Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Fannie Rentie Bumpus & Family - Creek Freedmen

Fannie Rentie has an amazing history. She was the daughter of Picket and Mary Rentie, and during her lifetime she was known by multiple names. Among her surnames were Rentie, Chapman, Island, Bumpus, and Ensley. In spited of her multiple names and records in scattered places, her story is still a rich one to tell.

On her Dawes enrollment card, nothing appears to be very complicated about her story. Her personal data is recorded on Creek Freedman Field Card number 584. She resided in Boynton area. She was the daughter of Pickett Rentie and Mary Rentie. She appeared in front of the Dawes Commission in 1898 for herself and her children Alice, and George. Alice would later pass away before the enrollment process was completed. Her husband at the time was Willis Bumpus, father of the two children.

Enrollment Cards for the Five Civilized Tribes 1898-1914
NAI Number 251747, Records Group Title: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group Number 75
Creek Freedman Field Card #584

Reverse side of same card

 And as a member of the Creek Nation, many of the records pertaining to her Dawes Case are not available with the application jacket. However, much more can be obtained about Fannie, nevertheless. In fact the issue about her many surnames can be found in the Land Allotment records (which are all online on both Ancestry and Family Search.) There were numerous interviews about the land she was to receive, the condition of the land, improvements upon it and more.

In 1903, when she was being interviewed regarding her selection of land, she was then Fannie Ensley. There was much discussion about her parcel of land. She was making a selection for her daughter Ann who had not yet passed away. Also present was Thomas Ensley, who was at that time her husband. Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Land Allotment Jackets for Five Civilized Tribes, 1884-1934
[database on-line].   Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc, 2014.

(same as above)

However, more interesting details about Fannie and her parents and their lives within Creek culture and community are found with her interview made in the 1930s as part of the Indian Pioneer Project. She was interviewed in 1937 and she told fascinating aspects of her life. She made several references to old communities that had ceased to exist in the 1930s, including Old Agency.

The University of Oklahoma Western History Collection, Digital Collections, 
Indian Pioneer Collection, Volume 17,  Interview with Fannie Rentie Chapman 

Same as above
(Same as above)

As mentioned earlier, her land allotment file was full of data, as there was much controversy about her right to certain parcels of land. At the end of her interview she makes mention of the fact that she lived on her land for many years, but later lost the land. (If one is a descendant of Fannie Rentie Chapman Bumpus, Ensley, then they are strongly encouraged to obtain the allotment application file. Dozens of pages are contained pertaining not only to the land itself, but also to the various husbands, that Fannie had and the names she used when some of the land transactions occurred.)

Fannie's interview for the Indian Pioneer project will take the reader more deeply in the life of late 19th century pre-Oklahoma life. And the interview speaks vividly to multiple aspects of life within the Creek Nation, for Freedmen as well as for all individuals living near Muskogee and the now gone community of Old Agency.

(This is the 19th article of a 52-article series devoted to sharing histories and stories 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 on-going project to document 52 families in 52 weeks.)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Family of Mattie & Johnny Crittendon, A Chickasaw & Choctaw Family

This family coming out of the Chickasaw Nation is a fascinating one reflecting how many families in what became southern Oklahoma were inter-connected. Some families clearly extended beyond their tribal affiliation, and some families were bi-racial as well as bi-cultural as well. The Crittendon family history provides a good opportunity to study the inter-connected nature of people living in the territory now known as Oklahoma. Social norms of the day would affect them as much as they affected all Freedman families from the Five Tribes. This family from the Chickasaw Nation, stands out clearly as one. that has a story beyond many assume Freedmen to have from Indian Territory.

Starting with the mother Mattie, one finds that she appeared in front of the Dawes Commission in September 1898 for herself and for a child Julius who was 1 year at the time. The name of a third person Ada was later added to the card. Unfortunately, the child Julius would pass away before any final decision was made, and thus a line is drawn through his name.

There is, however, much more to see from the notes and from the reverse side of the card.

Chickasaw Freedman Card #854

The National Archives at Ft. Worth Texas USA

Enrollment Cards for the Five Civilized Tribes  1898-1914
NAI Number 251747, Records Group Title: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group Number: 75

(Reverse side of same card above)

Mattie's parents were Henry and Serena Wilkens. Her father Henry was deceased at the time, but her mother Serena was still living and her mother was at one time, enslaved by Chickasaw Ne-Ok-te.

