Margaret Ferrill Dawes Commission Examination

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Department of the Interior
Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes
Meridian, Mississippi, April 12, 1901.

In the mater of the application of Margaret Ferrill, for the identification of herself and three minor children as Mississippi Choctaws.

Margaret Ferrill, being first duly sworn, upon her oath states as follows;

Examination by the Commission.

Q.  What is your name?

A.  Margaret Ferrill.

Q.  What is your age?

A.  Fifty- Five.

Q.  What is your Post Office Address?

A.  DeSoto.

Q. What County is that in?

A   Clark County.

Q.  How long have you lived in Mississippi?

A.  All the time, I have been living all the time.

Q.  How long?

A   Well, I have been living here ever since I was born I reckon.

Q.  Never lived anywhere else?

A.  No Sir.  In Clark, County and in Lauderdale.

Q.  You were a slave, were you not?

A.  Yes sir, my mother was a Negro woman.

Q.  You claim to have Choctaw blood?

A.  Yes sir.

Q.  What proportion do you claim to have?

A.  My father was an Indian.

Q.  He a full blood?

A.  Yes sir.

Q.  You claim to be a half then?

A.  Yes sir.

Q.  Is your father living?

A.  No sir.

Q.  When did he die?

A.   I was small.  I don’t know when he died.

Q.  What was his name?

A.  John.  I don’t know what else he went by.  They called him Captain John.

Q.  Well, now, how old would Captain John be if he was living here today?

A.  Seventy-five or eighty; because he was right smart age when he died.

Q.  Is you mother living?

A.  Yes sir.

Q.  Where does she live?

A.  Down there where I live.

Q.  What is her name?

A.  Julia Thompson.

Q.  She is a Negro?

A.  Yes sir.

Q.  Was she a slave?

A.  Yes sir.

Q.  Was your father a slave?

A.  No sir.

Q.  Were your father and mother ever married?

A.  I reckon they was man and wife, all I know – away back in slavery time darkies hardly ever married; just taken up together.

