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. (The numbers below are the numbers of their case files, and likely indicate the order in which they provided the testimony.) 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 1051 - Robert Hartley - Nov 21, 1900 (Son of Samuel T Hartley)
- MCR 1052 - Virginia Shultz - Nov 21, 1900 (Daughter of Samuel T Hartley)
- 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 Caroline Taylor, a daughter of Samuel T Hartley, and a first cousin to my great grandmother, Margaret (Denyer) Van Every. This concludes the testimony provided by my great grandfather, and his wife's family.
Choc. No. 1068
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR.
COMMISSION TO THE FIVE CIVILIZED TRIBES.
Muskogee, I.T. November 26th 1900.
In the matter of the application of Caroline Taylor for the identification of herself and her six minor children as Mississippi Choctaws.
The said Caroline Taylor being duly sworn, was examined by the commission and testified as follows:
Q What is your name? A Caroline Taylor.
Q What is your age? A Thirty-five.
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 Six years.
Q You have maintained a continuous residence there in the State of Texas for the past six years, have you? A I have been in Texas all my life, if that is what you mean?
Q You have lived anywhere else? A No, sir.
Q How much Choctaw blood do you claim? A One-eighth.
Q What is your father’s name? A Samuel T. Hartley.
Q Is your father living? A Yes, sir.
Q What is your mother’s name? A Margaret Ann Hartley.
Q Is your mother living? A No, sir.
Q Through which of your parents do you claim your Choctaw blood? A My father.
Q What was your father’s name? A Samuel T. Hartley.
Q Was your father’s name ever on any of the tribal rolls of the Choctaw Nation? A I suppose so I don’t know.
Q Why do you suppose so? A Because he was born as a Mississippi Choctaw and lived that way.
Q Did he ever live in the Indian Territory? A Not that I know of.
Q Was his name ever on any of the Choctaw tribal rolls in the Indian Territory? A I don’t know.
Q Have you any reason to believe that it was? A Yes, sir; I believe it ought to be, I don’t know.
Q It ought to be, I guess; I have no doubt about that. A Well, I suppose it is. There is where he was born.
[ed. The transcription contains the additional 'Q' and 'A' even though it is clear she is continuing to speak.]
Q We are talking about the Choctaw Nation in the Indian Territory. Did your father ever live in the Choctaw Nation in the Indian Territory? A Not that I remember of.
Q Was he ever enrolled as a Choctaw Indian in the Indian Territory? A I can’t say. I guess so.
Q Is your name on any of the tribal rolls of the Choctaw Nation? A No, sir.
Q Have you ever made 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 the National Council as a citizen of the Choctaw Nation? A I don’t know about that.
Q Did the Choctaw National Council at Tuskahoma ever recognized you as a citizen of the Choctaw Nation? A I can’t say.
Q You would know if they had. A I reckon not.
Q Have you any act of the Council admitting you to citizenship? A I guess so.
Q Well, where is it? A I can’t swear that.
Q Have you ever been recognized as a Choctaw citizen? A No, sir; I guess not.
Q Did you, or did any one for you or in your behalf, in 1896, make applicationto 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 an appeal from the decision of the Choctaw tribal authorities or the decision of this Commission? A No, sir; I reckon not.
Q Have you ever , prior to this time, made any application to either the Choctaw tribal authorities or 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 have never been to the Choctaw tribal authorities or to this Commission or to the United States Courts for either citizenship or for enrollment as a Choctaw? A No, sir.
Q You are now making your 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 treaty of 1830, fourteenth article? A Well, because my parents was born in Mississippi Choctaw and they lived there and was there, is all the reason I can tell. They claimed they were Choctaws.
Q Are you making your application or claim as a beneficiary under the 14th article of the treaty of 1830? A Yes, sir.
Q Did any of your ancestors ever comply with the provisions of that article of that treaty? A Yes, 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 into between the United States and the Choctaw Indians? A. George W. Hartley.
Q Have you any evidence showing that he was a recognized member of the Choctaw tribe of Indians in Mississippi in 1830? A All I know is under my father. That is what I have been taught. I have known they have been there. That is the way I have been raised, that I was a Choctaw Indian.
Q Have you any evidence showing that George W. Hartley was a recognized member of the Choctaw tribe of Indians in Mississippi in 1830? A No, sir.
Q What relation is George W. Hartley to you? A He is my grandfather.
Q Did George W. Hartley, if a recognized member of the Choctaw tribe of Indians in Mississippi, signify to the United States Indian agent of the Choctaw Indians his intention to remain and become a citizen of the State of Mississippi? A I don’t know.
