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 5, No. 1
March, 1927

Page 79

The following appendix is taken from the Report of the Board of Indian Commissioners to the Secretary of the Interior, for the President, for the Year 1870. The Editor was living in Fort Gibson at the time this report was made, and considers it an impartial one of that country at that day. It brings out the civilization, the different types of characters, along with the resources, natural and acquired, of more than fifty years ago. The early seventies were the reconstruction days, days that are interwoven with all the successes of our present generation. We can appreciate the attainments of to-day better, when properly contrasted with the yesterdays. This brings one to say that the degree of life in any thing is determined by its response to stimulus, as is seen in the result of demands made upon the great West, with her rough and rugged civilization, her untutored citizenship, and in numerous instances, her half naked men and women of the forest.

J. Y. B.

From reports of the Board of Indian Commissioners.
Appendix 37. Second Annual Report 1870
Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, December 16, 1870.

A Fertile Region

Lapping on the southwest corner of Missouri, and lying coterminous to the southern border of Kansas and the western border of Arkansas, is one of the richest and most fertile regions in the United States, set apart by solemn treaty and stipulations for the occupancy of various Indian tribes.


It is 382 miles long, 208 miles wide, and contains 70,456 square miles. It therefore contains 50,000,000 acres of land, and would make seventy states the size of Rhode Island, and two the size of New York, the empire state of the Union. Of this magnificent domain I have the authority of Mr. Reynolds, a gentleman who has traveled extensively through the country, for stating that there is scarcely a quarter section that is not susceptible of cultivation. This writer says it is far superior

Page 80

to Kansas, Nebraska, or Missouri as a stock and fruit-growing country.

The Principal Streams

The principal streams that irrigate the country are the Arkansas, the Grand or Neosho River, the Verdigris, coming down from the north and emptying into the Arkansas at Fort Gibson. On the east side of the Arkansas is the Illinois River, rising in the mountainous regions southeast of Fort Gibson, said to be one of the prettiest rivers on the continent, sparkling with crystal waters. West of the Arkansas are the Canadian, with its tributaries, the North Fork, Deep Fork, Little River, Wewoka and numerous affluents. Besides these main streams, the country is abundantly watered by small streams and creeks that are nameless on the map.

The Soil, etc.

The climate of this favored region is delightful the larger portion of the year, and the grass remains green all winter. The soil is well adapted to corn, wheat, oats, cotton, tobacco, and the whole family of garden vegetables.

As a fruit country it is unsurpassed, and wild grapes grow abundantly. In commenting on the prolific character of the soil, it was observed by one of our party that efforts should be made to procure improved breeds of stock, and better varieties of seed grain of all descriptions. In answer to the suggestion, Mr. Goss, of Chetopa, remarked that the results of experience taught that seed grain, brought from a northern latitude, did not thrive well here, that the crop of most grains became deteriorated, and that it was essential that grain and vegetables to thrive well must become acclimated in order to be productive.

Farming Operations

But if there are climatic obstacles as to northern seeds in the territory, there can be none in introducing improved agricultural utensils and implements of husbandry. On this score, those who till the soil labor under great disadvantages. At Cow Tom’s, otherwise called Bovine Thomas, where the Commissioners stopped over night, an opportunity offered to witness some of the farming operations.

Cow Tom is an intelligent negro of the Creek persuasion.

Page 81

During the Florida war he was interpreter for General Jesup, and was the body servant of Lieutenant Lane, when that unfortunate young officer committed suicide by falling on his sword, the point of the weapon entering the brain just above the eye. Cow Tom is the proprietor of a plantation—under a good state of fencing, he purchased the improvements since the war for $150. He is entitled under the Creek law to all the land he can put under fence and cultivate, with the privilege of keeping off his neighbors at arm’s length, as settlements are not allowed nearer any occupant than each quarter of a mile. The reason for this custom, as adopted by the early Indian law givers, growing out of the tribal relation, obliging the Indians to scatter about and become independent proprietors.

