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Fort Smith (Westark) Junior College Yearbooks 1929-2003

The Boreham Library at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, enabled 72 copies of the university yearbooks to be digitized and made freely available online, 1929-2003. The yearbooks during this period was known as the “Pioneer” and “Nuna”. Yearbooks provide a window into student life. From sports teams to clubs, fashions to hairstyles, these volumes document the changing attitudes and culture of college students year by year.

Washington Irving at Fort Gibson, 1832

The McIntosh Creeks had been located along Arkansas River near the Verdigris on fertile timbered land which they began at once to clear, cultivate, and transform into productive farms. The treaty of 1828 with the Cherokee gave the latter a great tract of land on both sides of Arkansas River embracing that on which the Creeks were located. This was accomplished by a blunder of the Government officials, in the language of the Secretary of War,1 “when we had not a correct knowledge of the location of the Creek Indians nor of the features of the country.” This situation produced much unhappiness and contention between the people of the two tribes. The Indians had other grievances, and the Creeks took the lead in calling the attention of the officials to their needs by the preparation of a memorial in which they complained of frequent attacks upon them by bands of wild Indians from the south and west of their location. They asked the Government to appoint a commission to meet with them for the redress of their wrongs, and to call a council of the different tribes for the adoption of measures to establish peace and security in their new home. The Creek memorial and a long report by the Secretary of War on February 16, 1832, were transmitted to Congress by President Jackson,2 who recommended that three commissioners be appointed as requested in the memorial, and recommended by the Secretary. It appeared from the report of the Secretary of War that there were then west of the Mississippi twenty-five hundred Creeks, six thousand Choctaw, thirty-five hundred Cherokee and...

Earliest Known Traders on Arkansas River

With the help of contemporary records it is possible to identify some of the early traders at the Mouth of the Verdigris. Even before the Louisiana Purchase, hardy French adventurers ascended the Arkansas in their little boats, hunting, trapping, and trading with the Indians, and recorded their presence if not their identity in the nomenclature of the adjacent country and streams, now sadly corrupted by their English-speaking successors.1 French Influence in Arkansas One of the first of the French traders up the Arkansas whose name has been recorded was Joseph Bogy, an early resident of the old French town, Arkansas Post, from which point he traded with the Osage Indians in the vicinity of the Three Forks. On one of his expeditions he had ascended the Arkansas with a boatload of merchandise, to trade to the Osage near the mouth of the Verdigris. There on the seventh of January, 1807, he was attacked and robbed of all his goods by a large band of Choctaw Indians under the famous chief, Pushmataha.2 When charged with the offense, Pushmataha admitted it and justified the robbery on the ground that they were at war with the Osage, against whom they were proceeding at the time; and that as Bogy was trading with their enemies, he was a proper subject for reprisal. Bogy laid a claim before the Government for nine thousand dollars damages against the Choctaw, based on the protection guaranteed by his trader’s license. This claim was pending until after 1835, before it was allowed. Among the interesting papers in connection with the claim, is Bogy’s report of having met on...

Establishment of Fort Gibson in 1824

By Act of Congress of March 2, 1819, Arkansas Territory was established July 4, embracing substantially all of what are now the states of Arkansas and Oklahoma; though the civil government of Arkansas Territory was limited to that section lying east of the Osage line, divided into counties, and embracing approximately the present state of Arkansas. That west of the Osage line was the Indian country, and in later years became known as Indian Territory. James Miller1 of New Hampshire was appointed the first Governor of Arkansas Territory, and among the duties of his office was that of supervision of the Indians within his jurisdiction. After the battle at Clermont’s Town an effort was made to induce the warring tribes to enter into a treaty of peace. This was accomplished in October 1818,2 in Saint Louis, in the presence of William Clark, the Governor of Missouri Territory. Directly after Governor Miller assumed his duties as executive, he was required to intervene between the Osage and Cherokee in an effort to prevent imminent hostilities growing out of the killing of a number of Cherokee hunters by a band of Osage under Mad Buffalo. In April 1820, Governor Miller departed from the seat of government at Arkansas Post, on his mission to the Cherokee and Osage. He was gone two months, and prevented temporarily at least – the threatened renewal of warfare by the Cherokee. He went first to the Cherokee settlements, where he sought to dissuade the members of that tribe from further hostilities by his promise that he would endeavor to secure from the Osage the murderers of their...