Back on the front of the card, more information was noted, and is highlighetd below. The father to the children Julius and Ada was Johnny Crittenden, who was from the Choctaw Nation. However, it should be noted that there is some seemingly contradictory information on the card. One note says that the father Johnie Crittenden was a Choctaw Freedman. The second note makes a reference to the enrollment card of Johnie, the father, and that he was enrolled on Choctaw card number #1557. (see images that follow) That card is the card of a Choctaw by blood, and not a Freedman card.

Close up view of note from front of card

Looking closely on the back side the Mattie's husband, the father of her children is identified, and in the column where the slave holder of the father is identified, it is clear that the father of the children is identified as being Choctaw Indian, and not one who was enslaved.

Close Up View of data on Reverse side of card.

Johnny Crittendon is Mattie's husband and he is enumerated on his own card, which is Choctaw card number 1557. His father was Jack Crittendon and his mother was Sissy Crittenden. And a notation on the card confirms that Johnny Crittenden is the father of Mattie's children. (see images below)

Choctaw Nation, Choctaw Roll By Blood Card# 1557

The National Archives at Ft. Worth Texas USA

Enrollment Cards for the Five Civilized Tribes  1898-1914
NAI Number 251747, Records Group Title: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group Number: 75

(same as above)

Looking closely at the upper right hand corner of the file, Johnny's mother is mentioned and she was not deceased. Sissy Crittendon was her name and she resided is Kiamitia, I.T.

I decided to look and see if Sissry Crittendon could be found, and sure enough there she was on the Choctaw Roll by blood living in Kiamitia as reflected on Johnny's card.

Choctaw Nation, Choctaw Roll (by blood) #1561

From the Enrollment Applications:
Oddly, there is very little in the application file of Sissa Crittendon. Her interview is missing and only a letter pertaining to intermarried citizens, and the birth affidavit of Mary Crittendon, where Sissa is mentioned as the midwife attending the birth.

In the file pertaining to Mattie it comes as no surprise that Mattie was victim to the on going policy of ill-treatment by the commission. Her detailed interview is not in the file--merely one of the usual "summaries" consisting of 2-3 sentences about the family. The task was the keep those identified as freedmen "in their place", entitling them to less land and future restrictions as citizens of the nation they knew as home.

Here is the notorious "summary" placed in her file.

Applications for Enrollment
National Archives Publication M1301
File Chickasaw Freedman #854

In addition, a very odd letter pertaining to Johnny's status as a "Freedman" though it is clear that he was a citizen by Blood. Of course it is understood that the African Ancestry in the family line, reflects the "issues" presented  in the letter.

(same as above)

(same as above)

The bottom line of course is that Johnny did eventually get his land and clearly much more than others in his family classified as Chickasaw Freedmen. Hopefully the family was able to live for many years on their joint land and to thrive in the Territory and into the statehood years as a family living on its own land.

Oklahoma and Indian Territory Land Allotment Jackets for Five Civilized Tribes 1884-1934
Database on line, via Operations Inc 2014

same as above

(same as above)

This family was both Choctaw and Chickasaw. They lived within and under the laws of their respective nations, and their tie to the land, to the nation of their birth is strong. Despite efforts of the nations to deny their presence, the records speak to their history and to their legacy as a family. Hopefully the tie to the land was maintained for many years.

(This is the 18th article of a 52-article series devoted to sharing histories and stories of families once held as enslaved people in Indian Terriotry, now known as Oklahoma. The focus is on the Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes and these posts are part of an on-going project to document 52 families in 52 weeks.)

Friday, June 2, 2017

Levi and Eliza Carney & Family, Choctaw Freedmen

In June 1899, Levi Carney appeared in front of the Dawes Commission to enroll his wife Eliza, daughters Mary and Frances, and a niece Edna Choate and her daughter Myrtle Powell. They were residents of San Bois. Levi was born enslaved and was held by Choctaw Jesse Jones, and wife Eliza was enslaved by Thomas LeFlore.