Wild tribes of nomadic habits are accustomed to wandering about and huddling together for mutual safety and, defense.

Cow Tom this season has raised fine crops of corn, cotton, and chickens, sufficient to render comfortable a large family of children and grandchildren who lean on him for support. But owing to the distance from the mill, he pounds his corn in a mortar with a wooden pestle, and the yield of cotton, raised exclusively for home consumption, has to be ginned with the fingers, and carded by hand. For breaking up the prairie he used the old-fashioned "bull plow," such as was in use before the invention of the "wood patent." By long service, the plow point, from constant filing, has become worn up to the mold-board. It should be stated that farmers nearer the States, especially among the Cherokees, Senecas, Quapaws, Peoria, and other advanced tribes, have introduced improved farming implements to a considerable extent.

The Neighborhood

Our fare at Cow Tom’s was relished with a keen appetite, and there were neat quilts on the beds, of home manufacture. There is a comfortable school house near by, where the children are taught to read. There is no physician nearer than Fort Gibson, distant thirty-three miles, and the inhabitants have a goodly prospect of dying a natural death.

The Indians and Their Lands

The population of the Indian Territory is estimated at

Page 82

53,000, thus giving every man, woman and child about 1000 acres a head. Strong efforts are making by outside parties to sectionize the magnificent domain, but the proposition is looked upon with exceeding distrust by the Indians. They deprecate, as quite natural, outside interference in their affairs, and wish to be governed in their own way.

And when it is recollected that they were forced, by harassing wars, to move from the homes of their nativity in Georgia, North Carolina and Florida, beyond the Mississippi, and have been exposed to fraud, falsehood and treachery; and finally, to save themselves from extermination, consented to remove here, where no white man would then dare to live, is it not reasonable that they should be left alone and unmolested

What people have a better right to their lands, ceded to them in perpetuity by solemn treaties, and of which they were the first occupants? But the resistless tide of emigration is pressing on their borders. Railroad monopolies and greedy speculators are coveting their rich lands, and were it not for the just and humane policy of the leading men in authority at Washington, these civilized tribes would be fated to melt away before the white men like snow before the sun. Unscrupulous speculators look upon these lands with the same greedy eyes that Ichabod Crane of Sleepy Hollow memory, regarded the rich buckwheat fields of old Baltus Van Tassel, his expectant father-in-law, feeding his eyes upon "sugared suppositions" until outrivaled in the affections of Katrine by his redoubtable opponent, Brom Bones.

Fair Dealings

A shameful page in our history can only be wiped out by dealing fairly with these people who are now assembled in council at Okmulgee, conducting its proceedings in as dignified manner as any deliberative body that it has been my fortune to witness. There is little doubt that a general government will be established, and a fresh impetus be given to enterprise, the construction of roads and bridges, the building of mills, and the improvement of the country. The wild tribes will be invited in to participate in the advantages of those who have preceded them in the career of civilization, and no doubt this will be the surest method of solving the problem in relation

Page 83

to nomadic tribes who have given the Government so much trouble.

The Cherokees

From various sources the following summary may be given of the population and funds, held in trust by the Government of the leading civilized tribes. The Cherokees number about 16,000. The exact number I neglected to obtain at Tahlequah, as the census has just been completed. Ten years ago the tribe numbered 20,000, or, according to one statement, 25,000, but owing to the ravages of war the population was depleted. The Cherokees own in fee simple 4,000,000 acres of land, and the United States Government holds in trust for them $4,000,000 upon which annual interest is paid. In proportion to their number, previous to the war, the Cherokees were the wealthiest people on the globe, as a nation. They owned immense herds, one individual alone owning 20,000 head of cattle. Others owned 15,000; 10,000, and so down to 300, and the man who owned less was considered a poor Indian. An officer estimates that not less than 300,000 head of stock was stolen from the Indian Territory during the war. The aggregate value of stock stolen by both armies during the war is estimated at $15,000,000. A tax of 50 cents is exacted per head of Texas cattle passing through each tribe. The Cherokee State seal is a seven-point star, symbolic of the seven clans into which the nation was formerly divided. The seal is surrounded by a wreath of oak leaves and the words, "Seal of the Cherokee Nation."

