I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.
I began this project back in February of 2009, and since then, many others have joined in on the meme. Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others. If you participate, feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments.
This week, I continue with the application my maternal grandmother's aunts, uncles, and cousins made in 1900 to the Dawes Commission to be accepted as Mississippi Choctaws. Previously I have transcribed the testimony given by
- MCR 1050 - Samuel T Hartley – Nov 21, 1900 (Brother of my great great grandmother, Sarah Hartley Denyer Foster)
- MCR 1053 - Sophronia Hartley Cagle - Nov 21, 1900 (Daughter of Samuel T Hartley)
- MCR 1054 - Melvin Elijah Van Every – Nov 21, 1900 (My great grandfather)
- MCR 1055 - Samuel W Denyer - Nov 21, 1900 (Brother of my great grandmother, Margaret Denyer Van Every)
- MCR 1069 - Eliza Caroline Foster Reeves – Nov 26, 1900 (Half-sister of my great grandmother)
- MCR 5842 - Georgia Hartley Phillips – June 17, 1902 (Daughter of Samuel T Hartley)
- MCR 5842 - Samuel T Hartley – June 17, 1902
Below is the testimony given by Robert Hartley, a son of Samuel T Hartley, and a first cousin to my great grandmother, Margaret (Denyer) Van Every
Department of the Interior.
Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes,
Muskogee, I.T. Nov. 21, 1900
In the matter of the application for identification as Mississippi Choctaws of Robert H. Hartley and his two minor children Robert H. Hartley being duly sworn by Acting Chairman Bixby, testified as follows:
Examination by the Commission.
Q What is your name? A Robert H. Hartley.
Q What is your age? A 28.
Q What is your post-office address? A Cleburne, Texas.
Q Are you a resident of the state of Texas? A Yes sir.
Q How long have you resided there? A 28 years.
Q Born there and lived there all your life? A yes sir.
Q Never resided in the Indian Territory? A No sir.
Q Nor in the state of Mississippi? A No sir. Never was out of Texas.
Q How much Choctaw blood do you claim? A One eighth.
Q What is your father’s name? A Samuel Hartley.
Q Is your father living? A Yes sir.
Q What is your mother’s name? A Margaret Hartley.
Q Is your mother living? A No sir.
Q Through which one of your parents do you claim your Choctaw blood? A father.
Q Was your father’s name ever on any of the tribal rolls of the Choctaw nation? A Not that I know of.
Q Has he ever been recognized by the Choctaw tribal authorities as a citizen of the Choctaw nation? A Not that I know of.
Q Is your name on any of the tribal rolls of the Choctaw nation? A No, sir. Not that I know of.
Q Have you any doubt about it? Why do you say ‘Not as you know of?’ Have you any reason to believe it is? A That is something I couldn’t answer.
Q What would you be here for making application if you were a citizen and already enrolled. A Yes sir I believe it is on a roll.
Q Did you ever make application to the Choctaw tribal authorities for citizenship in the Choctaw nation? A No sir.
Q Ever been recognized by the Choctaw tribal authorities as a citizen? A No sir.
Q Then why do you believe that you are enrolled as a citizen of the Choctaw Nation? A Well I believe it on my father’s ---
Q We are not talking about your father. Why do you believe that your name is on the tribal rolls of the Choctaw Nation? You never made application to the Choctaw tribal authorities have you?
A No sir.
Q Never have been acknowledged by them as a citizen? A No sir.
Q Then why do you believe that you are enrolled? A Well, I don’t – well, you have got me.
Q Why do you make that statement then that your name is enrolled. You have no reason in the world to believe it is have you? A No sir.
Q Then why do you say it is.
Tribal rolls in the possession of the Committee examined and the name of the applicant does not appear thereon.
Q Did you or 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.
Record of applications made to this Commission in 1896 for citizenship in the Choctaw Nation examined and the name of the applicant does not appear thereon.
Q Have you ever been admitted to citizenship in the Choctaw Nation by judgment of the United States Courts for the Indian Territory? A No sir.
Record of parties admitted to citizenship in the Choctaw Nation by judgment of the United States Courts, examined and the name of the applicant does not appear thereon.