Levi's parents were Jerry and Sealy Carney. His father Jerry Carney was once enslaved by Storm LeFlore, and Sealy Carney was once enslaved by Jesse Jones. Eliza Carney's father was Nelson Harris, but her mother's name was not known.

The National Archives at Ft. Worth, Texas, USA;
Enrollment Cards for the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914;
NAI Number 251747; Records Group Title: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs; Record Group Number : 75
Choctaw Freedman Card #769

Source: Same as above image

The application jacket consisted of 16 pages, with the first interview made of Levi exclusively. It was a simple interview without complication. Levi explained that one member of the household was is niece and she was the daughter of his sister Julia. Julia was at one time enslaved by Kelley Frazier. This family file is an example during the years of enslavement, parents and in some cases even siblings were enslaved by different people. Levi and one of his parents were enslaved by Jesse Jones, his mother by Thomas Le Flore, and his sister by Kelley Frazier.

National Archives Publication M1301,

Cherokee Freedman File #769
Accessed on Fold 3

A second set of interviews are found in the file, with the commission seeking clarification about the parentage and status of the children of Edna, and also whether parents of the  two younger nieces were indeed married. A document was provided confirming that the couple was married. In addition a birth record for Myrtle was also included in the file.
Source: Same as above

It should also be noted that this interview occurred in 1904, several years after the initial application was made. Among those interviewed were: Nick Powell, husband of Edna, (Levi's niece), Levi Carney, Amos Choate, (Edna's brother). The interviews were short and not complicated. Amos Choate's interview was primarily for clarification about Myrtle  - Edna's daughter 

Source: Same as above image

Source: Same as above image

Source: Same as above image

Source: Same as above image

Mrytle was enrolled after the inquiry was made about her, and a letter was sent to the family about her status. 

Document reflecting the marriage of Edna Choate and Nick Powell
Source: Same as above images

The Carney family of San Bois was admitted without complication as Choctaw Freedmen. Like many  I. T. Freedmen, they have a connection to other families within the nation as well. This family of San Bois had a tie to some of the Choates from the Skullyville area, in the northern part of the Choctaw Nation.  Like many families reflected in the records, the file continually are a link to others in the same community and all are part of the larger family narrative.

This is the 17th article of a 52-article series devoted to sharing histories and stories 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 on-going project to document 52 families in 52 weeks.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Cornelius & Florence Nave, Cherokee Freedmen

This is a family whose story caught my attention in the 1990s. The Naves are an old family deeply rooted in the Cherokee Nation. I met a direct descendant of Cornelius Nave when a young woman working as a technician at the National Archives, mentioned to me that she had ties to the Cherokee Nation. After some discussion, it was noticed that she was directly tied to Cornelius and Florence Nave from Fort Gibson, in the Illinois district of the Cherokee Nation.

In 1901 Cornelius Nave appeared in front of the Dawes Commission. He was applying for enrollment on behalf of himself, wife Florence and their children Thomas, Dora, Charles, William, and Margaret. Cornelius' parents were Charles and Mary Nave. Charles Nave was enslaved by Cherokee Henry Nave, and wife Mary had been enslaved by Joe Vann.  Florence was the daughter of  Bob and Malinda Smith who had lived also in the Illinois district of the nation. Florence's father was enslaved by Bob Smith, and her mother had also been enslaved by Joe Vann. The "Joe Vann" referred to was Joseph "Rich Joe" Vann, who was a wealthy Cherokee living in Webber's Falls. This is also the same Joe Vann from whom several dozen slaves revolted in 1842, and tried to seize their own freedom and make a break for Mexico. (Unfortunately they did were not successful and were returned to bondage.)

The Nave family card is found among Cherokee Freedmen cards as number 138. It is indicated that their history was also recorded on the Wallace Roll. In addition, Florence was also listed on the 1880 Roll, under her maiden name of Florence Smith.

The National Archives at Ft Worth; Ft Worth, Texas, USA; 
Enrollment Cards for the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914; N
AI Number: 251747; Record Group Title: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs; Record Group Number: 75
Cherokee Freedman Card #138

(Source: Same as for above image.)

Their interview with the Dawes Commission was not complicated in any way. As he was born after the Civil War, it was confirmed in his interview that his parents had indeed been slaves of Cherokees. He named all of the children, when asked, and their case passed easily through the commissioners without challenge.