The Creeks

This tribe numbers 14,000, the females outnumbering the males about 1,500. Ten years ago the population reached 21,000. They own nearly 4,000,000 acres of land, and the United States Government holds in trust for them $1,519,000. Preparations for taking the census this season were made by the agent Captain Field, when instructions were received countermanding the order. The present chief of the Creek Nation is Samuel Chicote, a very able man. A rival named Oc-ter-sus Harjo, or Sands, a delegate of the general council, claims that he was defrauded out of the office of chief by the partisans of Chicote. He made a statement of the case before the Indian commissioners.

Page 84

It seems that after the death of O-poth-le-yo-ho-la, the chief of the loyal Creeks, who was an able leader, Sands succeeded him, and some difficulty arose growing out of the question. The feud came near ending in a rupture. Sands headed the delegation that negotiated the treaty of 1866, at Washington. He said it was agreed between him and the opposing faction to leave the election of a chief to the people, but that, through a fraudulent counting of the votes, Chicote was elected. The Commissioners declined to have anything to do with the matter, but Mr. Lang suggested that, as the matter had been reported to the agent and accepted at Washington as a finality, and as a new election for chief takes place next fall, he advised forbearance as the best policy and let the matter drop.


By the treaty of 1866, the Creeks ceded to the Government, to be used for the settlement thereon of other Indians, the west half of their domain, estimated at 3,250,000 acres of land, for which the United States agreed to pay $975,168, in the following manner: $200,000 to enable the Creeks to reoccupy and restore their farms and improvements, to pay the damage to mission schools, and to pay the salary of delegates to Washington; $100,000 to pay for losses of soldiers enlisted in the United States Army, and to loyal refugees and freedmen; $400,000 to be paid per capita to Creeks as it may accrue from the sale of bonds, interest on the last two sums at 5 per cent., to be used for the Creeks at the discretion of the Secretary of the Interior; and the remaining sum, $275,000, to be invested at 5 per cent., and the interest paid to the Creeks annually. An amount not exceeding $10,000 was also to be expended by the United States for the erection of agency buildings, which were located last week near Okmulgee.


This tribe, located directly west of the Creek reservation, numbers 2,160. It is a small tribe, but their forefathers, fought bravely in Florida, Their decrease during the last ten years has been ten per cent. Their reservation contains 200,000 acres, and the United States holds in trust for them $670,000. The brother of Osceola, the most inveterate of all the Seminole chiefs, who, with Micanopy and Wild Cat, held

Page 85

the United States troops at bay for years, is still on the reservation. Wild Cat’s old band is in Mexico. They number about sixty.

A Veteran

The old interpreter for General Jackson, the negro Abraham, is still alive on Little River at the advanced age of one hundred and twenty years. A gentleman saw him the other day. Joshua R. Giddings, in his "Exiles of Florida," says that Abraham was, perhaps, the most influential man among the exiles. He had been a witness and interpreter in making the treaty at Payne’s landing, and dictated the important provisions in the supplementary treaty. He exerted his influence in favor of emigration. To him, therefore, his people looked with more confidence than to any other individual. In all his intercourse with all our officers, he had been assured of the intention to fulfill those treaties, and when he found the Government hesitating on that point he became indignant, and so did others of his band. Abraham always retained great influence with his people. About two hundred and sixty Seminoles still live in Florida, among the mountains and everglades.

The present chief of the Nation is John Chupco. He came with the last emigration from Florida, in 1856. The Seminoles, in 1866, sold their entire country, 1,169,000 acres, purchased for them from, the Creeks. The capital is Wewoka. They have a council form of government, and are said to be further advanced in civilization than the Creeks. They number about four hundred members of the Baptist and Presbyterian churches. The Presbyterian Board of Missions is building a mission school house. They have four district schools, with an average attendance last year of seventy-seven children.