Establishment of Fort Smith in 1817

The white population in Arkansas in 1817 had increased to several thousand, whose protection, as well as that of the Cherokee people living in that territory, from the continued hostilities of the Osage, required the establishment of a military post at the western border dividing the white settlements from the Osage. From Saint Louis came further news of threatened hostilities by the Osage near Clermont’s Town, and a report1 that Major William Bradford with a detachment of United States riflemen, and accompanied by Major Long, topographical engineer, had left that city for the purpose of establishing a military post on the Arkansas near the Osage boundary. Major Stephen H. Long, at “Post of Ozark fifty miles up the Arkansas,” reported2 that he was ordered on a mission to the Forks of the Arkansas thence across country by land to Red River; thence to return by land to Saint Louis. “On the Arkansaw near the place where the Osage line strikes this river, I am to select a position for a military post to be under the command of Major Bradford, who is now at this place with his company, destined for that command. This business I am in hopes to accomplish by the first of December.” The point chosen by Long and Bradford for a military post was at the junction of the Poteau and Arkansas rivers called by the French, Belle Point, and after some years known as Fort Smith, after General Thomas A. Smith.3 On this expedition, Long ascended as high as the falls of the Verdigris, and made an observation of the longitude and latitude at...

1860 Census West of Arkansas – Creek Nation

Free Inhabitants in “The Creek Nation” in the County “West of the” State of “Akansas” enumerated on the “16th” day of “August” 1860. While the census lists “free inhabitants” it is obvious that the list contains names of Native Americans, both of the Creek and Seminole tribes, and probably others. The “free inhabitants” is likely indicative that the family had given up their rights as Indians in treaties previous to 1860, drifted away from the tribe, or were never fully integrated. The black (B) and mulatto (M) status may indicate only the fact of the color of their skin, or whether one had a white ancestors, they may still be Native American.

Disbursements to Cherokees under the Treaty of May 6, 1828

Abstract of disbursements and expenditures made by George Vashon, Indian Agent for the Cherokees west of the Mississippi, under the stipulations of the Treaty with said tribe of 6th May, 1828, between the 16th September, 1830, and the 31st December, 1833. In total this list represents 390 Cherokee families and 1835 individuals who each received 25.75 as part of their payment under the 5th article of the treaty of 6th May, 1828.

North America Indian Names of Places in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana

The Indians all over this continent had names, traditions, religions, ceremonies, feasts, prayers, songs, dances all, more or less, with symbolism and allegory, adapted to circumstances, just as all other races of mankind. But the world has become so familiar with the continued and ridiculous publications in regard to everything touching upon that race of people that a universal doubt has long since been created and established as to the possibility of refinement of thought and nobleness of action ever having existed among the North American Indian race, ancient or modern; and so little of truth has also been learned regarding the real and true inner life of that peculiar and seemingly isolated race of mankind, that today only here and there can one be found who, from a lifetime association and intimate acquaintance, is well versed in Indian thought, feeling and character, and able to unfold and record the solution of that imagined mystery known as “The Indian Problem,” since they learned it from the Indians themselves. From the Indians own lips they were taught its elucidation, and only as it could be taught and learned, but never again can be taught and learned. Even as various nations of antiquity of, the eastern continent have left the evidences of their former occupation by the geographical names that still exist, so to have the North American Indians left their evidences upon the western (in dependent of all written history) that they have likewise possessed this continent during unknown ages of the past. The artificial mounds, fortifications, lakes and ponds with their original names and those of rivers, creeks, mountains,...

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