Chronicles of Oklahoma

Skip Navigation

Electronic Publishing Center
Oklahoma Historical Society
Chronicles Homepage
Search all Volumes
Copyright 2001
Purchase an Issue

Table of Contents Index Volume List Search All Volumes Home

Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 9, No. 2
June, 1931
SOME NEW LIGHT ON HOUSTON'S LIFE AMONG THE CHEROKEE INDIANS

Grant Foreman

Page 139

In his distinguished life of Sam Houston1 Mr. Marquis James was good enough to credit me with some assistance, a generous sentiment which he repeated in his interesting story of the search for Houston material published in The Texas Magazine. I loaned Mr. James my Houston manuscripts and we exchanged a good many letters about the obscure period of Houston's life among the Cherokee Indians. Most elusive of all was, and is, the Cherokee inamorata of Houston whom we tried to materialize out of a fog of tradition and romance with but indifferent success. Since Mr. James's book passed beyond the stage where additions could be made, from time to time I have found other manuscripts relating to that fascinating subject. Some of these letters are reproduced here not to prove or disprove anything, but merely as miscellaneous contributions to the general background of Houston's life among the Cherokee Indians.

Houston's arrival among the Cherokees in the spring of 1829, his adoption of their mode of living and dress, his reception into the tribe, his indignation at the abuses imposed on the Indians by their agents, told with a wealth of detail and interpretation by Mr. James and more briefly related in my book Pioneer days in the Early Southwest, bring that exile to the winter when he emerged from his retirement.

On December 8, 1829, President Jackson presented to Congress his first annual message2 in which he devoted particular attention to his plan to remove the Indians from the southern states. And it was anticipated that when the necessary legislation was enacted to carry his recommendation into effect, the movement of 60,000 southern Indians would entail lucrative contracts for the friends of the administration. During the month in which the message was submitted Houston set out from the Cherokee country for Washington, and soon after his arrival there, was busily engaged in plans to secure a contract to ration the Indians on their removal to the West.





Page 140

On February 18, 1830, Thomas L. McKenney of the War Department advertised for proposals to furnish rations for the emigrating Indians, to be submitted by March 20. On February 22 and 24, bills were introduced in the House to effect an exchange of their lands and the removal of the Indians. Houston spent the remainder of the winter and part of the spring in Washington where the scramble for government contracts to ration the Indians occupied much attention.3 Charges and recriminations were made and so much feeling was created that the Secretary of War, resting his action on the fact that no Indian removal measures had passed Congress, announced that no contracts would be awarded to any of the thirteen bidders.4 Houston then departed from Washington on his return to his new home among the Cherokee Indians.

He had arrived at the mouth of White River and was awaiting the departure of his steamboat that was to carry him through the White River cut-off and up the Arkansas to Fort Gibson. He had heard in the East that Gen. John Nicks the sutler at Fort Gibson was to be removed and decided he would like the post. Accordingly Houston addressed a letter to Secretary of War Eaton applying for the position as sutler on the removal of Nicks. And on May 20, 1830, at the mouth of White River, the mosquitoes attacking so fiercely that he was obliged to wear gloves while writing, he indicted a letter to his friend Maj. W. B. Lewis;5 in this he enclosed his letter to Eaton for Lewis to read, then seal and hand to the Secretary. He had loaded a keel boat with supplies from New York and Nashville that were now on the way to the Neosho River. They included nine barrels of whisky, brandy, gin, rum, and wine, and other goods,6 and thus equipped he was prepared to stock the sutler's store he intended to take over if Nick's removal should pave the way to his appointment.

However, when Houston reached his habitation near Fort Gibson and had time to learn the gossip at the post, he found material for a letter of a much different nature, which with Eaton's reply is to be found in the Old Records Division of the Adjutant General's Office in Washington:









Page 141

Houston to Eaton

Wigwam Neosho, 13th June 1830 Sir:

Not long since I addressed you from the mouth of White River by letter, on the subject of Sutler to the Post of Cantonment Gibson, under the belief that General Nicks would be removed, owing to a difference which he had with Major Phillips (Pay Master.) Since my arrival in this country, I am satisfied that the conduct of Genl. Nicks was not such as to authorize his removal for that, or any other cause. And as I suggested that I did not require his removal to make way for me, you were only at liberty to consider me as disposed to accept the place, if vacated for good cause.