Only one white man, E. J. Brown, formerly a member of the Kansas legislature, now a delegate at Okmulgee, has been adopted by the tribe. There is only one half-breed family in the nation. There are four hundred negroes having all the rights of citizens. The Indians and negroes do not intermarry. Colonel Jumper commanded a regiment during the war; the rest went to Kansas with O-poth-le-yo-ho-la, of the Creek nation, who died in Leavenworth and was buried with military

Page 86

honors. His daughter the other day received a pension of $1,260. The chief of the Seminoles, Chupco, is the tallest walker in the nation. The other day he walked from Little River to Fort Gibson, a distance of ninety miles, between sun and sun. The meaning of Seminole in Creek is "runaway," used in reference to the escape of the tribe from the Creeks from Georgia to Florida about the year 1736. Wild Cat died in New Mexico. His son came to the agency and S. A. Reynolds, the agent, gave him supplies.

The Choctaws

This tribe numbers 15,000. It is the most southern reservation in the Indian Territory, and is one hundred and seventy-five miles from north to south and two hundred miles from east to west in extent. It is separated from Texas by the Red River, and the Arkansas and Canadian bound the nation on the north. The capital is Chapta Tomaha. The buildings cost $16,000. It is a two-story building, brick, ninety feet in length. They have a senate and house of representatives. The principal chief is William Bryant. The agency of the Choctaws and Chickasaws is at Boggy Depot. The laws form a neat printed volume, and were compiled by Joseph P. Folsom, a full-blood Choctaw, a member of the Okmulgee council. Folsom graduated from, Dartmouth College. He is profound in Latin and Greek, and thinks the English nothing but a borrowed language. He says the Choctaws have no jails; they punish with the lash. For theft the prisoner has his arms grasped round a tree and receives from thirty to one hundred lashes. The sheriff uses a hickory gad.

Indian Witchcraft

The following extract from the printed statutes shows that the Choctaws are somewhat in advance of our Puritan fathers: "Any person who shall kill another for a witch or wizard shall suffer death. And any person who shall publicly state that he himself, or she herself, is a witch or wizard, or shall say that such a person or persons are witches or wizards and he or she knows it to be so, shall receive sixty lashes on the bare back."

Of course, in this enlightened law it will be seen how history repeats itself, and how the star of empire has been moving westward since Bishop Berkley’s day.

Page 87

The Chickasaws

This nation is included among the Choctaws, and they number about 4,800. The Government holds in trust for the Choctaws $1,385,000, and for the Chickasaws $400,000. The laws of both nations are in common, but the Chickasaws are under a different chief, called governor, whose name is Brown. (This is a mistake, as the Chickasaws never had a governor by the name of Brown. J. Y. B.) The two tribes were united from 1837 to 1855, since when they have retained a separate organization.

Other Tribes

The Senecas, Shawnees, Wyandotts, Sac & Fox, Confederated Peorias, Ottawas, Osages, and Quapaws occupy narrow strips of land on the borders of Southwest Missouri, ranging from one to ten miles in breadth. Some are advanced in civilization, others are not much in advance of the wild tribes. Keokuk, a delegate to the national council, is the son of the celebrated chief, Old Keokuk, of the Sac & Fox, who left among them at the time of his death an injunction not to assume the ways of the white man. The Quapaws, originally called Pow-pows, were made up of the remnants of the different tribes.


By an act of Congress passed July 27, 1866, two roads through the Indian Territory were provided for, one from Springfield, Missouri, and the other from Fort Smith, Arkansas, to intersect on the Canadian River, and run through on the thirty-fifth parallel to the Pacific Ocean. Congress also made the usual grants of lands to aid in their construction, and also obligated itself to extinguish the Indian title, with the consent of the Indians. The Cherokees and other tribes, in the treaty of the same date of the act, granted the right-of-way to such road passing east and west, and one running north and south, as Congress might authorize to construct. The Secretary of the Interior has thereupon decided that the Atlantic and Pacific is entitled to one route, and the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas road to the other. The latter road is already graded sixty-five miles within the Indian Territory, to Flat Rock Creek, and the Atlantic and Pacific will reach the Indian Territory within a short time. The road is graded