Q.  They didn’t take up with Indians without marrying?

A.  Yes sir; so far as I know anything about them, they did.

Q.  You don’t know that they were married?

A.  No sir.

Q.  They lived together?

A.  Yes sir, until he died.

Q.  How many children did he have?

A.  Eight, six girls and two boys.

Q.  You are sure Captain John was a Choctaw?

A.  Yes sir, he was.

Q.  Where did he live?

A.  He lived here.

Q.  In Mississippi?

A.  Yes sir.

Q.  What County?

A.  In Clark; we lived in Clark County; he stayed with my mother.

Q.  Do you talk the Choctaw language?

A.  No sir.

Q.  He didn’t talk the Choctaw?

A.  No sir; he talked plain English; he could talk both ways though.  He tried to learn us.  He could talk Choctaw.

Q.  Are you sure of that?

A.  Yes sir.

Q.  Did he look like an Indian?

A.  Of course, he look like an Indian; as much so as any other Indian.

Q.  You claim to get you Choctaw blood through you father?

A.  Yes sir.

Q.  Are you married?

A.  Yes sir.

Q.  What is your husband’s name?

A.  Washington Ferrill.

Q.  Is Washington living?

A.  Yes sir.

Q.  Does he claim to have any Choctaw blood?

A.  No sir.

Q.  You make no claim for him?

A.  No sir.

Q.  He was Negro?

A.  Yes sir, a whiteman’s

Q.  His father?

A.  A Negro and white blood is all I know of him.

Q.  Have you any children under twenty on years of age and unmarried?

A.  I got three.

Q.  Under twenty-one?

A.  Yes sir.

Q.  What are their names and ages?

A.  Elda.

Q.  How old is Elda?

A.  Going on twenty-one.

Q.  The next one?

A.  Lemuel.

Q.  How old is Lemuel?

A.  He is going on eighteen.

Q.  The next one?

A.  Charley?

Q.  How old is Charley?

A.  Going on fifteen.

Q.  Now, is that all?

A.  Yes sir.

Q.  They all live with you?

A.  Yes sir.

Q.  Have always lived with you?

A.  Yes sir.

Q.  They are the children of yourself and Washington Ferrill?

A.  Yes sir.

Q.  They get their Choctaw blood solely through you?

A.  Yes sir; I claim by my father is all the Choctaw blood I got in me.

Q.  Have either you or your children ever received any benefits as Choctaws?

A.  No sir.

Q.  No land nor money?

A.  No sir.

Q.  Never got any money from the Choctaw Government in the Indian Territory?

A.  No sir.

Q.  Are your names on the Choctaw tribal rolls out in the Indian Territory?

A.  No sir.  We have never got nothing.

Q.  Are your names on the Choctaw tribal rolls out in the Indian Territory?

A.  Oh! Yes.

Q.  Do you know what that means?

A.  No sir.

Q.  What do you say yes for?

A.  I thought you said had we got any.

Q.  You said yes, and just a little before you said no to the same question?

A.  No, we haven’t got anything.

Q.  By the Choctaw rolls, I mean a list of those persons who were recognized by the Choctaw tribal authorities as members of the tribe.

Q.  Are your names on these rolls out in the Indian Territory?

A.  Yes sir, I reckon so.

Q.  What makes you think so?

A.  Because we are Indian blood.

Q.  You never tried to get them placed on these rolls?

A.  No sir.

Q.  Never made any effort to have them put on those rolls?

A.  No sir.

Q.  Did you ever apply to the Choctaw tribal authorities for citizenship in the Choctaw Nation?

A.  No sir.

Q.  Did you apply to this Commission in the year 1896 for citizenship in the Choctaw Nation?

A.  No sir.

Q.  This is your first appearance before the Commission?

A.  Yes sir.

Q.  The first application of any sort?

A.  Yes sir.

Q.  You never have been admitted to citizenship in the Choctaw Nation, either by the Choctaw tribal authorities, by this Commission in the year 1896, or by decree of the United States Court for the Indian Territory?

A.  Yes sir.

Q.  Do you want to apply for the identification of yourself and minor children as Mississippi Choctaws?

A.  Yes sir; what does it mean?  I don’t know anything about it.

Q.  What do you come up here for, if you don’t know anything about it?

A.  I just come up here to know something about it.

Q.  Well, the Commission is here for the purpose of hearing people who claim rights in the Choctaw lands in the Indian Territory un the provisions of the 14th article of the treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, between the United States and the Choctaw Indians;

A.  Yes sir.

Q.  Now, do you want to claim under the 14th article:

A.  With the Choctaws?

Q.  Yes, the 14th article of the treaty between the Choctaws and the United States, made in 1830?

A.  Yes sir; I want to claim under the Choctaws.

Q.  Do you know that that fourteenth article is?

A.  No sir. Tell me what it means.

Q.  Well, the Choctaws, you know used to live in this country, all the tribe used to live in Mississippi and the edge of Alabama.  Now in 1830, the Government of the United States made a treaty with them for the purpose of securing their removal to a new country west of the Mississippi.  Some of the Choctaws were unwilling to leave their old country here in Mississippi and Alabama and move out west with the main body of the tribe, and provisions was made in that treaty in what is known as the fourteenth article, that they should remain her in Mississippi.  That article provided that before the United States Indian Agent then located here in Mississippi and become citizens of the states; he would then set aside certain land for them which they were required to live on for a period of five years, at the end of which time a patent would issue to them for the land.  That fourteenth article also provided that such persons as remained her in Mississippi under its provisions should not lose the rights of Choctaw citizenship if ever moved west to the new country, except the right to the Choctaw annuities.  Now we are here to hear such persons who claim that their ancestors or fore-fathers stayed her in Mississippi and didn’t go out west with the Choctaws, and who claim that their with the provisions of the 14th article of the treaty of 1830.  Do you want to claim under that?

