Below is the testimony of Eliza Caroline (Foster) Reeves, the daughter of Sarah Ann Hartley and her second husband, George Foster. She was the half-sister of Margaret Jane (Denyer) Van Every.
Department of the Interior.
Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes.
Muskogee, I.T. November 26, 1900.
In the matter of the application of Eliza C. Reeves for the identification of herself and her three minor children as Mississippi Choctaws.
The said Eliza C. Reeves, being duly sworn, was examined by the Commission, and testified as follows:
Q. What is your name? A. Eliza C. Reeves.
Q. What is your age? A. Twenty-six.
Q. What is your post office address? A. Lytton Springs, Caldwell County, Texas.
Q. Are you a resident of the State of Texas? A. Yes, sir.
Q. How long have you live in Texas? A. I was born and raised in Texas.
Q. You never maintained a residence anywhere else? A. No, sir.
Q. How much Choctaw blood do you claim? A. One eighth.
Q. What is your father’s name? A. George Foster.
Q. Is your father living? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What is your mother’s name? A. Sarah Ann Foster.
Q. Is she living? A. No, sir.
Q. Through which one of your parents do you claim your Choctaw blood? A. My mother.
Q. Was your mother’s name ever on any of the tribal rolls of the Choctaw Nation? A. No, sir.
Q. Was your mother ever recognized as a citizen of the Choctaw Nation by the tribal authorities of the Choctaw Nation? A. No, sir.
Q. Did you ever make application to the Choctaw tribal authorities for citizenship in the Choctaw Nation? A. No, sir.
Q. Have you ever been recognized by the Choctaw tribal authorities by any official act of their National council as a citizen of the Choctaw Nation? A. No, sir; I never was.
Q. Did you, or did any one in your behalf, in 1896, make application to this commission for citizenship in the Choctaw nation under the Act of Congress of June 10th, 1896? A. No, sir.
Q. Have you ever been admitted to citizenship in the Choctaw Nation by a judgment of the United States Courts in the Indian Territory on appeal from the decision of the Choctaw tribal authorities or the decision of this Commission? A. No, sir.
Q. Have you ever prior to this time made any application to either the Choctaw tribal authorities or to the authorities of the United States for either citizenship or enrollment as a Choctaw? A. No, sir.
Q. This is your first application of any description? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You are now making application for identification as a Mississippi Choctaw? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Why do you believe you are entitled to be identified by this Commission as a Choctaw Indian entitled to rights in the Choctaw lands under the provisions of the 14th article of the treaty of 1830? A. Well, I was taught it on my mother’s side.
Q. You were taught you were entitled to benefits under the 14th article of the treaty of 1830? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You are making your claim solely under the provisions of the treaty of 1830? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Did any of your ancestors ever comply with the provisions of the 14th article of the treaty of 1830? A. No, sir.
Q. What was the name of your ancestor or ancestors who were recognized members of the Choctaw tribe of Indians in Mississippi in 1830 at the time the treaty was entered in to between the United States and the Choctaw Indians? A. George W. Hartley.
Q. What relation was he to you? A. My grandfather.
Q. You are a direct lineal descendant of his? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Have you any evidence of the fact that he was a recognized member of the Choctaw tribe of Indians in Mississippi in 1830? A. No, sir.
Q. What do you know about George W. Hartley’s residence in Mississippi and recognition as a Choctaw Indian? A. I don’t know anything.
Q. Do you know when he left Mississippi? A. No, sir.
Q. Do you know whether he died there? A. Yes, sir; I believe he did. I don’t know for certain.
Q. When did your mother leave Mississippi? A. She left when she was a child.
Q. How old would she be if she were living now? A. She was sixty-six when she died. She has been dead two years.
Q. Did she come west with the Choctaw Indians when they removed from Mississippi? A. Her mother and her came to this country.
Q. To what country? A. To Texas at the time, I think.
Q. Did any of your ancestors signify to the United States Indian Agent of the Choctaw Indians in Mississippi their intention to remain and become citizens of the State of Mississippi within six months after the ratification of the treaty of 1830? A. No, I don’t know anything about that.
Q. Did any of your ancestors ever receive or claim any land in Mississippi as beneficiaries under the 14th article of the treaty of 1830? A. No, not that I know of. I don’t know.
Q. Do you make any claim by reason of any other treaty stipulations entered into between the United States and the Choctaw tribe of Indians? A. No, sir.
Q. Are you married? A. Yes, sir.
Q. What is your husband’s name? A. William T. Reeves.
Q. Are you making any claim for him? A. No, sir.
Q. Is he a white man? A. Yes, sir.
Q. He has never made a claim to Indian citizenship by blood? A. No, sir.
Q. Where did you marry him? A. Buda, Texas.
Q. When? A. November 17th, 1892.
Q. Have you any children? A. Three.
Q. Do you want to make application for your children? A. Yes.
Q. What are the names and ages of your children? A. Nora Alice.
Q. How old is she? A. Six years old.
Q. The next one? A. Ada B. Reeves.
Q. How old is Ada? A. She is five. She has turned five years now.
Q. What is the next one? A. James Allen Reeves.
Q. How old is James Allen? A. Three.
Q. Is that all? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Are you the mother of these children? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Is William T. Reeves their father? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Are you living with your husband? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Are the children living with you? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Is there any additional statement you desire to make in support of this application? A. No, sir.
Q. Is there any written evidence you desire to offer in support of your application or the application you make on behalf of your three children?
Mr. L.P. Hudson (Counsel for applicant.) The attorney for applicant here asks leave to file written evidence in support of this claim within fifteen days from this date.
By the Commission: Permission is granted the attorney for the applicant to file written evidence in support of this application, provided the same is offered for filing with the Commission within fifteen days from this date.
Examination --- by Mr. L.P. Hudson.
Q. You say you live in Texas. Is it your intention to remove to the Indian Territory in the near future for the purpose of making your home here? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You are a grand daughter of George W. Hartley, are you? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And George W. Hartley was the father of your mother and also of Samuel D. Hartley? A. Yes, sir; they were brother and sister.
Q. You are expecting to use the evidence in the case of Samuel D. Hartley in your care, are you? A. Yes, sir.
Q. And you have relied upon Samuel D. Hartley looking up your matter for you? A. Yes, sir.
Q. You know nothing of this matter except what you have been told? A. No, sir; that is all.
By the Commission: The decision of the Commission as to your application and the application you make on behalf of your three minor children for identification as Mississippi Choctaws will be mailed to you in writing in the near future to your present post office address.
The undersigned, Wm. S. Wellshear, being duly sworn, upon his oath states that he reported in full all proceedings had in this application for identification, and that the foregoing is a true and correct transcript of his stenographic notes thereof.
[Signature of Wm. S. Wellshear]
Subscribed and sworn to before me this 27th day of November, 1900
[Signature of Guy L. Emerson, Notary Public]
Emphasis added to questions for readability
Eliza says her mother was 66 when she died two years prior, this would suggest Sarah Hartley was born in 1832, and would have been born in Mississippi. Most census records indicate she was born about 1836, in which case she would likely have been born in Arkansas, as Samuel T Hartley's testimony indicated the Hartley family stopped in Little Rock.
Eliza's reference to Texas as a different country is humorous, but possibly correct. Texas was annexed and became a state in 1845. It's not clear exactly when the Hartley family left Arkansas and entered Texas - sometime between 1835 and 1850.
Research indicates Eliza had a brother George W Foster, Jr., and a sister Sarah Ann Foster. Neither appear to have testified in front of the Dawes Commission.