Page 88

within twelve miles of Seneca, and is under contract to that place. That company wants to first get the right-of-way through the Seneca reservation, a distance of about ten miles. The Cherokees have ceded the territory west of the 96 meridian, by a treaty not yet ratified. That treaty dedicates that land, as ceded, to the settlement of other tribes, whereas the railroad company wants a clause inserted, that in such territory west of 96 the land grant shall hold. The agents of the road have been busy in trying to get the right-of-way through the Seneca nation, and also the land grant west of the 96, confirmed. The Cherokees refuse to give land for depots for both roads, with the exception of four hundred feet for such buildings and water tanks. The width of the road is two hundred feet. The company asks for a section of land, on an average of every ten miles of the road, for stock yards, depot buildings, etc., so that they will not be in danger of trespassing too much on Indian land’s.

They wish to pay for such lands, but the Indians refuse to give consent, on the ground that it will bring in an influx of white people, and that constant encroachments will follow, as has most always been the case. Both railroad companies have sent in petitions to the Cherokee legislature, asking for wood and for the construction of the road, and the privilege of paying for the same.

Since reaching Gibson, we learn that the Cherokee council has adjourned, and that a bill passed permitting citizens to sell railroad ties, sawed and hewed timber for the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad, by paying the nation five cents royalty for ties, and fifteen per cent for hewed and sawed timber for bridges and depot purposes. The bill of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad would take the same course.

Opposition to Railroads—A Tragedy

The opposition to railroads is illustrated by the following circumstance: Near one of the hotels in Fort Gibson is standing an itinerant photograph car, resembling a small sized baggage car strayed away from a railroad train. The artist, B. F. White, takes double pictures, some of which are beautiful, particularly if the sitters happen to be such. He is on his way from Kansas City to Texas. On the fourth day of September his car came to Fort Gibson, and was seen by

Page 89

the native population heaving and tossing about in the ruts like a ship on the rolling waves, a long distance away on the prairie. The idea was broached that it was a railroad car, "forty hours from, Boston without change of cars." On reaching town White was met by an Indian (it is alleged) who politely asked him if he "had a permit to run the machine." White replied that he had not, but would obtain one if necessary. The man who accosted him then said, "You can open this thing and run it as long as you please; nobody shan’t hurt you." After telling him this, the man drew a revolver and shot Mr. White; the ball entering the shoulder, and passing through the left lung, came out at the back bone, carrying away a portion of the bone. White then broke for the nearest house. The assassin then ran around the car, and seeing a white man whom he supposed, as is surmised, to be a partner in the concern, fired his revolver at him,. The ball missed the person aimed at, and hitting a negro who stood in the rear, killed him almost instantly. He ran four steps and fell dead. The negro was named Ellis Johnson, and formerly belonged to Wm. P. Ross, who gave him a nice coffin and a decent burial.

Johnson was quiet, polite, a civil darky, and a preacher. An excited crowd gathered around; the murderer rode away. An appeal was made to Major Craig, of the United States Army and the Agent of the Cherokees, since resigned, to come down and address the crowd. The occasion of calling on him was to allay the excitement, the exasperation of some being met by the exclamation of others, that it was "only a d—n negro that was shot."

Major Craig, in an indignant manner, (I have this part of the story from an army officer) told the Indians present that they had been complaining to him of the constant encroachments of the whites, and continually appealing to him for redress, but in these acts they were taking the surest means of dissolving their national government, and that he would use his influence hereafter to secure it. A prominent citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Moses Nevins, was accused of the shooting, and an effort was made to arrest him. He voluntarily gave himself up to the United States marshal, was taken to Van Buren and, after having an examination before the United States Commissioner, was discharged, no proof appearing that he was the guilty party. Mr. White is still much

Page 90

crippled from the effects of the bullet, and it is from him that I have the above version of the affair, made in the presence of Captain Cruland, the quartermaster of the post, who essentially corroborated White’s statement.