National  Archives Publication M1301
Cherokee Freedman File #138

Source: Same as image above

Included also in the file were two birth affidavits for the two younger children, William and Margaret. An image of the one for Margaret appears here.

Source: same as above

More information about Father's life while enslaved
More information about Cornelius Nave however, can be found in the fascinating interview conducted in the 1930s. He was interviewed by Ethel Wolfe Garrison as part of the slave narrative project. However, Cornelius himself was born long after the war, and was, in fact never enslaved at all. But his father Charles Nave was enslaved by Cherokees, and from this interview additional information about the family was shared.

It can be noted that Mary's father was Talaka Vann, one of Joseph "Rich Joe" Vann's slaves. (There is a possibility that Talaka Vann was one of the slave who were part of the 1842 Cherokee Slave revolt.)

"I was born after the War, about 1868, and what I know 'bout slave times is what my pappa told me, and maybe that not be very much. Two year old when my mamma die so I remember nothing of her, and most of my sisters and brothers dead too. Pappa named Charley Nave; mamma's name was Mary Vann before she marry and her papa was Talaka Vann, one of Joe Vann's slave down around Webber's Falls.

"My father was born in Tahlequah just about where the colored church stands on Depot Hill. His master Daniel Nave, was Cherokee. In the master's yard was the slave cabin, one room long, dirt floor, no windows. I think I hear 'em say mamma was born on Bull Creek; that somewhere up near Kansas, maybe near Coffeyville.

"Vinita was the closest town to where I was born; when I get older seem like they call it "the junction" on account the rails cross there, but I never did ride on the trains just stay at home.

"I remember that home after the war brought my pappa back home. He went to the war for three years wid the Union soldiers. But about the home--it was a double-room log house with a cooling-off space between the rooms, all covered with a roof, but no porch, and the beds was made of planks, the table of pine boards, and there was never enough boxes for the chairs so the littlest children eat out of a tin pan off the floor.

"That house was on the place my papa said he bought from Billy Jones in 1895. The land was timbered and the oldest children clear the land, or start to do the work while Pappa go back to Tahlequah to get my sick mamma and the rest of the family. Because mamma was sick then he brought her sister Sucky Pea and her husband, Charley Pea, to help around wid him.

"We lived there a long time, and I was old enough to remember setting in the yard watching the river (Grand River) go by, and the Indians go by. All Indians lived around there, the real colored settlement was four mile from us, and I wasn't scared of them Indians for papa always told me his master Henry Nave, was his own father; that make me part Indian and the reason my hair is long, straight and black like a horse mane.

"Some of the Indian families was Joe Dirt Eater, Six Killer (some of the Six Killers live a few miles SE of Afton at this time, 1938), Chewey Noi, and Gus Buffington. One of the Six Killer women was mighty good to us and we called her "mammy", that a long time after my mammy die though.

"Papa got the soldier fever from being in the War; no, I don't mean like the chills and fever, but just a fever to be in the army, I guess for he joined the regular U.S. Army after a while, serving five years in the 10th Cavalry at Fort Sill during the same time John Adair of Tahlequah and John Gallagher of Muskogee was in the army.

"Coming out of the army for the last time, Papa took all the family and moved to Fort Scott, Kansas, but I guess he feel more at home wid the Indians for pretty soon we all move back, this time to a farm near Fort Gibson.

"I never would hear much about the war that my father was in, but I know he fought for the North. He didn't tell us children much about the War, except he said one time that he was in the Battle of Honey Springs in 1863 down near Elk Creek south of Fort Gibson. That sure was a tough time for the soldiers, for father said they fought and fought before the "Seesesh" soldiers finally took off to the south and the northern troops went back to Fort Gibson. Seem like it take a powerful lot of fighting to rid the country of them Rebs.

"Another time his officer give him a message; he was on his way to deliver it when the enemy spy him and cry out to stop, but father said he kept on going until he was shot in the leg. Then he hide in the bushes along the creek and got away. He got that message to the captain just the same.

"When father was young he would go hunting the fox with his master, and fishing in the streams for the big fish. Sometimes they fish in the Illinois river, sometimes in the Grand, but they always fish the same way. They make pens out in the shallow water with poles every little ways from the river banks. They'd cut brush saplings, walk out into the stream ahead of the pen and chase the fish down to the riffle where they'd pick em up. Once they catch a catfish most as big as a man; that fish had eggs big as hen eggs, and he made a feast for twenty-five Indians on the fishing party.

