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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 15, No. 4
December, 1937
BOOK REVIEWS

Page 483

Southern Trails to California in 1849. Edited by Ralph P. Bieber. (Glendale, California), pp. 386. $6.00.

This is the fifth number in this excellent "Southwestern Historical Series," prepared by Professor Bieber. It is an expansion of an interesting article written by him and published in the Mississippi Valley Historical Review in the December, 1925, number, entitled "Southwestern Trails to California."

The substance of this article, and additional matter introduced by Professor Bieber, comprise the first 62 pages of the book under the title "Introduction." The remainder of the volume is a reprinting of numerous newspaper stories and other prints relating to his subject. No attempt has been made to connect these numerous accounts, their juxtaposition being relied upon to relate the sense of one to another. The different phases of the subjects discussed in the book are indicated by the following division of the contents: "Early News of the Gold Discovery, Advertising Southern Trails, Through Mexico to California, From Texas to the Gold Mines, Through Arkansas and Along the Canadian, The Cherokee Trail, the Santa Fe Trail."

Professor Bieber does not claim to have presented a definitive treatment of his subject, but he has nevertheless brought together an interesting collection of material touching the field on which he is working, and as the accounts reproduced by him are all practically contemporary with the events described they are bound to carry conviction of their substantial accuracy. Professor Bieber reproduces the original documents with some alterations. He has changed their spelling, paragraphing and capitalization to conform to the format of the publisher. He has also, he says, occasionally altered their punctuation and word order where the change avoided awkward expressions or where it clarified the meaning of the authors.

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The editor thus undoubtedly improved the appearance of the printed page. But these changes sometimes involve an editor in difficulties, as illustrated on page 294, where the writer is made to say that the Seminole Indians he saw were "considerably stewed" when he actually wrote in the idiom of the times that they were "slewed." And on page 336, on the rock to note their passing, the inscription, limited by necessity to a severe abbreviation, is expanded in the book to twice its length, and is not, in fact, a copy of the original. He also drops the final "s" of the journalists' rendering of the plural of Comanche and other Indian names, in order to achieve the correct spelling, thus committing the writers of 1849 to a spelling they did not use and probably knew nothing about. These requirements of a publisher do not seem quite fair to an editor.

This book is accompanied by a map of the routes described by Professor Bieber, though this reviewer finds an error in the route from Fayetteville and Tahlequah northwest to the Santa Fe Trail. This route really led west from Fayetteville, Arkansas, through Tahlequah, and continued west to the crossing of the Grand River, and not north from Tahlequah as the map has it; but this is probably one of a very few mistakes.

This work will be indispensible to the student who would acquire a knowledge of the subject treated by it. However, as he will find no index in the book he will have to exercise his patience if he can until in the distant future a full analytical index is to be supplied in Volume 12.

—Grant Foreman.

Muskogee, Oklahoma.


Dawn of Tennessee Valley and Tennessee History. By Samuel Cole Williams, LL. D. (The Watauga Press, Johnson City, Tennessee, Pp. XI and 495. $5.00.)

This volume is one of a series planned by judge Williams. Early Travels in the Tennessee Country and the History of the Lost State of Franklin have been published. Tennessee During the

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Revolutionary War is to follow the current volume, bringing the story of the region from 1541 through the State of Franklin on to the period of the South West Territory. This volume was prepared with the belief by Judge Williams that the time has come when the histories of several of the older states in the Union ought to be rewritten. The great increase in population in the State of Tennessee entitles it to much more careful treatment historically than it has heretofore received.

Another consideration of greater weight with the author was the vast amount of archival materials that have been brought to light and arranged for the benefit of the student during recent generations. This new material affords an opportunity to correct errors and supply lapses left by earlier historians who labored without the advantage of material available to present day students.

