Abraham H. Nail, Choctaw

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Dawes Commission, No. 57-1896. United States Court, Central District, No. 84-McA. Citizenship court, No. 74-McA. Commission, No. 131-1907.

The facts in this case as found by the United States Indian agent, the Dawes Commission, and the United States court are:

Abraham H. Nail was a son of Rev. William Nail, a quarter-blood Choctaw Indian and a missionary among the Choctaws and Cherokees in Bledsoe County. Tenn., where he lived and died. Abraham H. Nail moved to the Choctaw Nation. Indian Territory, in 1874, and was recognized by his relatives then living in the Choctaw Nation as a Choctaw Indian. In the year 1875 he presented his claim and submitted his proof thereof to the Choctaw National Council and was admitted to citizenship together with his family; that the act admitting him passed both houses and was not recorded; that since that time he and the members of his family have been recognized as citizens of the Choctaw Nation by the authorities of said nation, with a few exceptions; that in order to fully establish his citizenship he again applied to the Choctaw Council in 1888, and his claim was rejected November 6, 1888 “for want of proper evidence, also on account of being debarred by the laws of 1887 requiring all applications to be filed within 60 days from its passage.”

From the action of the Choctaw Council claimant appealed the case to the United States Indian agent under the provisions of the act of the Choctaw Council approved October 21, 1882, known as Bill No. 8, authorizing such appeals. The record before the council was transmitted and additional evidence taken before the Indian agent. In an opinion dated October 30, 1891, in which all the evidence is carefully reviewed at length, Agent Leo. E. Bennett found that claimants were entitled to admission to citizenship in the Choctaw Nation and accordingly admitted them. In concluding his opinion the Indian agent says:

Although the evidence submitted to the Choctaw Council in 1888 was not sufficient to prove, as in my opinion the additional evidence submitted on the appeal is that the claimant was admitted to citizenship in 1875, it appears to me that he at that time presented ample testimony to prove his Choctaw descent and his right to citizenship in said nation.

From the record of the proceedings of the Choctaw Council of 1888 it appears that in many cases the law of 1887, requiring all claims for citizenship to be filed within 60 days from the passage of the act, did not debar the claimant from presenting his claim and receiving favorable action thereon, as in the case of W. F. Foster and others whose claim was presented to the same council, and by an act approved November 5, 1888, was admitted to citizenship, as were other claimants upon different dates, during the same term of council, from which the inference is reasonable that the law of 1887 did not enter (except spasmodically) into the consideration of claims to citizenship.

After a careful consideration of all the evidence submitted it is my opinion that Abraham H. Nail and his descendants are Choctaw Indians by blood, and that the claimant and his wife. Matilda .T. Nail, and his family, John Nail, William Nail, James P. Nail, and Aaron I,. Nail, should be admitted to participate In all the rights, privileges, and immunities of Choctaw citizenship.

September 9, 1896. Application made to the commission for the admission to citizenship of Abraham H. Nail, Matilda J. Nail, John Nail, Aaron L. Nail, James P. Nail, and Lizzie Nail, as citizens by blood of the Choctaw Nation, with the exception of Matilda J., who claimed by intermarriage.

December 1, 1896. Commission rendered its decision admitting claimants as prayed in their petition to citizenship in the Choctaw Nation. Case appealed to the United States court, central district, case No. 84; record before commission certified to said court; additional testimony taken; attorneys for nation present and examined witnesses.

August 26, 1897. Judgment entered affirming the finding in all respects of the commission, and directing the commission to enroll claimants.

December 17. 1902. Judgments of commission and United States court vacated by decree of the citizenship court in “test case.” Case thereafter certified to citizenship court for trial de novo.

April 18, 1904. Decree entered denying all claimants citizenship in the Choctaw Nation.

June 20, 1906. Petition filed with commission in accordance with the regulations of January 2, 1906. directing the commission to hear all cases denied by the citizenship court where the claimants had been admitted to citizenship in “the nations prior to 1896. or whose names were properly on the tribal rolls asking the enrollment of claimants.

February 27, 1907. Commission renders decision holding that under opinion of Attorney General of February 19, 1907. claimants should be denied. The opinion of the Attorney General of February 19,1907, was misconstrued by the departmental officers as holding that the decisions of the citizenship court were final; this erroneous construction was corrected by an opinion of the Attorney General of March 4, 1907, which did not reach the department until March 6, after the rolls had been closed by operation of law and too late to permit the enrollment of claimants.

March 4, 1907. Secretary approved the decision of the commission.


Statement by Council

In this case the applicants were admitted, first, by the United States Indian agent; second, by the commission in 1896; third, by the United States court on appeal from the decision of the commission. They were denied by reason of a decision of the citizenship court, and were in 1907 prevented from being enrolled by the department under an admittedly erroneous decision of the Attorney General of February 19, 1907. which he subsequently modified, but the modification occurred too late to permit the enrollment of claimants.

Those entitled to enrollment are: Abraham H. Nail. John Nail, Aaron L. Nail. James P. Nail. Lizzie Nail, as citizens by blood, and Matilda J. Nail, by intermarriage.

(Six in all.)

Respectfully submitted.

Walter S. Field.


Department of the Interior,
Commissioner to The Five Civilized Tribes.

In the matter of the application for the enrollment of Abraham H. Nail et al., its citizens of the Chortaw Nation.

