to be called. Only a few questions were asked of her, and it appeared that it was a short uncomplicated conversation.



National Archives Publication M1301
Applications for Enrollment
(Also accessed from Fold3.com, Native American Collection, Choctaw Freedmen)


However, following this brief interview came more extensive interviews with the family involving continuous questions about the enrollment of one child--Tener. It would be the status of Tener that was questioned the most rigorously of this family. Numerous question were directed to her about the application process and who assisted her with the process.


(Same as above) 

The questions continued about the individuals who had assisted her with the application process for Tener, and also who the witnesses were who accompanied her at the time of enrollment.

(Same as above) 

One of the persons, Professor Carter, who assisted her previously with her application had in fact passed away. One of the witnesses for her, was Maggie Jones, who was, in fact her mother. Interestingly on the enrollment card her mother was identified as Maggie Johnson. But clearly when asked if she knew the applicant, Maggie pointed out that she was in fact her mother.


(Same as above) 
The extensive questioning continued regarding the children of Mary Helena (Ellen) Jones, and the children. During the questioning the relationship between various  parties is evident. From nicknames of loved ones to the fact that Maggie also served as midwife at the births of some of the children, it is clear that they were close.

It was asked if there was any follow up to the effort to enroll the child Tener and if any inquiry was ever made when no response came. It was pointed out that letters were sent, but no replies ever came. From the continuing questions about the same issue, it is evident that many Freedman families went through a great amount of effort to enroll their children, and even after much effort they were challenged about how much they followed up as applicants.

(Same as above) 

After inquiring of her daughter's follow up, the questioning shifted to Maggie as to whether she was a Chickasaw Freedman herself. Her land allotment was also brought up, and she pointed out that her allotment was actually located in the Choctaw Nation.

(Same as above) 

The questioning then shifted to the enrollment of the other children of the Jones family and the extensive details were asked repeatedly. But thankfully, after much effort the process came to an end as the family still awaited a decision by the commission.

(Same as above) 

Several hand written notes are found in the file. One from Silas Johnson, father of Mary Helena Jones. His letter points out that he was one of the first people to go and file for Mary to be enrolled, and he confirms that he and Maggie are her parents. He signs the letter with his own signature.




The second letter is a note by Carter the Notary verifying that Mary Helen Johnson and Shadrick Jones were married.

(Same as above) 


Land Allotment Applications

The Dawes enrollment process was created to determine the eligibility of persons to receive allotments of land, as statehood had approached.  After much effort finally in 1905 Mary Helena Jones was approved for her land allotment. She also applied for her children and they too were eligible and received their allotments. The item below reflects her own application for her land.


Oklahoma Applications for Allotments, Five Civilized Tribes 1899-1907
Accessed on Family Search

(Same as above) 

This family of Chickasaw Freedmen lived in the northern part of the Choctaw Nation and was allotted land there. Hopefully they were able to retain their land for a number of years, before time and land grafters eventually seized much of the land of Freedmen in the area.

The area once known as the "Braden Bottoms" is still agricultural although many of the families that once occupied Braden have moved away. Hopefully the legacy of the families of both Choctaw and Chickasaw nations will not be lost in the soil, as they worked the land and for many years the families thrived in the area, before time, and other opportunities encouraged their departure.

* * * * * * * * * *

This is the 32nd article in a 52-article series devoted to sharing histories of families once held as enslaved people in Indian Territory, now known as Oklahoma. The focus is on the Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes, and these posts are part of an ongoing project to document 52 families in 52 weeks.