Monday, February 23, 2009

Amanuensis Monday: Dawes Commission - Samuel Tillman Hartley - 1902

I continue transcribing the testimony given in front of The Dawes Commission by Hartley kin in 1902. Continuing from where the last post left off, Georgia Phillips was excused as a witness, and her father Samuel Tillman Hartley was called to testify.

Samuel T. Hartley called as a witness after being first duly sworn testifies as follows

Examination by the Commission

Q. What is your name? A. Samuel T. Hartley.
Q. What is your age? A. I am going on seventy-three.
Q. What is your post office address? A. Caney, Indian Territory.
Q. What is your occupation? A. Farming.
Q. Where were you born? A. In Mississippi, in Choctaw County.
Q. Are you an applicant before the Commission to be identified as a Mississippi Choctaw? A. Yes, sir; I have been here.
Q. Made application to be identified as a Mississippi Choctaw? A. Yes, sir.
Q. As Samuel T. Hartley? A. Yes, sir.

The case of Samuel T. Hartley M.C.R. 1050, is here referred to as the application made by this witness for identification as a Mississippi Choctaw.

Q. Are you acquainted with Georgia Phillips? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What relation to you? A. My child.
Q. Your daughter? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you want to testify now in reference to her application made today? A. Yes, sir.

Examination by attorney B.S. Johnson

Q. How much Indian blood do you claim? A. I have been claiming about three-quarters.
Q. What was your father’s name? A. George W. Hartley.
Q. Is he the part you claim through or your mother? A. My father.
Q. How much Indian blood did he have? A. He was a half.
Q. What was his wife’s name? A. Eliza.
Q. How much Indian blood did she have? A. She had one-half.
Q. You claim three-quarters? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What tribe of Indians did he belong to? A. Choctaw.
Q. What Choctaws? A. Mississippi Choctaws.
Q. When was you born? A. In 1830. March 14, in 1830.
Q. In 1830? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You know anything about the treaty of 1830 made at Dancing Rabbit Creek between the Indians and the United States government by which the Indians were removed to the Indian Territory; some of them? A. I don’t recollect it.
Q. Have you heard of it? A. Yes; I heard of it.
Q. How long did you remain in Mississippi after 1830; how old were you when you left there? A. Five years old.
Q. Where did your father move to? A. To Arkansas.
Q. In what year? A. He came there…let me see…thirty-five.
Q. Did he own any land or property of any description priot to 1830 that you know of? A. Not that I know of sir.
Q. Did he ever apply to William Ward, Indian Agent, or any one else for the purpose of taking land and remaining in Mississippi? A. No, not that I know of.
Q. Did he ever receive any scrip under which he located land in any of the public lands in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, or any of these states for public lands subsequent to 1830? A. Not that I know of.
Q. Did he ever own any land in these states? A. I don’t know of any.
Q. Where did he die? A. In Arkansas, in Little Rock.
Q. Ever own any land in Little Rock, Arkansas or any where else? A. No, sir.
Q. Not that you know of? A. Not that I know of.
Q. Could he talk the Choctaw language? A. Yes, sir.
Q. He could speak it? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Ever hear him converse with members of the tribe? A. Yes; I did; I remember it just like a dream. I use to speak it myself.
Q. How old were you when he died? A. I was near five years old.
Q. Did your mother succeed him? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did your father or mother or any other old person who is now dead tell you that you had Indian blood or did they ever tell you anything about your Indian blood? A. My mother told me many times.
Q. What did she tell you? A. She said my father was half Choctaw and that she was half Choctaw and half Cherokee.
Q. She was half Choctaw and half Cherokee? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And your father was a Choctaw? A. Yes father was a Choctaw.
Q. Did she ever tell you of her wish or he or both of them of coming to the West and taking land here? A. No, sir.
Q. Ever claim that she had any right here in the Territory or anywhere else? A. Not that I know of.
Q. Was she ashamed of her Choctaw blood? A. Not that I know of.
Q. Did she ever tell you not to claim it? A. No, sir.