Decision

It appears from the record herein that on October 21, 1898. application was made to the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes for the enrollment of Abraham H. Nail, John Nail, and Aaron L. Nail as citizens by blood of the Choctaw Nation and for the enrollment of Matilda J. Nail, wife of Abraham H. Nail. as a citizen by intermarriage of said nation; and that on the same day application was made for the enrollment of James P. Nail as a citizen by blood of the Choctaw Nation, and for the enrollment of his wife, Lizzie Nail, as a citizen by intermarriage of said nation.

It appears from the records of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes that on September 9, 1890. in the case entitled “Abraham Nail et al. v. Choctaw Nation” (1890 Choctaw citizenship docket, case No. 57), original application was made to said commission under the provisions of the act of Congress approved June 10. 1896 (29 Stats., 321), for the admission to citizenship in the Choctaw Nation of the applicants. Abraham II. Nail, Matilda J. Nail, John Nail, Aaron L. Nail, James P. Nail, and Lizzie Nail; and that on December 1, 1896, said commission rendered its decision therein, admitting said applicants as citizens of the Choctaw Nation.

From this decision an appeal was taken to the United States court for the central district of the Indian Territory (central district citizenship court case No. 84), and on August 20. 1897, said court admitted Abraham H. Nail, John Nail, James P. Nail, and Aaron L. Nail as citizens by blood of the Choctaw Nation, and Lizzie Nail and Matilda J. Nail as citizens by intermarriage of said nation.

December 17, 1902, the Choctaw and Chickasaw citizenship court, created under the provisions of the act of Congress approved July 1. 1902 (32 Stats., 641), “set aside, annulled, vacated, and held for naught” the aforesaid judgment of the United States court for the central district of Indian Territory. Thereafter said cause was certified to said Choctaw and Chickasaw citizenship court for a trial de novo. and on April 18, 1904, in the case entitled “Abraham H. Nail et al. v. Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations” (Choctaw-Chickasaw citizenship court, case No. 74. McAlester docket), rendered its decision therein, wherein it was “ordered, adjudged, and decreed that the petition of the plaintiffs, Abraham H. Nail, Matilda J. Nail, John Nail, James P. Nail, Aaron L. Nail, and Lizzie Nail, be denied and that they be declared not citizens of the Choctaw Nation and not entitled to enrollment as such citizens and not entitled to any rights whatever flowing there from.”

Under the regulations adopted by the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes January 2, 1906. there was filed on June 25, 1906, a petition praying for the enrollment of the applicants herein as citizens of the Choctaw Nation, said petition alleging that the applicants had prior to 1896 been admitted to citizenship in the Choctaw Nation by a decision of the United States Indian agent.

The record in this case shows that on October 30, 1891, Leo E. Bennett, United States Indian agent. Union Agency. Muskogee, Ind. T.. on appeal from the adverse decision of the Choctaw National Council, under the provisions of an net of said council approved October 21, 1882. admitted the applicants, Abraham II. Nail, John Nail, Aaron L. Nail, and James P. Nail, as citizens by blood of the Choctaw Nation, and Matilda J. Nail as a citizen by intermarriage of said nation.

The applicant. Lizzie Nail, was on December 25, 1885, under the laws of the State of Texas, lawfully married to James P. Nail, both of said persons being on the date of said marriage residents in good faith of the Choctaw-Chickasaw country.

All of the applicants herein were residents in good faith of the Indian Territory on June 28, 1898.

None of the applicants herein are identified upon any of the tribal rolls of the Choctaw Nation in the possession of this office.

I am of the opinion that in accordance with the opinion of the Attorney General for the United States dated February 19, 1907. in the matter of certain citizenship cases referred to him for consideration by the Secretary of the Interior, the application for the enrollment of Abraham H. Nail, John Nail, Aaron L, Nail, and James P. Nail as citizens by blood of the Choctaw Nation and the petition herein in so far as same applies to said applicants should be denied under the provisions of the act of Congress approved July 1, 1902 (32 Stats., 641), and it is so ordered.

I am further of the opinion that the application for the enrollment of Matilda J. Nail and Lizzie Nail as citizens by intermarriage of the Choctaw Nation and the petition herein in so far as same applies to said applicants should be denied under the provisions of the act of Congress approved July 1, 1902 (32 Stats., 641), and it is so ordered.

Tams Bixby, Commissioner.
Muskogee, Ind. T., February 27, 1907.


Statement by Council

In this case the applicants were admitted, first, by the United States Indian agent; second, by the commission in 1896; third, by the United States court on appeal from the decision of the commission. They were denied by reason of a decision of the citizenship court, and were in 1907 prevented from being enrolled by the department under an admittedly erroneous decision of the Attorney General of February 19, 1907. which he subsequently modified, but the modification occurred too late to permit the enrollment of claimants.

Those entitled to enrollment are: Abraham H. Nail. John Nail, Aaron L. Nail. James P. Nail. Lizzie Nail, as citizens by blood, and Matilda J. Nail, by intermarriage.

(Six in all.)
Respectfully submitted.

Walter S. Field.



MLA Source Citation:

United States Congress. Five Civilized Tribes In Oklahoma, Reports of the Department of the Interior and Evidentiary Papers in support of S. 7625, a Bill for the Relief of Certain Members of the Five Civilized Tribes in Oklahoma, Sixty-second Congress, Third Session. Department of the Interior, United States. 1913. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 18 December 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/abraham-h-nail-choctaw.htm - Last updated on Oct 14th, 2012


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