Judge Williams's purpose, so far as he was able, has been to write a definitive history of the region treated by him, and in this endeavor he drew upon widely separated archives, such as the records of the Carolinas, of the British Museum, the Draper Collection, the Burton Collection, the Library of Congress and others; so that the result of his labors rests upon the most authoritative sources. "No historian," says judge Williams, "has heretofore understood what the Cherokee and Chickasaw Indians did to win the valley of the Tennessee River from the French," and he undertakes to make good this oversight and do justice to these great American Indians who did so much before the French and Indian War to hold that country for Great Britain against the strategy of France.

To carry out the purpose announced by him Judge Williams has worked many of the best and most fruitful years of his life in the collection, classifying and reclassifying the material employed by him. The result is a work of solid scholarship and absorbing interest. While it is not intended for popular reading it is far from dull and will amply reward any person appreciative of good reading. For the student who would know the history of Tennessee and the Tennessee River this work is indispensable.

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A unique feature of the book is a list covering eight pages of "Homesites of earliest settlers," comprising the final chapter of the book. It has a brief appendix, 25 pages of bibliography, and an excellent index of 17 pages.

—Grant Foreman

Muskogee, Oklahoma


A Continent Lost—A Civilization Won. By J. P. Kinney. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1937. XV + 366 pp. Bibliography, appendix and illustrations. $4.00.)

"The American Indian has lost a continent but has won a civilization." These are the closing words of a carefully prepared and well-documented book on Indian land tenure in America, written by a man who has considerable background of experience in dealing with the "property interests" of our Indian citizens.

The author has served in the forestry unit of the Indian Service since 1910 and for a number of years as director. He is therefore in a position to contribute toward a better understanding of the issues involved in the difficult field of Indian administration.

Mr. Kinney contends that only one side of the problem of adjusting the relationships between the white and red races has been emphasized; namely, the failure of the Government. Undoubtedly in past times as well as in more recent propaganda the alleged failures of the Government have come in for caustic criticism.

In order to give an historical perspective to his study the author quotes source material and persons who actually were involved in formulating and administering policies. He points out, furthermore, that the United States has been wrestling with the Indian problem for upwards of 150 years. During that time vast social and economic changes affecting all classes of society have transpired; hence one should not judge too harshly what previous generations have failed to accomplish in the "racial solution" of the American Indian.

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From 1789 to 1824 the Government pursued a course of opportunism with respect to Indian affairs. Because of the absence of a well-defined policy and indifferent success in such measures as had been taken, many, according to the author, lost confidence in the possibility of assimilation. His conclusion is that on account of the pressure brought to bear during the Jacksonian period removal was inevitable.

To Oklahoma readers the author's reference to the success achieved by many of the emigrants to Indian Territory is of interest as well as his closing comment of the chapter: "Comparison with their (Five Civilized Tribes) past or present condition with what it would have been if the removal had not been effected is purely speculative. It is indisputable that well-informed contemporaries of the emigrants did not consider that prospects of their assimilation in the south to be promising and their continued existence there as distinct communities was certainly as impossible of attainment as has similar segregation in an Indian Territory west of the State of Arkansas proven to be." (p. 80)

In accounting for the continent that was "lost" the writer is at his best when describing the steps leading up to allotment and the workings of that system. At no point is the need of an adequate historical perspective more necessary than in the consideration of this vital subject, partly because of the misleading propaganda released on an unsuspecting public in recent years. As an early indication of an allotment policy he cites the order of the General Court of Massachusetts Colony of 1633 wherein occurs first mention of the term "allotment." This predicated a voluntary relationship which the New England Indians might wish to assume with the English Colonists "to live civilly and orderly." A more advanced step was that taken in a treaty with the Wyandot, Seneca, Delaware, Shawnee, Pottawatomie, Ottawa, and Chippewa in 1817 which clearly contemplated vesting of fee simple title to land in individual Indians during their lifetime. Moreover, by Article 7 of the same treaty the chiefs were given authority to determine when the individual Indian should assume responsibility as an owner of land in fee simple. The very next year, however,

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this part of the treaty was changed and thus Indian "self-government" had to wait.