A.  Yes sir.

Q.  What one of your ancestors was living her in Mississippi at that time, in 1830.

A.  I don’t know.

Q.  Do you know how long ago that was, 1930?

A.  Not exactly.

Q.  About how many years?

A.  I say I don’t know exactly how long that has been.

Q.  About how long?

A.  Tell me how long it has been.

Q.  Well do you think it’s been ten years ago?

A.  It’s been longer than that.

Q.  Its been seventy years ago?

A.  What on of you parents was living here then; your fore – fathers or ancestors?

A.  My father was living then, I think.

Q.  Would he be over seventy years old if he was living here today?

A.  Yes sir he would.

Q.  Where did he live then?

A.  Down here – he lived down here near Enterprise; we lived seven miles out from Enterprise.

Q.  In Mississippi?

A.  Yes sir.

Q.  You are sure he was living in Mississippi?

A.  Yes sir.

Q.  Did you ever hear him tell about when the Choctaws moved west to the new country?

A.  Yes sir, I heard him tell about it.

Q.  Didn’t he go with them?

A.  I don’t know anything about that;  I used to hear him talk about it, but I don’t know nothing about it.

Q.  Do you know whether within six months after this treaty was ratified he, or his parents for him, appeared before the United States Indian Agent for the Choctaws and told him they wanted to remain here in Mississippi and become citizens of the States?

A.  No sir, I don’t know anything about that.

Q.  Do you know whether he received any land in Mississippi from the Government of the United States under the provisions of the 14th article of the treaty of 1830.

A.  No sir.

Q.  Did he ever own any land here in Mississippi?

A.  No sir.

Q. The Government never gave him any?

A.  No sir.

Q.  Did he ever get any money from the Government?

A.  No sir.

Q.  Do you know whether the Government of the United States or the Choctaw tribal authorities ever recognized him at that time as a member of the tribe?

A.  Yes sir;  I think I was large enough to recollect his mother; his mother was an Indian and he was an Indian boy;  I can recollect his mother.

Q.  Was he recognized by the Choctaws or by the Government, as a member of their tribe in 1830, that was before you was born:

A.  I don’t know nothing about that.

Q.  You say you remember your father’s mother?

A.  Yes sir.

Q.  What was her name:

A.  Nancy.

Q.  Did she speak the Choctaw language?

A.  She talked that way all the time.

Q.  Did she look like an Indian?

A.  Yes sir, she was an Indian; full blood Indian.  Wore a basket on her back.

Q.  What was your father’s fathers name?

A.  I don’t know nothing about him.

Q.  Do you know whether your father’s mother ever got any land in Mississippi?

A.  No sir, too far back.

Q.  You say you remember your father’s mother; did she get any land in Mississippi?

A.  No sir, too far back.

Q.  You say you remember your father’s mother; did she get any land in Mississippi?

A.  I was small when she used to come to my house; I don’t recollect nothing about her, only I recollect when she came to my house;  I don’t recollect anything about her.

Q.  You don’t know whether she got any money form the Government or not:

A.  No sir.

Q.  You don’t know whether she was recognized in 1830 as a member of the tribe?

A.  I was too small to recollect anything like that.

Q.  Is there any additional statement in regard to your case you want to make at this time?

A.  No sir

Q.  Have you any papers you want to file?

A.  L.P. Hudson, attorney for the applicant, asks leave to file written evidence In support of this claim within thirty days from this date.

Permission is granted to the attorney for the applicant to file proper documentary evidence in support of the application within a period of thirty days from this date.

Q.  In case the Commission should be able to identify you and your minor children as Mississippi Choctaws, entitled to rights in the Choctaw lands in the Indian Territory, would you be willing to move to the Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, would you be willing to move to the Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, and there make your permanent home?

A.  Yes sir, I would be willing to do that.

You will be furnished at a later date with a copy of the decision of the Commission with reference to the application made by you at this time for the identification of yourself and minor children as Mississippi Choctaws, mailed to you at your present post office address.

(This applicant claims to be a half blood Choctaw, she does not speak the Choctaw language.  Her color, features and hair would indicate that she might be possessed of a small proportion of Choctaw blood.)

R.S.Streit, Being first duly sworn, upon his oath states that as stenographer to the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, he reported the proceedings had in the above entitled cause on the 12th day of April, 1901, and that the foregoing is a full true and correct translation of his stenographic notes of said proceedings on said date.

RS Streit
Subscribed and sworn to before me at Meridian, Mississippi, this 23rd day of April, 1901.

 




MLA Source Citation:

AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 17 April 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/margaret-ferrill-dawes-commission-examination.htm - Last updated on Mar 22nd, 2013


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