But Sir, if the situation were now offered to me by you—as a man of principle and honor I should feel bound to reject it, for reasons which have lately arisen; and for causes which now exist. "By authority" from your Department, it has been stated, that I had sought to impose upon the Government on account of Indian Rations; and Mr. Blake was the agent to asperse me, and Colonel McKinney (whose influence is undoubted with you) the cause.

And Sir, by the last advices it is understood here, that Colonel Crowell was waiting at the city to take the contract for Indian rations "privately," and further that he has written to Mr. Blake (his) and Colonel McKinneys special Sub agent, to withdraw his bid, as it was the lowest put in for the contract, and then the bid (next lowest) of Mr. Prentiss another partner would get it! by the which, things would go on right! Matters closed and the cards set for dealing. If these things are false, I regret the imputation to which they subject you—if true they will out!

I informed you, that the ration could be furnished, at seven cents, if the contract was advertised, either ninety, or one hundred and twenty days (in Arkansas) previous to its closing!

For the present this letter shall suffice, as my intention is to address you shortly at more length, and it is most probable, that my next epistle will meet the public eye! The judgment will then belong to others, the Vindication, to myself!

In the meantime I will commence a series of numbers in the Arkansas Gazette signed Talohntusky, showing in what manner the agencies, have been, and are now managed in this quarter. The innocent will not suffer, the guilty, ought not to escape. In haste. Sam Houston Genl. John H. Eaton

P. S. The claim of $50,000, due the Cherokees, under the last Treaty is in a fair way to be swindled from them. If it is paid to the holders of those certificates paid in the name of Jolly and Black Fox, it will be a fraud, by the Government

Page 142

of the U. States upon the Cherokees. The Indians in the census are rated at some seventeen or eighteen hundred, when in fact, they exceed four thousand in number. Houston [to] Genl. Eaton.7

Eaton to Houston

28 July, 30; Franklin, Ten.

Sir: Your letter of the 13 June has been forwarded to me from Washington & has just reached me at this place. I am a little surprised at its contents; for to one so long, & so well acquainted with men & things, I should presume that such tales as you have given your confidence to, would scarcely have rec'd your notice. What Mr. Blake & McKinney may have said about the proposed Indian contracts I cannot know, but whatever either may have said of the character you represent as coming from me is wholly incorrect. No authority ever was given for the War Dept. by me, or any other person known to me, to state that "you had sought to impose upon the govt an acct of Indian rations," for no such thought was ever harbored nor any such opinion entertained. If you have any information fixing the imputation on either Blake or McKinney I shall be glad to know, that I may be able to require of them an explanation of a matter so wanting in truth.

It was early concluded after the bids come in, not to make it matter of contract. Blake's was the lowest bid 8 cents; Mr. Prentiss next at 9—the next for 15. The commanding general was of opinion, that through his Dept the supplies could be had at less; & the conclusion later was to supply them in that way. Col. Jno. Crowell gave no bid; his brother Tom did; but neither of them ever came to me to say or do anything in reference to it. In future when you shall hear such reports as these, I must ask you to treat them as a man of sense and reflection should; before you give credit to it, & act upon them, afford me an opportunity of informing you correctly. In high party times a man should be quite slow to believe even a portion of what he hears—certainly not the whole. In the present instance you have suffered your credulity to be imposed upon. Very respectfully J. H. Eaton [to] Genl. Sam Houston.8

Finding that there was no vacancy at the post to which he could be appointed, Houston decided to stock a store of his own with his "assortment of goods which I will proceed to open and make sale of as soon as convenient," as he reported





Page 143

to Colonel Arbuckle on July 21.9 He was domiciled at a place which he called "Wigwam Neosho" about three miles from Fort Gibson and the same distance from the Neosho or Grand River.

When Houston went to Washington the preceding winter he carried memorials from the Indians and other material as the basis for charges he made to the President against Indian agents in the West whose treatment of the Indians had roused his indignation. He had pressed these matters vigorously with the result that several agents were removed. The derelictions of these agents and the charges that were made against him on account of his connection with the rations contract controversy in Washington, furnished material for vitriolic exchanges of compliments between him and his enemies near Fort Gibson. The most of his letters which he signed with the name of Tah-lan-tuskee appeared in the Arkansas Gazette through the remainder of the year 1830.10