Safety of Life and Property

It should not be inferred from the above lawless proceeding that life and property are unsafe in the Indian Territory. The above is an exceptional case, and atrocities of that kind are of rare occurrence. In corroboration of this I am informed by Mr. Goss, an agent of the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railroad, whom we met at Gibson, and who has traveled extensively over the country, that human life is as safe and more so than in the adjoining States and Territories. This assertion applies particularly to the whites who, in their journeys over the country through a sparse population in pursuit of their legitimate business, are seldom molested. Should the Indian Territory, through the bad faith of the United States Government, be opened to settlement by the white population, then we would be expected to witness the renewal of the scenes of outlawry and the operation of lynch law, the same as disgraced the early settlement of most of our territories.

Exceptional Lawlessness

In speaking of the immunity enjoyed by the white sojourners in the Territory, the remark might not so strictly apply to the conduct of the Indians among themselves. There seems still to exist a leaven of that southern chivalry among some of the hot-blooded natives which impels them, under a false notion of revenge, to take the law in their own hands.

An instance of this kind occurred on Wednesday, at Tahlequah, in which a half-breed Cherokee deliberately shot a colored Cherokee in the streets, in broad daylight. Ex-Governor Fletcher, of Missouri, stood by at the time and witnessed the murder. The half-breed was a clerk in Mr. Rees’s store, and the negro was an employe of Mr. McClellan. The negro boy had loaned to the clerk a bridle and saddle. The saddle was returned but not the bridle in time, and the faithful colored man fearing that his employer would scold, made a demand of the clerk for the missing article several times, using disrespectful words. A friend of the clerk made the remark that he would not take such language from a negro. Goaded on

Page 91

by such insinuations, after the negro got into the street, he took his revolver and walking up to his victim shot him down like a beef. No effort was made to arrest the assassin. He mounted a horse and rode out into the country but, according to custom, it is expected he will return in a few days after the excitement is over, and deliver himself up, under the advice of his friends.

The Negroes

This class among the Cherokees is entitled to the same rights as the Indians. All freedmen who have been liberated by their former owners, or by laws, as well as all free colored persons who were in the country at the commencement of the rebellion, and are now residents therein, or who returned Within six months after the treaty of 1866, and their descendants, are entitled to all the rights of native Cherokees. The general council, I am informed by Mr. Ross, has since passed an act admitting all within the limits of the nation to the rights of citizenship who failed to come in within the period of six months stipulated for their return.

The Creeks and Seminoles by treaty admit the colored folks to the rights of citizenship. The Choctaws and Chickasaws sold the western portion of their country, and agreed that if their freedmen were not admitted to citizenship at a certain time, they were to receive $30,000 as a bonus with which to procure a home elsewhere. The question is still unsettled and the negroes remain corralled near Fort Arbuckle.

Among the Cherokees three or four schools are set apart for their benefit, as they sensibly prefer schools conducted by themselves. Some of these are said to be good, others indifferent. There is no mixture of the African blood with the Cherokees—the white stock being preferred by the latter; not so among the Creeks, who are largely amalgamated with the African. Some of the prominent Creek delegates in the general council are of this mixed breed. It is stated of General Arbuckle that twenty-eight years ago, on coming from the Creek nation to Tahlequah, in the Cherokee nation, he dropped the prediction that in a few years the Creeks would be all black and the Cherokees all white.

Indian Literature and Customs

After diligent inquiries among the intelligent representa-

Page 92

tives of the various tribes, I failed to find any remnants of Indian literature preserved in the shape of songs or ballads perpetuating the traditional exploits of their heroes in war, love and the chase. Some of the old men, it was said, could still recite snatches of war songs, but the young men of this generation are deficient in this particular.

"In them the savage virtues of the race,
Revenge and all ferocious thoughts were dead."

The Creeks have their annual dance, are given to ball playing and similar polite arts. The Cherokees frequently have gatherings, or "bees," for rail-splitting, house raising, etc., and in towns other reunions are in vogue. Our limited time did not admit of obtaining an insight into prevailing customs, manners, habits of the people, and their social state.