By the Commission:

Q. You claim how much Choctaw blood? A. I guess I am about three-eighths.
Q. You claimed three-quarters little while ago? A. I claim about three-eighths.
Q. What did you mean when you said you claimed three-quarters? A. I mean the Cherokee blood.
Q. You don’t mean three-quarters Choctaw? A. No, sir; not three-quarters Choctaw.
Q. Don’t you know that it is very essential for you to know what you claim? A. I know it is.
Q. I want you to know? A. I will know if I can.
Q. You don’t claim three-quarters Choctaw blood? A. No, I don’t.
Q. How much do you claim? A. I suppose one-quarter.
Q. You said three-eighths a little while ago? A. I was speaking about my mother.
Q. Why don’t you think about this. Now you look here; you can’t take things back. If you say three-quarters, three-eighths and than one-fourth, you have done one of two things; you have committed perjury or else you don’t know what you are talking about? A. I reckon likely I don’t know what I am talking about.
Q. You look like a white man; you don’t look like an Indian? A. I guess my father was a Choctaw.
Q. How do you known you are a Choctaw? A. I have always heard; I have heard my mother say; I claimed it the way it came from my mother and father both I had three-quarters.
Q. You are testifying now in reference to your daughter’s application; your daughter’s name is Georgia Phillips; she says that she claims three-quarters Choctaw blood because you claim three-quarters; now do you claim three-quarters? A. I would have to bring claim three-quarters if I bring in my Cherokee blood.
Q. If you brought in your Cherokee blood? A. Yes, sir.
Q. I don’t want you to bring in your Cherokee blood? A. It would be one-quarter.
Q. That is what you claimed when you came before the Commission? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How do you know you have one-quarter Choctaw blood? A. What my mother as told me and my witness that knowed me.
Q. Did any of your Choctaw ancestors comply with article fourteen of the treaty of 1830? A. No, sir. I don’t know.
Q. Do you know anything about article fourteen of that treaty? A. No, sir; I don’t.
Q. Do you know anything about the treaty of 1830? A. I don’t know sir.
Q. Do you know anything about Colonel William Ward the United States Indian Agent? A. No, sir; I don’t.
Q. Do you know when the treaty of 1830 was signed? A. No, sir.
Q. Do you know when it was ratified? A. No, sir; I don’t.
Q. Do you know whether the Mississippi Choctaw Indians who stayed in Mississippi after the treaty of 1830 was ratified were required to go before the United States Indian Agent and register under him or not within six months after the treaty was ratified? A. No, sir; I don’t know it; I was small then.
Q. How old are you now? A. I am going on seventy-three.
Q. Where were you born? A. Mississippi Choctaw County.
Q. You never heard anything about that treaty? A. No, sir; I have no education at all.

Witness excused...

G. Rosenwinkel being duly sworn on his oath states that as stenographer to the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes he reported in full all the proceedings had in the above entitled cause on June 17, 1902, and that the above and foregoing is a full, true and correct transcript of his stenographic notes in said cause on said date of June 1902.

[Signature of G. Rosenwinkel]

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 12 day of July 1902.

[Signature of Guy L. Emerson]
Notary Public.

Emphasis of questions added to increase readability

He does seem relatively consistent on what his parents claimed. When he drops his response for himself from three-fourths (Indian blood) to one-fourth (Choctaw blood), he should have dropped it to one-half. But it appears he was focusing on his father being one-half, and forgot to include his mother's half in the equation as well.

I find these testimonies fascinating - beyond a source of names and dates of ancestral cousins. Several times the Commission points out that no one in the family 'looks' Native American. It occurs to me that George W. Hartley died when his children were young, and their knowledge of him would come almost entirely from their mother. She might have claimed he was half-Choctaw when he was actually less than that. She appears to have claimed to be all Native American though, half Choctaw and half Cherokee. Apparently those who testified didn't inherit those genes. I don't have a photograph of my second great grandmother Sarah Hartley Denyer, who died in 1898, and didn't get a chance to testify. I have no idea what she looked like.


Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

These are great! They contain so much information - names, places, occupations.

Shelley said...

I have a copy of this testimony in my records. He was my great, great, grandfather. His daughter was my great grandmother (Saphronia). Ironically I have been told I look like I have Native American in me - so this is a fun read and leaves a lot of musings!! What a history :-)