Another adventure of Houston's during that busy summer was the purchase of a tract of land containing salt springs on the east bank of the Neosho River, about twenty-five miles above Fort Gibson; these were part of a number of reserves made to individual Osage Indians by their treaty of 1826. They fell within the land ceded to the Cherokee Indians in the treaty of 1828 and as these Indians objected to the presence of Osage interests within their country it was charged that Houston expected to demand and receive of the Government a large profit on his investment for a release of his title, so that it could be delivered to the Cherokee Indians. While he was planning this purchase he wrote to his friend Van Fossen in New York that he was "just about to make a grand purchase of Salt Springs . . . my fortune must not wane, it must full."11

The next year when a delegation of Cherokees started for Washington they carried the chief's instructions outlining the matters that were to be submitted to the authorities, and this letter of instructions is in Houston's handwriting. One of these matters was the demand of the Cherokee Indians that the nation be possessed of all lands and improve-







Page 144

ments within their boundaries with particular reference to the Osage reserves.

Before the delegation departed for Washington, Houston conveyed an undivided one-third interest in one of these tracts by the following conveyance:

Houston to McLemore and Howard

Know all men by these presents that I Samuel Houston of the State of Tennessee, for and in consideration of the sum of Six thousand five Hundred Dollars, to me in hand paid by John C. McLemore and M. H. Howard, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, have this day Given, Granted, Bargained, Sold, aliened, and Conveyed, and by these presents, do Give, Grant, Bargain, Sell, alien, and Convey to the said John C. McLemore and M. H. Howard, their Heirs and assigns One third part of a certain tract or parcel of Land Situated, lying and being about ten miles below the Grand Saline,12 (Known by the name of "Shouteau's Saline") on the East Side of the Neosho, bounded on the North West by said River, on the South West by a Section of Land, Granted to Amelia (of Mehunga) on the South East by the Praria, and on the North East by a Section of Land, Granted to Anthony a half breed Osage, containing one Section or Six Hundred and forty acres of Land, being the same which was reserved to Amelia (the daughter of Shemehunga) a half breed Osage,13 by the fifth Article of a Treaty, made and concluded at St. Louis, in the State of Missouri, between William Clark, Superintendent of Indian affairs, commissioner on part of the United States, and certain Chiefs, Headmen, and Warriors of the Great and Little Osage tribes of Indians, duly authorized and empowered by their respective tribes or Nations. Which Treaty bears date the Second day of June in the year of our Lord One thousand eight Hundred and twenty five. To have and to hold the Said one third part of the Said undivided Section, or Six hundred and forty acres of Land, with all and Singular the rights, members, and appurtenances, thereunto belonging or in anywise appertaining, to the Said John C. McLemore and M. H. Howard, their Heirs and assigns forever, in fee Simple, and the title to the Said undivided third part of the said Six Hundred and forty acres of land or Section I the said Samuel Houston will warrant and forever defend, to the said John C. McLemore and M. H. Howard, their Heirs and assigns against the legal claim or claims of all or





Letter

Letter

Page 145

any and every other person or persons whatever. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal this 6th day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight Hundred and thirty one. Sam Houston (Seal) Signed Sealed and delivered in the presence of R. H. McEwin. Jurat J. K. Kane. Jurat.

State of Tennessee, Davidson County Court, July Sessions 1831. This Indenture of bargain and Sale between Samuel Houston of the one part and John C. McLemore and M. H. Howard of the other part dated the Sixth day of July A. D. 1831 was produced in open Court and proved to be the act and Deed of the said Samuel Houston by the oaths of Robert H. McEwin and Joseph K. Kane the Subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be certified.

In testimony whereof I Henry Ewing Clerk of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions for said County have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of said Court to be also affixed at office in the Town of Nashville on the 29th day of July A. D. 1831. Henry Ewing.

State of Tennessee Davidson County S. s. I Jesse Wharton, Presiding Magistrate of the Court of pleas and Quarter Sessions for Said County do hereby Certify to whom it may concern, that Henry Ewing whose name is signed to the foregoing Certificate, is Clerk of said Court in Said State and that his attestation as Such is Given in due form of Law. Given under my hand and Seal this 11th day of August A. D. 1831. J. Wharton (Seal)

Territory of Arkansas County of Crawford Clerks office To wit I George C. Pickett Clerk of the Crawford Circuit Court, do hereby Certify that the annexed and foregoing Deed was duly recorded in my office on the 30th day of August A. D. 1832. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the Seal of office, this 26th day of August A. D. 1832. G. E. Pickett. Clk14

The thirty dollars per acre paid to Houston by his grantees is more than the same land would bring today under a valid title. How Houston disposed of the remainder of his interest in these reserves I have not been able to learn; but he seems to have made a tidy profit from his investment. It appears from Governor Stokes's letter15 that he thought Houston had sold both his reserves to Thompson and Drennan of Nashville. At any rate the grantee Howard three and one





Page 146

half years later having failed to make a sale of his interest, undertook through Congressman James K. Polk to find a buyer in Washington and for that purpose executed a power of attorney to the Congressman, which is now in the Office of Indian affairs.

