D. B. Vernon Et Al.
Dawes Commission, No. 25. United States Court. No. 98. Citizenship Court, No. 81-M.
September 8, 1890. Applications filed for the enrollment of D. B. Vernon and 38 others, all claiming to be Choctaw Indians by blood. Twenty of said claimants alleged as an additional ground residence in the nations since 1884, tribal affiliation, and recognition. A large number of affidavits and depositions appear of record. The greater portion of the testimony relating to the Choctaw blood of the claimants is based upon family tradition as handed down by the parents to their children by word of mouth. D. B. Vernon claims that the name of Richard Vernon, his great-grandfather, and Sam Vernon, his father, appear on the 1830 Choctaw roll, made about the time the treaty of that year was signed. D. B. Vernon, the leading claimant, was born in Mississippi.
One witness. Peter Wolf, in 1897 testified that he was 70 years old. “I knew Sam Vernon in the State of Mississippi, old Choctaw Nation, and knew him to be a Choctaw Indian by blood, and was recognized by the proper authorities as such, and his name should appear upon the authenticated rolls of 1830. He had a son by the name of D. B. Vernon, who is the same person who appears in the above-entitled cause, and now resides at Ryan, Chickasaw Nation. Ind. T.”
Peter Tillman, in 1897, testified that he was 84 years old, and corroborated in detail the above statements of Peter Wolf. Many other witnesses testified that the Vernons had always been recognized as Choctaws by blood by the members of the Choctaw Tribe residing in Indian Territory.
December 3, 1896. Commission rendered its finding in words and figures as follows: “Application denied.”
Thereafter the case was appealed to the United States court at McAlester, central district, Indian Territory. Additional testimony was taken by claimants. No testimony was taken by the nations.
August 26, 1807. Decree was entered admitting the following persons to citizenship in the Choctaw Nation: D. B. Vernon, John H. Vernon, Chesley Taylor Vernon, Lucy Vernon, Amy Pearl Vernon, Sophie F. Vernon, Jim W. Vernon, Caswell B. Vernon, Clydie B. Vernon, Ivey L. Vernon, Ida Vernon, M. J. Vernon, George W. Vernon, Theodosha E. Vernon, Louisa T. Vernon, Robert E. L. Vernon, Francis M. Vernon, Manda A. Vernon, Samuel H. Vernon, Gracie T. Vernon. (Certified copy hereto attached.)
December 17, 1902. Decree of United States court vacated by decree of citizenship court in test case.
March 14, 1903. Case certified to citizenship court for trial de novo. Record before United States court offered in evidence, and additional depositions taken by counsel for claimants. No testimony taken by nations.
February 16, 1904. The following proceedings occurred in the citizenship court:
Mansfield, McMurray & Cornish for defendants.
This day this cause coming on to be heard, the following proceedings were had, to wit:
Mr. Mansfield. I desire to submit that case on the record as It now stands. We also desire to file a brief. I have a letter from Mr. Rails stating that he can not get here until Wednesday morning, and that Vernon is a witness In a case at Ardmore and can not get here until that time, and asks me to get the case continued.
Judge Weaver. I will mark the case submitted; briefs to be filed, and if Mr. Rails makes a showing for the reopening of the case we will pass on it.
March term, 1904. Opinion by Adams, chief judge. The court holds the evidence not sufficiently definite and positive to entitle claimants to enrollment, and adds:
They seem to have vacillated between the State of Arkansas and the State of Texas, and finally, when it Is apparent to everyone that a distribution of the property belonging to the Choctaw and Chickasaw Tribes of Indians Is about to take place: and that the Choctaw and Chickasaw citizenship means something more than a right to be tried in the Indian courts, and 39 lashes applied to the bare back for the infringement of the Choctaw laws, they landed in the Indian Territory, some of them, as the evidence shows, failing to get here untll their rights had been established by the United States Court for the Central District.
I am of the opinion that none of the applicants have shown by competent testimony that they are Choctaw Indians, or any other kind of Indians. Judgment will therefore be entered by this court denying the application of plaintiffs for citizenship or enrollment as Choctaw Indians.
The above opinion is founded upon nothing in the record. All the evidence submitted sustained the claims of applicants, and there was no evidence offered by the nations.
March 21. 1904. Decree entered denying all of claimants admitted by United States court, to enrollment as citizens of Choctaw Nation.
September 23, 1898. D. B. Vernon, John H. Vernon, Chesley T. Vernon, Sophia F. Vernon, James W. Vernon, Caswell B. Vernon. Clydie B. Vernon, Ivey L. Vernon, and Ida B. Vernon, appeared before the Dawes Commission, sitting at Ada, and applied for admission as members of the Choctaw Tribe by blood, and were enrolled.
December 2. 1904. After the decision of the citizenship court, whose decision was construed by the department as final, the commission rendered a decision denying all of claimants admission to citizenship in said nation.
These claimants are one of the well-known and highly-respected families in the Chickasaw Nation. Chesley Taylor Vernon is the present clerk of the district court, eighth judicial district of Oklahoma. He shows the Indian blood strong. He was seen by members of the House committee at Sulphur during the investigation in August.