"Florence Smith was my first wife and Ida Vann the second. All my children was from the first marriage: Thomas, Dora, Charley, Marie, Opal, William, Arthur, Margaret, Thadral and Hubbard. The last one was named for Hubbard Ross; he was related to Chief John Ross and was some kin to Daniel Nave, my father's master."

Source:  Baker, T. Lindsay, and Julie P. Baker. 1996. The WPA Oklahoma slave narratives.

This interview with Cornelius Neely Nave is indeed full of detail about life for enslaved people living within Cherokee nation and within the culture of those who enslaved them. And there was clearly a reference to the fact that the family was also related to those who had enslaved them, so the relationship was one that had deep roots.

The Allotted Land

The land allotment applications have also been digitized, thanks to a partnership between Ancestry, the Oklahoma Historical Society, and the Federal Records Center in Ft. Worth Texas. Because of that partnership, the land allotment records can extend the family narrative significantly. Many people overlook that the Dawes enrollment process was to determine eligibility for land allotments for each person enrolled.

The files are rich and often as in the case of Cornelius Nave, one can see one of the few documents that reflect the actual signature of the head of household. These records reflect the actual application for each and everyone in the household eligible to receive land. This also included children. With the Naves, the father Cornelius submitted papers for each person in his household. Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Land Allotment Jackets for Five Civilized Tribes, 1
884-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc, 2014.

Source: Same as for image above

In the enrollment part of the process, the Nave family, the enrollment case was handled smoothly, but the land allotment case was not without a few challenges. Cornelius applied for the land allotments for himself and the family, but his case was contested by Thomas A. Simpson, a man who had applied for and been rejected as a citizen by intermarriage. However several papers refer to the contested lands made by Simpson.

Source: Same as for image above

Source: Same as for image above

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Additional papers in the file suggest that there was also an effort to contest Florence's land, but that was also later settled.

Clearly the land allotment records enhance the family story of Cherokee Freedmen as well as the Freedmen of the other tribes. This is a clear example of how multiple resources beyond the Dawes roll can tell the greater story of the family.

Chat With A Descendant of Corneilus Neely Nave

The basic research for the Nave family was conducted over 20 years ago, and I had a chance recently to ask a few questions about the family's reception on this history. Dawe Nave is a direct descendant who worked over 20 years ago at the National Archives, which was when we first met.

After some discussion I suggested that we look up her family among the Dawes Records, where her ancestors were found. Over the years we have kept in touch and after deciding to share some documents from the Dawes records about the Nave family, and recently, I reached out to her, and  decided to follow up and ask her some questions. She has graciously decided to share her responses with me.

1)   Q. Were you always aware that Cornelius Nave was one of your ancestors from family oral history?
       A. No

2)   Q. Did your family speak much about having ties to the Cherokee Nation?
       A. No. Just sporadic mentioning of "Indian Blood" in the family, in general 

3)    Q. Were any of the names from this history familiar to you before seeing the file of Cornelius
        A. I had begun conducting research into my father's paternal side of the family before actually
             finding the Cornelius Nave interview and had, up to this point been aware of Charles Nave Cornelius's

4)    Q. Have you had a chance to visit Oklahoma since you learned about your ancestral ties to Cherokee Freedmen?
        A.  Yes.

5)    Q. Has knowledge of this history altered anything with your own view of history?
        A. I would say that this knowledge of my family history further informed rather than altered my own view
            of this history.

6)    Q. How has your family reacted to their Cherokee Freedmen history upon your sharing this
             history with them?

       A. For my father it was especially enlightening and special since he had been cut off from this
            side of his family from a very young age, therefore his knowledge of them was very limited
            until I shared the information with him that I'd found about them.

7)    Q. Have you or  your family members become citizens of the Cherokee Nation? If not, is this
              something you plan to pursue?

          A. No, I am not sure, yet.

8)    Q. Is there anything else to share about this Nave family?
       A. I'm still searching and learning more about my family, and until I further complete and/or answer more
           pertinent questions about them, I will decline.