Q Where did George W. Hartley die? A I don’t know.
Q Did he ever leave Mississippi? A I don’t know that.
Q Do you know anything about his residence in Mississippi? You don’t know anything about his residence? A No, sir.
Q When did your father come to Texas? A I can’t answer that. I don’t know.
Q Where did he come to Texas from? A From there, I suppose. I don’t know. I guess from Mississippi.
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 I don’t know.
Q Do you make any claim under any other treaty stipulations between the United States and the Choctaw Indians? A No, sir.
Q Are you married? A Yes, sir.
Q What is your husband’s name? A Jesse M. Taylor.
Q Are you making any claim for your husband? A No, I reckon not. No, sir.
Q Is your husband a white man? A Yes, sir.
Q He never made any claim to Choctaw citizenship by blood? A no, sir.
Q Has he ever made any claim to Indian citizenship? A No, sir.
Q Have you any children? A I have six.
Q What are the names and ages of your children? A My eldest is Maudie Viola Taylor.
Q How old is she? A Eighteen.
Q Go ahead now. A Claudie R. Taylor.
Q Go ahead. Sixteen years old.
Q Go ahead. A Mattie A Taylor. She is thirteen years old. Jesse M. Taylor, eleven years old. Earline Taylor, five years old.
Q All right, go ahead. A The other is a baby. I haven’t named him yet. He is two months old, about.
Q A boy is it? A Yes, sir.
Q You have not named it? A No, sir.
Q Maudie is a girl? A Yes, sir.
Q Claudie is a girl? A Yes, sir.
Q Mattie is a girl? A Yes, sir.
Q Jesse? A He is a boy.
Q And Earline. A That is a girl, yes, sir.
Q These children all live with you at your home? A Yes, sir.
Q Are you the mother of these children? A Yes, sir.
Q Is Jesse Taylor the father of all six of them? A Yes, sir.
Q Are you and your husband living together? A Yes, sir.
Q Their residence has always been the same as yours, has it? A Yes, sir.
Q Is there any additional statement you desire to make in support of your application and the application you make on behalf of your children? A No, sir.
Q Is there any written evidence you desire to offer the Commission?
Mr. L.P. Hudson (counsel for applicant) Here attorney for applicant makes leave to file written evidence in support of this application made by Mrs. Taylor 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 within fifteen days from this date.
Examination ---- by Mr. Hudson.
Q You are the daughter of Samuel D. Hartley who appeared before the Commission last week are you? A Yes, sir.
Q You never resided in Mississippi, and the only knowledge you have as to your father and mother’s residence there is what you have heard him say? A Yes, sir.
Q You are depending upon him for the evidence in this case, are you? A Yes, sir.
Q You say you live in Texas? A Yes, sir.
Q Is it your intention to remove to the Indian Territory in the near future for the purpose of making it your home? A Yes, sir.
BY THE COMMISSION: The decision of the Commission as to your application and the application you make on behalf of your six minor children for identification as Mississippi Choctaws will be mailed to you in the near future at your present post office address.
Wm. S. Wellsher, being duly sworn, upon his oath states, that as stenographer to the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes he correctly reported in full all proceedings in this application for identification as Mississippi Choctaws, and that the foregoing is a correct and complete transcript of his stenographic notes thereof.
Subscribed and sworn to before me this 27th day of November 1900
(Signature) Guy L.V. Emerson
1) It is interesting that in all of the other testimony, we see indication that the Commission checked to see if the names were in the rolls or other lists. My suspicion is that the checking was all done later, and the paragraphs were inserted into the testimony. They just weren't inserted here.
2) I've been asked what I think all of this testimony means. One of the questions asked Caroline Taylor was:
Did George W. Hartley, if a recognized member of the Choctaw tribe of Indians in Mississippi, signify to the United States Indian agent of the Choctaw Indians his intention to remain and become a citizen of the State of Mississippi?
When Samuel Hartley testified in 1902 he said he was born in 1830, and they left Mississippi in 1835. My suspicion is that his father, George Hartley, knew in 1830 he had no intention of remaining in Mississippi, and didn't have the foresight to tell the Indian Agent otherwise. His name was not put on any lists, and they left Mississippi in 1835.
Due to the clear confusion among almost all my kin on fractions, I really can't say much beyond they all believed that their grandfather was part Choctaw, and their grandmother was part Choctaw and part Cherokee. (Only Samuel Hartley states the latter in his 1902 testimony. He says his mother was half Choctaw and half Cherokee, though I suspect 'half' didn't really mean 'half.' I do know my matrilineal DNA doesn't match Native American haplogroups, which it should if she was truly a full-blood Native American.)