It would be interesting to ascertain what elements of old tribal customs were still clung to and grafted in the social relations in the progress of this interesting people to a higher civilization. A native Creek preacher undertook to interpret an old ballad into English, but before the first couplet was completed I found that the choice specimen was one of Dr. Watt’s hymns, which had been translated into the Creek vernacular from the original English.

A Petition

A petition signed by about forty delegates was presented to Commissioner Parker, asking the appointment of G. W. Grayson, a delegate of the Creek Nation, as secretary of the council. He was accordingly appointed and entered upon his duties. He resigned his seat as a member of the council. A resolution was unanimously passed, thanking Major I. G. Vore for the faithful manner in which he had performed the duties of temporary secretary, and requesting the president to make him due compensation for his services.

Illustrations of Indian Progress

I have just learned, from a most reliable source, a few items of interest about individuals among the Seminoles. John Chupco, who is one of the Seminole chiefs, was, no longer ago than the year 1859, a blanket Indian in Florida. He came to the Territory with about five hundred of his people, and is now a member of the Presbyterian church, sustains a high moral character, has by his industry opened a farm with a

Page 93

cultivated area of 140 acres, and has a large amount of stock. This simple fact does not quite sustain the theory that you cannot make anything of an Indian. John Jumper, the other Seminole chief, is a Baptist minister, of most reputable character as a citizen, very industrious in his habits, and has an excellent and well managed farm. Mr. E. J. Brown, who resides among these Indians, being engaged on one occasion in constructing a farm gate, one of the Seminoles stood by and watched the proceedings until he had finished the job. The Indian, without letting his intentions be known, went the next day to the saw mill, purchased timber and quietly proceeded to his farm with it, and when Mr. Brown had occasion, not long afterwards, to pass the Indian’s residence, he observed several farm gates recently erected. Could white men do better than this?

On another occasion the Seminoles wanted some beef and flour to provide for the holding of the National Council, and had no national funds at hand. Mr. Brown wanted rails for his farm, and offered them beef and flour for rails. In twenty-four hours they made 3,100 rails for him, and purchased the desired supplies.

Cherokee Fair

The Cherokee Fair commenced on Wednesday, October 5th. The day was fine, and quite a large number of those interested in the cause gathered to see the articles exhibited and hear new ideas for them to profit by. Considering the shortness of time for preparation, and this being the first fair, there was not a large show of stock, fabrics, grain, or vegetables. It was not expected; this being the nucleus from which will grow, with the fostering care and attention of the farmers, one of proportion inferior to none in point of stock and domestic productions. Still there was an interest manifested, evinced by the number of competitors for premiums. There was a fair show of horses, a few of them well deserving of praise, among them some fine saddle horses; by the by, the Cherokees consider themselves second to none in point of excellence in that line. The show of cattle was small. A glance at them assured the observer that the people were interested in the raising of fine stock, and hold to the opinion that "blood will tell."

Page 94

The reason for such a small show is, the people were timorous about bringing forward their stock and articles, thinking there would be many far superior to their own, while many did riot understand the real object in view. A look at the vegetable department was gratifying, many of them being very large and fine, showing conclusively that this soil is adapted to the raising of all cereals and vegetables.

In the ladies’ department many articles of household usefulness were exhibited, the ladies seemingly taking a lively interest in showing the productions of their nimble fingers, which we think was well worthy of praise.

Neither were the fine arts neglected, a collection of paintings gracing the room. Take it all in all, the fair was a success. An interest was awakened which will extend itself until the agricultural resources of the nation are fully developed and the Cherokee people become noted as producers and tillers of the soil. The idea should be disseminated that the true way to meet the hordes who are awaiting an opportunity to invade the soil is through the plow-handles, and he who raises fifty bushels of grain over and above his necessities makes an argument in favor of his country’s nationality.

Return to top

Electronic Publishing Center | OSU Home | Search this Site