(Thank you Dawn Nave, of Arizona for sharing your thoughts about your fascinating history, and I wish you well as you continue this journey into your amazing family history!)

This is the 16th article of a 52 article series article devoted to sharing histories and stories of families once held as enslaved people in Indian Territory, no known as Oklahoma. The focus is on the Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes and these posts are part of an on-going project to document 52 families in 52 weeks.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Fanny Turner and Family - Seminole Freedmen

In general there are challenges when researching Oklahoma-based families, especially those with ties to the Five Civilized Tribes. Within those records are those reflecting families from the various bands within the Seminole Nation. The research can be even  more challenging when researching Seminole Freedmen. There are records, and thankfully there are enrollment cards but when it comes to the application jackets and interviews, the files are quite slim and many interviews are in fact not in the file. Yet there are records to find and stories that can be gleaned from the records. Such is found in the file of Fanny Turner, of Earlsboro, Indian Territory.

Fanny and her husband Tom Turner lived with their family in Earlsboro Indian Territory. Living with Fanny and Tom were her other children from previous marriage---Jesse Brown and Nora Bruner. In addition their two youngest children Eva and Crisella were also in the house. They are all enrolled on Seminole Freedman card number 651.

Seminole Freedman Card #651

Because Fanny was a young woman at the time, she was born many years into freedom, but on the reverse side of the card, it is noticed that her mother had once been enslaved by Seminole Short Bird. her father was Cesar Payne, and it appears that he was not enslaved at all, for he too was born after the war. Her mother Dinah Walker was the parent said to have been enslaved.

When researching Seminole families the tribal band is the method of identifying persons who were citizens of the tribe. Fanny was a member of the Cesar Bruner band. Her father Cesar was a member of the Dosar Barkus band, and her mother was a member of the Bruner band, like Fanny. And all of her children was Bruner band members. Note that her husband was a US citizen and not enrolled in any of the tribes.
(Source: Same as for above image)


The Application Jacket

The application jacket usually contains interviews of the applicants. Unfortunately there were only a few scant hand-written notes papers including one birth affidavit for Fanny's youngest child Crisella. Though good information, the missing interview could have provided more about the family itself. one small note simply contained the names of  Fanny's immediate family

National Archive Microfilm Publication M1301
Seminole Freedman File 651
Accessed from Fold3,com

Certainly the family that descends from Fanny Turner will be encouraged to find the birth record of Crisella, Fanny's youngest child. 

Source: Same as above image

(Source: Same as for two previous images)

But now with the enrollment  card, and the application jacket, what other resource could be out there to glean more information about the family? Finding more information  would require examining things all over again, in addition to expanding the search to other record sets. I decided to take 3 steps to find more data on the family:
1) Re-examine the enrollment card.  
2) Analyze the land allotment records to find more data.
3) Find the family in the Federal census or other records.

1--Re-examining the enrollment card. 
The back side of Freedmen enrollment card always contains additional information. The names of the parents are reflected and if the parents were enslaved the name of the slave holder is included. By analyzing the data on the card, it is noticed that there was nothing suggesting that Fanny's parents had died--so there was a strong possibility that they were still living at the time, and therefore would have had a card of their own. Fanny's parents were Cesar Payne and Dinah Walker. A check was made and both did have enrollment cards. 

Fanny's Father Cesar Payne:
As it turns out, her father Cesar Payne was still living at the time of Dawes enrollment, and thus there is a card reflecting him as well. He is enrolled on Seminole Freedman card number 684. He resided in the town of Sasakwa. His parents were Sam and Rebecca Payne, both of the Dosar Barkus Band. Sam and Rebecca were Fanny's paternal grandparents. This provides additional information for anyone researching the Payne family.

Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Dawes Census Cards for Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914
Seminole Freedman Card

(Source: Same as for above image)

It also appears that Sam and Rebecca had additional children besides Caesar. A search on the Ancestry database for the names of Sam and Rebecca Payne revealed that some additional cards on the family, which can be researched for more family data. The following image reflects those names of Dawes applicants listing Sam and Rebecca as parents.