Q Have you ever prior to this time made any application to either the tribal authorities of the Choctaw Nation 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 that 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 fourteenth article of the treaty of 1830? A I don’t understand.
Q You are making your claim as a Mississippi Choctaw aren’t you? A Yes sir.
Q Why do you believe that you are entitled to any recognition under the article of that treaty? A I don’t know.
Q What is your claim? What are you here making application for? A I can’t answer it.
Q Did any of your ancestors ever comply with the provisions of the fourteenth article of the treaty of 1830? A No sir, not that I know of.
Q What was the name of your ancestor who resided in Mississippi in 1830 at the time of the treaty was entered into between the United States and the Choctaw Indians and who was at that time a recognized member of that tribe? A George W. Hartley.
Q What relation was he to you? A My grandfather.
Q When did he leave Mississippi? A I don’t know.
Q Do you know anything about his residence in Mississippi?
A No sir.
Q Do you know whether he was ever recognized by the Choctaws as a member of that tribe? A No sir.
Q Do you know whether he complied with the provisions of the fourteenth article of the treaty of 1830? A No sir.
Q Do you know whether he ever received any land in Mississippi as a beneficiary under the provisions of that article of that treaty? A No sir.
Q You heard your father testify awhile ago? A Yes sir.
Q You heard him testify that George W Hartley your grandfather left Mississippi in 1835? A Yes sir.
Q Is that correct? A Yes sir.
Q Is there any additional statement you want to make as to your grandfather’s residence in the state of Mississippi? A No sir, I reckon not.
Q Do you make any claim under any other treaty between the United States and the Choctaw Indians? A No sir.
Q Are you married? A Yes sir.
Q What is your wife’s name? A Louisa.
Q Is she a white woman? A Yes sir.
Q Making any claim for her? A No sir.
Q Where did you marry her? A Galveston.
Q What state? A Texas.
Q When? A In 1894.
Q Married to her in accordance with the laws of the state of Texas? A Yes sir.
Q Have you your marriage license and certificate? A Not with me.
Q It will be necessary for the commission to be supplied with evidence of your marriage to your wife, in the matter of the application for the identification of your minor children. How many children have you? A Two.
Q What are their names and ages? A Bessie Leanner Hartley.
Q How old is she? A Four years old.
Q What is the name of the next one? A Youler May Hartley.
Q How old is she? A. Two.
Q That all the children you have? A Yes sir.
Q Louisa Hartley is the mother of them? A Yes sir.
Q You are their father? A Yes sir.
Q These children live with you at your home? A Yes sir.
Q You and your wife live together? 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 the Commission for consideration in support of this application?
Here attorney for applicant asks leave to file written evidence in support of this application within 15 days from this date.
Permission is granted the attorney for the applicant to file written evidence in support of this application provided the same is offered for filing within fifteen days from the date hereof.
By L.P. Hudson, attorney for the applicant.
Q Mr. Hartley, is it your intention to remove to the Indian Territory for the purpose of making your home here in the near future? A Yes sir.
By the Commission. The decision of the Commission as to your application and the application you make on behalf of your two minor children for identification as Mississippi Choctaws will be mailed to you in writing in the near future to your present post-office address.
Myra Young, having been first duly sworn upon her oath states that as stenographer to the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes she reported in full all proceedings had in the above entitled cause on the 21st day of November, 1900, and that the above and foregoing is a full, true and correct transcript of her stenographic notes of said proceedings on said date.
Signature (Myra Young)
Subscribed and sworn to before this 22nds day of November, 1900.
Signature (Guy L.V. Emerson) Notary Public
1) I have noted the MCR file numbers for each of the testimonies above. I believe they indicate the order that they testified on Nov 21, 1900, with Samuel T Hartley testifying first, then his children, then the children of his deceased sister, Sarah. Then five days later, on Nov 26, an additional child each of Samuel's and Sarah's appeared. And finally, a year later, a final daughter of Samuel's testified, and Samuel got to testify again, though his testimony was filed with his daughter's.
2) Though Robert testified immediately following his father, it appears he either didn't hear, or didn't recall, when his father stated he had left Mississippi.
3) I am sure the Commission grew tired of asking family members the exact same questions, when the answers were always the same.