Very significantly the writer points out that approximately seventy treaties with specific authorization for allotment of land to individuals meeting certain requirements had been made prior to the General Allotment Act of 1887. All of this signifies the groundwork laid before the enactment of this much discussed (often unmercifully belabored) act which has been described as the greatest single experiment in granting citizenship to any people. That this was not a piece of "must legislation" to be hurried through Congress in ninety days is evident from ten years of discussion which was devoted to the subject before it was enacted into law.

Perhaps too much of immediate good was expected from the General Allotment Act of 1887. Be that as it may, the author gives two valid causes for its alleged failure. These are largely administrative in nature and have to do with leasing and sale of land. The "leasing evil," launched in 1891, is still with us; the sale of allotments was approved in 1908; the wholesale granting of patents-in-fee in 1918. The inheritance of allotments also led to confusion and "heirship lands" are still the bug-bear of Indian agents. Little wonder, then, that Commissioner Jones (1900) cites three obstacles in the pathway of Indian progress: rations, annuities, and leases. He might very well have cited a fourth; namely, the Indian bureau itself, for the far-flung record of Indian history seems to indicate that without a paternalistic bureau to administer rations, annuities, leases, sale of lands, and other factors prolonging the blight of dependency, these "evils" might never have proven so formidable.

Although the author discusses Indian land tenure from early times to 1936, he does not, except in a most casual manner, comment on the policies of the present (Collier) administration. It is presumed that he is too closely identified with the present and therefore does not have sufficient perspective to check up on the merits or demerits. Provisions of the Wheeler-Howard Act of

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1934 are given and a brief resume of the so-called Oklahoma Welfare Act of 1936 (p. 320).

In conclusion the writer points out that the 300,000 recognized Indians in the United States still hold considerable land, "sufficient to afford each Indian approximately 160 acres if it were equally divided .... The disparity in land holdings between the Indians and other inhabitants in the United States is not as great as some have assumed." Furthermore, "the limited amount of land still held by the Indians derives its chief significance from the fact that the Indians have never to a marked extent entered into the urban industrial life of the nation." (p. 340). Of course what the future has to reveal on that subject remains to be seen. The present reviewer has made several recent studies, one of Indians in urban life in Oklahoma City, which would seem to indicate that Indians are increasingly entering into the industrial life of our nation, not only in the larger cities, but in towns and villages contiguous to the Indian country.

Mr. Kinney is due a vote of thanks on the part of Indians and friends of the Indians for his contribution to a sound historical treatment of a very vital subject in Indian affairs—Indian land tenure in America.

—G. E. E. Lindquist.

Lawrence, Kansas.


A Survey of Research Materials in Oklahoma Libraries. Prepared under the direction of the A. L. A. Resources Committee, Subcommittee for Southern States. Edited and compiled by lcko Iben (Stillwater, A. & M. College, 1937. Pp. iii, 44. Pamphlet, free.)

The orderly development of library collections has long been recognized as a basic condition for successful research. To the present time we have had in Oklahoma little coordination in the building of our library resources. The American Library Association became interested in the program of inaugurating agreements on purchase and building research collections. Any such

Page 490

program, of necessity, would be based on actual knowledge of the availability of books and journals in the state, and to Mr. Icko Iben, librarian of A. & M. College, was entrusted the problem of making this survey. A specially prepared circular was submitted to some thirty state libraries, including the University of Oklahoma, A. & M. College, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma Library Commission, State (Law) Library, the five teachers colleges, nine other colleges, and ten public libraries. From these replies Mr. Iben prepared this survey.

Divided into two parts, the report covers some fifty subdivisions. Part one concerns the holdings of those collections strong in English and foreign language dictionaries, encyclopedias and bibliographies, in indexes, state and federal documents, and lists of dissertations. The Second Part deals with a variety of special subjects included under the broad divisions of the Humanities, the Social Sciences, and the Pure and Natural Sciences.