Howard to Polk, Power of Attorney

Know all men by these presents that I Memucan H. Howard of Davidson County and State of Tennessee have on this the 13th day of December in the year of our Lord One thousand eight Hundred and thirty four, nominated, constituted and appointed; and by these presents do, nominate, constitute and appoint the Honorable James K. Polk of Maury County and State aforesaid my true and lawfull agent and attorney in fact, for me, and in my name and stead to dispose of, and convey, all my right, title, claim, and Interest in, and to, the One equal Sixth part of Six Hundred and forty acres of Land, situated in the Territory of Arkansas, about ten miles below the Grand Saline (known by the name of Shouteau's Saline) on the East Side of the Neosho, bounded on the North West by Said River, on the South West by a Section of land Granted to Amelia (of Mahunga) on the South East by the Prairia, and on the North East by a Section of land, Granted to Anthony a half breed Osage, the Same being the Section of Land reserved to Amelia (the daughter of Shemahunga) a half breed Osage, by the fifth Article of a Treaty made and concluded at St. Louis in the State of Missouri between William Clark Superintendent of Indian affairs, Commissioner on the part of the United States; and certain Chiefs, Head men and Warriors of the Great and little Osage tribes of Indians which treaty bears date the Second day of June in the year of our Lord One thousand eight Hundred and twenty five. The One third part of said Section of Land having been conveyed unto John C. McLemore, and myself jointly by Samuel Houston for the Sum of Six Thousand five Hundred Dollars, by Deed dated the Sixth day of July One thousand eight Hundred and thirty one. And my Said agent and attorney in fact is hereby fully authorized and impowered to make any arrangement he may think proper, with the Government of the United States, concerning my part of the above described Section of Land, and to receive pay for the Same and convey or relinquish my claim thereto as fully as I myself could do if personally present. Witness my hand and Seal the day &C above written. ackd., M. H. Howard (Seal)

State of Tennessee, Davidson County, Ss Be it remembered on This day personally appeared before me Henry Ewing, Clerk of the court of pleas and quarter Sessions for said county, Memucan H. Howard the grantor of the within

Page 147

power of Attorney with whom I am personally acquainted and who acknowledged that he executed the same for the uses and purposes therein contained. In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of said court to be affixed at office in Nashville on this 13th December 1834 Henry Ewing (Seal)

State of Tennessee Davidson County, Ss. I Wm. Armstrong Presiding magistrate of the court of Pleas and quarter Sessions for said County hereby certify to whom it may concern that Henry Ewing whose name is signed to the foregoing certificate is clerk of said court in said county; that his attestation is in due form of Law, and that full faith and credit is and ought to be given to his official acts as clerk in courts of Justice & thereout. Witness my hand and seal this 13th December 1834 Wm. Armstrong (Seal)"16

Howard to Polk

Nashville 13th Decr. 1834 Dear Sir

I have been requested by one of the persons interested in a certain Indian Salt Spring reservation in Arkansas to forward to some friend in Washington City a Power of attorney to act for me, as there was a likelihood that the Genl. Government would propose to pay the owners for it and I am one as you will perceive by the enclosed papers, and take the liberty of forwarding to you a Power of attorney, and a copy of the conveyance to J. C. McLemore Esqr and myself for a third part of 640 acres including Said Spring. Please be so good as to accept the management of the business for me, and if the original conveyance to Mr. McLemore & myself should be deemed of importance or material use be so good as to inform me at this place to that effect, and it shall be forthwith forwarded to you. I would be truly glad that Some disposition could be made of the above named property as I understand the Indians are much averse to its being owned or used by the Whites, and I am laying out for the use of Thirty two Hundred & fifty Dollars paid for my part of it in 1831 as you will see by the enclosed. I have been informed by several persons that the above property would be of immense value if properly managed, but it is too far beyond my reach for me to pay much attention to it. Whatever arrangement you may think proper to make about the matter will to me be perfectly Satisfactory so far as I am concerned as I am desirous of disposing of my part of the property or of endeavouring to turn it to some profitable account. Your 68 ⅔ acres of Land in Henry County I am offered Two Dollars P acre for on 1 & 2 years Credit, and believe it a fair price, the Shape of the tract being very bad, and about half the land poor and broken.