For future reference--Polly Bruner is found on Seminole Freedman Enrollment card  #794, and was also a daughter of Sam and Rebecca. Precilla Grayson (married to a Creek Citizen), was another daughter of  Sam and Rebecca, and finally Gibson Payne was also a son of Sam and Rebecca Payne. He was enrolled on Seminole Freedman card #683. Both Precilla and Gibson were both married to citizens of the Creek Nation.

Index from Ancestry database 
And for future reference--Polly Bruner on Seminole Freedman Enrollment card  #794 was a daughter of Sam and Rebecca. Precilla Grayson (married to a Creek Citizen), was also a daughter of  Sam and Rebecca, and finally Gibson Payne was also a son of Sam and Rebecca Payne. He was enrolled on Seminole Freedman card #683. Both Precilla and Gibson were both married to citizens of the Creek Nation.

Fanny's Mother Dinah Walker
As was noticed, Fanny's mother was indeed alive during the years of the Dawes Commission.  She was a member of the Dosar Barkus band, and she had at that time, now married to a "states" man called Eugene Walker. Her husband before Walker was Jim Bennett who was by that time, deceased. Dinah's parents were Mack (no last name given) and Maria Foster, of the Dosar Barkus band, and one enslaved by Seminole Geo. Cloud.

There is much more to study and more people to follow based on data from this card. The descendants of Dinah extend into multiple families and the story of Fanny Turner's extended family is complex and full of data.

Year: 1910; Census Place: Econtuchka, Seminole, Oklahoma; Roll: T624_1274
Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 0183; FHL microfilm: 1375287 (Accessed on
Seminole Freedman Card #650

Source: Same as for above image

2. Analyzing the Land Allotment Applications
The decision to study the allotment applications would prove to be very successful! Although the Application jacket was missing an interview, a two-page interview with Fanny Turner was found in that file! Good information about her, where she lived and with whom, as well as issues about the land itself was contained in that file.

Source: Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Land Allotment Jackets for Five Civilized Tribes, 1884-1934
File for Fanny Turner
Accessed on

This interview was detailed and provided great information about the family. There was discussion about the improvements made on the land, and so much more. It was also revealed that there were renters also living upon the same land where Fanny and her husband and children lived.

In addition, one critical piece of information was contained  in that file. Fanny died before receiving her allotment. Contained in that record was a notice that she had died in September 1904.
Death record for Fanny Turner
Source: Same as for above image

3. Examining Census and other records
The federal census also reflected the Turner family living in the Seminole Nation, in 1900. Husband, Tom, Fanny and the others are reflected there also.

Year: 1900; Census Place: Township 10, 
Seminole Nation, Indian Territory; Roll: 1854; Page: 5B
Enumeration District: 0070; FHL microfilm: 1241854
(Accessed on

And in 1910 the family is found now in the new state of Oklahoma that joined the union in 1907. Fanny was now deceased and Tom is reflected as a widower in that census year. He was most likely by 1910 living upon the land allotment of the family as his late wife and children were all members of the Barkus band. Both census years point out that Tom was a citizen of the US and not any of the tribes of Oklahoma, as he was born originally in Texas. 

Year: 1910; Census Place: Econtuchka, Seminole, Oklahoma; Roll: T624_1274
Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 0183; FHL microfilm: 1375287 (Accessed on

This file is a clear example of how extensive research can reveal many details about an ancestor's life when upon first glance the file is small. By re-examining the enrollment card two additional enrollment cards were found leading to the names of more ancestors for this family. In addition examination of the cards also reflect that extended families and children from previous relationships show how many families overlap in the same region.

This family is a strong Seminole family with strong Seminole identity being reflected in both the Barkus and the Bruner bands. In addition, their family did not live in isolation as some of the family members had a spouse in the Creek Nation. There is much more that can be gleaned from the Turner family of the Seminole Nation and hopefully these records will encourage Turner descendants to study more of its rich history. And in spite of the fact that the interview was not kept in the file, it is clear that more information about the Turner family was found. 

Thankfully, Fanny was interviewed for her land allotment before she passed away. Hopefully her descendants lived on their allotment for many years, and were able to thrive and build a life as statehood eventually came and a new chapter began.

(This is the 15th article in a series devoted to sharing histories and stories of families once held as slaves in Indian Territory, now known as Oklahoma. The focus is on the Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes, and these posts are part of a project goal to document 52 families in 52 weeks.)