The survey fills an immediate need. To the research student it is a guide to source materials available in the state. To librarians of state institutions it may be used to advantage in planning their future purchases with the least possible duplication, for the survey shows the relative strength and weakness of the thirty libraries.

A few typographical errors inadvertently found their way into the pamphlet but many of them were corrected with pen before the survey was released. And, of course, one should not expect much more of the survey than is contained in its forty-four pages. This is a great stride towards a more comprehensive work—the Union Catalog of state library holdings. And to Mr. Iben are due the encouragement and appreciation of the research students and librarians of the state. This is a splendid beginning.

—Gaston Litton.

National Archives.


Red Cloud's Folk. By George E. Hyde. The Civilization of the American Indian Series, Vol. XV. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1937. 331 pp. Frontispiece and maps. $3.50.)

Page 491

This interesting and scholarly study presents a history of the Oglala Sioux Indians. The author traces their history from the period of early migration down to the time when they were placed on a reservation in accordance with the policy then favored by the federal government. The reader is led to admire the heroic resistance of Red Cloud and his associates to this policy. One is tempted to believe that the Government made a serious mistake when it sought to destroy the only leadership the Oglala understood. They should have been given more time to adapt themselves to their changing conditions according to Mr. Hyde.

Red Cloud stands out as a vigorous and colorful leader. Much light is thrown on other interesting Oglala personalities. The author after many years of careful research depicts in thorough fashion the trying vicissitudes of the encroachment of the white man and the conflicts which ensued. The story comes to the settlement of Red Cloud's folk in 1878 around Pine Ridge where they have remained to this day.

The writer has based his account upon government reports, publications of historical societies, accounts of Indians themselves, of white people who knew them, and upon good secondary sources. Greater care should have been exercised in the footnotes; at one place the name Kappler is spelled with a C. A brief but select bibliography is listed. This volume is a real addition to the splendid series known as The Civilization of the American Indian.

—James W. Moffitt

Oklahoma Historical Society


Several Oklahoma newspapers, notably, The Ardmoreite, the Chickasha Daily Express, the Mangum Star, the Purcell Register, the Cleveland American, the El Reno American, the Clinton News, and the Hobart Democrat-Chief, have recently issued special commemorative editions to mark the progress and prosperity of their respective home towns. The Ardmoreite, the Mangum Star, and the Purcell Register, each marked, not only the semi-centennial anniversary of its own establishment, but, also commemorated the completion of the first half century of achievement and develop-

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ment since the settlement of their respective patronizing communities. The Cleveland American put forth its special effort to commemorate the flight of more than two score years since the surplus lands of Pawnee County were opened to homestead settlement. Both The Ardmoreite and the Chickasha Daily Express contained much material pertaining to local pioneer history. The Purcell Register presented a fine exposition of Purcell and of McClain County, but, though its own files constitute one of the finest and most prolific sources of local history in the state, it failed to refresh the minds of the reader as to the beginnings and development of local history within the limits of its patronizing area.

The Mangum Star has presented a carefully prepared review of the local history of Greer County and the contiguous counties which once constituted the original Greer County, in completeness, thoroughness and accuracy. It is especially rich in material of documentary origin, pertaining to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and that part of the nineteenth century which preceded the earliest settlements in the county.

The special edition of the Clinton News appeared in the form of a pamphlet, entitled History of Custer and Washita Counties. It is devoted to the local history of Custer and Washita counties, of which Clinton is the major commercial center; it is located near the dividing line which marks the boundary between the two counties. Unlike the Mangum Star special edition, it devotes no space to archaic or pre-settlement history, but, instead, it is rich in stories of the pioneer life of the Upper Washita country in the early and middle nineties.

When one reflects that local history has a rightful place in the popular intelligence and sentiments of a community, the value of such a service to the people of a town or of a county can scarcely be over-estimated. Such a spirit of enterprise on the part of publishers, therefore, is to be commended.

—Joseph B. Thoburn.

Historical Records Survey

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