Page 148

If you are willing to take this price please inform me to that effect. I have examined the Land and think the price offered enough. Very respectfully &c your very obt Svt. M. H. Howard [to] Hon. J. K. Polk.17

To me the most interesting of my recent finds about Houston is a file in the Office of Indian Affairs which sheds some light on his Indian sweetheart. I have had some difficulty in forming an opinion as to what their relations were. Tradition which became very sentimental over them in recent years was responsible for removing the remains of a long buried body to the National Cemetery at Fort Gibson and reinterring it under the name of "Talihina" as the wife of Sam Houston. Houston and this attractive Cherokee woman undoubtedly lived together in the western country, but it is impossible to say how long. Governor Stokes, a kindly old gentleman, recognized her as Houston's Cherokee wife.18 While their cohabitation appears to have been open and notorious, I have never found any evidence of a marriage ceremony, though their relation seems to have had the sanction of the Indians. They were doubtless pleased to call his mate the wife of Sam Houston who had been adopted in the tribe, and had chosen her to share his rude home and companionship. In this unconventional relationship he was accentuating his renunciation of civilized life and adoption of that of the Indian.

In the following power of attorney bearing date June 27, 1833, which is all in his handwriting, Houston wrote the name of his late comforter "Diana Gentry." This was about the time he was breaking his ties with the Indians and he speaks of himself as "late of the Wigwam." He left immediately afterward for Hot Springs. I have found no contemporary authority for calling her Talihena, which is a Choctaw word. Gentry was the name of Diana's husband who had died before the Cherokee Indians removed from Arkansas in 1829. Whatever Houston had called her before he left her, evidently he did not propose in the new scheme of life he was about to enter, to be reminded of an abandoned wife among the Indians. Or did he conceive this power of attorney as the instrument in which to make a public record to contradict any claim that he regarded her as his wife?

The next year however, her brother calls her Diana Hous-





Page 149

ton, and two years later in her bill of sale of the negro, she speaks of herself as Dianna Houston. On that point she and Houston did not agree. These instruments explode a pretty story repeated in a recent article in an eastern magazine that Diana was true to Houston as long as she lived, and never remarried. They show that she married one Samuel D. McGrady in 1836.

Power of Attorney

Cherokee Agency, West 27th June 1833

Know all men by these presents, that I Diana Gentry, widow of the late David Gentry of Frog bayou; Do by these presents authorize, constitute, and appoint Saml. Houston late of the Wigwam, my true and lawful attorney, to settle, and adjust all my accounts, for stock destroyed, and property lost within the Territory of Arkansas. And I do further authorize, and empower the said Houston, to receive, and receipt for all monies, which may be due and coming to me; and in my name to do, and execute, all manners of things, as tho' I were personally present, and assenting to the same, hereby ratifying and confirming the same, hereby revoking all other powers; Witness my hand at the Cherokee Agency, on Arkansas The day and date above written.

her
Diana  x  Gentry
mark

I Certify that the above power of attorney, has been duly acknowledged in my presence, and for the purposes therein expressed. Done in the West Cherokee Nation at the Agents office. Geo. Vashon, Agt. 27th June 1833.
[Endorsement]:—Cherokee Power of Atto. by Diana Gentry to Sam Houston Cherokee Agency West June 27, 1833.
A few years after Houston left the Cherokee Nation Governor Montford Stokes in his capacity as Cherokee agent had before him for solution a controversy over a slave sold by Joseph Rogers to his sister Dianna. As the documents in this matter19 contain further evidence bearing on the subject of Dianna's use of the name "Houston" and of her subsequent marriage, they are set forth here.

Record

Armstrong, Wm.—Gov. M. Stokes (Report for the decision of the Dept. a claim of Saml. D. McGrady for a negro taken by Wm. Rogers etc.) Cherokee Agency, Fort Gibson Novem. 7th 1836. Samuel D. McGrady against William Rogers Admn. of Joseph Rogers decd. Statement of Case:



Page 150

On the 20th. day of November 1834, Joseph Rogers a Cherokee, Executed to his Sister Dianna Houston formerly Dianna Rogers, a Bill of Sale in the following words and figures, viz:

"Cherokee Nation Nov. 20th. 1834.