Counsel for claimants respectfully submit that all of said claimants included in the judgment of the United States court are Choctaw Indians by blood, as shown by the record, and are entitled to enrollment as such. They are D. B. Vernon, John H. Vernon, Chesley Taylor Vernon, Lucy Vernon (died 1898), Amy Pearl Vernon (now Morgan), Sophia V. Vernon (now Nelson), Jim W. Vernon, Caswell B. Vernon, Clydie B. Vernon, Ivey L. Vernon (now Wells), Ida Vernon, George W. Vernon, Theodosha E. Vernon (now Howard), Louisa T. Vernon (now Frazier), Robert E. L. Vernon, Francis M. Vernon, Manda A. Vernon (not “Manda A,” but “Maud,” now Bennett). Samuel H. Vernon, Gracie T. Vernon, M. J. Vernon.
Ballinger & Lee, Attorneys for Claimants.
Copy Of Order Of Court
United States Of America
Indian Territory, central district, ss:
In the United States court in the Indian Territory, central district, at a term thereof begun and held at South McAlester, in the Indian Territory, on the 26th day of August, A. D. 1897.
Present: The Hon. William H. H. Clayton, Judge of said court.
The following order was made and entered of record, to wit:
D. B. Vernon et al. v. Choctaw Nation. No. 98.
On this 26th day of August A. D. 1897, the same being one of the days of, the April A. D. 1897, term of this court, this cause came on for trial on the report of the master, W. B. Rutherford, appointed by this court for the purposes of finding and reporting the facts herein, and the plaintiffs and defendant appeared by their attorneys and announced ready for trial, and this cause is by agreement submitted to the court for decision, and the court having heard the evidence on the part of both plaintiff and defendant, and having considered the report herein, and being well and fully advised in the premises, doth confirm said report in every respect, and doth find that D. B. Vernon, male, age 46: John H. Vernon, male, age 23: Chesley Taylor Vernon, male, age 22 years: Lucy Vernon, female, age 19 years; Amy Pearl Vernon, female, age 17 years; Sophia F. Vernon, female, age 14 years; Jim W. Vernon, male, age 13 years; Caswell R. Vernon, male, age 11 years; Clydie B. Vernon, male, age 9 years; Ivey L. Vernon, female, age 7 years; Ida Vernon, female, age 3 years; M. J. Vernon, female, age 26; George W. Vernon, male, age 20 years; Theodosha K. Vernon, female, age 18; Louisa T. Vernon, female, age 17 years; Robert E. L. Vernon, male, age 15 years; Francis M. Vernon, male, age 12 years; Manda A. Vernon, female, age 11; Samuel H. Vernon, male, age 9 years; and Gracie T. Vernon, female, age 5 years, are citizens of the Choctaw Nation, and that all of said above-named plaintiffs are citizens by blood of the Choctaw Nation, excepting M. J. Vernon, who is a citizen by intermarriage.
It is therefore ordered, considered, and adjudged by the court that said plaintiffs above named be, and hereby are admitted to citizenship in the Choctaw Nation, with all the rights, privileges, and benefits of such citizens aforesaid in and to the Choctaw Nation.
The court further finds that the other applicants herein were not residents of the Indian Territory at the time of filing their application before the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, and did not reside therein at the time their appeal herein was taken, and the same hereby are denied, to wit: J. F. Vernon, male, age 33; M. A. Vernon, female, age 7 years; W. J. Vernon, male, age 5 years; W. B. Vernon, male, age 4 years; Maud Vernon, female, age 3 years; Frank Vernon, male, age 2 years; Arnold Vernon, male, age 7 months; R. H. Vernon, male, age 36 years; Ella Vernon, female, age 20 years; Pearlie May Vernon, female, age 2 years: Irene Vernon, female, age 7 weeks; Bradford C. Vernon, male, age 44 years; C. P. Vernon, male, age 19 years: D. C. Vernon, male, age 17 years; E. J. Vernon, male, age 11 years; J. Y. Vernon, male, age 9 years; B. C. Vernon, male, age 6 years; J. H. Vernon, male, age 3 years: and G. W. Vernon, male, age 39 years.
It is further ordered and adjudged by the court that the clerk of this court shall transmit to the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes a certified copy of this Judgment and decree, and that said commission shall place the names of the plaintiffs admitted to citizenship in this action named above upon the rolls prepared or to be prepared by them of the citizens and members by blood of the Choctaw Nation, excepting the name of M. J. Vernon, which name shall be placed by said commission upon the rolls prepared or to be prepared by them of the citizens and members by intermarriage of the Choctaw Nation and Tribe of Indians, and that such persons so admitted as citizens and members of the Choctaw Nation as aforesaid shall be entitled to all the rights, privileges, immunities, and benefits of citizens of the Choctaw Nation in all respects.
It is further ordered that the plaintiffs have and recover of and from the Choctaw Nation one-half all their costs in this behalf laid out and expended, for all of which let execution issue.
United States Of America,
Indian Territory, _______ district, ss:
I, E. J. Fannin, clerk of the District Court of the United States for the _______ District of the Indian Territory, do hereby certify the foregoing to be a true copy of an order made by said court on the 26th day of August. 1897, as appears from the records of said court now on file in my office.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my band, at my office in South McAlester, in said district, this 20th day of March A. D. 1903.
[seal.] E. J. Fannin, Clerk
By J. M. Dodge, Deputy.