Know all men by these presents that I Joseph Rogers of the nation aforesaid, have this day bargained sold and delivered unto my sister Dianna Houston for and in consideration of the sum of five hundred and fifty dollars, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, a certain Black negro man named Peter, aged about twenty-two years, the same which I purchased of John McIntosh of the Creek Nation, and I do warrant and defend the said sister Dianna and her natural Heirs, the right and title to the said Peter, against all and every other person. Given under my hand the day and date above written. Joseph Rogers Witness Thomas E. Wilson."

Sometime after the execution of the above Bill of Sale, say about 1st. April 1836, the said Dianna Houston intermarried with the said Samuel D. McGrady. Afterward, say about the 21st. day of August 1836, a dispute took place between the said Samuel D. McGrady and the said negro Peter; and the said Peter was sent by said McGrady to the Garrison at Fort Gibson and placed in confinement for the avowed purpose of being sent out of the Country and sold.

On the 23rd. day of August 1836, the said William Rogers Administrator of Joseph Rogers applied to me as Sub-Agent for the Cherokees to have the said negro Peter released and put into his possession, he claiming him as the property of the late Joseph Rogers. At this time, I as Sub-Agent did not know of the existence of the Bill of Sale above set forth, and considering the dispute as between Cherokees, Brother and sister, I requested Genl. Arbuckle, to release the said negro Peter, which was done, and put him into possession of said William under the express condition that he should be delivered to me whenever the right should be tried in the Cherokee Court of the District.

On the next day, the 24th. August 1836, the said Dianna McGrady executed a Bill of Sale for the said negro Peter, to her Husband the said Samuel D. McGrady, who is a White man: The said Bill of sale is in the following words and figures, to wit:

"Cherokee Nation, August 24th. 1836. Know all men by these presents that I Dianna McGrady late Dianna Houston of the nation aforesaid, Have this day bargained, sold and delivered unto Samuel D. McGrady, for and in consideration of the sum of five hundred and fifty dollars, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, a certain Black

Page 151

negro man named Peter, aged about twenty-four years, and do warrant and defend the title of said negro man unto the said S. D. McGrady, and that the said negro boy is sound in mind and body, and that he is a Slave for life, and do warrant and defend the title of the said Peter from all claims of all and every person or persons whatsoever. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand this day and date above named. Diana (X) her mark McGrady Witness Thos. E. Wilson."

The Witness to both Bills of Sale is Mr. Thomas E. Wilson, Sutler at this post. Since the execution of the last mentioned Bill of Sale, I have demanded the said negro Peter to be delivered to me according to the promise of the said William Rogers, which he has not complied with.

It is further necessary for me to state that the said Samuel D. McGrady is a Citizen of the United States, and has appealed to the Government for a decision of this case. In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand at the Cherokee Agency, Fort Gibson on the 7th day of November 1836.

M. Stokes Sub-Agent for Cherokees.

At the request of the above named Samuel D. McGrady, I have hereto annexed his account, made out by himself, against the Cherokee Nation, for the value of the negro Peter.

M. Stokes, Sub-Agt. for Cherokees.

"Fort Gibson August 24, 1836 Cherokee Nation West To Samuel D. McGrady Dr. for a Negro man named Peter aged Twenty-four years Taken by Wm. Rogers administrator of Joseph Rogers late of the above named nation Samuel D. McGrady."

Choctaw Agency Nov. 24, 1836 C. A. Harris Esqr Comr of Ind Affrs, Sir; I enclose for your consideration the within papers at the request of Govr. Stokes. His statement is full upon the subject, the dates of the placing the boy in the Guard house; and the time he was released by Govr. Stokes in consideration of the bill of sale from Mrs. McGrady to her husband show conclusively that it was made to cover the property of McGrady, which, as stated by Govr Stokes, was intended to be sent off for sale. McGrady has intermarried in the nation, doubtless for the property; and whether he may have a legal demand upon the Cherokee nation for indemnity or not, he has at least produced the difficulty breach between a large and numerous connection.

There is much disputing about the right of property in the Cherokee nation; and much of it produced by white men. In every instance where property is taken from a citizen of the United States and carried to the Indian country, I unhesitatingly have it restored, but in this case it is different, for the property he acquired was in the nation; and the

Page 152

property of an Indian woman, her own and uncontroled by her husband. McGrady may sell the slave if placed in his possession and leave his wife the late Mrs. Houston to find another husband.

Respectfully Your Obt Servant, Wm Armstrong Act Supt Westr. Tery.

Return to top


Electronic Publishing Center | OSU Home | Search this Site